Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why I Write - A Guest Blog by Josie Escobar

It’s always important to know why you write and why you want to write. This helps gaining more confidence within your own writing because no matter what you write, you know why you wanted to in the first place. Once you know why you write, you’ll discover your writing voice and the difference you want to make through your own work. You’ll open just a million more doors.

I write for interesting meaning and understanding, 
I write so people can be affected by my words, not for people to expect happy endings.
I write so I can discover something completely different and original about a subject, 
I write what people don't see, feel, or understand.

I write the story that wants to be written.

I write so that the musical words could mean something completely original, 
I write for the readers to be shocked in a heartbeat, a single thumping.
I write so the arrow can strike right in the center, then burn down the crumbling, black, target.
I write because sorrow doesn't need an ending, 

I write because we do.

I write so that the floating angels and burning flames can appear to be the most beautiful thing on earth, 
I write because I'm not commonly different, 
I write to make sure my soul is still living, 
I write with everything inside of me so I can let go of every living fume I've taken in, 
I write so that a flower could have a living heartbeat, 

I write because there are no limits.

I write so reality could be magic in its own way, 
I write to make readers cry of sadness, happiness, and longing.
I write so that a part of me can stand out more powerful
I write to make the most beautiful things, create its inner fire, and make that beauty worth it.
I write to tell people joy and happiness will not always due for justice in reality.

I write to clench at people's hearts and launch them in the gutter, 
so that life itself can escape its limits.

Thanks for guest blogging, Josie!
Visit Josie's blog:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing: Stories by Lydia Peelle

Hi, guys, sorry for my absence of late, I'm just...really lazy. Well, I've also been focusing on writing a lot lately, and I've actually sent a short story as well as a poem to literary magazines in attempts for publication. So fingers crossed at that happening. (As always, you can find my writing through either Figment or Goodreads...ask if you want to and I'll give you a link.) Aside from that, I've been finding myself more and more surrounded by people who care about books, so I can actually talk about books to real people now, which is awesome.

Now, down to business...

From Goodreads: Peelle has crafted eight stories that capture these moments: summers riding horses, life as a carnival worker, kidding season on a farm. Quiet and telling, her stories are filled alternately with supreme joy and with deep sorrow, desperation and longing, dreams born and broken -- set in landscapes where the clock ticks more slowly. Her landscapes are the kind of places you want to run away from, or to which you wish you could return, if time hadn't irrevocably changed them. A single thread runs through each of these stories, the unspoken quest to answer one of life's most primal questions: Who am I?

My review: 4.5/5
Very good collection of short stories. Lydia Peelle was an impressive writer, and I'm happy to have noticed this one out in perfect among the tornado of used books that is my local bookstore. The stories were realistic, fun, and had a great common theme among them - a feeling of something that is lost, or something that once was. My god, some of these stories were just beautiful.
The only thing that slowed the book for me is that it isn't exactly fun to read. That's usually what writing that's true to real emotion is like, though, because it is not escapism, so it's not something that I fault the book for.
For the record, my favorite story was the title story, 'Reasons For and Advantages of Breathing.'
I will definitely be giving some of these stories rereads.

Thanks for reading, and for, like, still existing even when I'm too busy to get on my blog for months at a time.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder

I feel like it's been a while since I've posted here, but I've really gotten into my writing recently. I even won first place in J.R. Wagner's writing contest! You can read my winning story, Muffins & Dragons, here: http://theneverchronicles.com/Muffins.html(Or, if you want to give me direct feedback, this is my Figment: http://figment.com/users/60360-Colby )
Anyways. Chasing Brooklyn. From Goodreads: In this chilling companion to Schroeder's "I Heart You, You Haunt Me," a year has passed since Lucca dies, and Brooklyn and Nico are still struggling with their sorrow. As they work together to rediscover their passion for life again, they soon discover their growing passion for each other, as well.           My review: Okay, so this is the type of book that I didn't dislike, but it just didn't have any impact on me. Which makes it really hard to review. Because I really wanted to like it, and from my encounters of Lisa on the internet, I know she's really nice. WHICH I REALIZE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE QUALITY OF THE BOOK SO I'LL SHUT UP ABOUT HER NICENESS NOW. (Is niceness a word? Hmm.) Anyways. The writing was good, but I didn't feel like much was happening throughout the book. It was a ghost story, but the whole story was like oh I'm being haunted. That's kind of creepy. Oh well. So you can see where I'm just waiting for the story to get super creepy and it just didn't quite get to the level I was hoping for. I mean, I get that it's like a romance story first, ghost story second, but still. If the ghosts are going to be there, I wish it'd be brought out more.
If you've read any of my reviews, you know that I fangirl over verse like crazy. So you might ask how the verse was in this one. I thought it was very good, but not my favorite - Ellen Hopkins still holds that spot in my heart.

Go ahead and give this book a try. I feel like I've been really negative here, but I do NOT regret buying and reading it. In fact, I've bought another of Schroeder's books and am currently awaiting its arrival from Amazon. Try her out...she's coming up.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nothing by Janne Teller

From Goodreads:Nothing is the Lord of the Flies for the 21st century

Pierre Anthon left school the day he found out that it was not worth doing anything as nothing mattered anyhow. The rest of us stayed behind. And even though the teachers carefully cleared up after Pierre Anthon in the class room as well as in our heads, a bit of Pierre Anthon remained within us. Perhaps this is why things later happened the way they did ...

Thus begins the story of Pierre Anthon, a thirteen year old boy, who leaves school to sit in a plum tree and train for becoming part of nothing. "Everything begins just in order to end. The moment you were born you began to die, and that goes for everything else as well." Pierre Anthon shouts and continues: "The whole thing is just one immense play which is about pretending and about being best at exactly that."

Scared at the prospects that Pierre Anthon throws at them together with the ripening plums, his seventh grade classmates set out on a desperate quest for the meaning of life. Nothing they do will make him come down, not even pelting him with rocks. So to prove to Pierre Anthon that life has meaning, the children decide to give up things of importance. The pile starts with the superficial—a fishing rod, a new pair of shoes. But as the sacrifices become more extreme, the students grow increasingly desperate to get Pierre Anthon down, to justify their belief in meaning.

My review: This is a dark and sickening book. One star is lost because the characters aren't that great. Some of them were underdrawn, and some were so ridiculous you felt like you were looking at a charicature of an actual character. I mean, you can't tell me you didn't roll your eyes at the descriptions of either lady William or Holy Karl. *sighs*

The other star is lost on the story. I mean, it's a little stupid. Seventh grade intellectual realizes nothing is worth doing. So he does the obvious thing...climbs a plum tree. And then other kids take offense, until they decide to create a heap of meaning. So, of course, it progresses nicely...sandals...gerbil...prayer mat...dead baby...wait, what? Yeah. Stupid. Dark, but still really stupid.

It's like the car wreck you can't stop looking at. I flipped the pages like mad, but I must say that I was really waiting for it to be over for a lot of it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

From Goodreads: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My Review: There is only one way to review this book for me, and that is to tell you how my emotions were throughout it.
Beginning: I was thinking, "Oh, okay, so Markus Zusak can write. That's really cool."
Middle: "Wait, DEATH is narrating this? The eff? That's so cool! And this is a super interesting book."
Middle-end: "Something tells me I'm going to be really sad really soon."

Why, Markus Zusak? Why must you reduce me to mush with this book? Gawd. I was bawling at the end. Like a freaking baby. And books NEVER make me cry, unless they're this, The Kite Runner, or, okay, I cried a bit during The Fault in Our Stars. To me, that signifies nothing other than great writing!

I won't tell you the line, becuase it *may* spoil the ending for you if you're a thinker, but it was this one thing that Death said in his narrative that just made me go WAAAAAAAH.

Oh my god. This is a bad review. But that just tells you how I feel about this book. It stepped all over me.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

From Goodreads: A novel set mostly in Afghanistan. The introverted and insecure afghan narrator, Amir, grows up in Afghanistan in the closing years of the monarchy and the first years of the short-lived republic. His best and most faithful friend, Hassan, is the son of a servant. Amir feels he betrays Hassan by not coming to his aid when Hassan is set on by bullies and furthermore forces Hassan and his father Ali to leave his father´s service. Amir´s relatively priviledged life in Kaboul comes to an end when the communist regime comes to power and his extrovert father, Baba emigrates with him to the U.S. There Amir meets his future, afghan wife and marries her. Amir´s father dies in the U.S. and Amir receives a letter from his father´s most trusted business partner and, for a time, Amir´s surrogate father, which makes Amir return, alone, to a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan in search of the truth about himself and his family, and finally, a sort of redemption.

My review: There is that point when a book crosses that line of a book you really like to that book that you can't stand to read, because it hurts to see what happens to the characters and it makes you feel every single emotion. This book crossed that line. That said, I'm always being told that books will make me cry, but I will always be, like, stonefaced while reading them, and I was told that about this book, and it didn't make me cry. God, I'm heartless. It's the saddest book I've ever read, though.
And the characters are great, interesting, and you care about them. Actually, I couldn't stand the main character. But that's not necessarily bad writing...I don't think Hosseini meant for you to like him, especially...
The bottom line: This is great writing, and a very interesting read to learn about the recent history of Afghanistan. Even if you're not interested in that, you should try this one out. Great book.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

Okay, it's been a while since I read this book, but I had to really think on it to know how I felt.
And the more and more I think about it, the more annoyed I get. Jay Asher wrote one of the most serious young adult books that we have, and it was heartbreaking, and then he comes back with something humorous? I'm not saying that genre-switching is bad, it's the way that this thing tried to be funny, and all the humor was just like. Ha. Ha. That's almost funny. Jay...why?

I'm not going to say anything about Mackler, because I've never read her other books.

This book was just soooo shallow! There are a MILLION things you should do when you can find out what happens in the future besides finding out who your future mate is and then trying to change it! Why, why, why?
And please, look at the cover and tell me that doesn't scream action-packed sci-fi. This is HUMOR, although it's not well done.
Other than that, it's okay...but, wow.