31 March, 2011

A Final Wrap-Up Post Before The Madness Begins

As for the madness . . . I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. The A-Z April Blogging Challenge begins tomorrow--the day 865 (or so) people post starting with the letter "A".




865. If you divide that by 30, you get 28.8333333. So to keep up with just 865 and comment once on each, you'd have to visit 28+ blogs a day.

My plan is to get to around 30 blogs per day, keep up with as many bloggers that I already know as I can, (I probably won't get around to everyone--if you don't see me, no, I haven't forgotten about you!), and finish scheduling posts. I had wanted to have all 26 done by today, but instead I have something like 17. Now my goal is to finish them by the end of first week. Thankfully, I have Sunday to type like crazy.

And now, wrap-up time!:


. . . from Tyrean Martinson. Thank you so much for this award, Tyrean!

*****


Coolness. It's free (free, everyone!) software from Oracle, with Writer, (MS equivalent: Word) Base, (Access) Calc, (Calculator) Draw, (Publisher) Math, (Equation Editor) and Impress (PowerPoint), and available for Linux, Mac OS, Windows, Solaris, and some others. My mom wanted to download Base for database management, and the whole pack came with it. Basically, OpenOffice has fewer options, looks like an old version of Microsoft--but it works. Hurray!


*****
  • Death by PowerPoint. I couldn't help posting this. It's just too funny (and kind of disturbing).

Apparently, Death by PowerPoint can also be called "PowerPoint Poisoning" and "PowerPoint Hell". Retired Marine Colonel Thomas X Hammes called it "hypnotizing chickens" when the program is used to make presentations that are overly-complicated and tedious, such as during press briefings. (Guess he doesn't enjoy the press.)

The Wikipedia article also says there is even such a thing as a "PowerPoint Ranger"; i.e. "a military member who relies heavily on presentation software to the point of excess". In addition, a Colonel was fired for criticizing the dependence on the "presentation method". One Russian said "If we ever had a war, while you are working on your Power Point, we would be killing you."


Yeah . . . is there something fishy there, or is it just me?


*****

For those participating in the Challenge, I hope you all have fun, and I look forward to reading your posts!

For those not participating in the Challenge, (hey, you can still sign up, if you haven't been terrified by that huge number of blogs) I also look forward to reading your posts, which I will do my best to keep up with while I tackle the aforementioned list!

See you in April, everyone!

-----The Golden Eagle
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30 March, 2011

Harry Potter Blogfest

The HP Blogfest "Who Would Be Your Mates?" is hosted by Michael Di Gesu at In Time . . ..

Some information from his blog:
It's quite simple. All you have to do is choose which two characters would be YOUR best mates at Hogwarts. You can use any student characters from any book. 
   Could it be Luna and Ginny? Or, perhaps Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet? There a dozens of wonderful characters to pick. How about Lavender Brown and Parvarti Patil? Or, maybe you like the Weasleys.... Could you imagine having Fred and George as your best mates? Hmmm. Maybe I'll take them for me.
   After you choose your mates, then, all you have to do is write a fun little piece on why and what kind of trio would you be. It's that easy. Have FUN with this. Let's keep it between 300-350 words, so we can all read each others work. Sound COOL?


"Luna?" I ask.
   "Mmm?"
   "What are those?"
   "Snarlybotters."
   "And . . . do they do anything?" I bat at the little things, and they swerve in the air away from my hand.
   "Don't be ridiculous," Hermione says, sitting down on a bench nearby. "They're just dust motes."
   I shrug. Luna goes back to reading The Quibbler, and we sit there quietly in the courtyard. I hear a lone bird twittering in the distance while I bend over my Defense Against the Dark Arts textbook, and suddenly Luna stands up.
   "I'm going to see the Thestrals," she says, starting to walk away.
   Hermione glances up at her, but says nothing.
   "Come on, Hermione. We can study down there," I say.
   She gathers up the books and we walk, passing other students as we head toward the forest. Our black uniforms swish behind us, and I loosen my collar. It's a warm day.
   When we reach the forest, Luna stops and throws something onto the ground. Hermione and I watch as it disappears in midair, swallowed up by something we can't see.
   I jump back as something hard and smooth touches my hand. Luna's smiling, so I gently raise it up to feel the contours of a Thestral face. It feels like a young one, maybe a foal or something--I stroke its head for a moment, and then it wanders off in some direction.
   We stand there for a while, and I have to say it's peaceful as Luna feeds the Thestrals and Hermione flips through her books.
   For a moment, I glance back at the towering shape of Hogwarts, and smile. I love it at the school.

*****

How about you? What characters would you, or did you (if you're part of the blogfest) pick?


-----The Golden Eagle

29 March, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (34)

Can you believe this will be my last Teaser Tuesday until May 3rd? I'm going to miss this meme--but the A-Z Blogging Challenge promises to be a lot of fun, too.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser is from The Shadow Project by Herbie Brennan--he's recently become one of my favorite authors, since I love the Faerie Wars Series.


"They're remarkable works," Sir Roland said as they entered the library. "We have volumes dating back to the fifteenth, sixteenth centuries, sometimes even earlier. There's a drawer over there that contains a Roman scroll from the time of Emperor Claudius. And they all have one thing in common--"
   "They all give you the creeps?" Danny suggested.
-p. 75

*****

Have a teaser, or thoughts on a book you're reading? Feel free to leave them in the comments! :)


-----The Golden Eagle

27 March, 2011

Book Review: For The Win



Title: For The Win (Read/download for free HERE)
Author: Cory Doctorow
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Genre: Speculative Fiction/Realistic Fiction/Science Fiction
Page Count: 475
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Cover Rating: 3.8 out of 5. 

Inside flap:
At any hour of the day or night, millions of people around the globe are engrossed in multiplayer online games, questing and battling to win virtual gold, jewels, and precious artifacts. Meanwhile, millions of "gold farmers", trapped by abusive contracts and physical threats, toil in electronic sweatshops in the world's poorest countries, harvesting virtual treasure that their employers sell to First World gamers for real money.   Mala is a brilliant fifteen-year-old from rural India whose leadership skills in virtual combat have earned the nickname "General Robotwalla". In Shenzhen, heart of China's industrial boom, Matthew defies his former bosses to build his own gold-farming crew. Leonard, who calls himself Wei-Dong, lives in Southern California and spends his nights fighting virtual battles alongside his buddies in Asia. All of these young people, and more, become entangled with the mysterious woman called Big Sister Nor, who builds them into a movement to challenge the status quo.   Fighting pitched battles in the slums of Mumbia, in the red-light district of Singapore, in Sound China's enormous industrial cities, and in the virtual worlds of every MMORPG worth playing, Nor's network of gamers is so successful that it incurs ruthless opposition from organized crime, from Western corporations, and from the Chinese authorities. Ultimately, Big Sister's people devise a plan to crash the economy of every virtual world at once--a Ponzi scheme combined with a brilliant pack that ends up being the biggest, funnest game of all.

My expectations: I'd heard a lot about Cory Doctorow's books, mostly in the form of rave comments about Little Brother. I might review that some other time--I really didn't like it. However, at the time, I hadn't read anything else by him so my expectations were pretty much in the air.

About the book: In my opinion, this is one of the best, and one of the very few, Young Adult books on this sort of subject: inequality. There are not many books geared for teens that bring attention to workers' rights or macroeconomics or the virtual economy. I might not agree with everything said and done, but I have to admire the way it was put together and written. It is an original novel, and in a world where much YA is the same, it's a great change.


Cory Doctorow's writing style is not at any extreme. Not to much description, not too little description, the dialogue flows reasonably well. His writing cuts to the point, which makes his books fast and easy to read.


  • Plot:

The plot moves fast. Things happen right after the other, and with all the varying viewpoints there are a lot of intertwining storylines; around the world, something is happening to and around the characters. I love the ending on this book--it left questions to be answered, but still managed to tie up everything well.


  • Characters:
Wei-Dong, AKA Leonard Goldberg, was an interesting character. I found him too arrogant and irresponsible to truly like, but he did some noteworthy things throughout the story. It was also interesting to read the overall perspective on American teens (as he is one) and culture in the story.

Matthew was, again, not someone I was ready to fall in love with, but fascinating to read about. He was a real character, a teen forced into rather horrible working conditions and made to do whatever his boss told him to do.

I liked Jie. She had spunk and determination, and she really tried to change things by spreading the word about protests and rallies. She was also ready to risk her life for what she thought was right and had to be done--something I love to see in a protagonist, particularly a female one.

Mala was not Jie. She was tough and hard at the start, caring, mostly, only about herself and a certain group who stayed loyal to her. However, I liked the way she developed throughout the book and eventually turned out as someone much better than before.

There were a lot of other characters. Most of them had to do with the above-mentioned people, and most of them were the same kind: not characters to love, but to pay attention to and focus on because what they're doing and saying has its value.


  • Setting/Elements:
The presentation of Western culture is not positive. Americans and others are shown as ignorant, blind, and mostly greedy people who will do anything for money and power--particularly those at the top who run the gaming companies and the virtual economies "gold farms" and other such things are based on.

Other: Violence (both virtual and physical), a lot of it having to do with protests/demonstrations/rallies; references; some language.

Do I recommend this book? Yes. This is a fascinating look at something not often covered in Young Adult--or in any other age group--and is very much worth the read.

-----The Golden Eagle

25 March, 2011

500+ FOLLOWERS!

You people are awesome. Absolutely fantastic.

End of story.

Actually, that's not the end of story. Because I really must thank you for following and commenting on The Eagle's Aerial Perspective and making this blog administrator beam and jump up and down when she saw the sidebar this morning.

It was only a month ago that I was heralding 400. Gosh. A month. If you had told me I'd have 500 a few months earlier I would have smiled but thought "Heck no". :P

As usual, here are the links to everyone (in the order that they appear on my Dashboard):

TJ Tjheart John The Words Crafter Mist of the blossom rain The Library Lurker Misha Mathew Alison Jessica Canfield Bobbye Terry Bleah Briann Bamba Karen Gowen, maccaz17, Anica Grey, Kerri, Patrick, K. Howard, Will, SunnyReads, Husar, Aisha Iqbal, Reece Hanzon, Abhishek Boinapalli, C., Gaylene Wilson, Carla, 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 Wolf 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 Michelle M. Merrill 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 Summer Ross Susan Fields Shannon Whitey Messenger Patricia A. Timms Liz Pezzuto Lisa BLHmistress Mason Canyon Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams Kanespock Mary Mary Chary Johnson Ali The Weed Tessa Quinn Milo James Fowler Ellie clp3333 Laurel Garver Flamestorm Emma de Mattos Samantha Verant Lazy Girl Crystal Celery Tree Amparo Ortiz Klahanie Julie Musil Tessa Conte ~Chris Life 101 Heather M Amanda the Aspiring Tracey Neithercott Michael Di Gesu Susan Gourley/Kelley Ricky Nicole Duclerior Jacqueline Howett Tricia J. O'Brien Creative Chaos Summer Frey Susan Kaye Quinn Jamie Burch Sarah Ahiers Erin Laura Eno Katie Mills Sash Bess Weatherby Charli Mac Tony Benson Katrina Lantz Dancing Through Life Janet Johnson Aaron Vincent Julie Dao Ben Edith F Jodi Henry M. J. Fifield Sajack88 GryphonFledgling E. Elle Dempsey Sanders Ellen Amy  Margo Benson Gabriela Pereira M Moonlight Gleam T C MckeePlamena Schmidt W. B. Alexia Elaine AM Smith Angelina Rain SariBelle Madeline Bartos Donea Lee VR Barkowski MJAWare Kindros Aracelis Indigo cal12 Heather Hellman Dimitris Nikogloy Rachna Chhabria Ellen Abby Minard Walk2write Alison Stevens Flying high in the sky Marie Rearden Tuca Zamagna Gail Zuniga Miles McG Gary Baker Carole Ann Carr Demitria Lunetta Ben Langhinrichs Amanda Milner Katharine Owens Cathye Carolina Valdez Miller Kelsey Lindz Happily Cheesy B.E.T Sarah Amy Saia Luke Raftl Ann Best Ian Bontems Lisa Ricard Claro Tara Cherie Reich Elizabeth Twist Niki KatieO Auburnville E.C. Smith Austin James Ella L.A. Colvin Donna Glennhyt Witless Exposition Mason Bundschuh Dazzling Mage Shelly Kavrik Megan Bickel Anica Grey J Fritz Margo Kelly Liz Fichera Deborah Walker Tanya Reimer J.L. Campbell Paul J. Lincoln Lynnette Labelle Charity Bradford DS Tracy Jolene Sully's Scribbles Zan Marie Scheherezade Natalya Raising Marshmallows Rane Anderson Susanna Gen Revelation Cheryl Anne Cinders Rusty Devin Bond MC Howe Carrie Carol Riggs TayLyee Pixie Leigh Meredith Kristal Alberta Ross Deniz Bevan Louise Francesca Killer Reviews Sierra Trisha Nas Dean Karen Danette Catherine Johnson Emailman Sharde(Shar-Day) Lauri Luna Chris Anika Hold my hand WritingNut Alleged Author Tina DC Hayes Bryna Fisher Александр Jordan McCollum Lana Banana Beth Elisa Harris Akoss Tangynt Catherine Lavoie Susan Kane Catherine Denton J.R. Jennifer Duffey Lois D. Brown Yves Brown McClain Nebular Henrique Moura Paula Pinto, Carol KilgoreАлександр Раздорский, Robert Guthrie, Jade, Tizzy, Tyson, JJ, Amie Kaufman, Lune, Darkeva, Ana, JYS, Junebug, Nouvelles couleures--vienna atelier, Anton_Grig139, L. Blankenship, D.U.O, David Powers King, Nicki Elson, Louise Wise, Murees Dupe, KLo, Aine Tierney, Nutschell, Roxy, AlexOngNYC, Brian H, Corinne O'Flynn, DeanO, Stephanie Thornton, Ciara Knight, Rebecca, Michelle Gregory, Danyelle, Abby Annis, Sue Roebuck, Becka Bayn, Gabriel Guerrero, Michelle Argyle, Policia Academica, Kelly DexterВалентина Кощеева, Kyria, Li, Paco, Laura Howard, Michelle in a shell, Antonia Alvarez Gordillo, Sheila Siler, Armchair Squid, Melissa J. Cunningham, Larissa, Mysteriousrose, Me and my thinking cap, Allen Grimes, Alesa Warcan, HL Windmiller, Manzanita, Debra Ann Elliot, L.G. Smith, Taffy, Mymy, Rekha, Kari Marie, Elle Strauss, Cheryl Klarich, GBaugniet, Nia Fansuri, Tammy Narayan, Some Screaming Fangirl, Sherrijots, Karla, April, Sylvia van Bruggen, Knightess hope, Jilda, Mooderino, Teacher Fourth


***If I missed you, linked to the wrong blog, spelled your name wrong, or otherwise made a mistake, please comment and mention it!***

This will be the last time I put all your links together in one post. I'll still link to followers, but only 100 at a time. These posts are getting rather long. ;)


*****

I'd also like to accept some awards I got. The Friends for the Journey award was given to me by Elliot Grace at So close, but . . .--thank you, Elliot! (He's an amazing blogger, and not only because his book is coming out THIS YEAR.)



And this time, I'm awarding this to all of you. No, this is not an absent I've-got-little-time-gotta-run awarding ceremonies. Really. You all encourage me to blog, and write, and continue on.

But I would like to mention a few friends who run fabulous blogs and who are some of the most frequent commentors here. N. R. Williams, Jules, The Words Crafter, Old Kitty, Summer Ross, and Mist of the blossom rain. Thank you for returning again and again, and for the support. :)



I also received the Creative Blog Award from Deirdra at A Storybook World. Thank you so much, Deirdra!




Isn't it pretty?!

*****

Once again, my thanks to all of you for following--and commenting, and awarding, and doing all those wonderful blogging things. You guys are awesome!

-----The Golden Eagle

23 March, 2011

Crusader Challenge

The goldfish bowl teetered.
   The wolves howled in the distance and the raptor shrieked overhead. The wind blew softly and the grass swished in its wake.
   The goldfish bowl slid closer to the edge.
   The river splashed across the rocks. The fish swam among the ripples, flashing bright in the night's darkness. The trees creaked, their branches dipping low and swinging high.
   The goldfish bowl began to fall.
   The wolves began to run, heading for their destination. The raptor spiraled upward, then dived toward a target only it could see.
   The goldfish bowl shattered.
   All was quiet.

*****

To find out more about this Crusader Challenge, or if you want to visit the others also participating, go HERE.


-----The Golden Eagle

22 March, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (33)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

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!
My teaser is from The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett. I finished it yesterday, but since this book is so absolutely hilarious I just had share a teaser from it.

(Not the cover of the copy I took out of the library, but I couldn't find a good-quality version of the right one. And besides, I like this one a whole lot better.)

"Good morning, dwarf (indicating miscreant), I am Overseer Vimes of the Look."
   Lady Sybil heard Inigo give a little groan.
   "Krz? Gr'dazak yad?"
   "Hang on, hang on, I know this one . . . I am sure you are a dwarf of no convictions. Let us shake our business, dwarf (indicating miscreant)."
   "Yes, that will just about do it, I think," said Inigo. "Mmm, mhm."
-p. 125

*Italics indicate dwarf language.

*****

Do you have a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading? Feel free to leave them in the comments!


-----The Golden Eagle
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21 March, 2011

I'm Afraid My Novel's Title Implies There Are Vampires, Of Which There Are Actually None

Have you ever run into the problem where you've got an awesome title for your novel, but later realize other people might think it means something entirely different than what it's really all about?

You see, I'm currently revising a Science Fiction book. It has ships and planets and galaxies and races and government and the usual SF stuff. (Although I'm striving to make sure it's original in other ways.) The issue is that there's the word "blood" in the title.

It just recently occurred to me that might be a bad idea. Nowadays, with the advent of vampires and werewolves and faeries and other creatures, I think a lot of shelf-passersby might categorize it as a Paranormal/vampire novel.

Oops. My novel has no connection to the genre, and I wouldn't want people to mistakenly think it's related to vampires. So I've decided to re-title it with something blood-free and SF-ish.

But it's just that I liked the old title.

*sigh*

Has this kind of thing ever happened to you?


-----The Golden Eagle

19 March, 2011

Flame Painter--The Coolest Online Paint Program Ever

I was Googling "online paint" and I can across this simply awesome program.

Flame Painter.


I mean, really. I made that image above using it, for free I might add, and imagine all the different designs and images you could make with the wide variety of colors and effects . . . I don't know if this kind of stuff gets you going, but it certainly makes ME happy to find such online things. (You need a Java Plug-In for your browser.)


I just had to share this program with you today. :)

So. Have you heard of Flame Painter before? Any other cool online paint programs you know of?


-----The Golden Eagle

18 March, 2011

The Man Who Invented Word Verification

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA scienceNOW.


Since you might not be able to watch the video, here's what it's all about:

Luis von Ahn wanted to know what he could do with 100 million people.

When he and his advisor were approached by Yahoo! with a spam problem in email--spammers were acquiring email addresses to send junk into people's inboxes--Von Ahn invented CAPTCHA, which humans can distinguish but computers cannot. (In theory. :P I've had trouble with CAPTCHA several times.)

But it takes time to type those words, and when 200 million people are spending it, it's a lot of seconds. So Luis von Ahn teamed up with a project to put thousands of books onto the Internet, and created something called reCAPTCHA, which places a known CAPTCHA word next to one that the computer does not know--and which comes from one of those books. On average, 120-150 books per day can be typed up thanks to the anti-spam program.

And it's not just books. It's also the entire archive of The New York Times.

So you, in theory, are actually helping to puzzle out hundreds of books when you type CAPTCHA to create accounts, get through computer programs and yes, you got it, comment.


-----The Golden Eagle

17 March, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Whenever there is happiness
Hope you'll be there too,
Wherever there are friendly smiles
Hope they'll smile on you,
Whenever there is sunshine,
Hope it shines especially for you to make each day
For you as bright as it can be.

-Irish Blessing

And yes, I'm wearing green. :) Are you?


-----The Golden Eagle

15 March, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (32)

Here we go again for Teaser Tuesday, the (rather fun) weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

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's teaser comes from The Gift by James Patterson, the second in the Witch & Wizard series. It's basically Young Adult thriller; not my favorite kind of book ever, but they're fun to read here and there. :)

(Love that cover!)
I pause and look at the falling snow, beautiful in a kind of fake way, and remember that time when nothing scared me. And now I'm not scared anymore of what's going to happen.
-p. 217

*****

Got a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading? Feel free to leave them in the comments!


----The Golden Eagle

13 March, 2011

Book Review: Matched (And The Answers To More Of Your Questions)

Last week, I got a few more questions on the post that was part of my blogoversary:

Petty Witter asked:


What is the one thing guaranteed to put you off a book?

A bad plot. I cannot stand weak plots, ones with holes, or endings that can be seen from afar. I love twists, turns, turnarounds, and anything else you can throw at me.

N. R. Williams asked:


How do you choose the books you read? Do you have an e-reader?

First: blurb. Second: any reviews that are on the cover/jacket. Third: author. Fourth: cover. And, in some cases, if I've heard of the book before. I don't usually care about genre--if I've read a good review, or if something about the book intrigues me, I'll pick it up. :)

Nope. And, at the moment, I prefer it that way. I like reading paper and ink rather than an electric screen.


*****




Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Books
Genre: Dystopian
Page Count: 366
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cover Rating: 4 out of 5. I like the green, and I like the way they put the girl in the orb. Plus, the font is very Dystopian-ish.

Inside flap:
In The Society, the Officlas decide. 
Who you love. Where you work. When you die. 
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It's hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend is appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knowsn with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path no one else has ever dared follow--between perfection and passion.

My expectations: Mixed. I had read positive reviews saying "This is a great book!" and meh reviews saying "This book was a take-off of [insert title here]" and negative reviews saying "This book isn't very good".

About the book: One thing I read several times is that this book is a lot like The Giver by Lois Lowry.


My opinion? This book really was not like The Giver. Mainly because Cassia, the main character, was very different from Jonas, as were the others the book focused on. The Society is similar in many ways, but it never made it into my head that "Yes! This book is like The Giver!"


The writing style I just couldn't get attached to. I felt like the author was trying to keep some distance between the reader and the character, which I don't usually mind, but in this case I found kind of flat. The scenes were not particularly detailed--I would get information on one thing, but not other factors that I really would have preferred to know about. It wasn't a bad style, but it isn't my favorite.

  • Plot:
I could guess what happened. In what's probably every single YA book I've read the character goes after--taking from the blurb--"passion". Heck with "perfection". It's always passion, and this was no exception. Some details of the plot kept me going, like what the Society Officials were doing and if there would be revolution. I do love a good revolution.


  • Characters:
Let me say this now: I did not like Cassia. At all, really. She was okay at first--I felt as if she was a little annoying but might turn out to have some real potential when I read the opening scene--but I just couldn't get attached to her. Another contrast with The Giver: Jonas cares about the people and citizens of his city and their well-being. Cassia, it seemed to me, does not. It's all KY. And goodness, don't get in her way when it comes to Ky.

Ky himself was interesting. Again, I just couldn't get attached to him. He had his secrets, and it was intriguing that he knew how to write like that, but he wasn't the most spectacular love interest. I liked him better than Cassia, however. He knew what the Society was really like, and what they did to people.

(I felt there were too few emotional obstacles between them. It was just the Officials in their way--and come on, relationships aren't like that. There's conflict between people.)

Xander was normal. He had his faults, but he cared about Cassia and he seemed less willing to just believe than Cassia did. I hope he comes back in the sequel, because I get the feeling he could really have his day.

  • Setting/Elements:
The Society intrigued me. Their rules, regulations, laws, restrictions, what's not to find interesting and appalling about a government who destroys art, poetry, writing, everything except 100 works in each section of human expression?

Other: This book is relatively clean for a YA novel. In fact, I wouldn't say that Matched is significantly more violent/etc. than The Giver. It just has a romantic theme.

Do I recommend this book? Not really. I wouldn't say "Don't ever read this book!" but it's not on my list of must-reads.


-----The Golden Eagle

11 March, 2011

Some World Events

As I'm sure you've heard/seen/read by now, there was a massive earthquake in Japan. The 8.9 magnitude quake on the Richter scale hit at 2:46 PM local time, and there are tsunami warnings in countries all around the world around the Pacific Basin, including along the USA California coast and and the state of Hawaii.


Gosh. I can't imagine what it's like to go through a quake that big. The videos and images are terrifying--all the fire and flooding and cities being destroyed.

If you're in Japan, stay safe. If you know anyone in Japan, then I hope they're okay.

*****

Have a safe, secure, peaceful weekend, everyone!


-----The Golden Eagle
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09 March, 2011

A Song Written By Me

To be sung to the tune of "Let It Snow":



All the snow outside is frightful,
And some sun would be delightful
Oh, how I wish there was grass to mow,
Don't let it snow, don't let it snow, don't let it snow!


It doesn't show signs of stopping,
And there's no corn for popping
The T V volume's down low,
No more snow, no more snow, no more snow!


The weather outside is wintry
And we're trying not to freeze
It really is white and snowy
Sunshine is much preferred, oh please!

The Internet is finally dying,
And cell phone reception is nil
But as long as we've got each other,
I don't feel like I've gone through the mill!


No more snow, no more snow, no more snow!




*****

My friends, I'm off to Broadway! Surely I have a career in songwriting, don't you think?

No?

Ah well. I can always spin stories instead. ;)

-----The Golden Eagle
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08 March, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (31)

Teaser Tuesday, the weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, is here again--for the 31st time. :)

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!

My teaser this week comes from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (A Prose Version in Modern English by David Wright). Yes, I'm reading it for school, but I'm enjoying it so far.


The attendant returned to his master and gave him a short and complete account of Griselda's words and demeanor. Then he handed over his beloved daughter.
-p. 229

*****

If you have a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading, feel free to leave it in the comments!


-----The Golden Eagle

06 March, 2011

The Answers To Your Questions

Last week was my blogoversary, and I decided to celebrate by having readers ask me questions--so here are my answers!

*****


Jemi Fraser:

What's the best book you've read this year?


I have a lot of trouble picking favorites . . . especially when it comes to books. But one really good Young Adult Science Fiction novel I read was Cherry Heaven by L. J. Adlington. The plot, setting, and characters were fantastic.

The Words Crafter:

How in the world do you make it around to comment on so many blogs every day?

I don't use Google Reader, that's for sure. Despite all the support it's been getting recently with all the Crusading, (Rachael Harrie wrote a very helpful post on it--I was completely befuddled before and now I know how it works) I really don't like it. Most of the time I look through posts on the Dashboard, working my way through a certain number of hours or skimming to see if certain bloggers have posted. Or I just use my blogroll.

Deniz Bevan:

Did you see that post TH Mafi did the other day of her daily schedule? What's your schedule like?


No, I didn't see the post--but as for my schedule, it's get up, eat breakfast, schoolwork, writing, schoolwork, maybe some more writing if there's time, lunch, the homeschooling equivalent of P.E., blogging, writing, and I've got dance on Wednesdays. Also, the schedule changes a lot as new things crop up.


(By schoolwork I mean all the subjects I cover in homeschooling. Math, science, history/social studies, language, English, etc. . . .)

Edith F.:

What is your favorite flavor of toothpaste?

Well, it's not mint. (I hate mint.) Most of the time I'm forced to use it simply because it's one of the few flavors that's out there, but if I could choose my favorite is probably cherry. (Hey, it tastes good at the dentist's.)

Ali:

What do you like best about blogging?

Posting and reading comments. :)


And/or What is your favorite lesson you've learned through blogging?

Think before you speak!

Janet Johnson:

What has helped you the most with writing?


Besides a keyboard and word processor, one of the things that has helped me the most is discovering all the information out there online. Before I started reading about writing, I had no idea what a character arc was, how to write a first chapter, the difference between showing and telling, things about publishers and agents and the whole getting-the-book-onto-the-shelf business--a lot of the details that can make a huge amount of difference.

Nicki Elson:

What have you learned about blogging that you wish you would've known in the first month?


People actually read what you're posting, even if your blog is relatively small. (As mine was for a while after I started blogging.) I probably wouldn't have said some of the things I said if I had thought about that . . . I don't object to some controversy, but I get the impulse to delete some of my previous posts whenever I look back and read them.

Sangu:

What's been the most challenging part about blogging for you?


Networking! It takes a lot of time and some energy to get around to all those blogs. But it's also fun. :)

Alison:

Has reading all these blogs and author interviews/guest posts, etc made you want to try your hand at writing?


Nope! I was writing even when I didn't know people blogged about it--probably because I hadn't read the horror stories at that point. LOL.


Just kidding about the horror stories (although I have read some unfortunate occurrences with the publishing process especially) but I have been churning out words for a while.

Have you had a blogging slump? If so, how did you push past it.


Writing, and getting outside. Exercise helps me think a lot of time.

Arlee Bird:

Now that you know about establishing a platform with your blog do you feel like you are doing that?


Yes, I do. I feel like I've got a substantial platform (400+ is a whole lot more than I ever expected) and I try to increase it with the Crusades and other events like that--including the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Still trying to get around to all the bloggers participating!


Oh! And also, Old Kitty and L'Aussie both wondered what the "cbox" I mentioned in my post is. It's the green chatbox-thing on my right sidebar, beneath my button and the Crusader mention. Across from the "Need A Button?" text. People can leave messages and chat in it, if there are other bloggers on at the same time. (Which you can tell by the little black-and-red icon above.)


*****

Thank you all for asking questions! It was a lot of fun answering them, and I hope you enjoyed the post.

Is there anything else you bloggers would like to know about me? :)

-----The Golden Eagle