Saturday, June 30, 2012

Just Thinking

Hey! So, I've been missing for a few days if you haven't noticed. I could give you a slew of excuses, but I don't really like to make excuses. Anyway, I've been attending to other things in my life outside the blog. But please don't feel forgotten! I've been thinking of you the whole time. Honestly, I'm like "What will my readers think of me!" and "Oh, my poor, unattended blog!" and even "Gah! I'm just itching to write something, anything really!" But all of that is beside the fact.

Despite my absence I've been reading something fantastic, which I just can't wait to share with you. You'll have to come back soon to see my review for the anthology Dark Light (and a giveaway). It's seriously amazing. Seriously, I can't say seriously enough. I need you to get my point. Seriously!!
Okay, that was probably one too many 'seriously', but I'm quite excited to share it with you.

I can't stop thinking about Flannery O'Connor. I mean, A Good Man is Hard to Find is SUCH a good story. I was thinking about it while out for a walk recently. Does that ever happen to you? A story just sort of pops up in your head and you can't stop thinking about it. You know, like it's becoming something real. I remember thinking like the Misfit, like the grandmother, and even the woods. A good story just takes a lot of unravelling I suppose. I have no idea how Flannery O'Connor popped into my mind, but nonetheless, I think I need to make a special trip to the library to pick up some of her short stories. Do you have any suggestions for which of her stories I should read next?

Okay, I'm rambling. I really just wanted to come by and say Hi. Oh, and that I will be back soon withlovely things for you to absorb (I'm talking about reading of course).

Oh, and here's what I'm reading. That seriously amazing story I was telling you about :)


Monday, June 25, 2012

Musing Mondays #2

Musing Mondays is a meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
This weeks question is:

Do you set goals for yourself, while reading? For example, “I want to get this book finished this weekend“, or “I will read __ pages today“, etc. Why, or why not?

I actually do not set goals for myself. I used to before I began my crazy work schedule, but for the past few years my days have unexpected twists and turns. Between working full time, school, and my social life, reading is sometimes something I'm just daydreaming about doing. I've gone days without reading a word. I really wish I could set goals, and hopefully in a few years I'll have a normal work schedule and school will be over so I can focus on reading. Reading is honestly my favorite hobby and its really hard when I have to go days without reading, but I still manage to read the books I want and work off my college debt. I guess I've got it pretty good.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Reading -- What's in it for Me?

So, I meant to post this Thursday, then Friday, and now it's Saturday and I'm finally posting it. Sorry for the delay, but I've been battling an infested house of sickies and small demons. Okay, actually I've just been really busy.

Anyway, have you ever been asked the question "Why do you read?" If you're an avid reader then you've probably thought about this. So here, I've decided to share my reason for reading with the world.

First, it never even occurred to me to NOT read. Me, the nerdy girl in school, never even realized my classmates weren't reading the books until one of my teachers made a joke about it. I remember thinking "What!? They're not reading it? But it's so good. How can't they? Besides, how do they plan to pass all the pop quizes?" Yep. That was the naive little me all through school. It wasn't until I got to college that I actually did not complete an assigned book *Gasp*. So, for me, reading is natural. Like some people are naturally athletic, I was born to read.

I read when I was young because it was fun. I mean, isn't reading fun? It's like watching a movie; we want to be entertained. If we're not entertained, why are we reading? But reading, as I grew to learn, is so much more than entertainment. Reading was an adventure on any given day (I was particularly fond of mysteries when I was quite young). I learned things when I read (like how to assume a different identity, but shhh). But it wasn't the little facts that wedged themselves into the pages that kept me reading, it was the people. There are just so many people with so many different stories and I want to read them all. Sure, some people are fiction, but I never let that hinder my belief in them. I always knew there was some truth to every story, someone somewhere understood. And sometimes, I understood. Whether it was that quarrel with a sibling (paranormal or not) or the shock of sudden disaster, there was always something that hit home. Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you! Did you raise your hand? I knew you would :)

Another thing I love about reading is the art. Words don't just craft themselves; it takes serious dedication and work to put together a story. An author is much like a painter. If you've ever been to an art gallery (which, if you haven't go now. yes, now, go now) you understand how thrilling artwork can be. And stories are just as thrilling. Writing is such a beautiful thing, and I for one, intend on taking in its full delight. I've never been a fast reader, and I don't care. If I read a sentence I really enjoy, I'll read it multiple times over. That's the beauty of reading.

And then there is this wonderful thing called symbolism. Oh, and theme, and even syntax and grammar. Without all of these things we wouldn't be able to return to our favorite stories, nor would we want to. The best thing about stories is that they can be read multiple ways, even by the same person. I experienced this with Frankenstein. After each read, I started to read other things too; things about science, woman rights, language, and even love.

And, for a plethora of other reasons I chose not to discuss here, that is why I read. Why do you read?

Bonus!! check out this awesome page on Goodreads with famous quotes about books. What's your favorite reading quote??
Mine's by Lemony Snicket (friggen LOVE this guy) "Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." Doesn't that just make you smile?

read on!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Desperately wanting wednesday

Desperatly Wanting Wednesday, hosted by Parajunkee's View

This weeks topic is Cover Lust:

My cover lust is Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini:

Set on the island of Nantucket, STARCROSSED tells the tale of Helen Hamilton, a young woman whose destiny is forever altered when she meets Lucas Delos and tries to kill him in front of her entire high school. Which is terribly inconvenient, not only because Lucas is the most beautiful boy on the island, but also because Helen is so achingly shy she suffers physical pain whenever she is given too much attention. 

Making matters worse, Helen is beginning to suspect she’s going crazy. Whenever she’s near Lucas or any member of his family she sees the ghostly apparitions of three women weeping bloody tears, and suffers the burden of an intense and irrational hate. She soon learns that she and Lucas are destined to play the leading roles in a Greek tragedy that the Three Fates insist on repeating over and over again throughout history. Like her namesake, Helen of Troy, she’s destined to start a war by falling in love. But even though Lucas and Helen can see their own star-crossed destiny, they’re still powerfully attracted to each other. Will they give up their personal happiness for the greater good, or risk it all to be together?

This is a beautiful cover and it sounds really good. Have you read? Is it worth the read?

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #1

This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey
"This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!"

So here's what I'm reading!!!

In the heavens above, the three moons crash together, streaming fire and death in their wake; below, the seas rage as the roiling face of the world shatters. After Prince Varis Kilvar steals powers to transform himself into a god, chaos reigns from the king's city of Ammathor to the forbidding walls of the Black Keep. At his heels marches a demonic army torn from the very bowels of the Thousand Hells, and the risen God King uses terror to stake his claim over all lands.
Betrayed and bound to Varis by powers he does not understand, mercenary Kian Valara is forced to masquerade as the world's savior, while a beautiful Sister of Najihar prepares him for his last battle. Victory against a living god is far from certain, but vengeance? For Kian, when the battle rage falls upon his soul and the sword hilt is hot and alive against his palm, vengeance is never out of reach.

I'm about a quarter of the way through this book, and it is so far amazing. I don't typically read anti-fantasy, but I am so glad I gave this a try. West is an amazing writer.The writing in the God King is incredibly vivid and the plot has been thrilling!

Dark Light edited by Carl Hose:

Dark Light is the light that shines through when some of the finest writers in horror use the power of their words for something good. That’s the case with this anthology—42 writers coming together to help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities and all the good the organization does for families every day of the year.

Make no mistake, though. These are horror writers and the stories they’ve written are not pretty. Traditional and non-traditional horror, dark humor, ghosts, serial killers, alternate universes, magic, zombies, and other creatures of the night hide between these pages. Shadows move and dead fingers stroke unsuspecting flesh, razor sharp knives shimmer in the moonlight, and unknown things hide in closets and under the bed. The stories here are as varied as the writers themselves. If you’re a fan of horror, you will not be let down.

Despite the horrific nature of these tales, however, their very existence in Dark Light stands as proof there will always be a light at the end of every tunnel.

Turn the lights down low and enjoy the show.

I have only just started reading this book, but am already in love with it. I honestly can't wait to finish this, and have already begun sacrificing sleep to do so. I will be posting a review for this book on July 13th, so make sure to check back. It'll be part of a blog tour as well! Oh, and the best part of this book; it's an anthology of many authors who are helping raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House!

Broken City by D.D Chant:
Deeta richards has never seen the outside world. before she was born a banking crisis brought civilization to an end and now no one leaves the safety of the compounds unless they need to, but deeta still dreams of seeing more than the building she was born in. 
tom is in the guard, this group are the only people that the tribal elders allow to leave the compound and tom knows only too well that deeta could never survive the harshness that exists outside. then tragedy strikes and deeta and her Sister jan find themselves captured by a hostile tribe. why does Tom know so much about these people? and why do they know so much about him? as this mystery draws to a climax, they discover that their friend Tom is not quite what he seems...

I recently received this book for review. It sounds interesting, and I'm quite excited to read it. I also really like the cover art.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Q&A with James A. West

Q&A with James A. West:

I’d like to introduce you to an amazing new author! James A. West has written two novels in his Heirs of the Fallen series. I have begun reading the first book of the series, The God King, and am seriously impressed. Don’t miss out on reading West’s books! Read the following Q&A for a glimpse of his writing style and general amazingness. Seriously, you won’t regret it.

First, can you tell us a little about yourself?
My family moved around a lot when I was growing up. I spent time in Northern California and all over Oregon. I lived in southeast Alaska for several years, as well as North and South Carolina, and also Florida. After marrying my high school sweetheart, I joined the Army and was stationed in Hawaii, which allowed me to spend some time in Australia and Haiti.
After I left the military, my wife and I decided to earn some extra college money by driving eighteen-wheelers. Logging close to 1,000 miles a day as a team, we drove over nearly every mile of interstate America has to offer, before settling in Montana to go back to school. After graduation, we spent a year in New Mexico, before finally coming back to Montana.
As far as hobbies I enjoy woodworking, fly-fishing, and Halo! My wife and I have what we call battle weekends, where we play Halo together on the Xbox. And, of course, I love reading. I started reading what most would consider adult fiction by the time I was 8 or 9 years old. I’d pick up Louis L’Amour, Tom Clancy, any number of romance books, and whatever else was around the house. When I was 13, my aunt introduced me to The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub, and that book changed my life. I always liked fantastical movies, but had never read any fantasy. In a very real sense, The Talisman, and other works by Stephen King, opened a door for me to explore not just the real world, but completely different worlds born from dreams, desires, and fears.   
When writing a novel, how do you approach it? Do you plan it out first or do you just sit down and write it?
I usually do a rough outline, with bullet points serving as guideposts. Having said that, the story always ends up taking over. Experience has taught me to keep a light but steady hand on the reins. If I give the story its head it will gallop off, turning an otherwise tight story into a rambling series of events that fail to drive the plot. If I am too firm my writing loses vitality, color, becomes formulaic. The cool thing is that if I end up somewhere really interesting that does not fit with the story, I can cut it, then explore that idea/place/person in depth in another story. In that way, I do a lot of recycling :)

What kind of research do you do for your novels, if any?
Reading, pure and simple, though it’s rare that I perform research specific to a given novel. If I find something even remotely interesting, be it fiction, nonfiction, and anything between, I read it, absorb it, then let all those ideas blend together until they become a kind of mutated stew sloshing around inside my skull. After that, I add a dash of imagination (that glorious What if? question) and see what happens.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
At the risk of sounding off my rocker, when I am writing, my fictional worlds become real to me. When I’m really steaming along, what I see outside the window becomes the false reality. I’ve gotten used to that, but when I first began writing, I found it unnerving to go to places like the grocery store after a long stretch at the keyboard. I’d get the strong impression the people picking over fruit and vegetables were not people at all, but holograms. As a writer, the challenge for me is pulling back long enough to live my real life. So far, I’ve always managed to get back to our world, safe and sound ;)

When you finished your first novel, how did you feel?
Awesome! To be sure, there’s always worry that I did not adequately translate into words the vision I had of the story in my mind, but in finishing a novel, despite any reservations I might have about the project, it means I get to begin again.

What, in your opinion, makes a great story?
I like stories that take me away, show me things in ways I had never looked at them. I also like strong characters. Whether they are a character I really hate, or really love, I need to feel that to get into the story. If I don’t care about the characters, I find I lose interest in the story.

What inspires you to write?
Life. There is no way around it. I see and hear things every day that make me wonder What if? Within that simple question awaits worlds ripe for exploration

Do you have a specific thing you do when you write? Anything you just NEED to help you write better?
Music. Heavy Metal drives me through the first draft of all my novels. First off, I write early, starting around 4:30 a.m. and I don’t have time to wait around for the coffee to kick in. A hard driving song throws me into a writing frenzy. After that first draft, the volume comes down and I’ll seek out mood music for various chapters. On my last draft, absolute solitude and quiet become my best friends—at this point, the story is there, and it needs my full, undivided attention.

What is your favorite genre of reading and who is your favorite author?
I tend to read just about any genre, though I always come back to the weird and fantastical. Some people call this escapism. I call it exploration.
As far as a favorite author, Stephen King will always hold a special place in my heart. For me, he’s one of those rare authors who could write a compelling story about anything, be it a bowl of apples or a kid delivering newspapers. I dare say he could entertain me with a tale about drying paint.

Do you have any last thoughts or comments you would like to add for the readers? Any advice for writers?
Readers, I thank you! It’s humbling and absolutely amazing to be able to share my visions with you all. I truly hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.  
Writers have all heard they need to read in order to write. I agree. However, I think writing is more crucial to the craft. Reading allows a writer to pick up some dandy tips and tricks, but writing is pure invention and creativity. Long before I could read, I created satisfying worlds and games to amuse myself. Most of us did. By the process of writing, even if it turns out to be drivel, you begin to flex a muscle that started atrophying during adolescence. Keep writing and working that muscle, force it to grow. By all means nourish it by reading, but write and write, and never stop!

Smashwords Bio:
Author page of anti-fantasy epic fantasy writer James A. West! If you like leaner, fast-paced anti-fantasy, you've come to the right place. What is anti-fantasy you ask? It's the new fantasy! Shorter stand-alone books that go somewhere, no elves, dwarves, or dragons, and definitely no heroes or orphaned farm boys that save the day at the last minute. 

When James was thirteen years old he read The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub, and a seed of an idea was planted that someday he, too, would create different worlds and realities. 

After a stint in the US Army, a year as a long-haul truck driver, and a couple as a log home builder, he enrolled at the University of Montana. There, he majored in Psychology and, by chance, took a creative writing course that allowed him to revisit that old seed of an idea of creating worlds. Words started to flow, and worlds were born. 

After college, he started a small woodworking business with the express purpose of using it to fund his writing journey. 

James lives in Montana with his wife and his bodyguard, a Mini-Schnauzer named Jonesy.

Impressed yet??
Check out James A. West’s blog or follow him on Twitter.

Want to read his work??

Buy The God King at Smashwords or Amazon

Buy Crown of the Setting Sun at Smashwords or Amazon

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Zahn's Review #1: 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass

Zahn’s Review #1: 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass
Published by: Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 267
Series: 11 Birthdays #1
Format: paperback

Meet Zahn!
Zahn is going to be helping me (Zooey) by guest posting books that he has read. Zahn is 11 years old and LOVES to read. He suggested that I allow him to review books with me. Zahn likes to write and would love to share his thoughts on books with the world. Please leave a comment for him!!

Goodreads Description:
It's Amanda's 11th birthday and she is super excited -- after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom she's shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they haven't shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating itself. What is going on?! And how can she fix it? Only time, friendship, and a little luck will tell. .

My Review:
This is an interesting book and I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was unique that time was repeating itself and creative. It teaches a lesson about friendship and why it is important. Amanda and her friend Leo try to escape their birthday go away because it keeps on repeating itself day after day.

What I liked about this book is that Amanda and Leo put aside their disagreements to get out of their birthdays. I really loved one of the later chapters because they worked together to figure things out. I liked this because it is important in life to do it and it is a lesson kids my age need to learn!

What I did not like about this book is that the beginning was really confusing to me. I didn’t know what was going on because I didn’t read the description on the back. It really surprised me when I figured out her birthday was repeating!

I would rate this book four out of five foxes because it is a book kids my age (11) would enjoy.

Thanks for reading my very first book review! Please tell me what you think :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Desperately Wanting Wednesday #1

Desperatly Wanting Wednesday, hosted by Parajunkee's View

For my DWW I am anticipating reading This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel --

Goodreads Description:

Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures... until the day their adventures turn all too real. 

They stumble upon The Dark Library, and secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies are discovered. Father forbids that they ever enter the room again, but this only peaks Victor’s curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not be satisfied with the various doctors his parents have called in to help. He is drawn back to The Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. Elizabeth, Henry, and Victor immediately set out to find assistance in a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help create the formula. 

Determination and the unthinkable outcome of losing his brother spur Victor on in the quest for the three ingredients that will save Konrads life. After scaling the highest trees in the Strumwald, diving into the deepest lake caves, and sacrificing one’s own body part, the three fearless friends risk their lives to save another.

Why I'm excited to read this book --
The answer is simple - I LOVE Frankenstein. Yes, I do. It's probably my favorite book, or at least tied with Fantastic Mr. Fox (which is a pretty big deal). I have this book on my bookshelf, but have yet to read it. I'm very excited to see what Oppel does with Mary Shelley's classic story. Hopefully it's good!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review and Author Interview: Forgotten Time by Lorraine Beaumont

Review: Forgotten Time (part 1 and 2) by Lorraine Beaumont.
Publisher: Owlet Press, 2012
Pages: 170(part 1) and 105(part 2)
Format: ebook
Buy: BNAmazon - Smashwords

Goodreads Description:
Katherine Nicole Jamison never imagined when she took a job at a prestigious auction house for the summer, that one moment of impulsiveness could change her life forever. When she "borrows" an ancient amulet she inadvertently sets in motion a series of events which results in her waking up in 18th century England, betrothed to an arrogant, self-centered Earl.

Sebastian de Winter ~ The Earl of Ravenhurst, is a renowned womanizer who always prided himself as being a ladies man, until he is left standing at the altar. His betrothed vanishes into thin air and as if by magic reappears months later. But is she his betrothed?

Ravenhurst ~ a once forgotten legend, locked somewhere within the gloomy confines of this ancient edifice is the key that will unlock the door of time itself.

Katherine and Sebastian are thrown together by forces unknown, and are unwitting participants in a legend as old as King Arthur’s Realm. As these two very different, but very real people succumb to their hidden desires, they find in each other what no one else can give them, an everlasting love which time cannot forget.

My Review:
** Make sure to check out the author interview at the end of this review! **

Forgotten Time is a fast-paced read with a good balance of heated romance and twisting plot to make a well-rounded novel.

The story revolves around Katherine who, through her own curiosity, is mistaken for the fiancée of a mysterious and very sexy gentleman… only Katherine isn’t living in 2012 any longer. Beaumont juxtaposes our world today against the 18th century time of knights, manors, and creepy gargoyles.

What I liked about this story was moments of imagery. Beaumont crafted some delicate scenes, which really livened the atmosphere of the novel. For example, Beaumont writes,

            “Red glowing taillights blazed into the darkness as each car stopped in front            of the massive columned stairs, depositing guests in all of their finery.”

Along with some fine imagery, Beaumont creates an interesting twist in the story by switching character viewpoints often. At first I thought that switching viewpoints so often would create confusion, but Beaumont wrote it well enough that I was not confused at all whose thoughts I were reading.

As for the romance, this was my first experience with any kind of erotica. I have to say though that I actually liked it. The romance in this story was tense and in the few heated moments between Katherine and Sebastian I was reading intensely. Beaumont teases her readers, and I for one was begging for more!

What I didn’t like about this novel was the clashing of a few ideas. First, we are introduced to Ned, who is supposedly just plain gross – he picks his teeth and probably his nose too. But, Ned speaks like a romantic and treats Katherine as a gentleman would. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to like or hate Ned. The next man in Katherine’s life doesn’t make this distinction either. When Sebastian, an irresistibly handsome Earl, takes interest in Katherine (whom he believes is his intended fiancée, Marguerite) he has old charm, yet his intentions to abandon his future wife are less than honorable. The novel seemed to lack a distinct hero or heroine. Katherine, our main character, lacked any romantic qualities. Although she was witty and upbeat, Katherine would rather lounge on the couch after work than take on the night. Katherine begs for Sebastian’s attention even though his disdain towards her is clear – not an admirable trait in my opinion.

Also, I have some pet peeves when it comes to what I read and grammar is one of them. I’m no grammar critic, and I could care less if a few commas are misplaced. However, when I read a sentence that just doesn’t read right and I have to stop reading because of it, I get annoyed. In a published work, this just doesn’t belong. That said- my reading was halted enough that I feel it necessary to mention the problem.

Another peeve of mine is that I’m just not a fan of reading about vomit, or other bodily functions for that matter. There were a few points in my reading that I had to put the book down because of the imagery. This wasn’t a common problem, but it bothered me enough to distract me from the story. Of course, I may be the only person to be truly bothered by this.

Lastly, I don’t think it was necessary to split this book into two parts. It makes the book seem rushed when the second part fits perfectly with part one. I don’t understand the reasoning for it, but I think the split only forces readers to stop reading at an awkward twist in the story that would have been continued better in one volume.

I give Forgotten Time two out of five foxes. The plot was witty and fast-paced. Also, the juxtaposition of two times was really interesting. I didn’t like that the confusion of antagonists, and a few grammatical errors really deterred my reading. Ultimately, I think this would be a great book with some further editing.

** Check out the book trailer here**

Interview with the author, Lorraine Beaumont:

 When did you begin writing? What made you want to be a writer?
I can’t really recall an exact date, but when I was a teenager.  I wrote Poetry mostly at first. I didn’t really know what I wanted to be, I enjoyed doing lots of things, and writing was one of them.  I am a really big story teller, and have an obsession with good paper and fountain pens. That should have clued me in a long time ago;0)

What inspires you while you are writing?
            Anything, everything, music has a lot to do with it. I surround myself with things that make me happy….see picture, my mad work area…

The lovely workspace of Lorraine Beaumont

What was your greatest challenge when writing Forgotten Time?
            Focusing, I have like, a self imposed A.D.D. thing, I get sidetracked really easy.

Do you have anything new planned?
            YES! Time to Remember will be out this summer which is a continuation of Forgotten Time. 

Any other stories you are planning or just itching to write?
             I am really excited about the other project I am working on which is almost done, it is a contemporary paranormal YA.  I am really excited about it but can’t say anything else right now, it’s a BIG secret.

Will you leave us with a favorite quote of yours?
            I have a few, “to find Treasure you may need to get your hands dirty”…. “A bit of indulgence is good for the soul”

Read about Lorraine Beaumont on Goodreads
Read her blog
Follow her on Twitter or Facebook

Monday, June 11, 2012

Musing Mondays #1

Musing Mondays is a meme hosted by MizB of

The question is What is the longest book you have ever read? How long did it take you to read it?

I have to say the longest book I have ever read is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. The book is 759 pages long, but it was a fast read regardless of its length. It probably took me three days to read that book, which is actually really fast reading for me. 

The second longest book I've read would be This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti.This book is 507 pages, which doesn't seem like much compared to Harry Potter, but it probably took me a good month to read. Granted, I tried reading this book on top of my school reading, but that usually doesn't slow me down too much. I do happen to be a slow reader though, which certainly didn't help me finish this book any sooner.

See MizB's original post here

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Where Do You Write?

Do you blog? write? read? I bet you have a favorite spot to do all of these things. What is it like and why do you like it?

Here is a picture of my favorite place to read and/or blog.

I love the cozy little corner this is in. I've got great lighting, and I'll never get a chill - not with my favorite blanket, slippers, and space heater anyway. Of course, I keep some of my favorite things nearby such as my Ipad, caramel apple suckers, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and my Ipod. 
I've got a large family, so sometimes I need a small, quiet place to sit and read. This is my perfect place!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: A Book by Mordicai Gerstein

Review: A Book by Mordicai Gerstein
Pages: 48
Published by Roaring Book, 2009
Read for my Children’s Literature class project

Goodreads Description:
A CHILD IN SEARCH OF HER STORY Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein looks at books from a whole new angle. 
Once upon a time there was a family who lived in a book. All but the youngest had stories they belonged to--fighting fires, exploring space, entertaining in the circus--but she didn't have one yet. Walking through all the possibilities of story types Mordicai Gerstein presents her quest in unique and changing perspectives: readers look down into the books below at the characters in their worlds. A funny and touching celebration of books, stories, and finding yourself

My Review:
Want to read a book that titled “A Book?” I mean, who wouldn’t? Here is a picture book that breaks the fourth wall. It is clever, artistic, and fun.

Gerstein gets creative with this delightful book. It is the story of a girl who wishes to know her place in the current story. Everyone else in her family knows what people are reading about them, but where does she fit in?

This is an intelligent picture book in which readers are actually looking down on the pages as if they are watching a play with actors from a high balcony. It is fun for children, while adults can appreciate the art and logic as well. It may be a bit confusing at times since the story becomes itself in the end. The girls story becomes the one the readers are reading. For children, this circular reading may not be followed too closely, but there are still pleasing adventures on each page that are spread with color and detail.

As for the art and writing of the novel, adults can even appreciate this book for certain qualities that may not exist in a 500 page, picture-less novel. This book uses color, space, and dialogue to emphasize the search for meaning and sense in one’s life. It accomplishes this by journeying through a seemingly blank story until its character has an important epiphany.

The color of this novel is very unique. First, the end pages are blue which suggest a sense of curiosity to the reader. Also, it is a vibrant blue that promises excitement.
Second, the first page is black, a mysterious beginning that will actually become an important theme throughout the novel. My favorite color technique used by Gerstein however is the not-quite-white background used on many pages. This blankness represents possibilities, it exists for the things that are unsaid and unseen, but are still important to the story. Also, it invokes the reader’s imagination. The color scheme is clearly well thought out to help create the story.

Gerstein also makes a wonderful use of space on his novel’s pages. Everything is oddly spaced and a bit chaotic. Especially when the girl is in someone else’s story, the spaces tighten and constrict. I believe this is the author’s portrayal of the girl trying to fit in a place she does not belong – someone else’s story.

A Book also has the most unique dialogue in any book I’ve ever read. First, nearly every sentence is an exclamatory or an interrogative sentence. This helped show that stories are exciting, but also that questions need to be asked in order to progress throughout the story. It is by questioning things around her that the girl comes to her important epiphany. Second, the dialogue addresses the reader directly. Throughout the story it emphasized the outward perspective of the reader. The language reiterates the fact, that we readers are just strangers in this story. We don’t even get to know the girls name.

I think Gerstein is saying to his readers, “your story is exciting; you just have to discover it.”

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a modern read. It may be a picture book, and you may feel silly reading a book designed for children, but this book has some clever designs that are worth discovering. There is so much beneath this story that you should really read it more than once.

I give this book a four out of five foxes. It is very artistic and clever in its design. However, as far as it being a children’s book, it may be slightly confusing. Not that a child couldn’t understand or enjoy it, but for the book to be fully enjoyed, the “circularness” (for complete lack of a better word) ought to be understood.

Note: these insights are completely my own. They were prompted by an assignment for class, but in no way have these ideas been copied from anything that I used for the assignment. Any connection to outside materials is unrelated. Please contact me if you believe these views may have been expressed elsewhere.

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