Archive | October, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013

It’s October 31st. All over the country, tiny costumed children are running around trying to score candy from well-meaning adults. By tomorrow afternoon, they will be running on a sugar high powerful enough to conquer the globe. But while they sleep, something magical will happen.

At 12 midnight, in the wee hours of the night that separate Halloween from November 1st, thousands of wannabe (and not-so-wannabe) writers around the globe will hunker down with a fuzzy blanket, the beverage of their choice, a bunch of notes, and their computer to take part in NaNoWriMo 2013! National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short or NaNo for shorter) is where writers dedicate one month (November, specifically) to pound of 50,000 words on the work-in-progress (WIP) of their choice. To “win” NaNo, all you have to do is write 1,667 words a day for 30 days. Some people do more, because they’re overachievers.

Different people participate in NaNo for different reasons. Some participate just for fun. Some participate just to see if they can do it. Some use NaNo as a way to really kickstart their WIP, while others use it as a way to end their already started WIP with a bang. NaNo is not meant to create perfect, ready-to-publish novels on the first go. In fact, December is sometimes called NaNoReMo (National Novel Revision Month) as a way to remind NaNo participants to take time to edit and revise once they’re finished. Nor is NaNo to be used to create a completed tome, as 50,000 is small for most young adult or adult novels. (It’s okay for some middle-grade books, though.)

If you’re interested in participating, you can find out more details here and here and a quick Google search will give you more helpful hints and tips than you’ll probably need. I, for one, plan to be in bed come midnight November 1st. I like my sleep. However, I may participate this year, though I reserve the right to back out at any point. I don’t like being trapped into things. I have no interest in being a serious writer, but I like the idea of completing a task just to see if I can. If you’d like, you can add me as a writing buddy.

Now, I’m off to see if I can steal some candy from my little sister. Happy writing, everyone!

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Wishlist Wednesday #39

Hosted by Pen to Paper

Hosted by Pen to Paper

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

Victoria Schwab is killing me slowly. I enjoyed The Archived, then fell in love with Ms. Schwab’s writing all over again in Vicious. Then this last week she started teasing us with Westley-related tidbits from The Unbound and I want the book so badly I can barely stand it. I can’t wait to see how Mackenzie deals with her duties as a Keeper while in school, I want to see how her family is continuing to cope with her brother’s death, and I DEFINITELY want more time in the Archives and more time with Guyliner. January 28, please hurry up and get here!

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Top 10 Tuesday: Creepiest Book Covers

This week’s topic was hard for me. 1) I don’t really get into Halloween, and 2) books don’t really scare me, either by the cover or the content. At best, a cover might gross me out, but that’s all. That said, I did manage to pull together a few covers that I thought were genuinely creepy (and changed the prompt to reflect that). Continue Reading →

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Review: THE EXTRA by Kathryn Lasky

Is the chance to serve as an extra for Hitler’s favorite filmmaker a chance at life — or a detour on the path to inevitable extermination?

One ordinary afternoon, fifteen-year-old Lilo and her family are suddenly picked up by Hitler’s police and imprisoned as part of the “Gypsy plague.” Just when it seems certain that they will be headed to a labor camp, Lilo is chosen by filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl to work as a film extra. Life on the film set is a bizarre alternate reality. The surroundings are glamorous, but Lilo and the other extras are barely fed, closely guarded, and kept in a locked barn when not on the movie set. And the beautiful, charming Riefenstahl is always present, answering the slightest provocation with malice, flaunting the power to assign prisoners to life or death. Lilo takes matters into her own hands, effecting an escape and running for her life.

In this chilling but ultimately uplifting novel, Kathryn Lasky imagines the lives of the Gypsies who worked as extras for the real Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, giving readers a story of survival unlike any other.

Sometimes when a book fails, it fails from not from what it did do but what it didn’t. The Extra is one such book, failing in all the things it didn’t do, including meeting my excited expectations. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (30)

Rewind and review

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

The Stuff I Bought part is going to be huge. This was the weekend with the the HUUUUUUGE Friends of the Library sale (see my last post), and boy did I come away with a great haul! For $65, I got the following books (all great quality):

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  • Princess in Waiting (Princess Diaries #4) by Meg Cabot
  • Party Princess (Princess Diaries #7) by Meg Cabot
  • Marie Antoinette (Royal Diaries) by Kathryn Lasky
  • Isabel (Royal Diaries) by Carolyn Meyer
  • Victoria (Royal Diaries) by Anna Kirwan
  • Jahanara (Royal Diaries) by Kathryn Lasky
  • Anastasia (Royal Diaries) by Carolyn Meyer
  • Survival in the Storm: The Dust Bowl Diary of Grace Edwards (Dear America) by Katelan Janke
  • Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen
  • Hyperspace (Choose Your Own Adventure #21) by Edward Packard
  • Treasure Diver (Choose Your Own Adventure #32) by Julius Goodman
  • Magic Steps (The Circle Opens #1) by Tamora Pierce
  • Sandry’s Book (Circle of Magic #1) by Tamora Pierce
  • Wild Magic (Immortals #1) by Tamora Pierce
  • The Secret of the Indian (Indian in the Cupboard #3) by Lynne Reid Banks
  • Fighting Reuben Wolfe by Markus Zusak
  • Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
  • A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie
  • The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie
  • Vote 4 Amelia by Marissa Moss
  • Amelia’s Notebook by Marissa Moss
  • Amelia’s Cross-My-Heart, Hope-To-Die Guide to the Real, True You! by Marissa Moss
  • The Nightmare Academy (Veritas Project #2) by Frank Peretti
  • Wolf Tower (Claidi Journals #1) by Tanith Lee
  • Wolf Queen (Claidi Journals #3) by Tanith Lee
  • Wolf Wing (Claidi Journals #4) by Tanith Lee
  • Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • 1491 by Charles C. Mann

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  • The entire Harry Potter hardcover collection (including the Bard book!) by J.K. Rowling (and they look practically brand new!)**

Stuff I Received

  • Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen from Bloomsbury
  • **Dot Hutchison, being a wonderful person, bought me two of the aforementioned Harry Potter books.

THANK YOOOOOU to A.C. Gaughen, Bloomsbury, Dot, and my mom, who let me drag her all over Gainesville!

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Friends of the Library

As you all may or may not know, I went to school at the University of Florida in Gainesville. (Go Gators!) It’s a lovely place, and I got to experience many new and wonderful things while attending. One of my favorite Gainesvillian events started today: the Friends of the Library book sale.

For those who don’t know (as Freshman Me didn’t), a Friends of the Library sale is when all of the public libraries in a county sell items that have been donated by well-meaning citizens or purged from their own catalog to buy new books. Like any used book sale, this means wading through a bunch of old, tired, outdated books to find the gems that are hidden just for you, but let me tell you, it is so worth it.

Gainesville’s Friends of the Library Sale is a bookworm’s nirvana. Twice a year (coinciding with fall and spring semester), the Alachua County Libraries rent out a warehouse from Saturday through Wednesday. Inside, the goods are arranged by type. The majority of items sold are books (of course), from fiction to comic books to textbooks, but the sale also offers collectors books, calendars, magazines, posters, CDs, DVDs, and much more.

Now here’s the fun part. On the first three days, the majority of the items (excluding the collectors books, some DVDs, etc.) are priced between $4 and $o.25 . On the fourth day, everything is half off, and on the fifth day, everything is a mere $0.10! I have literally come home with BAGS of books for around $20. It’s a GLORIOUS sale. And when I talk about a “warehouse,” I do mean a WAREHOUSE. On average, each sale contains roughly 500,000 donated items. FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND. There isn’t enough room in the warehouse to hold everything. They keep a WALL of boxes behind the registers to replenish the floor stock as it dwindles.

FOL

Click HERE to zoom in

Saturday will be my first time attending the sale since 2010. I’m excited to see what I find, because my searching methods will be different from my other trips. Previously, I went up and down every single aisle at the sale. I hope to do that again, provided my mom has enough patience to let me. However, other times, my trips were pretty much equal opportunity. I hit history, children’s, social science (where the murderers are), and comic collections hardest, but I wasn’t terribly picky. When I visited the children’s section, I would look for titles I already knew and loved. Thanks to blogging, my knowledge of titles has expanded exponentially. Though most of my reads are recent books that won’t pop up at a sale like this, I fully expect to find dozens of fun titles.

Odds are that the libraries in your area do a Friends of the Library sale as well, so what are you waiting for? Hit up Google and see! And if you’re anywhere near Gainesville, FL or in the mood for a road trip in the spring, the next FOL sale is April 12-16!

And don’t forget to check back Saturday or Sunday to see what I got. 😀

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Cover Love #40

Cover Love

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They’ve survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

I don’t know which I’m more excited about, the cover or the synopsis. I love the eerie feel to this cover. It’s such a desolate wasteland with that empty land and creepy clouds and then, off in the distance, BOOM. Civilization. It fits the synopsis so well. I think I would have preferred the cover to look a little more realistic, but otherwise I think the cover does its job admirably. I’m certainly intrigued.

What do you think of this cover?

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Top 10 Tuesday: “Unusual” YA Names

I must admit, I felt gleefully evil putting together this week’s list. I love names. Names are my jam, y’all. Nothing pleases me more than a beautifully constructed appellation. Names can tell you so much about a character, the time, the place, the very world that you’re entering. So I get really, really cranky when I’m forced to interact with an ugly name for an entire book. Below are a list of names that make me scowl, grimace, or laugh derisively every time I see them.

I should note that I am much, much harder on contemporary names than historical, fantasy, sci-fi, or dystopian names, as their setting and world will necessarily require different naming customs than that which we are accustomed. However, a few were just too ugly/stupid/gag-inducing to ignore. Continue Reading →

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Review: KINSLAYER by Jay Kristoff

A SHATTERED EMPIRE
The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

A DARK LEGACY
Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

A GATHERING STORM
Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

I’ve left this review unwritten for several weeks, because I’m just not sure what to say. As much as I try to review based on objective merit, or at least as objective as something so subjective as merit can be, there are times that I trip up while reading because I cannot get around aspects that affect me personally. Kinslayer presented me with such a time. Continue Reading →

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