Wednesday, December 29, 2010

BR: The Mermaid's Mirror

So. I have, indeed, started my quest to read more classic literature than sticking to my favored young adult genre. And, I have rediscovered that good literature takes forever to read.

For.ev.er.

I've been reading Jane Eyre for like, six days now. I'm just not used to that.

So, in my frustration of Jane Eyre, (which I am enjoying, even though it does lag in some parts, and I would have totally chopped out the beginning part about her life as a ten year old) I grabbed one of the books I received for Christmas, The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan.




It was (my mind, while suffering from the heavy prose of 1800's speak, was quite grateful) a very easy read. I would have enjoyed more prose and imagery, but then again, it was more of a childlike storyline to begin with: On her sixteenth birthday, Lena pieces together that she is the daughter of a mortal man and a mermaid, thus making her half mermaid herself. Her mother was under an enchantment that made her forget her human family of land-- she had ridden herself of her mermaid nature and become a human women to be with her human lover-- and made her return to the sea... until she glimpses Lena. Lena becomes obsessed with seeing the mermaid (later discovering it's really her mother), defying her fathers wishes to go surfing. She goes down below with her mother and lives with the mer-folk for a while, finds her "soul-mate" down there, and falls under the same enchantment that her mother did--- to forget her life above the sea. In the end, she breaks the enchantment and has to decide whether to live underwater with her newfound mother and lover and friends there, or back on land with her heartbroken dad, stepmother, and little brother.

Overall, it was good, but very predictable. Although there were a few different angles at the story (I really liked the incorporation of the sealskin cloak! Wasn't that a poem or something? I don't know why I know about that legend, where the mermaids leave their sealskin cloaks on the sand, and if some mortal finds it and hides it, the mermaid has to remain on land with them), it feels like it's been done before... girl realizes she's part human, part mermaid; goes off in a search to find the other parent she hasn't known her whole life; has to decide which one to stay with for eternity, forsaking the other forever.... (however, I do expect a sequel here. Things with her lover Nix don't tie up and she ends her one life so abruptly that it left the reader rather unsatisfied: thus, I expect a sequel.)

I'd just like to see a mermaid story that didn't feel so childish. Is it possible? Who knows? Mermaids seem so innocent and childlike, but there seems to be so much more potential there...

I'd love for mermaids, sirens, etc to be the next big thing in YA... but I see that it'd be a big challenge to take on. How do you make undersea life appealing to teenagers? Don't know, man. Don't know.

Someone will do it, and someone will do it big. It might take another forty years, but someone will get it.

But it sure as heck won't be me!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Back to the Basics

After a long, loooooooooooong run with the Young Adult genre, I'm switching gears. I think I need a break of Urban Fantasy and faerie and... angst.

What am I moving onto?

The Classics.

I've realized: how can I call myself an admirer and lover of literature, when I've hardly read any of THE LITERATURE? Doesn't work.

I need some Mark Twain, and some Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens and... well, I do know Shakespeare quite well. I can skip him for now. I want some Bronte sisters!

But NO Steinbeck. NEVER AGAIN. Grapes of Wrath, oh how I hate thee.

So, as soon as the holidays are over and I have money again, I'm busting over to my favorite place, Barnes and Noble, and running to that section where they have "the classics" really cheap, and you can buy three get the fourth free or whatever, and I'm drinking them all up.

It's time I became a more well-rounded reader. And THEN can I go back to my crappy addiction to YA lit and still feel okay with myself :)

(Also coming soon... check out my completed "WHAT I READ IN 2010" list! I'm already at #134... how far can I get in the next 10 days? We'll see!)

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Vamp Choices

WELL... since no one answered my question, I'll have to answer them myself.

What are your favorite Vampire books/series?

CONFESSION: I had a weird relationship with Twilight, so I was sort of baised against the vampire thing for a long, long time. Only recently have I started to explore the Children of the Night exclusively.

The book that captivated me: Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel. (Did I do a review for that one? Can't remember. I've been seriously lacking in my book reviews, sorry. Life's a beast.) It was extremely orginial--- no Vampire Reform Schools here! It's about a girl who was recently changed back into a mortal after a life of vampiredom, having been the leader of a coven. Definitely original with romanticism elements... loved.

I started the House of Night Series, but didn't like it. Sorry.

Also started The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod; didn't get past the first thirty pages. Also sorry.

But Blue Bloods... well, Melissa De La Cruz, you've got an interesting idea going on that I DO so happen to like! Sexy, rich Manhattanites in danger of being consumed by evil Silver Bloods where they will be trapped in an crazy, evil subconscienous for eternity? Do like. For once, a vampire series is popular BECAUSE IT'S GOOD. Thank goodness for that!

So, if you're looking for some new vampy books, go for:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

BR: Fly on the Wall


Fly on the Wall
E. Lockhart (author of The Boyfriend List)


… mixed feelings.

The beginning was weird because the main character was way over-analyzed things, and the middle was too long and dragged for a while, and the whole subject matter was weird (a girl turns into a fly? Ew, weird)… But things ended well, and characters turned out to have real depth, and Lockhart made an important point about not judging people, and about not discriminating against gay people, of all things, and I ended up liking it.

Huh.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Questions for YA Readers

Question for you paranormal-fans:
What are your favorite Vampire books/series?

(Aside from Twilight, because I have my own opinions on that one, and I'm looking for other material.)

What are your thoughts on:
House of Night series
Blue Bloods series
The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod
Infinite Days
... etc?

Also... Is the vampire thing over-done? What is your favorite ficitonal race-- (faeries, pixies, immortals, werewolves, ghost, vampires, etc?) Are you sick of the paranormal genre? Who do you think has done it the best?

I'd love to hear your thoughts, your rants, your recommendations, your anythings on this topic :) Post here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

BR: A Certain Slant of Light

A Certain Slant of Light
by Lauren Whitcomb

"Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you're dead. Though I could not feel paper between my fingers, smell ink, or taste the tip of a pencil, I could see and hear the world with all the clarity of the Living. They, on the other hand, did not see me as a shadow or a floating vapor. To the Quick, I was empty air.Or so I thought. In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: For the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen terrified, but intrigued is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess."
-A Certain SLant of Light back cover

I really enjoyed this book, but the whole time, I kept thinking, "Did I really pick this up in the YA section? It must have been shelved wrong." The characters are late-twenty-somethings spirits who steal teenage bodies, and therefore have adult relationships, and obviously just think like adults (which, again, made me think it was an adult novel--- the characters were adults, and had more maturity and wisdom than most of the characters in YA novels). I've read in other reviews that a lot of other people recommended this book to older women... I think it just got catergorized wrong at the publishing level.

That said, I really, really enjoyed this book. First off, Helen spent like 130 years as ghost, but during those years she served as a muse to five different humans who all sought out a lifestyle of writing. Her "Saint" as she refers to the first one who penned her own verses; a writer of children's bed stories; a poet; a playwright; and a modern English teacher working on his own novel.

Um, yes please: I'd devore any story with that premise. I wish the story had continued in that angle, but unfortunately, it fizzled out pretty early in the story.

The plot visited many different sort of life-styles and sometimes seemed to almost skip into different genres (is it a gothic romantic piece? Is it a edgy young adult book? Is it a teenage Christian novel?), but strangely, it worked. The writing was rich and very skilled, and the storyline, while sometimes a little flat, dealed with the sort of paranormal genre that is popular right now, but it was in a fresh, creative take. I definitely look forward to reading more from Laura Whitcomb.

BR: Tithe

Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale
by Holly Black

"Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms — a struggle that could very well mean her death." -Backcover of Tithe


I almost didn't make it through this one. It wasn't until I was halfway through that I really developed some sort of interest in this story, I'm sorry to say. I know it's a super popular book, or at least Holly Black is a very well-known author, but I really just didn't connect with Tithe.

I have to say, I did enjoy the main character, Kaye, a edgy, kick-butt changeling who's roamed around with her human "mother" for the last sixteen years. Kaye is freespirited but brave and sometimes borderline kind.

The other characters, I had a hard time getting into. Kaye's best friend is a jealous human who she doesn't see much of, and the faeries she's know since her childhood are strange and hard to pin down in your mind. Black also throws in random obscure, ten-point vocab words into her story that her audience frankly aren't going to understand, which I think would be a big turn-off. Also, Black's writing style is strange and often times is hard to follow, at least in my mind. Some of the dialouge was ambiguous, and it took me a few moments sometimes to figure out what a character was meaning to say.

Overall, Tithe wasn't my favorite depiction of the fae. Sorry, Ms. Black.

Although, I read an excerpt from White Cat from Holly Black, and I found it rather intriguing. Seeing how popular Holly Black is (and how much I hate not-liking someone), I'd be willing to give her another shot with White Cat.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

BR: Beautiful Dead: Arizona



I found I really enjoyed Beautiful Dead: Arizona. Eden Maguire threw in characters and relationships and twists I had definitely not expected, but was totally pleased with. Arizona’s story was definitely creative on Maguire’s part. Totally saddening, but definitely creative.

I’m really hoping Maguire can keep it up, cause there’s at least another two books to go. Unless Darina helps Hunter in the end in a fifth book… Which causes me to wonder: will Darina help Hunter? And what if, if she DOES help Hunter, will he somehow make a trade and let Phoenix stay with her while he (Hunter) crosses over from the far side?

Cause we all know this is going to end badly. But will Maguire let it?

My speculation: Brandon is not a good-guy. Brandon is possibly the one who killed Phoenix in the first place, whether by accident or otherwise. Brandon, later on in the series, might try scamming on Darina, try to hook up with her, which is so not going to settle well with either Darina or Phoenix.

I just hope Darina still continues to hang out with Raven.

All By Myself

So, I haven't had a comment in, like, two months. I realized that people would read once or twice and then forget about this site, but really, it's pretty disappointing. Therefore (as I'm sure you've noticed), I've been letting the quality of my reviews slip, because really, I'm just writing for myself again. Lame sauce, man.

Then again, it means I can put up other literature-based posts. Like my epip post on how awesome the smell of books is; my favorite letters; my favorite words and why; real books vs. Nook/Kindles...

So, non-readers, thanks for at least reading those first few times. It made me quite happy and gave me bragging rights for a little while, and trust me, I milked it. :)

Keep reading, keep blogging, and never be afraid to write. -Holly

Thursday, September 23, 2010

BR: Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception


"Don’t you know what happens to clover hands who cannot control the fey?"

So, I read Maggie Stiefvater’s Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception again this week, and really, it just keeps getting better every time I read it.

(Yes, I’m going to rave about Maggie Stiefvater again.)

It took me a strangely long time to finish it--- I’ve found this happens with all of her works--- because the writing is so rich and poetic that you don’t want to take it in on just face value but simply drink it up. I just can’t get over the fact that Stiefvater can create such ridiculously rich and dazzling description and tie it into a brilliantly creative and vibrant story, creating this authentically incredible book.

(It’s been a year or two, but somehow I remember Ballad being just as potent and extraordinary.)

Maggie Stiefvater’s take on Faerie lore in Lament (and Ballad), is by far one of my all-time favorites depictions of the fascinating Celtic creatures and stories. And, of course, she is the queen of YA romance. Hands down.

Please, Mrs. Stiefvater, keep them coming!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

BR: Clockwork Angel


Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare
Book One in the Infernal Devices Series

Ah, the prequel series to the Mortal Instruments has finally arrived! And, a little unfortunately, it wasn’t what I expected. I guess I expected it to be absolutely nothing like the Mortal Instruments, that Cassandra Clare would take the Shadowhunters in a completely different direction, disappointing some but absolutely delighting me, but it turned out to be a lot like it’s three predecessors.

I was a bit bored with the first half, I am mortified to admit. I mean, I guess it had to be, because the facts about Shadowhunters and Downworlders and everything about their world needed to be explained for new readers, but I’m an impatient jerk who didn’t want to sit through it.

Two thirds of the way through the book, I was honestly considering the idea that I was disappointed with this book. It was good, but it wasn’t as fantastic as the Mortal Instruments… But, alas, it came around in the end!

Perhaps it was because the originality of it really came out in the last fourth, and it really set itself apart from The Mortal Instruments. Perhaps it was the way I finally started liking Tessa. Perhaps it was the betrayals and twists and diversions.

***But most likely, it was the way Magnus Bane showed up again (because I was really pissed off he was only around in one scene, seeing as he is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time), and, might I say that my favorite Institute kitty might just be older than I originally presumed? :D

Whatever it was, it made me smile in the end, and I am pleased with Clockwork Angel--- and now super pissed that it’s going to be another two years or whatever until the story is able to continue! ARRRRRRRRGHHH!!!


One thing I did not expect was that Clockwork Angel channeled the Mortal Instruments, at least in the relationship sort of way. I mean, here we go again, a heroine who has her pick of two boys who love her: Jem, the sweet, semi-tortured boy with bravery and wise attitude, and Will, the wild, self-destructive black-haired version of Jace--- and of course she goes with the badboy. I mean, it was practically reading about Jace and Clary again, loving each other, but the boy refusing to go down that path because he’s afraid that he’s not worth anything… Only Will was a bit more destructive of his own-- and Tessa’s-- happiness than Jace ever had been. I am seriously considering the fact that Will has no soul and/or feelings whatsoever. Wouldn’t that be a twist, Will being an automaton? Ah, but can an automaton have planned so much cruelty, let alone have self-loathing? Alas, he must be a demon after all. Curse you, Will!

I am quite peeved at the fact that Tessa fell for Will. Usually, when a heroine falls for the bad-boy, the goodness in the boy emerges, but seriously? Will’s a jerk. And seriously, Jem is awesome. He’s fantastic and brave and nice, and still loves Will even though he’s a jerk face that does not deserve loving. Why can’t Tessa be nice to Jem and make him happy, because he deserves it, and have an epic love for her efforts? Because it could be an epic love. I’ve sat around considering how to kill off other characters in order for Jem and Tessa to be together…. Okay, that’s obsessive and morbid, but whatever. I’m mad.

Overall? Not what I expected, but not disappointed in the least.

Updated

Sorry it's been a while. School's started, and it's taking most of my life. Maybe for the next little while, my reviews won't be so thorough simply because I don't have too much time anymore.

Again, dear readers--- if you have any book recommendations for me, any book you've seen and want me to review, just drop me a comment and I'll try my best to get ahold of the book and write something up for you :)

ALSO, check out my list of "100 Books In A Year"... those I can write up and post in just a few days (lousy lack of internet...).

Keep reading!

-Holly

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

100 Books in a Year!

For those of you who didn't know, I set a goal to read 100 BOOKS from January 1st 2010 to January 1st 2011. Well, I have completed my goal 3 months early. As of yesterday, Tuesday, September 7, at 3:34 pm, I finished my 100th book.

So, I only started writing reviews when I got to the 80's. So, if there is anything on this list that you want a review of, just drop me a comment and I'll write one up. Leave me comments, my beloved readers!
**my favorites of the list are bolded and italicized

MY LIST OF 100 BOOKS IN  A YEAR:
1. Hush Hush, Becca Fitzpatrick
2. The Pale Assassin, Patricia Elliott
3. 68 Knots: A Novel, Michael Robert Evans
4. The Red Necklace, Sally Gardner
5. The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaimen, Dave Mckean
6. When It Happens, Susane Colasanti
7. Perfect Chemistry, Simone Elkeles
8. I Am the Messenger, Markus Zusak
9. Mr. Dracy, Vampyre, Amanda Grange
10. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, James Patterson
11. The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stewart
12. Antsy Does Time, Neal Shusterman
13. Beastly, Alex Flinn
14. A Gift of Magic, Lois Duncan
15. The Year I Turned 16, Diane Schwemm
16. Remembering Issac, Ben Behunin
17. Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo, Obert Skye
18. Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret, Obert Skye
19. Evermore, Alyson Noel
20. Blue Moon, Alyson Noel
21. Shadowland, Alyson Noel
22. Maximum Ride 2: School’s Out, Forever, James Patterson
23. Maximum Ride 3: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, James Patterson
24. Old Magic, Marianne Curley
25. Nightrunner, Max Turner
26. The Red Queens Daughter, Jacqueline Kolosov
27. The Hourglass Door, Lisa Magnus
28. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling
29. City of Bones, Cassandra Clare
30. City of Ashes, Cassandra Clare
31. City of Glass, Cassandra Clare
32. The Summoning, Kelley Armstrong
33. The Awakening, Kelley Armstrong
34. The Reckoning, Kelley Armstrong
35. Beautiful Dead: Jonas, Eden Maguire
36. Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater
37. Need, Carrie Jones
38. Lament, Maggie Stiefvater
39. (City of Ashes, reread) Cassandra Claire
40. Maximum Ride: James Patterson
41. Captivate, Carrie Jones
42. Maximum Ride: The Final Warning, Max, James Patterson
43. Ballad, Maggie Stiefater
44. Wings, Aprilynne Pike
45. The Dawn of the Dreadfuls, Steve Hockensmith
46. Stolen, Lucy Christopher
47. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart
48. Wondrous Strange, Lesley Livingston
49. Eyes Like Stars, Lisa Mantchev
50. The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness
51. Shiver (reread), Maggie Steifvater
52. Heartbeat, Sharon Creech
53. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, Trenton Lee Stewart
54. Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson
55. 68 Knots: A Novel (reread), Michael Robert Evans
56. City of Glass (reread), Cassandra Clare
57. Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn
58. Wondrous Strange (reread), Lesley Livingston
59. Darklight, Lesley Livingston
60. Perchance to Dream, Lisa Mantchev
61. River Secrets, Shannon Hale
62. Beautiful Dead: Jonas (reread), Eden Maguire
63. The Dark Divine, Bree Despain
64. The Iron King, Julie Kagawa
65. Wicked Lovely, Melissa Marr
66. Spells, Aprilynne Pike
67. The Blue Girl, Charles de Lint
68. A Company of Swans, Eva Ibbotson
69. The Writing on the Wall, Wendy Lichtman
70. Werewolf Rising, R. L. LaFevers
71. Absolutely, Positively Not, David Larochelle
72. The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield
73. Ink Exchange, Melissa Marr
74. Fragile Eternity, Melissa Marr
75. My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions, Becca Wilhite
76. Radiant Shadows, Melissa Marr
77. Evermore (reread), Alyson Noel
78. Blue moon (reread), Alyson Noel
79. Shadowland (reread), Alyson Noel
80. Dark Flame, Alyson Noel
81. Linger, Maggie Steifvater
82. Bad Girls Don’t Die, Katie Alender
83. The Body Finder, Kimberly Derting
84. 13 to Life, Shannon Delany
85. Immortal, Gillian Shields
86. Pretty Monsters, Kelly Link
87. The Boy Book, E. Lockhart
88. The Treasure Map of Boys, E. Lockhart
89. Scrambled Eggs at Midnight, Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler
90. Betrayal, Gillian Shields
91. Fallen, Lauren Kate
92. Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
93. Old Magic, Marianne Curley
94. Once Dead, Twice Shy, Kim Harrison
95. The Red Necklace (reread), Sally Gardner
96. The Silver Blade, Sally Gardner
97. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
98. Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare
99. Imaginary Enemy, Julie Gonzalez
100. Plain Kate, Erin Bow

The End.

Friday, August 13, 2010

BR: Sunflowers and Seashells

Okay, this is a sort of cheating review. Why? Sunflowers and Seashells hasn't come out yet. And probably won't for a while.

So why am I talking about it?

BECAUSE I'M IN IT, BABY!

Yes, I'm exploiting my website for a moment, so sorry. A few months ago, I was talking to my Grandma of all people, and she told me about a poetry contest. So, thinking that some of my stuff from my creative writing class my senior year of high school were pretty entertaining, I sent two in, because it said that with every entry, they'd send back commentary on it.

Well, I got a bit more than commentary. Actually, I haven't gotten the commentary yet. So why am I excited? I got a letter today saying my poem got to the semi-finals! Heck yeah! And, along with being a semi-finalist, my poem is going to be published in Sunflowers and Seashells, an anthology, or "volume of contemporary poetry," that will be available as worldwide online retail bookstores (amazon.com, bn.com, etc).

So, even though I still consider myself a rather terrible poet, I'm about to be published! Woohoo!

(On another note, I am working on some REAL reviews of some legitamite books. I just got pretty excited, and since I consider this my "all things literature" blog, well, I thought I'd share my enthusiasm somewhere. Thanks for your time. I appreciate your patience as I gloat.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

BR: Bad Girls Don't Die, Katie Alender

Bad Girls Don't Die
Katie Alender

A new favorite!

What You Need To Know: Alexis doesn’t have many friends at school, considering her mildly bad attitude, so she has a good relationship with her younger sister, Kasey. They live with their unassertive parents in a creepy old house that, unbeknownst to them, has a long history. A hundred years ago, some psychopath ten-year-old girl was tormented by the girls in town and was accidentally killed. Now, that girl’s ghost is haunting them and possessing Alexis’s little sister, and she’s out to get all the ancestors of the girls that tormented her so many years ago. Alexis finds help in odd places-- the head cheerleader at school she suddenly has so much in common with, and the ASB vice president she accidentally helped get elected-- and as she helps her little sister and her new friends, she figures out that she doesn’t have to pretend to be someone she’s not, and that not everyone is really pretending either.

The cover has an uber-creepiness factor that didn’t completely play out in the book, which kind of disappointed me. I mean, I liked the book a lot. It just wasn’t the exact same book the picture on the front advertised. But then again, that tends to happen a lot. I guess I really shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover… but sometimes it works. Ish.

But the voice was strong, the characters were interesting, and the creepiness with Kasey vs. Sarah (who is using the body at the moment?) was pretty easy to follow. The story wasn’t ridiculously complex, but did have quite a few elements to it. Overall, I enjoyed it. Wasn’t a scare-the-pants-off-of-you scary, but was a good ghost story. And the writing style was very enjoyable- Alexis was a fun character to follow, and she wasn’t stupid or weak like a lot of our heroines are these days.



Katie Alender: props for a strong, interesting heroine.

BR: Dark Flame, Alyson Noel

Dark Flame is the forth book in the Immortal Series by Alyson Noel. And, unfortunately, not the last one. Apparently the fifth (and hopefully final?) book, Night Star, is due out in Winter 2010.

Okay, can I just say that I am beyond mad that it didn’t end here, with Dark Flame? I've been a follower of the Immortal Series from the beginning, and I waited a year for this next installment, thinking it would be the end. But guess what? It wasn't. Dang.

Previously in the Immortal Series: After the accident that claimed her families life, Ever Bloom was made immortal by Damen, the original immortal. Ever and Damen fall in love and struggle through all sorts of strange situations and curses brought on by "Rogue Immortals:" Damen's deadly immortal enemies. (Yes, I know that's an oxymoron. Turns out you can destroy and immortal. Who would have thought?)

What you need to know (about Dark Flame): Ever's best friend Haven has just been made immortal, is totally drunk on the possibilites, and deciding to date Roman and hate Ever and Damen because they try to keep her safe. Damen and Ever still can't touch, and Ever's still pissed and convinces she can get Roman to hand over the anecdote to make the whole problem go away so she and Damen can have happily ever after, and after, and after... But due to a haywire spell she cast, she's now bound to Roman. Meaning? She's suddenly lusting after him with this part she refers to as "the monster" shadow-self inside of her. Jude is still on the scene, he's still in love with Ever, and is surprisingly NOT a rouge immortal, or any immortal. And he's trying to help her reverse the spell and make things right again, while Ever is still drawn (against her will) to her worst nightmare, Roman. This causes Haven to get super immortal-girl-fight pissy. Ever eventually finds a way to break the curse, after some very scary run-ins with Roman, and is JUST about to get the anecdote and finally end the series and have the happily ever after I was looking for... when Jude RUINS IT ALL. Roman's gone, the anecdote, which he was handing over, is smashed, and all hope for Ever and Dame getting together is O-V-E-R. Haven is completely lunitic and has officially called war between them.

There’s some interesting details, some fun characters, and of course, a sexy, gorgeous immortal boyfriend of all perfection. Then there’s the ghost of her twelve-year-old sister who isn’t forbidding or whatever you think a ghost might be; a fortuneteller who Ever goes from hating to needing to hating to distrusting to wanting to kill to needing help from over and over again; a remarkable place called “Shadowland” where anything is possible; buttloads of manifested red tulips; one hot surfer dude; vengeful drama queen high school girls; thirteen year old twins that worship Damen and hate Ever that they suddenly become the guardians of; and lots of angst.

It went too fast in some areas, and lingered a bit in some conversations and ideas that should have been summed up faster. In the series as a whole, there were a lot of abstract concepts added that were kind of hard to grasp, and there were just a ton of them. I got tired of the meditations and visualizations and the “imagining myself immersed in a cone of brilliant, cleansing, healing white light"s. And I don’t know, but Ever’s got to have the strongest shoulders of anyone on the planet, because she shrugs multiple times a page. There is always shrugging, in every book.

Still, I liked it. Ever can be totally stupid sometimes and you want to rip her hair out because she’s being childish or not judging right or just being stupid, or all three plus more. I was losing interest around Shadowland (book three), tired of everything going wrong and Ever just making it worse by not telling Damen that she screwed up and making everything a million times worse, but Dark Flame caught my attention again. The ending was unexpected, character roles shifted in a way I didn’t expect, and suddenly I’m interested to see where Alyson Noel takes it, and if she can wrap it up in one more book, because if she doesn’t... she better not think that I’m going to just be a nice, obedient reader and just take it. Because if she does think that, then she’s got another think coming, let me tell you that. I WLL NOT BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF!

Okay. Maybe. I just want it to be over so I can ponder upon the story as a whole.

Hopefully… Winter, 2010, with Night Star… it will be my overall review of the entire series. PLEASE, LET IT BE OVER!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Guess Who Won The Versatile Blogger Award?


"When you recieve this awesome award all you do is share 7 things about yourself, pass on this award along to another 15 deserving blogs."

Thanks to http://randomteenshtuff.blogspot.com/ for giving me the award. D'awwww :) It still freaks me out that people actually read this stuff! Right on, folks!

My seven things:

1. I'm 19, and so far, every semester I've been in a new state, living with a new relative (or awesome roommates that are close enough that I consider my hand-picked family) at a new college. Huh.

2. Last week, I laid out on a back country road with two of my old friends and looked at the stars (it happens to be a secret favorite hobby of mine). I am now covered in bug bites. I regret nothing.

3. I always type. Always. Due to health issues, my hands shake slightly so my handwiritng sucks beyond measure. It also makes me write super slow and my mind goes on without my hand catching up. School was a beast.

4. Someone once told me I "bleed creativity from my ears." Best. Compliment. Ever.

5. I'm about as white-girl Wonderbread as it comes. I'm "a'ight" though, as it has been said. Sweet beans, man.

6. I loathe blow drying my hair. Loathe it. No partiuclar reason why. I just do.

7. I often run into doors, walls, and other free-standing furniture. This is because I often walk around at night thinking, "Nah, I know my way around the bathroom, I don't need to turn the lights on," but then I get groovin' to whatever song is currently playing in my mind and BOOM! Collision.

So, here's the deal. I'm only now discovering the blogging community... soooo... I don't know fifteen blogs to nominante. Lame, right? Sorry. So, instead, I'm nominating anyone who reads this! Yeah, you! Guess what, I just gave you the Versatile Blogger Award! Ha! Go spread the love, man. Thanks for wasting your time away with me :)

BR: The Boyfriend List; The Boy Book; The Treasure Map of Boys

The Boyfriend List; The Boy Book; The Treasure Map of Boys
by E. Lockhart.




If you’re going to read about teen boy drama, these stories of one Ruby Oliver is the way to do it. Not only do you have the friends crushing on the same boys, backstabbing, boyrfriend stealing, scamming, ex-friends and mean stuff written on the bathroom door, it’s all done in a hilarious and comprehensive way that will get you laughing time and time again.

What you need to know: In The Boyfriend List, Ruby Oliver is starting to suffer panic attacks after her best friend steals her boyfriend, so her mom sends her to a shrink. When she makes a list of all the boys she’s ever crushed on, it somehow gets Xeroxed and given around school, and she deals with becoming a school leper. In The Boy Book, it’s the next year, and although she has a reputation as the school slut, Roo’s Chemistry partner (Noel, and yes, he’s a boy) doesn’t care and they become close through ridiculous and hilarious notes passed back an forth. But when things heat up with Noel, Roo tries to do the right and backs off in the name of being a good friend. In The Treasure Map of Boys, Roo’s a huge mess of boys, flirts, and one messy bakesale trying to make everything right and keep the friends she has.

But Roo’s not just your ordinary girl. Roo’s a girl with bright orange bras and vintage clothes with great legs she often wraps in fishnets; works at an internship at the zoo, where she’s good friends with the farm animals named after particularly gruesome historical figures; lives with her crazy raw-food diet mother and rare-bloom gardening dad on a houseboat in Seattle; sometimes lacks a brain filter and says things ways she doesn’t always like; sees a shrink with ridiculously hideous ponchos; throws a mean bakesale; is the Missions Director for the Hooter Rescue Squad (a collaboration with Noel to retrieve and destroy pictures of Roo’s ex-friends' boobs and eat Fruit Roll-Ups: mission, successful!); and tends to get over her head sometimes.

Roo’s got a spankin’ sense of humor and is the kind of friend you’d want to have around just to see the irony in the mundane things. She’s fiesty and a perfect voice for these stories.

It’s not just Roo who’s cool in these books. The writing style is amazing. Lockhart throws in footnotes whenever Roo wants to expand on a subject, like explaining a new word she’s made up and why, or to talk about movies and other random things. In each book, each chapter begins with some awesome tidbit of something:

In The Boyfriend List, you read snippets of the actual boyfriend lists. With every boy comes an excuse like (but he didn't count) or (but it was just one kiss) or (but it was only from afar).

In the Boy Book, you get excerts from the Boy Book, (A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them), including:
-Neanderthals on the Telephone: Or, How to Converse
-Clever Comebacks to Catcalls
-and The Care and Ownership of Boobs

In The Treasure Map of Boys, it’s random notes and lists Roo’s made… chapters including:
-I Fixate on a Poncho
-I Receive a Frog Laden with Meaning
-I Correspond with a Pygmy Goat
-I Choke on Ninja Deliciousness

Again, if you’re going to read about high school drama, pick Ruby Oliver to tell you her stories (written by E. Lockhart)! These are undisputably some of my favorite books  of the Young Adult variety (what other variety is there?). Suddenly I find myself being much more witty than normal after I've read Ruby's stories.... hmm... Wittiness is always appreciated.

Hey, Roo friends! Guess what! Ruby Oliver's making a comeback in Real Live Boyfriends, out this December 28th! Check out theboyfriendlist.com (E. Lockharts blog) for updates and contests. She's a silly one, I'll say.

E. Lockhart: Props for bringing ironic, witty, and down-right hilarious Ruby to life!

Monday, August 2, 2010

BR: Pretty Monsters, Kelly Link

Pretty Monsters, Kelly Link.


I really don’t know what to say.

What you need to know: Pretty Monsters is a collection of short stories. Really, really funky short stories.

What I can’t figure out is: where they made to not make sense on purpose, and that’s why everyone calls them “dazzling” and “genius”? Or am I really stupid and just can’t figure them out?
It’s one of those books that, understanding it or not, you put down when it’s finished, stare blankly at nothing for a moment, then ask, “Where did that COME from?”

I still can’t decide if I loved it or hated it. I think I hated it. But I never stopped reading it. It took me almost a week, but I kept coming back. And that’s something, isn’t it? I guess I just wanted to keep reading to see if it was going to eventually make sense, if I was going to understand all the raving reviews, or if it was going to be absolute chaos to the absolute end. Whether any of it makes sense or not (some made more sense than others, and some lacked more sense than others), it was absolute chaos.

I picked it up because the cover is pretty and I liked the design. I kept holding it because “Flat-out genius;” “dazzling;” and “Intoxicating” were on the front cover. I flipped it over because I wanted to know what the story was about. I opened it because the back only had more reviews, and I opened it to find even MORE dazzling reviews, only designed to also be very pretty and unusual. I bought the book because the inside front cover says
"THIS BOOK CONTAINS:


A phone booth in Las Vegas


Aliens


Unhelpful wizards


Possibly carnivorous sofas


A handbag with a village inside of it


Tennessee Fainting Goats


Dueling librarians


A statue of George Washington


A boy named Onion


Pirates


An undead babysitter


A nationally raked soccer player


Evil Cinderella


Shapeshifters


An unexpected campfire guest."
And, again, it was pretty, in a silly and creepy way.

These stories were just so… strange. Not just because the subject matter was strange, because it was, but because they don’t have much of a point, and they don’t really end, they just stop, and… they are just strange. Very, very strange.

Some of the ideas were really cool. I really liked the TV show, “the Librarian” even though I can’t decide if it was real or not, and what the heck Jeremy and his friends had anything to do with it in “Magic for Beginners.” I liked Gloria, the dead girl that was unburied and refused to stay in her grave and made a new life for herself. I liked how Onion and Halsa could project themselves in “The Wizards of Perfil.” The “Faery Handbag” overall was awesome. I liked the camp-lore of “Monster.” “The Surfer” was interesting and probably the least weird, with the hippies all waiting in quarantine for the aliens to come back while Dorn worried about becoming a soccer star. “The Constable of Abal” was pretty sweet, and I especially liked how Zilla and Ozma kept ghost on ribbons and toted them around with them. And the “Cinderella Game” just didn’t tickle me. Neither did “The Specialist Hat.” But “Pretty Monsters;” I didn’t understand why it was a three-part story. Just because?

I think that is how to best explain away this book’s existence: JUST BECAUSE LINK COULD.

And that is that.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Things to Come

Things to come:

I've just ordered some books online, so here's what to expect in the next little while:

Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Fallen, Lauren Kate

Beautiful Dead: Arizona, Eden Maguire (Due out August something)
Betrayal, Gillian Shields (Due Out August 3rd)
Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare (Due out August 31st)

Creativity

I’ve always envisioned my creativity as a sort of lap-band that goes around my heart. Only instead of it being some piece of plastic or whatever constricting my stomach, I think of it as a ribbon wrapped around my heart that encourages it to grow bigger, pound harder, love stronger.

I’ve always wanted to take that ribbon and mash it all together until my creativity is just a big, pulsing ball of energy, then rip it open and let the colors splash across a paper. To have one canvas where you can point to it and say utterly complete, “This. Is. Me.” I want to know what mine would look like so badly.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

BR: 13 to Life; The Body Finder

My first negative review :( Sad day…

Okay. The two books that I read this week that I did not enjoy:
13 to Life, Shannon Delany
The Body Finder, Kimberly Derting

First:
The Body Finder:

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Ever since she was born, Violet has had the ability to find the bodies of murder victims and recognize the killers. Those unfortunate souls killed by another, including animals, leave behind some sort of mark (referred to as Violet as an “echo”) on the world that Violet can sense: the sound of bells, a dark bitter taste, a rainbow sheen of oil on water, the bitter smell of dandelions, etc… and the same mark stays with the killer, as an “imprint.” And now that a serial killer is knocking off teenage girls in her small town, Violet is starting to find the bodies of the girls and is determined to use her gift to stop the killer before it’s too late and killer goes after her. Romance with her best friend, Jay, is involved, of course, as well as brief chapters from the killer’s point of view.

WHY I DIDN’T LIKE IT: The story, overall, was cool. It wasn’t bad. The “echoes” idea was really intriguing, and the whole descriptions of them were really well played out, and I enjoyed the plot. The idea was unique to me. But the writing styles vary too much.

What I mean, is that The Body Finder is in omnicent point of view, so it’s told by an ambigous narrator, and the descriptions are large and flowery. But when you get to the dialouge, it’s written like we teenagers “really talk:” sarcastic with swear words in nearly every sentence. The styles clashed too much, and it was distracting to read.

Also, sporadically throughout the novel, there were brief chapters in the killer’s point of view, playing out the scenes when he found the girls he would eventually kill… it was really creepy. Almost too creepy. But I guess that’s the point, right? It kind of freaked me out, and typically, it’s hard to scare me through writing. Ha, I was a dork and whenever I stopped reading, I made sure it was in a part NOT from the killer’s view, just because it would have left me feeling off all day long. Yeah, I’m a dork.

Anyways. It was an okay mystery, a little predictable, but still original. The romance was clean but heavy if that’s what you’re into, and featured an extremely protective boy best friend. It was a decent story, mediocre writing. Just not my taste.


13 To Life, Shannon Delany

This one I didn’t not like whatsoever. The whole entire book, you have no idea what’s going on. If you care to look at the inside cover, you would know that this is a werewolf book. Otherwise, you would have guessed it half way through the book, but it wouldn’t have been explained until the last ten pages of the book. Not in a good way.

(FYI: the copyright page, if you didn’t know, usually has a one-sentence summary of the book that will sometimes give you a big hint into the plot that the back cover might not mention… that or the list the subjects to shelf it by…. In this case, it was 1. Teenage girls- fiction. 2. Werewolves- fiction. Random bit of knowledge for today.)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Jessie’s been having a hard time getting life settled back to normal after watching her saint-of-a-mom die a few months ago, and to make things worse, she’s forced to show the new kid--- exotic Pietr Rusakova--- around school. Pietr is distant and arrogant and always checking the time, and although Jessie hates him, she’s strangely attracted to him at the same time. And although he returns her feelings, they’re trapped in a web of the other people they’re both semi-dating… although Jessie and Pietr make out in her horse stables all the time… it’s a weird situation. Then there’s Jessie’s “friend” that sort of lost her mind that Jessie is trying to nurse back to health, although Jessie has every reason in the world to hate her, especially now the fact that she’s stealing Pietr away from her… it’s all just weird. Especially with all the secrets Pietr is keeping… secrets that are supposed to be revealed in the end, but still leave you confused.

The plot is sporadic. One minute Jessie is all tied up in her high school crush (who, confusingly, isn’t Pietr but this jerk-of-a-jock that’s just using her, but she loves him still the same), the next she’s musing over the vague and sinister things Pietr says, and the way he fell four stories and didn’t kill himself… oh, and by the way, she also researches the Russian Mafia and wolf attacks in the towns nearby on a weekly basis just for kicks and giggles.

If you want to, it’s way easy as a reader to connect all these things together, but Shannon Delany never does it for you like she should. You’re left in the dark, a complete mess, having no idea what all these little side notes thrown in the mix have to do with anything. Things just don’t tie together throughout the story.

Not even in the last few pages of the book are all the loose ends tied up. Apparently, this is meant to be a series, but there wasn’t enough closure in this book. Too many things are going from unrelated to connect, but you have no idea why. The story doesn’t weave itself together in the end. It’s like your reading, and you’re like, “Huh, he’s a werewolf. DUH. …. But what about________?”

Although most of the book is predictable, Delany isn’t revealing anything. Whether she means to in her next book or not, I’m not going to stick around long enough to find out. The plot is too all over the place, characters aren’t nailed down well, and frankly, it’s not striking my as original in the least. At least not so far.

Sorry, Ms. Delany. I’m going for a no on this one.

Monday, July 26, 2010

BR: Immortal-- Gillian Shields

Immortal: Gillian Shields
Young Adult, Fantasy (Witchcrafty type)
(Thumbs up from me!)

(side note--- I really need to figure out how to post pictures with my posts. I'd help just a bit, no, if I could put a picture of the cover so you KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.... grr... my stupid lack of computer skills...)

I enjoyed Immortal quite a bit more than I guessed I would. Maybe that’s because I’ve had NO LUCK with the last two books I read and was feeling quite pessimistic about my chosen genre. But Immortal proved to be another great addition to the Urban Fantasy genre.

Well, no, not really Urban Fantasy. I mean, sort of… but it’s a very non-paranormal urban fantasy. It deals with more of the spell-casting mortal types than the werewolves, vamps, faeries, etc… So does it even qualify for an Urban Fantasy? Oh gee. Now I’m all mixed up.

Whatever, it’s a Young Adult fiction. Oh, look, right on the cover: “Enticing gothic romance.”--Melissa Marr. Melissa Marr? SHE’S MY FAVORITE! (Aside from Maggie Steifvater, of course. Tied for first place in my heart.) Well lookie-there. Melissa Marr again refuses to let me down.

What you need to know: Evie Johnson is sent as a scholarship student to Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies when her grandmother/pseudo-mother falls ill, and her dad is serving in HRH army. But from the beginning, things don’t go so great: the teachers are mean, the other scholarship girl is kind of crazy, and everyone hates her because she’s sleeping in the bed of Laura, their peer that died just before Evie arrived. Collecting demerits and bad judgments from both the Mistresses and her peers like they’re going out of fashion, Evie is starting to hate Wyldcliffe. And then she starts having fainting spells where she sees glimpses of a girl that seems remarkably like Lady Agnes, the girl that once lived and died at Wyldcliffe when it was a normal home some hundred years ago… In an attempt to get away from it all, Evie runs out one night to the lake, where Laura supposedly drowned (although others suspect otherwise), and meets a strange boy with strange depressed moods and always seems sick and like he’s keeping a secret. Sebastian becomes Evie’s nearly only friend, one she sneaks out every night to see for a few hours. Meanwhile, we read excerpts from the journal of the sixteen-year-old Lady Agnes, who in 1882 is starting to get into the Mystic Way with her childhood friend, having discovered the gift of the scared fire… Throughout the novel, we read the stories of both Evie and Agnes’s stories of discovering friendship, mysteries, and their strange ties to each other, Wyldcliffe, and, surprisingly, to Sebastian.

Immortal has strong ties to one of my other favorite series, the A Great And Terrible Beauty trilogy from Libba Bray. Where GATB is set in the late eighteen-hundreds, Immortal is set in the here and now, but both are set in the English countryside at boarding schools for girls. But where GATB is dark, Immortal is light. GATB was intense, and, well, dark. I liked it well enough; actually, quite a bit, but Immortal is like a fresher version of it. Again, the main heroine shows up at a boarding school as an outcast, is hated by the teachers, makes a circle of girlfriends close enough to be sisters, and they dapple in magic together, and the heroine falls in love with what should be a forbidden boy. But where in GATB, the girls are dark and selfish and confused but greedy of the discovered power, the girls in Immortal are pure in intent and are overall good girls.

The story was fast-paced, never lingered and dawdled, which was nice, but at the same time, I wished some of the scenes were written out a bit longer so there was more time--and matter-- to comprehend, especially the scenes with Sebastian. They seemed a bit rushed. But the turns of the plot were well thought out: not terribly surprising, but not completely predictable. And having the novel split into Evie’s story and Agnes’s journal? Very well done. Shields creates strong metaphors with the sea, which is really neat and serves a higher purpose towards the end, and the sisterhood between the two girls who lived generations apart is neat in a non-creepy way. The whole thing was very well done.

Apparently, there is a companion to Immortal, titled Betrayal, BUT BAD NEWS! My Barnes and Noble currently doesn't have it, so I'm going to have to order it online... so it'll be a week or two before I can get a review of it up. From the excerpt that I read, it looks really good. I'm quite excited for it :)

Gillian Shields: props for taking gothic romance/magic, and making it LIGHT and PURE instead of DARK and BROODING.

Hey you, reader! Thank you!

I just realized that I have followers that I don't even know! WHAT?!?

THAT'S TO COOL!

Thank you, strangers, for subscribing to me! Wow. I suddenly feel important. Talk about an ego-boost. Teehee. I love you all, strangers!

-Holly <3

OH. I just got it!!!!

OH MY GOSH, people read my Linger/Shiver review!

OH MY FREAKING GOSH--- MAGGIE STEIFVATER HERSELF READ IT!!! Seriously, I am about to DIE. DIE DIE DIE happy. You have no idea how much I love her.

Okay, and I totally love the fact that people are actually reading what I write! I have half a dozen reviews set up right now... more to come, of course.

So, thanks again, new followers! In case you didn't know... I'm on a quest to read 100 books (of mostly the Young Adult genre) from January 2009 to January 2010 (it's coming up!), and I'm currently on book #86... If people are reading, I'd love to go back and write reviews of all the ones I've read so far....

Let me know what you want. I'm here to serve you, fellow readers! :)

Again--- Love, Holly :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Beautiful

I want to write beautiful things again.

:(

Okay, I wouldn't say anything that I've ever written has been beautiful, but I want it to be. Really, really bad.

I wish I could write poetry. I wish I could be beautiful. I wish anything I did was beautiful.

If I could have a choice, it would be my writing I'd want beautiful. Because if you make something that's beautiful, it makes you beautiful, right?

If you're a part of something amazing, that makes you amazing, doesn't it?

I wish I could write music. I wish I could play music. I wish that I could write a lullabye, play a lullabye, sing my children a lullabye. This is one thing I've never even attempted.

I've looked through poetry, trying to find something to turn into a lullabye, but I can't.

I just wish I could write something beautiful.

Shiver; Linger, Maggie Steifvater

Twilight is over. Shiver and Linger are here, and it's beautiful.

Stephanie Meyer, say goodbye. Maggie Steifvater is doing it better ten-fold.

I've said it before with Lament, and Ballad, and then Shiver, and now Linger. Maggie Steifvater is magic.

"the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--- her wolf-- watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent comapny of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace... until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it can't be denied. Sam must fight to stay human-- and Grace must fight to keep him-- even if it means taking on the scars of his past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future." --(Shiver cover.)
------------------------------------
"the longing.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, this means facing a future that is less and less certain.

the loss.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life as a wolf while denying the ties of being human.

the linger.
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two constant forces-- wolf and human-- with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?" --(Linger cover)

The writing, the story, it's beatuiful and at times poetic. The realationship and love between Grace and Sam is strong and believable, and the situations and lives that they live are true to nature and, again, believable. It's not your typical Urban Fantasy with werewolves. The wolves of Mercy Falls are just that-- wolves. Either all wolf or all human, and the struggles and fight to stay one way or another is emotional and sometimes heartwrenching. These books are powered full of emotion, goodbyes, and fighting to accept life as it is, and fighting to keep love in it's equation. It's full of real problems, real emotions, and real love.

If you have ever wanted to read a love story, now's the time. Get out of that chair and find yourself a copy of Shiver, and you'll probably want to pick up a copy of Linger while you're there because it'll just save you a trip to the bookstore. Trust me, you're going to get sucked in.

I don't care if you're an Edward or Jacob, you will be a Sam. I don't care if you're a Jace or a Simon, a Seth or Keenan, a Niall or an Irial or a Devlin, a Damen, a Jude, a Mr. Darcy, a Mr. Rochester, a Colonel Brandon, a Prince Charming, a Harry or Ron or Hermione or Snape, or whatever ficitional character you're into, you're going to be a Sam. A Sam and Grace.

If I write anything even half as beautiful as Shiver (or Linger), I'll die happy.

Just.... ah. I've read good books before, but nothing this beautiful. Beautiful.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BR: Stolen-- Lucy Christopher

BOOK REVIEW:
STOLEN, Lucy Christopher

(Okay, this is just what I posted two months ago after reading Stolen. It isn't an official review. It's a rant.)

"Reading a book until two in the morning just to finish it is not recommendable.

Granted, I've done this before. Dozens of times. And yet I do it again and again, hating myself every time.

I mean, it's not a secret that if a book is well written, you're not going to be able to roll over and fall asleep the second it's over, no matter HOW late it is. (Or early. Or, in a few cases, past dawn. Those are always fun.) Hopefully, you've made the author happy and are a storm of emotions. Many conflicting. Especially if it doesn't have a story-tale happy-ending (which, let's face it, most great books don't, right? Okay, there are lots of good books with happy endings. And those can still be frustrating. Anyways). ESPECIALLY if you don't like the ending.

You just need some time to reflect, you know?

I started STOLEN by Lucy Christopher around 6 this evening and finished at 1:30 AM. And I'm frustrated. I'm happy with the ending. But still. There's no way to be completely satisfied, because when in life are you ever completely satisfied by any decision?

STOLEN was about a sixteen year old girl who's kidnapped by a guy. When she was ten, she unknowingly sort of gave him hope in life when he had fallen beyond rock bottom and was living in the bushes in her neighborhood park, drunken in sorrow. Six years later, he thinks her life is smothering her, and he steals her away. To the Australian outback. With no one-- NO ONE-- around, ever. And no, it's not one of those stories-- there is absolutely nothing sexy about it. Nothing like that. Ty really thinks he's doing the best for her. Eventually, she sort of connects with the land, understands him... then when she's bitten by a poisonous snake and his medicine doesn't work cause it's too old he takes her to a hospital-- strapped to the back of a camel as he runs along for who knows how many hours in the rain, over Australian outback, no less-- and he turns himself in so she can get hospital care.

Gemma's struggle to figure out what she thinks after she's back home, completely taken-over by the media, wondering what she's going to tell the court... every screams at her that Ty is evil, but he's not, and she knows it. Everyone is convinced that she has Stockholm's syndrome, but she doesn't. She just knows Ty isn't evil.

There's no freaking way Ty can get out of a prison sentence. She alludes to that. And she's not going to lie and say that she went on her own free will, and she's not going to lie and say that Ty is a monster. It's like, you don't know what to think either. Except sadness. Because Ty is so connected to the land-- it's all he's ever known. Humans have hurt him and destroyed him over his lifetime (cept Gemma, course) and so he's learned to love the land, the desert, all the life there. To think of him holed up in a cell for fifteen years just breaks your heart, even knowing what he did was wrong. And, seeing as the whole thing is written as a letter to Ty, an account of everything that happened, like, "You walked over to the cashier and paid for my coffee yourself; your blue eyes were familiar..." yadayada, makes it way more intense, anyways.

Sigh. Okay. I'm done reflecting. Maybe I can sleep now. Maybe not. I just needed to think.

Gez, I love good books. They make me want to write my own."
---Wednesday, May 5th, 2010. Hollysthoughts.com

BR: Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr

Book Review:
Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
(Wicked Lovely; Ink Exchange; Fragile Eternity; Radiant Shadows)
Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

WICKED LOVELY
Um, okay, this is probably my FAVORITE series at the moment. If you have any interest in the Fae, modern Faerie tales, or any sort of Urban Fantasy whatsoever, READ IT.

It combines, as I've said, modern Fae and sort of dark romance together in a deep-thinking Urban Fantasy. It's edgier than most of the other YA dark romances that are one the market. The Fae in Marr's stories are dark and seductive and prone to reeking havoc in selfish ways, and in each story, some poor mortal gets sucked into the mess and has to fight through the mess of the four Faerie courts: The Summer Court, The Winter Court, the Dark Court, and the High Court.

It all begins with Wicked Lovely, in which Aislinn is a mortal girl trying to get through life without the faeries living in her city knowing that she can see them. Doesn't work, however, when Keenan, the should-be-Summer-king, sets his sights on her as his possible Queen. Without her consent or understanding, Aislinn suddenly starts becoming faerie herself and finally collapses and decides to tell her starting-to-be-more-than-friends best friend Seth. What she doesn't know is that in order for Keenan to become king and break the curse put on him by his ridiculously mean mother, the Winter Queen, and help his court and return the earth to it's natural order, he needs to find the one girl that's destined to be the Summer Queen. He's had to go through centuries of finding and testing girls to try and find his queen, and despite Aislinns wants, it turns out to be her. She can't back out of being fae, and despite her wishes, she finds herself caring about the wellbeing of the fae, but can't except the job if it means having to leave Seth.

Loved it. Loved it loved it loved it. Sounds cheesy? It's not. I find it completley compelling that for once, someone is able to write a YA urban Fantasy/Romance without going overboard, and with a STORY.

Melissa Marr, you get a millin gold stars for PLOTLINE!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Update: April 2010

UPDATE!

Let It Be, my first completed novel, is, well, completed! It was officially finished February 2, 2010, but I've done one more editing job since then. Nothing big, just rearranging a few sentences, adding a few "Sam said,"'s (instead of just leaving the quote freestanding), etc. It makes me feel better.

Anyways, Let It Be has been done for a while, and now I'm on an actually COMPLETING kick... which means? No longer will I have 50-120 page ALMOST-but-not-quite finished stories sitting around in my computer. I'm finishing them instead of just jumping from story to story, adding a scene here, a chapter there... NO! THEY WILL BE COMPLETED!

Or, you know, that's the goal.

(My inner voice snorts)

Um... yeah. Me and goals don't sit too well.

HOWEVER-- I am going to work on completing my SECOND novel, and hopefully, it's companion!

Titles are loose, but Extraordinary is pretty well locked in for the first. Yay!

Extraordinary is the story of a three teenagers with extraordinary abilities. Actually, they're part of an underground society of people with power, called EXTRAORDINAIRES. Evangeline, (from whose perspective the story is told) has started to develop her powers the last few months in secret (her mom has no clue what's going on), and she can tell something isn't right. She has intense nightmares, scary hallucinations, and your average "power flubs:" filling the 1200 Science building with bubbles, attracting all the barn owls within the tri-state area, and having a tendancy to blow up any baked goods she comes in contact with.

When Evangeline moves into a neighborhood of eight other Extraordinaires (two sorceresses, and six warriors), she's pysched to find other people her age who simply understand what's going on with her. But her suspicions are comfirmed true: the things that are happening to Evangeline? Yeah, they aren't normal. And they're getting worse.

She makes friends with Andy Patterson and the other warriors that live with him and his family, and they start to explore her overly-strong powers. As she struggles to make sense of everything, she's forced to seek out Andy's foster-brother, arrogant and gruff Nick, since he seems to have the same sort of power-struggles she suffers from. Only he does it much more easily.

As Evangeline and Nick work through their personal power issues, they search for answers about their own allusive heritages, overcome inner demons, and rebattle dangerous enemies the warriors thought they left behind a long time ago.


I plan to finish Extraordinary in the next three months!!! WOOT!

It's companion, however, won't be completed that fast. While Extraordinary is mostly written and is only going to take some meshing and editing (I'm taking two books and making it one... yah, crazy work), the sequel is mostly still in my head.

Meanwhile, I plan to post excerpts here. So keep watching!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Definition Unkown (but very close)

Excerpt from "Fay"

Definition Unknown (But Very Close)

Looking up at the ceiling, lying back on the stained carpet.
Only place I feel alive,
I feel like my true self can emerge.
The only time it ever does,
midnight, darkness, alone.
Late at night, wrapped in shadows and comforting darkness all around.
Light just starting to peer over the edge of the horizon;
new, clean, beginnings about to emerge.
The few moments that I steal from here
are the only ones I feel like myself.
Myself:
Definition, unknown.
But here; very close.
Watching the stars move ever so slowly ‘cross the sky.
Three o’clock, I think.
I should be going
but I don’t want to leave the feeling behind,
this feeling of knowing who I am.
Of being found.
Close my eyes and listen to the silence of the night
that isn’t silence at all.
Crunch of leaves outside, small animal making its way across the woods.
Soft whistle of the wind telling secrets to the trees,
small creaks of wood as it stretches in the night.
Crickets vibrating songs…
I’m found, but it’s time to be lost again.
Time to go home.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I Haven't Forgotten, I Promise

SO LONG. Sorry. I'm working on it. I've got tons to post, I've just been busy. And now I'm at Rexburg for the weekend without my computer (I'm on a borrowed one) so I can't post right now. Although I would like to.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Bio

Alright, it's long, very long, but it even made my mom laugh, (I crack up every time III read it...)

I wrote it a few months ago at three in the morning. You have been warned.

HOLLY EMPEY is currently eighteen year olds and a freshman at BYU Idaho in Rexburg, and loving it. She is clearly aware that she is eccentric, and while somewhat embarrassed about it, she's learning to make the most of the ride. She has a strange fondness for her cat, Diego, and has considered him her best friend since she was ten. She is also aware that this is weird. She enjoys reading sappy love stories, and dramatic Young Adult Fiction. She hopes to become an author in the future. Of what, she can only imagine. She might go by the alibi of Emmy Holland if she's embarrassed to have the people she's close to (and not so close to) reading her silly and sometimes unnecessarily deep and semi-morbid writings. But mostly cheesy things. She loves her immediate family, her extended family, and her future family. She wants nothing more than to be a mother. She also loves theatre, although watching plays always makes her itchy and twitchy, because she love love loves being the one on stage. She especially loves being the comic relief characters. Well, that's pretty much all she's ever played. Although she did make a pretty sweet Auntie Em in the Wizard of Oz when she was sixteen. She is currently listening to show music, Once on this Island, to be specific, while writing this. Oh, it just changed. Moulin Rouge. Oh, she spent about two years with the Moulin Rouge soundtrack in her car stereo, without ever changing it, in high school. She would often have duets with her best friend, Stephanie Lovett, at lunch her sophomore year, usually the Elephant Love Medley, in which she was always the man. And it usually sucked, but was lots of fun. She has given lots of strange but lovely gifts throughout time, including glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs, a cat collar claiming "STUD MUFFIN" in turquoise glitter letters (that was for Diego, don't worry), monkies in a barrel, a hand-painted wooden folding chair for previously mention best friend Stephanie Lovett that was covered with their inside jokes, and a few garden gnomes. She was once on an epically awesome volleyball team for seventh grade PE they fondly named the Garden Gnomes, and has kept the spirit and awesomeness of the cute critters (and sometimes semi-creepy) garden gnomes alive with her friends. Not to be confused with Lawn Gnomes, although those are pretty cool as well, they just lack alliteration, and being an English major and self-declared random person, alliteration is important. She currently has a "Listening Garden Gnome" on her shelf back in the dorm, and a miniature one sitting in her desk. She once had an obsession with the color green, but it has grown to encompass most colors overall. She is a person with a strange and semi-limited sense of creativity that she still is trying to understand and use. She always sings when driving. Always. She has problems with insomnia, and she admits to herself but no one else that the reason that they might not be getting better over the years simply because she loves the electricity of the night and achieves so much more once the sun has gone down. Plus it's cooler, and the sun hurts her eyes, thus giving her migraines. If she could choose, she would live only at night, but realizes that then she would never get any Vitamin D and therefore suffer. She would also be very white, and believes that she looks best with at least a faint tan. She is a big fan of Orange soda and cheesecake (not necessarily consumed together. Actually, never consumed together. That's kind of a gross match.) Also, the cheesecake must have some sort of chocolatness to it, or else she will stick chocolate chips into it, or, when lacking chocolate chips, like usual, she'll throw on some Hershey's syrup. THAT she always has in her fridge, mostly because she's also big on chocolate milk. And garlic bread. And guacamole. And Kraft macaroni and cheese. And tacos. But then again, most people are. She likes most animals, although, having never owned a dog, isn't extremely impressed by them. She doesn't like the fact that they smell. And she simply cannot find joy in small dogs. It just isn't happening. However, she does love most cats, kittens, puppies, and birds. She's quite fascinated by birds, especially owls and anything with pretty colors. Actually, this a rule that applies to most aspects of her life: she tends to love anything with pretty colors. She also loves horses and would love owning them in the future. She thinks they seem kind and intelligent. And rather cool. She also thinks wolves are interesting. And matinees, though she feels a bit concerned by the idea of ever meeting one. She once wrote a project for CP Bio on sloths, and has been fond of their cute faces ever since (even if they only come down their trees once a week to poop half a cup of poo and it takes a whole day to actually climb down. Yes, she still remembers what she learned). She also wrote an interesting post on her old blog about the legended Giant Ground Sloths from like, the Ice Age. She's written actually a ton of what she considers clever blog posts. She enjoys laughing on a daily basis. She is entertained by little daily things and all things ironic. She likes butterflies a lot. She enjoys anything with a good dose of glitter, although she tried to suppress the fondness in high school, but has fully accepted it once again. When a small child, it is claimed that she spat on people that were smoking. She currently enjoys the smell of cigarettes, which is quite odd and she'd never smoke, not after taking health class. She also enjoys the smell of gasoline and thus enjoys going to the gas station. Her ancient Olds Mobile, named Big Red by her sister, the last owner, constantly plays the turning signal clicking noise, and she usually forgets to explain it to new riders of her car. She has been told that she has a very strong voice in her writing, which she finds quite pleasing. Someone else once told her that she bled personality from her ears, and although that could possibly be taken as an insult, she takes great joy in it. She just hopes that this personality is not annoying to the others around her and actually worries about it a bit obsessively. She likes to make the people around her happy. She wishes she were funnier for this purpose. (Also because she thinks it would be fun, and would enjoy the satisfaction of making people laugh and impressing strangers with her clever wittiness. She would probably also enjoy the attention, though she probably wouldn't admit it to herself.) She would love love love to live in the countryside of England, with the rolling green hills that STAY green all year long, in a totally ancient house with history leaking from it's walls (and hopefully not too much mold) where she could take walks around her property and be close to castles and pretend to live in a fairytale. She would quite enjoy a simply life, or at least that's what she thinks. Things like that often change once you actually get there, but she does believe that she would enjoy the lack of worldly stress that had been her constant companion since, like, forever. Her biggest fear is finally finding love, getting married, and have her husband fall out of love with her, or cheat on her (one fear). She thinks that if she lived a simple life somewhere, like the countryside of England with her eventual husband, that this fear would subside. We'll see. She considers most of her friends to be her best friend. She once resented the fact that she didn't have the classic "best friend," but has gotten over this. She likes having lots of people that she loves and cares about and who sometimes, most of the time, amazingly, return the feeling to some degree. She recently required mini salt-and-pepper shakers in the shape of corn cobs as a gift, and thinks they just might be one of the most awesome things on earth. Also, though she is an English major and loves to write, she has never claimed that she could spell. And she probably will never be able to spell to save her life. She is secretly a fan of cheesy romance and day dreams about her Prince Charming. Shh, don't tell anyone. She is a huge fan of the Will Ferrell movie Elf, although she thinks he just might be one of the top ten creepers of the world. She watches the movie year round and still bursts into rounds of giggles, especially at the parts when Buddy speaks to Mr. Narwol and Arctic Penguin. She has never actually answered the phone with, "Buddy the elf, what's your favorite color?" because she lacks the courage, but is determined to do so before dying. She also thinks it would be cool to have wings. Or to be a fairy. Or, you know, a fairy princess, although there are few people she would admit this to. She often bursts into song, strangely more so lately, with all different songs, differing from various hymns to classic 80's songs. These often include Queen songs, and, most often "Livin’ on a Prayer" from Bon Jovi. Whenever she gets around to painting her nails, which is probably once every three months, if that, they are usually some obnoxious color of bright pink or orange or turquoise, but most importantly, this yellowy lime-green that she's had since she was twelve which is her favorite, just because color is important to her. She firmly believes in color-therapy for daily life. She also firmly believes in art therapy for those with bad issues. And music therapy. And theatre therapy, if such a thing exists, because these methods have had a majorly positive effect on her life. She also believes that "butter" is a strange word and can't STAND it when people add a T to the end of the word "across," thus saying "acrosst." It bugs her like none other. And you'd be amazed how many people say this, thus invoking her annoyed wrath. She realized the other day that she rarely gets mad. However, she has this way annoying rebellious streak that popped up probably five years ago, that makes her extremely annoyed whenever someone REQUIRES her to do something that she doesn't want to do, usually homework. If they asked nicely, she would be more than happy to help out and do it, but once they require it, she resents it and loathes every moment of it. This is probably the most annoying aspect of her personality to herself. Aside from her lack of responsibility. Although, if you think about it, life sort of REQUIRES you to be responsible, and therefore, is probably the reason why she resents it. She is not a fan of hard candy, or any candy, for that matter, if it doesn't have chocolate. She's a big fan of chocolate. She is not a fan of pie, but she likes cobblers and crisps. She thinks its a sin to put fruit in salad. Vegetables and fruit don't go together. Thus, she believes tomatoes are a vegetable. She is indifferent about the avocado-being-a-fruit theory. Or, you know, fact. She likes them either way. She enjoys oxymorons. She also thinks this is a cool word, "oxymorons."

She currently lives with... she currently considers herself displaced, being kicked out of her apartment at school in three weeks when Fall Semester is over and she is forced to leave for four months, having not been assigned to Winter Semester, but Spring Semester, and seeing as her parents decided to move from their home of ten (eleven?) years in Temecula California, and are now living with her grandma in the center-of-the-universe-Layton-Utah, with her beloved cat, Diego, she considers herself without a real home to go to. Although this isn't necessarily true. She just misses her life back in California whenever she realizes that it's been taken away from her.

She has vastly enjoyed writing this. Conceited, no? Oh well.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Let It Be: Eating Habits

To my distress, I soon realized why Sam had first introduced the event as a “special dinner.”

They had made a freaking feast, like the sort of Thanksgiving dinner you saw on TV, the perfect dinner to feed twenty people. But this time, it was just me, Sam, and Cecil. My heart sank as my stomach churned. Nausea from the nervousness, not just the scent of food. How was I going to get out of it?

I sat and talked to Cecil while Sam bumped around in the kitchen. When he came back, Cecil got up to go get something out of the oven.

Sam came around my back and put a plate in front of me. “Eat.”

My heart sank even further. It was loaded, two inches high with rich foods, nearly spilling off the edge. “Sam…” I begged in a whisper.

“Eat,” he replied, harsher this time, staring at me.

I did what he said, I began eating. But once I hit my usual limit, which was wasn’t much, I stopped.

“Don’t stop.”

“Sam, I’m not used to so much… it’s going to make me sick,” I whispered in shame.

“Just try.”

I did, all that I could without vomiting there at the table. A cold shiver shot through my body, my face going pale. Tears formed in my eyes. I didn’t want to disappoint him, but I just couldn’t do it. I looked up at him, apologizing with my eyes.

He didn’t force me anymore. “You need to fix this,” he rumbled angrily.

“I am trying,” I whispered.

Cecil came back, his own plate loaded, and chatted away amiably. He was the cheeriest I’ve ever seen him, which felt weird since I was feeling so down. So was Sam. It was strange that Cecil didn’t sense the tension.

Sam disappeared into the kitchen again for another ten minutes without an explanation. But when he kissed my forehead in farewell later that night, there was beer on his breath. I winced. I made him sad.

The fact that Sam drank bothered me. I’d seen what alcohol does to people. I’d sworn to never touch it. But it was different for Sam, because Sam was different. It soothed him. Instead of taking away his reservations, his control, it focused him. It calmed his rage down, it made it easier for him to control his temper. He drank when something was really bothering him.

And I had bothered him.


Before I left, I grabbed a Sticky-Note and a Sharpie.
I'm sorry I ruined March 23rd.
I know it's because you love me. I'm trying.
Love you.
-Abigail



The next day, as the warning bell was ringing for first period, Sam appeared next to me. He kissed me, which was weird because we rarely did so when other people were around, never in a crowded hallway with people staring. But he kissed me, put something in my palm and let me walk into Spanish.

That was weird.

I sat down in my seat, people watching me disapprovingly, and looked at what he had given me. It was one of the same Sticky-Notes that I had used the night before, a note written in his careful script that proves he didn’t learn to write anytime lately.

You did not ruin it, I did.
I am sorry I upset you. I know you are trying. I just hate that you are hurting and I can't do anything about it.
I love you, too.
PS. I remembered why we celebrate March 23rd. It was the first time Cecil ever beat me in a wrestling match. Dumb, huh?
Samuel Montgomery


Stapled to the note was a bag of green grapes. It made me smile.

At least until Senor Tibet yelled at me. “Senorita Shea. No comer in la clase.”

Mood ruiner.