Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale Review ***SPOILERS***

Oh my goodness, if you have not read this book you need to go get now. RIGHT NOW! Especially all of the girls. I have never read a Shannon Hale book before now. From what I understand The Goose Girl is a popular one of hers. My mom who is a librarian lent me Book of a Thousand Days on my NOOK. It was a very quick read and just an over all feel good book. It is a spin on the Grimm Brothers Maid Maleen tale and I think Shannon Hale surpassed them with her tale of Dashti.

The main character, Dashti, is probably one of my favorite characters from a book. She was a girl who stood by her convictions, loved with an open heart, and put others before herself. (Even her animals and her lady, Lady Saren, who did not always return Dashti’s kindness.) She is a true optimist and chooses to always see the good in the world, even when she’s locked in a tower for years.

I really wanted to like Lady Saren… She had some awful injustices done to her and her father was cruel to her. But her lack of personality and her cowardice made it very hard.

I loved Dashti and Tegus’ love story. It may be my favorite romance yet! They seemed so in tune with one another and they both had the most beautiful outlook on life. I was pleased they ended up together. I didn’t think Saren was going to just hand over that happiness to Dashti after the took My Lord the cat.

I would give this book 5 stars. I was going to give it 4 until Dashti saved the day and got the guy. But I was very happy with the ending 🙂 If there was any person or character that had a beautiful soul it would be Dashti.

Finally Started Writing

I went to Corner Bakery the other day to catch up on some reading and homework. Instead of doing that, I ordered a latte and started writing. I had had a dream several times and I think I’ve managed to turn it into my latest writing project. So far I only have four pages. I’ve had to fit in some homework here and there. Thankfully, this is my last week for homework and I will have a month to focus on writing before I start my student teaching. I hope I can figure out my new schedule and time management pretty quickly when I start that. I want to have time to improve my short story. Who knows, maybe I can make it more than a short story. So far it’s a YA action novel. At least that’s where I’m planning on going with it.

I had my boyfriend read what I have so far the other night (and he can be brutally honest) and another friend. They both really liked it! 🙂 That definitely gave me a confidence boost and is keeping me motivated.

I always thought I would be more of a planner with my writing. Like outlining and brainstorming before I put the pen to paper but it’s like once I start I just keep going and all these ideas start hitting me as I write. Does anyone else do that? I’m going to try to work on a few pages today after work.

I’ve also been perusing the internet for fun creative writing activities and I actually stumbled across a Pen Pal project. It’s a blog where different people submit their photo and email or website and they can connect to other people and become pen pals be it email, snail mail, whatever! There we’re people from all over the world on it! Sri Lanka, the US, Ireland, Australia, etc. I thought this sounded really interesting. I didn’t know people still got into that. I’m thinking about doing it myself. I would want to do snail mail but I think before I commit I would want to get a PO Box. I don’t think it’s a good idea to just throw out your home address anymore. Maybe I’ve been watching too much ID or Catfish! Does anyone else on here participate in The Pen Pal Project?

Smoke by Ellen Hopkins Review ***SPOLILERS***

Well, I just finished it. I’m pretty sure it is one of the only Ellen Hopkins books that has a happy ending. That’s probably why I’ve seen some bad reviews on it. I don’t feel that way at all though. This is my new favorite by her. I wasn’t even a fan of Burned. It was too depressing for me. I don’t think I handle the idea of losing someone close to me very well. (Not that anyone can really handle that.) But Burned definitely left me feeling depressed at the end of it.

I LOVED Smoke. I’ve read reviews by people saying Ellen Hopkins should have just let her story end with Burned. I think if anyone deserved a happy ending it was Pattyn Von Stratten. Her and her sister Jackie in Smoke were very relatable to me. I liked the way it showed them side by side struggling with what’s right and what’s wrong. And when you should just say Screw you and do the hard thing instead of taking the easy way out. 

I was so scared at the ending when crazy Deirdre and her cronies drove up. I couldn’t deal with Pattyn losing another love. I would have been very upset with Ellen Hopkins for breaking my heart again. I wish they would have said why Deirdre was crazy. Did something happen to her when she was younger? Or was she actually just mentally unstable? Maybe that will be Ellen’s next book. Or maybe she could talk about Gavin and his life story more. The men, well Gavin and Angel, were perfect in this book! I loved them both.

I’m not sure who pissed me off more in this book. Deirdre, Caleb McCain, or Pattyn and Jackie’s mother. Caleb was the typical scum bag who thought his S*** don’t stink and their mother turned into this really repulsive character. I guess I’m glad she saw the light at the end of the book? But dang. Does it really take your daughter blaring out what happened to her in front of a whole church congregation to flip your maternal switch on? I’m with Pattyn running back to mountains in the end. Screw that mess. Those poor other children. 

The ending was the best part. The writing and overall ending tone was beautiful! I loved the imagery of the mountains and horses in Caliente at Aunt J’s ranch. And I felt like I could feel how Pattyn was feeling in that moment looking over the mountain and seeing where Ethan was laid to rest. I am very glad Ellen gave Pattyn closure. Now I don’t have to feel sad every time I see Burned on my bookshelf.

 

My Summer To Be Read Pile

My Summer To Be Read Pile

I am most excited reading Midnight Riot and Shadow and Bone. I’ve heard the Shadow and Bone books are amazing in the YA Lit world right now. And I got the recommendation from an online Vlog by Tanya Burr, beauty vlogger. This book is supposedly more popular in the UK I think but I still think it sounds awesome! I’m also a big fan of the Nancy Farmer books. I found out last year that I am 60% Nordic so I’ve been all about Norse Mythology. However, her second book in the Jack and Jill trilogy was nowhere near as good as the first one. It was a bit hodge-podge and slow at times. I wish there had been more Thorgil in it.

I’m going on a trip to New Orleans next month for my birthday and I start my student teaching in August. And I just found out I am also going on a trip to Maryland/Virginia with my boyfriend to see his family so I need to get this all done before then!

Currently Reading

Currently Reading

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Burned by Elle Hopkins. Burned and Identical were probably my least favorite of all of her books. But I must say, this second book is has turned out to be very interesting and I like that Pattyn is getting closure. The first book was way too sad for me. Which, I know, it’s Ellen Hopkins… never does she write about sunshine and rainbows. I guess Burned was just a kind of sad I couldn’t handle or relate to at the time when I read it. I’m loving this one though and I can’t wait until Rumble comes out 🙂

My Boyfriends Books

My Boyfriends Books

I was looking through some of my bookshelves today and I realized what different tastes my boyfriend and I have. I was like “Wow! He has so many more adult books than I do.” I base this off of all of my children’s lit and YA novels. And then I saw his anime books and wondered how people can like books from opposite ends of the spectrum. It made me think of an article I read the other day that a new blogging friend had shared with me. The article was by a woman who thought adults should be ashamed for reading just YA novels. And that they were simply missing out on all the mature novels and down grading themselves with all the teen melodrama and romance.

I, however, could not disagree more. I will read whatever I damn well please. And I don’t think anyone should be judged based off what they read. If I want to read The Secret Garden or Percy Jackson for the hundredth time then so be it! And if my boyfriend wants the entire series of Death Note and One Piece then more power to him. People like what they like.

You know that expression, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well don’t judge a person or their intelligence based on their personal reading preferences. Clearly some people have several reading preferences like anime, Chuck Palahniuk and Victor Hugo.

Day 2 of Learning about the YA Lit World of Writing and Authorship

I’m writing 2 posts today. I feel kind of guilty about not posting everyday. I am in 2 graduate summer classes right now that last 5 weeks and the homework is killing me. I probably should have spaced them out a little better.

However! I have been taking study breaks to read my YA Fiction for Dummies book and The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings. (It’s been good to read a YA book while I’m learning about the process of writing a YA story. I have been using it for examples.) I have always seen the “For Dummies” books at Barnes & Noble while perusing the shelves and I was always under the assumption that they were an easy way for the author to take your money. But it’s proven very interesting and useful! I have just never been one for self-help books. I know, I know! You should never judge a book by it’s cover! Lesson learned 🙂

I have also been reading author/blogger advice tips from various people on how to get writing or to get past writers block. The most useful tidbit of information I think I have come across is to write 10 bad ideas a day, by James Altucher. That way if you’re not confident in your ideas you will still be exercising your imagination and eventually you will improve. Practice makes perfect!

I think it is important to remember not to compare your imagination to other people. Don’t get discouraged and doubt yourself if you’re not amazing at first! Nobody is. I have struggled with this in the past and it has held me back from a lot of opportunities. It’s the number one thing I am trying to work on as a writer.

Young Adult Fiction… For Teens or Adults?

I always thought I was in the minority of people over the age of 17 who still really liked Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction but apparently 71% of people who buy Young Adult fiction are age 18-24. 47% being women, 24% being male according to The New York Times. I thought most people wouldn’t like all the angst. Interesting stuff. Adult fiction rarely ever catches my eye. I guess for me, I don’t like how serious adult fiction is. I need an ESCAPE from reality, not to read about it as well as live it.

 I noticed when Ricardo and I went to the movies to see The Fault in Our Stars the other day that the majority of the audience were adults. Probably between the ages of 30-55. I had recently heard John Green talk about how most of his audience was adults but it still seemed odd to me. Why do people over the age of 30 care about books with the main characters aged 15-18? I guess for John Green novel its because he focuses a lot on loss. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still suffer the loss of a loved one.
But is this the case for all other YA fiction novels? What about Twilight? and The Hunger Games? Do adults crave Dystopian novels too? And sparkly vampire romance? They don’t seem as relatable as John Green novels… I have some friends who make fun of me for still reading teen fiction because they say it’s too angsty or too much melodrama. I just like what I like. And fantasy and angst is what I like I suppose.