30 November, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (17)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

The rules for participating:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week, my teaser is from Freefall, the third book in the Tunnels Series. I am JEALOUS of people in the UK who get to read Closer, because I love this series. It's one of the best I've read in a while--dark, mysterious, with plot twists everywhere. They're amazingly unpredictable, and they're very well-written, too. They leave off at cliffhangers, which makes for some pretty frustrating reading, but when you get your hands on the next book it's definitely worth it.

(This is the US cover--for once, the two versions, US/UK, are actually pretty much the same.)



He closed his eyes and pressed a hand to his forehead, as if he was experiencing a stabbing pain. But it wasn't that sort of pain.
   "No. Shut up," he gasped. "Don't!"

Do you have a teaser today? If so, feel free to leave it in the comments!


-----The Golden Eagle

29 November, 2010

Things That--As A Writer--You Can Make The Reader Feel Like Doing:

Thinking.

Screaming.

Crying.

Moaning at the unfairness of the world.

Hugging someone.

Cherishing they life they have.

Taking action.

Facing their fears.

Grinning.

Scowling.

Laughing.

Sniffling.

Contemplating the world.

All of the above.


Words have power.

Use them.


And for that matter, which do you prefer making the reader feel--as a writer yourself? What would you want the reader to feel after they've read your writing?


-----The Golden Eagle

27 November, 2010

Challenge: How Many Of These Have You Read?

When I noticed this over on a lot of blogs, I just had to do it. For one thing, it's a book tag! For another thing, it's also a literary tag! 


And I want to show the BBC that there are, in fact, quite a few people--like my fellow bloggers here who did this--who are well-read and have consumed more than 6 of these titles!


Rules for the challenge:


• Copy this list.
 Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
 Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.



And as a bonus, I'm going to underline those I'm thinking about reading next year.


Commentary is in aqua.



Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
(Blah. I didn't like Pride and Prejudice)
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

(One of my favorite books.)
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

(Favorite again.)
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

(Interesting . . .)
The King James Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

(Ideas/opinions made me think. I know this book is controversial.)
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

(Read it in one day. Liked it then, not particularly interested now . . .)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare

(I've read a collection--but not every single play.)
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

(My mom read this to me.)
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot

(I got around 150 pages in, and then it just flopped for me. It was too boring.)
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

(BOO, Scarlett! Rhett Butler--hmph.)
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

(The translation was odd--they put the French parts in footnotes, but put the Russian where it would be if it was being read normally. I should try reading it again, though.)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

(Love.)
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
(I'm interested in this one.)
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

(Hate Alice in Wonderland, most of the time--I like the recent movie, though.)
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

(Started, never finished. We have to copy, so I should read it . . .)
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

(Interested. It's a pretty famous book, and I can't forget Lemony Snicket's comment from Horseradish. :D)
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

(Enjoy this series.)
Emma -Jane Austen

Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis

(Um, you just listed the Chronicles of Narnia, BBC.)
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

(I have an upcoming review of this--enjoyed it a lot.)
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

(We have a collection of stories . . . does that count?)
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown

(Apparently I write like this guy . . . )
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

(Never appealed to me.)
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding

(Reminds me of Robert Cormier's novels. This sort of book gets me into the mood to write evil, scheming, psychologically twisted characters. I do have some of that sort in my writing.)
Atonement – Ian McEwan

Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John SteinbeckLolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville

(I reviewed this . . . it's in the archives. Kind of dull, but at least I can say I read it!)
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker

(There's an electronic copy somewhere . . . or I could just get it out of the library to read the rest. :P)
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

(I like the movie better. Ever seen it?)
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
(I want to read this book! A Short History of Nearly Everything--one of my favorite nonfic books.)
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

(This was one of the first long-ish chapter books I read.)
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

(I read Tuesdays With Morrie recently for school. Wrote an essay.)
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

(Go, Sherlock!)
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

(Interesting story.)
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

Hamlet – William Shakespeare
(The story, not the play. It's a strange story. I saw the PBS recent version of it, with David Tennant.)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

(Wacky . . . never watched the movie.)
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

(Cosette is an airhead. That's what I thought after I read it. Jean Valjean--interesting enough.)


So, to tally:


21 read.
5 started, never finished.
7 to (possibly) read next year.



----The Golden Eagle

26 November, 2010

The Aftermath

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

And now there are leftovers to look forward to--mmmm. Due to there being an awesome sale at the grocery store, we got a 21-pound turkey, even with the knowledge there would only be two people eating it . . . so we've got a whole lot of delicious food. :) (Plus stuffing--I adore that stuff.)

*****

In writing news, I finished another part of my book! (I write the current novel in parts.) NaNoWriMo has paid off in that I've been thrust up to a turning point in my book and advanced it over 70,000 words. Which is excellent.

Although, I've said I wanted to finish my novel by the end of 2010--that's looking a little questionable, since I just got some more ideas during NaNo, (the Case of the Expanding Novel strikes again) and I only managed to write 5 lines out of 36-line plot plan in all those 70,000 words. Which means I'd have to write another 7 parts at my current pace, and really, I don't think I'll be able to write 400,000 words or so in one month, as much as I'd like to be able to. But I will not be deterred! If anything, I want to get halfway through that plot plan in December; I might have to truncate some things, but I have to make this thing stop sometime . . . this isn't a Never-Ending Story.

*****

I was thinking about putting up a Christmas playlist--I've been thinking about putting up some music for a while, and naturally that led to the Christmas music idea. But since not everyone celebrates Christmas, I was wondering: would you mind a playlist? Would you enjoy it? Would you hate it? (I promise there wouldn't be anything horribly screechy or annoying or bothersome. Mostly instrumental.)


Again, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving day. :)


-----The Golden Eagle

25 November, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today's the day!



Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and do remember to be thankful--for the big things, for the little things, for the things that seem ordinary but can also represent so much more. :)

(If you want to see the annual Presidential pardoning of a turkey go HERE. I feel bad for the rest of my birdy cousins.)

Have a wonderful day!


-----The Golden Eagle

24 November, 2010

Did You Know . . .

. . . that the Empire State Building moored a dirigible?


. . . that one of the largest pyramids in the world is in Las Vegas?


. . . that the Pentagon once spent $7,600 for a coffeepot, $435 for a hammer, and $640 for a toilet seat?


I know I didn't!

(I am not kidding you, in case you were wondering.)

*****

I love trivia. I know I'm not going to rule the world with trivia, but it's fun to know about.

*****

Thank you for all your comments on the Ease or Throw the Reader? post--it was great learning what you thought about that subject!

*****

Anyway, I'm also here to say that RaShelle (who was recently nominated for the Sexiest Female Blogger Award at TheMovie411--go vote for her!) awarded me this lovely mug:




Which I am going to give her a big *hug* and THANK YOU! for. :)

I'm now going to pass it on to these wonderful bloggers:

Summer Ross
Jai Joshi
Rachael Harrie
Old Kitty
Karen Gowan

. . .  and I do think that's all I came to post about today.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


-----The Golden Eagle

23 November, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (16)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

The rules for participating:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week, my teaser is from Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud, who is one of my favorite authors--I love the Bartimaeus Trilogy (have you ever read it?).



For Halli in his early youth, bedtime was the most intimate moment of the day, when he could mull on events and what he had learned. He lay beneath his woolen blanket, staring up at the window at the end of the cot, through which the stars shone cold over the dark slabs of the mountains, and the listened to the hum of voices from the hall, where his parents conducted the evening arbitrations.

-p.25


Do you have a teaser today? If so, feel free to leave it in the comments! :)


-----The Golden Eagle

21 November, 2010

Book Review: The House of the Scorpion

The House of the ScorpionImage via Wikipedia

Title: The House of the Scorpion
Author: Nancy Farmer
Publisher: Richard Jackson Book: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Genre: Science Fiction/Realistic Fiction
Page Count: 380
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cover Rating: 3.5 out of 5. All right; the scorpion matches the book's plot, and it matches the cover, but I think that it's a little too dark. A more vibrant red and a darker black would have made it stand out a little more.

Inside flap:

At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacran asks El Patron's bodyguard, "How old am I? . . . I know I don't have a birthday like humans, but I was born."
"You were harvested," Tam Lin reminds him. "You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her."
To most people, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. A room full of chicken litter with roaches for friends and old chicken bones for toys is good enough for him. But for El Patron, lord of a country called Opium--a strip of poppy fields lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico--Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patron loves Matt as he loves himself for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.
As Matt struggled to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister, grasping cast of characters, including El Patron's power-hungry family. He is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards and by the mindless slaves of Opium, brain-deadened eejits who toil in the poppy fields.
And escape from Alacran Estate is no guarantee of freedom because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn't even suspect. Around every turn in his vivid, futuristic adventure is a new, heart-stopping surprise.

My expectations: Since it won the Newbery Honor, the Printz and National Book Awards, I expected a lot from it. That expectation was lowered a bit though, when I read the review by Ursula K. LeGuin on the back--I'm not a fan of her writing, and the statements she makes, like "children who are ignorant and vulnerable" and "powerful evildoers who no one can pity"--for one thing, I don't like characters who are "ignorant and vulnerable" and I like my evildoers complex and challenging to understand, not just powerful and evil, thank you very much.


Unfortunately, my expectations based on the three awards were not met.

About the book: Most books have something that they explore, whether deeply or lightly; something like friendship, love, sadness, grief, loss of life, etc. Usually, by the time I've finished a book, I can pinpoint that factor, or I can at least get a general feeling out of the book.


But with this one, I struggled to grasp the meaning that Nancy Farmer was trying to convey--or if there was any sort of moral in the first place. After thinking and discussing it, I think the meaning of this book has to do with individuality; and that would definitely work with something written from the perspective of a clone.


Yet, I still have mixed feelings. There were other factors that didn't jive with it being about individuality alone; I would not say that it's pointless, but I just couldn't get what Farmer was trying to say. Le Guin, in her review, mentions that it is ". . . science fiction that doesn't rely on violence as the solution to complex problems of right and wrong." Is Farmer trying to avoid violence entirely, and that's her point? Possible. This book made me think--hard. It's a good book in that sense.


  • Plot:

Interesting. It was spectacular, but it worked; the ending was all right, but it was a little too light for the previous events. I expected it to end in a less-pleasant way, and it felt artificially satisfying. I won't spoil it for you, but I felt that the ending could have ended up being stronger, or at least a little more realistic.


  • Characters:
Matt, the clone, was a naive character. I don't like naive characters; if there's one factor of a MC that annoys me, it's naivete. But I liked Matt--I felt sorry for him, and his problems, since they weren't his fault in the least and the things he experienced were cruel.

Maria was a headstrong, defiant girl. She got pushed back from her more central as she got older over the years, and I would have liked to see her older; however, she was a good character.

Tam Lin is one of those characters who's wise, in an almost accidental way. Matt pays a lot of attention this man; he learns a lot from him. Tam Lin is a fascinating character, a mix of different things; out of all of them, he was one of the most intriguing and stunning.


  • Setting/Elements:

I wasn't sure of what to think about the drug empire between the USA and Mexico. It's an interesting take on what our future might be like in North America, especially since I've never read a book incorporating such a theme.


The science was portrayed almost in a cruel light, I have to say that. I've noticed that a lot of books seem to portray science as being cold and unethical, with scientists doing things just to see if they work without thinking about the possible consequences. For one thing, not all scientists are like that--at all. That's another thing I did not like about this book.

Other: Cruelty, drugs, some references (some sexual, mostly violent/mean).

Do I recommend this book? If you want something that will keep you wondering what the point of it is, then yes, I recommend this book. I do not recommend this book, however, if you're looking for a light read--give yourself time if you're going to read this book and take in the entire scope.


-----The Golden Eagle
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19 November, 2010

Ease or Throw the Reader?

Some books put the reader straight into the setting the story is based on. Others try to ease you into it, through discoveries made by the main character.

I prefer the kind of book that puts you straight into the setting without preamble, another reason SF/F are my favorite genres most of the time. There's no preamble, and things are usually described in the first chapter or so, as you get used to the character's surroundings. Or they're just stated, and the reader is shown how the world works.

Easing the reader into the story--sucking them in, even though there are just clues as to something bigger that may or may not be around the corner--can be hard, and it's easy to bungle. A lot of authors pull it off well, but some do not. I find this especially with books where the protagonist is finding out something about another character, who typically has some sort of secret behind his/her existence, or when the secret's about the MC him/herself.

One problem I find with simply putting the reader into the story is because some things just don't make sense at first. I can occasionally get lost in Science Fiction with the technology--the books appeal to my geek side, but sometimes it's hard to understand the jargon, especially when it comes to things like gaming. (I know little about gaming.) And sometimes the terms are completely made up, and you have to guess what they're talking about, which can be annoying.

But easing the reader into the story can be jagged and feel wrong. The discovery has to be smooth and not terribly obvious, so that the reader has something to actually guess at. Otherwise, that part of the magic is lost. It can work if the reader already knows what's behind whatever's happening in the story, but if the character is unrealistically reacting to things and saying something that fit their character (or general common sense) then it doesn't. And when the MC finds out the secret . . . well, they can't be all "ooooh, goody!" or "I still trust you besides the fact you can kill me and I know practically nothing about you!" because in good ol' Real Life people don't do that. They freak out and tell their friends the person's insane.

Hopefully, anyway.

I could be being too literal with this . . . it's just fiction. But if the world isn't presented right, or if there's something I don't understand, it bugs me. I like my books wrapped up tight, and if they're not, then I tend to get frustrated.


What do you think? Ease, or throw the reader into the story? Do you prefer either? Does it affect your opinion of a book if the beginning events aren't explained completely, or if the protagonist is reacting in a way that's not true to life?


-----The Golden Eagle

18 November, 2010

Awards

I have been storing up awards for a post. . . and here they are!

The first award comes from Elena Solodow at You're Write. Except When You're Rong. and it's the Versatile Blogger Award:



Which was also awarded to me by L'Aussie at L'Aussie Writing!

Many thanks to both of you! :)

The third (or second . . . depending on how you look at it) award is from Lynda Young ad W.I.P It! She gave the people she awarded the option of choosing which award they wanted, and I decided to take the Magical Blog Award:


Since I love the image of the Eiffel Tower.


Now, you're probably curious to see who I award, so here they are (for various reasons . . . among them amazing blogs, writerly or otherwise):


Adina West at Stairways And Landings for the Magical Blog Award.
Ann at Inkpots n' Quills for the Magical Blog Award
Jane at Jane's Ride for the Magical Blog Award.
Jayne at A Novice Novelist for the Versatile Blog Award.
Holly Ruggiero at Scribbles And Splashes for the Versatile Blog Award.
Mary Vaughn at Giggles And Guns for the Versatile Blog Award.
Jen Chandler at Culinary Vagabonding for the Versatile Blog Award.

(Four of each.) And once again to those who awarded me: thanks!


*****

One last thing. For those of you (lu-cky!) who are going to see Harry Potter tonight . . . have an awesome time, and I'm hoping for your sake and for the sake of the book that it rocks. :)


-----The Golden Eagle

17 November, 2010

201 Followers And NaNoWriMo News!

First--I have 201 followers!

Wow. I can't believe my blog has come that far in less than a year! Thank you, everyone! :)

Since I can't offer you anything else, except gratitude and following back, here's the list of everyone in the order that they appear on my Dashboard:

TJ
Tjheart
John
The Words Crafter
The Library Lurker
Misha Mathew
Alison
Jessica
Bamba
Karen Gowen
Michelle M. Merrill
Kenzy
Icewolf
Taylor
Alex
~Prism~
Julie
Shimmer
Bleah Briann
Jayden Black
Memzie
Jojo
Shantal
Quintessajazz
Sarah
Bekah
Hayhay
Bridget
Liliejane
Hannah
Audrey
Liberty
Miss M
Kristen
The Neverending Shelf
Adria
Milli
Guinevere
Roland D. Yeomans
Lizzy
Caroline
Cornet Crazie
Katie Krinkleberry
Maryo
Shaynie
Laughingwolf
RA
Elliot Grace
Alyssa Kirk
Elana
Shelley
Julie
Artistaplastico
Jessica Nicole
Kulsuma
Brooke
Samantha
Cx2 The Artist
Kelsey Opsahl
In The Hammock Blog
Darlyn
LadyViolet
Orchid
Peaceful Reader
Dog Trainer In Training
Oceanwing
Brian
Jenna B.
Bobbi Marie
Sunsinger
Amy
Ant
Brena Tate
Arlee Bird
Alex J.
Laurel Of Green
Dahlia
Sammy Sleuth
E.J. Stevens
Medeia Sharif
Theresa
Crystal Jigsaw
Debbie Curran
Cruella Collett
Clarissa Draper
Becca & Zippy
Deepali
Anne Sepulveda
Kelley
Lynda Young
Elena Solodow
The Alliterative Allomorph
Renae Mercado
Christine Fonseca
Michelle McLean
Lola Sharp
Talei
Tere Kirkland
Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
N. R. Williams
Lisa Potts
Shannon O'Donnell
Sharon K. Mayhew
Jen Chandler
Pam Torres
Misha Gericke
RaShelle
Elizabeth Mueller
Len
Hannah Kincade
Whiskfang
Cinette
Julie Nelson
Kathi Oram Peterson
Quinn
Angela Felsted
Sabryna
Lauren Parkinson
C. N. Nevets
Brave Chickens
Emma M.
Ishta Mercurio-Wentworth
Hannah
Joe64
Tyrean
Rachel Morgan
Gail
Kiki
Deni Krueger
Marieke
J.C. Martin
Jamie
Aleta
Carolyn Abiad
Patricia Stoltey
Nature Freak
Nicole MacDonald
Jennifer Hillier
DEZMOND
Lydia Kang
Angela Ackerman
Simon Kewin
Sangu
Francine
Paul C
Mary
Jeffrey Beesler
Ellie Great
KILLER CHICKS
Holly Ruggiero
Brenda
L. Diane Wolfe
Christine Danek
KarenG
Stephen Tremp
Jackee
Ann
Emily
Talli Roland
Joann
King AFIcionado
Old Kitty
Robyn Campbell
Liz
Maria McKenzie
Rachael Harrie
+Flamingo Pink+
Angus and Robertson Edwardstown
Reading Lassie
Regina Linton
Jayne
Swirly Girl
Claire Goverts
Kris Kaumeyer
Lucy Westenra
James Deagle
Theresa
Jane Kennedy Sutton
L'Aussie
Jessica M Stanford
Pk Hrezo
Adina West
Susan Wilcox
The Blogger Formerly Known As
Jewelknits
Colene Murphy
Jai Joshi
Mohamed Mughal
Jesse Noe Mendez
Julia C
Dominic de Mattos
Cherry
Brian
Madeleine
Tuncerni
Jemi Fraser
David J. West
Hart
Angie

If I've linked to your blog but you'd rather I linked to a different blog of yours, or if I've *shame* missed someone, or if I've linked to the wrong person entirely, please leave a comment saying so! The same if I don't have your link--ignore the ban on URLs and leave one! (I know some of you don't go by the same name under the followers, so that could be the reason I left it blank--I couldn't be sure.)

*****

I FINISHED NANOWRIMO!

Yes, I finished it! *happy dancing*



I'm going to go kick my feet up by the beach and relax for the rest of the day. :)

Okay . . . so there aren't beaches around here. But you get what I'm saying, right?

;D


-----The Golden Eagle

16 November, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (15)

Wow, I've done 15 of these things? It doesn't feel like that many . . . but anyway!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, and here are the rules which I've practically memorized by now:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser comes from the cyberpunk/technogeek book For The Win by Cory Doctorow. I'm enjoying this book so far--I love the speculative fiction aspect, and the union/human rights idea isn't something that's commonly in YA Fiction.



"Yes, yes! That's what I thought. And all I needed to do was pay her one small fee for the rights to sell downline, and she would supply me with herbs and sales kits and everything else I needed. She said that she was signing me up because I was Fujianese, like her, and she wanted to take care of me."

Do you have a teaser? If so, feel free to share it in the comments!


-----The Golden Eagle

14 November, 2010

Book Review: Dragons Of Darkness



Title: Dragons Of Darkness
Author: Antonia Michaelis
Translated By: Anthea Bell
Publisher: Amulet Books, imprint of Abrams
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Page Count: 548
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Cover Rating: 5 out of 5. *cover-induced drooling* You couldn't make a better cover for the book! And besides that, the dragon is simply gorgeous. Not all dragons are illustrated that well! I love it even more than Tiger Moon's cover, the other book she wrote. I would definitely want them doing my book cover . . .

Inside flap: 

Beautiful yet menacing dragons have come out of the mountains . . .
With an appetite as sinister as theirs, nothing--and no one--will be spared.
Christopher doesn't have much in common with Jumar, the prince of Nepal. He's not even sure how he ended up trekking across the mountainous country in the prince's strange company. But one thing is certain: someone must help fight the deadly dragons and other, even more dangerous forces that plague the land.
   The dragons are like something out of a fairly tale, draining all the color from the world and turning anyone caught in their shadows to metal. Defeating the dragons will take Christopher and Jumar on a journey deep into the heart of Nepal, and deep into the secrets of their own hearts. What they find there will make all the difference.

My expectations: Average. I expected an interesting fantasy read, maybe a little more like MG than YA.


This book falls pretty strongly into the YA category, and the mix of what's in this book . . . I seriously have never read anything like it!

About the book: The synopsis does not do this book justice in the least! The book is a wild ride, with invisible princes (yes, invisible!), to Maoist insurgents, to dragons that drink color and turn people to metal, to German boys thrust into the political conflict either by magic or because they traveled there to do aid work, to a queen frozen in time.


I loved it, all except for a few parts that I found a little strange. But there were a lot of good things, too. The political, communist aspect was a surprise--not many books, especially ones in the USA, are written that include Communism as one of its central points. Dragons Of Darkness incorporates the politics into the story well--it's not unrealistic or unbelievable, despite the circumstances that the characters are in.


The overall writing style, while translated, is very good. I love Antonia Michaelis's writing, part of the reason I snatched up this book after having read Tiger Moon. I wonder what it's like in the original German.


  • Plot:

Fast, complicated, and little surprising. I didn't expect the characters to do what they did, nor did I ever completely anticipate what was going to happen next. The politics, magic, fantasy, characters, and the setting worked well together, although you might not think they would.


  • Characters:
I really liked Christopher as a character. He was determined and a good person, and considering he was thrown into Nepal via magic and ran into an invisible prince without warning, he took everything in stride rather well. I grew fond of him.

Jumar was different, not only because he's invisible. He's also determined, although for different goals--he wants to rescue his kingdom, Nepal, and topple the Maoist insurgents who are attempting to take over the country. I like Christopher better, but Jumar was still an attractive character.

Niya was different from everyone. She was strong, fiery, and had amazing spirit, considering what she'd been through. I liked her sureness, and her strong-as-steel attitude, although some of her decisions made me blink. But she was a good character.


All the other secondary characters are equally as good, with people from all over the spectrum, from kings to monks to the insurgents.


  • Setting/Elements:

The military aspect--the Maoists--surprised me at first. The title is Dragons Of Darkness, after all; it sounds like High Fantasy, or something like that. I hadn't expected to read so much of their political ideas, although I have to say that it was an interesting take on their principles and why they do what they do. It was also a glimpse of Nepal, and not many books have their setting in that country.

Other: Violence, and sex. The sex kind of threw me--these people are barely teenagers, yet they're having sex. Good grief.

I would love to see this book made into a movie. There's plenty of action, and with graphics where they are right now, I'm sure someone could do an epic job with the dragons.

Do I recommend this book? Yes!


-----The Golden Eagle

13 November, 2010

NaNoWriMo Update

Broke a record today! At least, one of my own records. I know some of you writer's have already finished the challenge!

But as for my own writing, I managed 5,200+ words this morning, and my word count is currently 36,669 words.

*grins* I hope to finish this challenge by (at least) November 20th, since I've only got some 13,000 words left to go . . .

Me:



(The keyboard starts to act funny if I type too much in one day.)

Have a great Saturday, everyone!


-----The Golden Eagle

12 November, 2010

Antagonists: Do You See (AKA Write) Through Their Eyes?

I was reading a post over HERE at The Rainy Day Wanderer, and looking at some of the comments, and it got me thinking.

Reading something through the antagonist's perspective has its downside, of course. You don't want to force the reader to experience the (usually horrific) thoughts of the "evil" in a story, or the book as whole can deteriorate, even if there's a strong protagonist.

But sometimes, using the evil person's perspective can be very helpful for pushing the plot forward, helping the reader to understand something, showing some sort of insight into the story, etc. So presenting something with the antagonist's voice can be a good thing--but how much is too much, and how evil is too evil?

Descriptive writing (something I really should work on myself) can work wonders on a story. However, it seems that you wouldn't want to describe in such full detail, and such . . . eh, illuminating language the home or the surroundings of someone the reader is supposed to hate.

So there has to be a balance between the good and the evil, if you use the thoughts of the antagonist in your writing. It can't be too much of the latter, or it just wouldn't be as satisfying a read.

But I also noticed not a majority of books even have chapters or sections devoted to the antagonist's perspective. Most books, in fact, are entirely through the protagonist's view or through the view of someone close to them. Some books are more detached when they are presenting something as the antagonist sees it--they don't look as deeply into the evil as they do the good. Or they describe what is happening as if from a distance, in the third person as opposed to the first or something more intimate.

(The only book I can think of that's written in the perspective of someone that could be called the bad guy is The Book Thief. And even then it's not that horrible. I actually got a little fond of Death.)

In my own book, there are a lot of varied characters, including some pretty bad people. Drug lords. Ethnic cleansing terrorists. You know, the lot of 'em. I write in the perspective of all the above, and some other not-so-nice people. I occasionally let them spew their--what I would call--filth and vile talk, while trekking through their inner thoughts. Many of them could be called "evil", even.

Do you think that letting the reader see something through the antagonist's perspective is a good thing, for the reader? Do you think that a book can, effectively, present both the good and the bad sides through the protagonist's and the antagonist's respective thoughts? Do you enjoy/dislike books that have a blend of the two?

Do you write through the perspective of someone who is "evil", or do you stay away from writing that way, keeping to the mind of your protagonist? Do you consider the kind of writing style that includes the antagonist's views shudder-worthy, or beneficial for a story?


-----The Golden Eagle

11 November, 2010

Veterans Day

Also known as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day.

Originally, Veterans Day was a recognition of the war veterans from World War I, when the Armistice was signed on 11-11-1918, at the 11th hour, but then it was changed to be a celebration of all veterans, from all wars, not just WWI.

We should remember those veterans--they risked their lives for their country and its people, and fought for the values of that country.

Respect, and honor them.


-----The Golden Eagle

10 November, 2010

Blogfests Happening Ahead

Because I need a quick post solution and since I have no utterly superb and fascinating posts in my head at the moment, here are links to some upcoming blogfests I've noticed:

Twisted Christmas Fairy Tale Blogfest December 18-20th at Romancing The Blog.

Midwinter Blogfest December 11th at Marieke's Musings.

Crazy Holiday Blogfest December 13th at Christine's Journey.


Will you be participating in any of these?


(Also: hurray! I finally managed to write a short post. :P)


-----The Golden Eagle

09 November, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (14)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Here are the rules for participating:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week, my teaser is from 2061: Odyssey Three by Arthur C. Clarke, one of the three sequels to 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Yes, I'm reading Clarke again.) I recently finished 2010: Odyssey Two, which is even more interesting seeing as we're in 2010 right now. Unfortunately, we're not going to Jupiter . . .




"It fooled a lot of people in the old West--iron pyrites. Common on the outer satellites, of course, but don't as me what it's doing here . . . "
   "Visual contact lost. You're two hundred meters in."

-p.92


If you have a teaser, feel free to share it in the comments!


-----The Golden Eagle

08 November, 2010

NaNoWriMo Update And Other

*whew* Week 1 has passed! Now, just 3 more weeks (and then some) to go . . . but I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to write 50,000 words by the end of the month, seeing as I already have 21,536 words under my belt. That's the most I've ever written in a week! A new record!

This is me:


Yah. So, I'm doing pretty good.

*****

You know that poll on the sidebar? "Is Pluto A Planet"? It closed a while ago; I set it up because I was curious to see what people think after having read The Pluto Files. (Funny, informative, and interesting book--written by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, probably one of my favorite scientists.)

Well, the results are in, and 38% of you say it is a planet, 22% say it isn't, 8% think it's a Kuiper Belt Object, 22% of you say it's a dwarf planet, and 8% of you say it's a planet and a KBO.

Where do I fall? I think it should be a KBO. It's a small ball of ice, smaller than other objects that aren't planets.

If you didn't get a chance to vote, tell me: what do you think?


-----The Golden Eagle

07 November, 2010

Book Review: Sisters Red





Title: Sisters Red
Author: Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Little, Brown And Company
Genre: Paranormal
Page Count: 324
Rating: 3.7 out of 5
Cover Rating: 4 out of 5. I like it, especially the way the red girl's hair/hat sweeps down over her eye. It fits Scarlett well, and the flipped imaged of Rosie against the wolf works all right, although it could, (possibly, but somewhat unlikely) act as a spoiler.

Inside flap:

The wolf opened its long jaws, rows of teeth stretching for her. A thought locked itself in Scarlett's mind: I am the one left to fight, so now must kill you.
Scarlett march lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister, Rosie, from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and a blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.
Rosie March once felt that her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rose hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Scarlett's only friend, Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax. But does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?

My expectations: Low. I read it because I wanted to see if Pearce followed the usual stereotypical werewolf concept, or made something a tad more original out of it. Also, I liked the idea of Scarlett's personality.


It was better than I expected. A lot better, actually.

About the book: First off, the romance in the book isn't as prominent, nor as stereotypical, as the book presents it to be. I was relieved when I found that out. The action is good, and the overall writing isn't bad at all. I enjoyed much of this book, although werewolves are a bit overused and the violence/gore sometimes outweighed the writing.


  • Plot:

A little predictable, but generally it was fine. The beginning was a tad slow, but it picked up. There weren't any gaping holes, and the end, instead of being some open-ended cliff-hanger ending, tied up what had happened before. I was glad that the author hadn't made it into another one of the ubiquitous romance series that seem to go on forever.


  • Characters:

I felt that Rosie and Scarlett March were believable characters. I loved Scarlett's ferocity, her need to hunt the Fenris. Rosie wasn't my favorite character, but she was a good foil for her sister with her quieter ways and gentler disposition.


Silas was all right. Not my favorite love interest, but he was rather good as male YA characters go.


  • Setting/Elements:

Werewolves are very common in YA literature these days. Nevertheless, in this book, they're downright evil, and ruled by their desires instead of being the controllable, good-hearted creatures you see in some books. It was an interesting change.

Other: Violence when they're hunting/killing the Fenris wolves, language that is sort of sudden (and that occasionally felt unnecessary--I hate it when they do this), some making out.

Do I recommend this book? Not particularly, but it isn't bad. I say, if you see it in the library, take it out. It won't be spectacular, but Sisters Red might be a good read when you're bored.

-----The Golden Eagle