Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday/Saturday Five [Happy New Year!] (16)

Daw, I haven't used that logo for some time.

1. Happy New Year! - What are your resolutions for 2012? Your last wishes for 2011? What have you accomplished this year? What do you think of the 'doomsday' theory? Here's to hoping those of us with unpublished books accomplish our goals next year!

2. Finals: WHERE ARE MY GRADES?!?! - New grading system. More efficient grading results? Not likely. I finished my finals on December 16th and I still haven't gotten my results. Bogus? Indeed.

3. Merry Christmas! - What did you guys get? I got a ton of the books on my list, a Kindle that I've fallen in love with, a PSP video game, and lots of clothes. Awesome Christmas! I hope you guys had awesome Christmases too!

4. Writing Block - It's not exactly Writer's Block. I don't have any trouble writing, per say. It's more like when I'm trying to do revisions/rewriting. I find myself at a loss of how to word something and then I lose the desire to write it... Frustration... Any recommendations, anyone?

5. Song of the Week - Keeping the Peace - Final Fantasy: Dissidia

So soothing. (:


Reading: Sweep - Volume 3 - Cate Tiernan
Watching: NCIS
Listening to: ---
Quote: ---

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! Tomorrow I'm planning on a blog post depicting what made me happy about 2011. I'm all blogged-out today... If I get the motivation later I'll post it. Later!

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys | REVIEW

Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Number of Pages: 338
Date Published: March 22, 2011
Rating: 5/5

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously - and at great risk - documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. (goodreads)

"He said, 'From my rotting body flowers shall grow, and I am in them and that is eternity.' Isn't that beautiful?"
Papa smiled at me. "You're beautiful because you see it that way." - Lina / Edvard Munch

When I first read this book, I knew nothing of Stalin's Purge. Therefore, the story just remained a story to me. Not a week after I finished, we did a complex lesson of the Purge in my Current Events class, and every thought I had ever had about this book changed. I read it again, and this time my heart throbbed for the characters more than they ever had the first time I read this.

Trust me, the first time I read the book, I loved it. I just thought it was a sad story, though—but there's something about knowing that the events of a story have actually happened to some people that makes you just stop and think. It's really inspiring, really. I used this book for a report I had to do on the Purge as well.

Lina takes you through her stories of art and of writing, describing her time in those dirty train cars and those humiliating moments in the showers and learning of the people she'll be living with. Love blossoms, hope sprouts, hatred abounds. This story can be as gripping as The Diary of Anne Frank and it can be as heart-wrenching as The Book Thief. This mysterious era in history has finally been brought to light in the YA world because of this novel.

How could the world let something like this happen? How could these people stay silent after it was all over? How could they survive in such conditions? Between Shades of Gray is amazing. In its own way it answers these questions, unflinching yet gentle. There are no easy descriptions. You read what you read, you see what you see. You see the world as it was, no sugarcoating involved.

You receive flashbacks throughout Lina's travels that give insight on her life before being sent on this purge. These are nice for showing how the characters have developed. You see how each character changes for the better and for the worse, and you watch each character come to terms with flaws and strengths they all possess.

People become friends. People become enemies. Enemies to friends, friends to enemies; confusion to clarity and vice versa. Between Shades of Gray is a story of strife, conflict, survival, love, and just about any emotion you can come up with. It covers resolutions, questions, and ends on a note that leaves you pining for more but knowing that it has ended perfectly.

I tried to do this without spoilers, which led to it being such a short review...apologies. (: Anyway, that's all the reviews for the day.  Finally, ready to cross them off my to-do list. Amazing book! Amazing characters! Amazing everything!

Looking for Alaska by John Green | REVIEW

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Number of Pages: 221
Date Published: March 3, 2005
Rating: 4.5/5

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction. (goodreads)

"Alaska, this is Pudge. Pudge memorizes people's last words. Pudge, this is Alaska. She got her boob honked over the summer." - Chip/The Colonel

Where to start? It's been a while since I read this, I've just recently skimmed over it some, so bear with me... When I bought this book on my shopping spree, it was the very last one on the shelf and the cover itself had me in looove. I didn't quite expect the harsh content this novel addresses, though. Not to say I didn't like it, I mean; but... *Shrugs* I'm not used to things being thrown so blandly in, things like sex and cursing and drugs. But that's what being a teenager is all about.

But this book isn't only about that. It goes with the emotions and feelings and wonders of life all teens experience, and it really hits close to home for the YA readers who pick it up and try it out. It deals with loss of a loved one, acquirement of new friends, family, and enemies. Pudge's journey for the Great Perhaps rocekts you into a world of broken rules, drinking games, deep-hearted religious discussions, and deep-thought words.

The writing is fantastic. It's easy to look over the raw use of cursing when it comes to Pudge's thoughts—it's just who he is. It's hard to connect to some of the characters first, but I think that's how this book is meant to be perceived. Pudge has a hard time connecting to them all too, but eventually becomes one of them. Each character has a different trait, a diversity that's healthy for this novel.

Now, one thing I notice is that so many people compare this to Lord of the Flies and The Catcher in the Rye. Here's my question:

How. The. Heck?

I loved Looking for Alaska...despised Lord of the Flies and Catcher in the Rye. How does that work? I honestly see nothing of Holden Caulfield in Pudge... Pudge has determination. He has a goal he's working for. He's in love. The last thing is just about the only damn thing I see in common between them. Holden is pathetic, unmotivated, and just plain boring. Sorry for Catcher in the Rye lovers, ignore my bashing! Carrying on, the only similarity of Lord of the Flies is the lack of authority—but it's not that there's a lack in Alaska. Just a disregard of it.

Who knows? Maybe it's just me. Probably. It's hard for me to get so attached to classics. I get my hopes up for them when people rave on and on about them, and I end up disappointed. Just about the only ones I like are Where the Red Fern Grows and The Call of the Wild. Enough about the classics, back to Alaska!

...Which definitely deserves a place on the shelves with those classics.

You'll find yourself falling for each character. For the Colonel's no-nonsense, video-gaming, pranking attitude and Alaska's addicting no-laws-to-life rule. Takumi's Japanese charm and humor leads you on, and even Lara's timidity draw you in like an addict for the words Pudge uses to describe them all.

Once you reach 'After', you feel the grief and rage at Alaska's loss. You understand Pudge's feelings, his hopelessness, his loss for the girl he loved, his Great Perhaps. You follow him, delving into the mystery of suicide versus accident with him. The curiosity isn't annoying or boring, only sad. You may find tears in his conclusions, you may find relief or any swirling mass of emotions.

Looking for Alaska is an amazing book that I recommend. If you don't mind drinking, cigarettes, and sex, at least. [If you couldn't guess, that's what contributed the -0.5 stars. (: ] Cheers for Alaska Young and John Green! My friend met him a few weeks ago. Incredibly jealous...

SWEEP (Volume 2) by Cate Tiernan | REVIEW

Title: Sweep, Volume 2 [Dark Magick; Awakening; Spellbound]
Author: Cate Tiernan
Number of Pages: 564
Published: November 11, 2010
Rating: 4/5

Morgan Rowlands is a blood witch, the last of a long line of ancient and powerful witches and the holder of an unfathomable power. With the help of her love, her soul mate, Cal, she has realized her true self - but at at price. For Morgan and Cal share a terrible, dark secret, one that binds them together even as they are rent apart. Yet there is something about Cal's hunger for magick that frightens Morgan.... And now there is another one who can bring Morgan clarity, truth... love. Morgan must decide who is her true love, and who is out to destroy her forever.... (goodreads)

"I struck out blindly with my hand and brought it down on the candle flame. There was a hiss and a faint, charring smell. And I was alone in the darkness." - Morgan Rowlands [Awakening]

"But it's pointless to consider. One cannot escape one's destiny - if you hide from it, it will find you. If you deny it, it will kill you." - Hunter Niall/Giomanach [Dark Magick]

REVIEW [Spoilers this time.]
Where in the first volume everything has unravelled, this new volume follows up with the reunion of feelings and characters and hopes and dreams. Dark Magick, the fourth book, immediately throws you into back into the mix of Morgan's life, turned upside-down after the murder of Hunter Niall—the murder she and Cal committed. Grief and guilt haunt her, ravage her, eat her from the inside out.

Yet in the end, it was the right thing to do. He was going to kill Cal. Right? Right? No. Instantly things turn awry when Cal introduces Morgan to his little Wiccan sanctuary, his sheomar; and from there on she feels something. Her magick knows something is off, and it keeps trying to warn her of the hunger Cal possesses for all things dark, all things capable of being controlled.

The roller coaster ride won't let you go. Up, up, up on your high as Morgan reassures herself that Cal is safe, good, her muirn beatha dan—and bam! Hunter's alive! Morgan is forced to start questioning everything, and soon enough she finds herself knowing that Hunter is right, Cal is evil, and he reveals it. This roller coaster is spiraling downward, making your stomach drop as Morgan comes to the realization that Cal was wrapping her around his little finger this whole time; casting spells on her and entrancing her.

After attempting to kill Morgan the way her mother Bradhadair was killed [burned to death], Cal and Selene flee. Bree, Morgan's former best friend; and Robbie, her other best friend, come to her rescue. End book 4, instantly back in the action with Awakening.

Now, I think this volume went slower after this. It seemed that events were forced along, as though Morgan just sits up one day and says, "I think something needs to happen today. Oh, hey, I sense magick!" Tiernan masks it well, but that's the vibe I got. You aren't moving at all like the breakneck pace you're thrown into with the previous books. But I suppose with Cal and Selene out of the picture, it's inevitable—they took all the action with them. But in response you gain Morgan's struggle to trust Hunter and Sky, and her denial as one of her friends could have opened himself to dark magick.

Another thing I believe was lacking in this volume was the cooperation with Morgan and her friends. Morgan and Bree are trying to mend their relationship, but this is really all you get, it seems. You see other characters interacting, but never Morgan with them. The circles she performs with her coven don't seem as strong and entrancing as they were before, but you can give the excuse of Cal leaving again.

Awakening was the boring book of this volume, I'll say it now. It ends with one of Morgan's friends being prosecuted. Spellbound makes up for it, but at this point is when I really think everything starts chugging along because it's being forced to. It seems as though some characters are just there because they need to be. It never felt natural. The story remained entrancing, I promise—it was just hard to swallow when you were speeding through it like I was.

The provocations of Cal and Selene, the tense relationship between Morgan and Hunter, the blossoming attraction between characters such as Sky and Raven; Ethan and Shannon; Bree and Robbie are addicting. Even the arc in which Morgan struggles on whether to take revenge on three boys harassing her gay aunt draws you in. The humor remains in this edition, and so does the high school drama [Mary K. and Bakker].

I still recommend this. The only downsides with these additions to the Sweep series were how everything seemed nudged along and the lack of interaction between Morgan and other people. Otherwise, just as good as the last three. Onto Volume 3!


Reading: Fire and Ice - Erin Hunter
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Sweep [3] - Cate Tiernan
Listening to: Mirage Coordinator - Best of Umineko
Watching: NCIS
Quote: "I don't know... I can't explain it. ...But the lonely little girl I met when I was younger, and the girl we knew as Nyu... I love them both." - Kohta [Anime: Elfen Lied; Episode 13]

Monday, December 26, 2011

SWEEP (Volume 1) by Cate Tiernan | REVIEW

Title: Sweep, Volume 1 [Book of Shadows; The Coven; Blood Witch]
Author: Cate Tiernan
Number of Pages: 592
Published: July 1, 2007
Rating: 5/5

The first three Sweep books bound into one gorgeous edition! Morgan Rowlands never thought she was anything other than a typical sixteen-year-old girl. But when she meets Cal, a captivatingly handsome coven leader, she makes a discovery that turns her whole world upside down: she is a witch, descended from an ancient and powerful line. And so is Cal. Their connection is immediate and unbreakable; Cal teases out Morgan's power, her love, her magick. But Morgan discovers too soon that her powers are strong - almost too powerful to control. And she begins to suspect that Cal may be keeping secrets from her . . . secrets that could destroy them both.
“I looked deeply into the fire, and the timeless, eternal dance of colors I saw there was so beautiful, I wanted to cry.” —Morgan Rowlands
I got this book for much less than it was worth. I bought it at a yard sale, and ended up getting the first volume and second volume for one dollar together. I was anxious when I started this book, what with Wicca being involved and all, but it’s really not too bad on that angle. Nothing is bad on any angle, really!

So, in general, this book was awesome. It shows a complete other lifestyle and an adjustment in it, cycling through different intervals at breakneck speeds. I especially love the description of how ‘with sweeping motions’, Morgan’s life is changing constantly. Morgan is independent, brave, and unpopular. Bree is Morgan’s best friend, and everything Morgan wants to be—attractive, popular, and unyielding. Cal is everything she wants, and Wicca is the start of a new life. The other characters, no matter how minor they may be, have distinguishing characteristics that make them memorable.

I really meant to make a review for Sweep at least four months ago, when I first read it—if not longer than that. But here it is, at last. I read it once, and I read it again in order to force myself to review it, and liked it even more the second time! In a seemingly innocent landscape, Morgan finds herself thrown into a world of magick and dark powers that threaten to engulf her. Her only saving grace is Cal, who may turn out to be the one behind it all. The tension there, unfortunately, doesn’t really start until the fourth book.

At the beginning of each chapter, there is an excerpt from a character’s Book of Shadows, which is like a diary, more or less. It’s intriguing—for the most part, you can tell who is writing what; and it’s invigorating to see how they’ve ended up where they are today. Such as [spoiler] Morgan’s birth mother, Maeve/Bradhadair. [/spoiler] The only thing I didn’t care for at this part was how these journal entries seem to jump in all directions. At one entry we’re at present day, at another we’re at their initiation at a witch... It got confusing.

And, honestly, for me, who could not love a book that involves the main character having a strong link with fire? Always have and always will!

Another aspect I enjoyed of Sweep was how easily the plot and secondary plots flowed together. Cal and Morgan’s magick unraveling into pure power, and Morgan’s discoveries, are the main plot. But you never forget the tensions between Morgan and Bree, Raven and Matt, Sharron and Ethan, etcetera etcetera. And just when you think it can’t get any better, you have two more breathtaking characters thrown at you—Sky and Hunter.

The books are fun to read, the plot is perfectly paced, and it would be easy to grow obsessed over these books. For Christmas I received the rest of the books—My Sweep series is complete! I won’t put too much else. I want to get more reviews done, and the more time I put on one the less I’ll put on others... I hope this gives you a general idea on how much I enjoyed this volume, however. Soon enough I’ll have the second volume up. More reviews to come!

Also, Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

Reading: Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer
Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
Sweep [Volume 2] – Cate Tiernan
Fire and Ice – Erin Hunter
Listening to: U.N. Owen Was Her – Touhou 6: The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
Watching: Band of Brothers
Quote: “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” (:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Friday/Saturday Five [OMG!] (15)

1. Searching Once Again - When I finished my first draft of Flame Dancer, I made the mistake of wearing down a list of agents by sending it out. The first draft. To professional agents. I regretted it later. Finally Kelly Mortimer rescued me by telling me that my draft needed major work. And at last, that work is completed and I'm on the hunt for agents again. I've always wanted to just get it done, grab the agents and send the letters out, but I'm older and understand now that I need to do more than just assume they'll jump at a new book like mine. I'm a conceited person, so it's hard for me to admit something like that, but to admit it is a step closer to a dream come true. (;

2. Christmas is Coming! - Are you excited? I know I am. I haven't asked for much, I don't think...mainly, wait for it... BOOKS! I also asked for a game, a Nightwish CD, a drawing pad, and some other random things... Everyone is in the Christmas spirit here already, and I love it. Already people are performing good deeds for one another without even thinking about it. The gift-giving feeling is just browsing around in the air. It's my favorite time of year. [/End strange song-like sounding paragraph]

3. On the Down-Side - Finals are coming up. Enough said.

4. L A Z I N E S S - I have so much on my review list. I have about eight books on there, if not more; I have Wayfinders to make, literary agents to mail, book plans to write down, people to speak to about school stuff, etc. I'm taking forever! Do you know why? ...Lol. It's because I am reading too much. See what my blog did to me!? I blame this on all of you! If you still read my blog, that is. (;

5. Song of the...Uh, Past Two Months? - I'm giving you three songs. Bite me. c:

Storytime - Nightwish [Album: Imaginaerum]

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF. Lol, ironically as I posted this the "I am the -insert here-" verse was playing in This Is Halloween on The Nightmare Before Christmas.

U.N. Owen Was Her - Sound Sepher Remix

Dude, I don't even get it. I heard this song on piano and had to find it. Eventually one of my good friends gave me this remix and instantly I downloaded it. It's so intense!!

Dearly Beloved - Kingdom Hearts Destiny From Bak.R [Original - Yoko Shimomura]

I just found this song last night, and it's such an emotional and powerful song. I love it. <3


Reading: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Listening to: Dearly Beloved - Yoko Shimomura/Bak.R
Watching: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Quote: "If you want war, prepare for peace."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Things I'd Like to be Able to do Every Day

Note: Irony is when you look up a picture to put that says "I AM ALIVE!" and get logos for a game your friend used scenes from in a fanmade trailer.

Yes... I. Am. Aliiiiive; believe it or not!

So, yes. This is the first thing I thought of to give a little kickstart to my blog after like, two months of no posts. See, I have plausible excuses this time! And I'll give pictures to make them more believable/fun!

1. School work. My teachers hate the thought of us not having any. |:

2. Christmas shopping early!

3. I got sick... Note that the above picture is by Axel-desu off DeviantArt.

4. This is the mightiest of them all... Either that, or "Do something right now ----> Okay...oh hey YouTube."

ANYWAYS! On with this random list, shall we?

1. Get up on time.
2. Get ready for school early so I have time to write and get a good parking spot.
3. Pay attention in class without thinking about how I can learn everything and write at the same time.
4. Be less annoyed with people.
5. Be happy!
6. Understand math.
7. Understand biology.
8. Do homework in study hall, don't procrastinate; work in library when homework is not in possession.
9. Go home and write for an hour or so instead of taking a nap.
10. Get along with people.
11. Text people without thinking "I feel like I'm ignoring them..."
12. Make Wayfinders WHEN THEY ARE NEEDED...and not two weeks later.
14. Make myself write at least two posts on my blog during the week.
15. Be more responsible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
16. Make time for friends.
17. Visit family more.
18. Do homework the minute I get home, instead of playing video games or something.
19. Double check EVERYTHING.
20. Get a shower BEFORE 9:30 PM...
21. Be ready for bed BEFORE 11 PM...
22. Be in bed BY 11:30 PM...and not at 12:30...
23. Try to be enthusiastic about doing the same thing the next day.
24. Get eight hours of sleep.
25. Start writing my dreams down.
26. Essentially, just be epic for every day of the rest of my hopefullylonglife. :3

So that's about it. Yay! And, also, for those who might not know:

I saw the official trailer for it in theaters today, and almost screamed in excitement. Rue's melody at the end sent shivers up my spine... Aaaaand~

I saw this today, and everybody had been telling me it wasn't worth the money. I thought it was great! Kristen Stewart did her acting very well, Taylor Lautner was great as usual, and I didn't even mind Robert Pattinson all that much in this one! Very, very epic, actually. I put the score on my Christmas list, lol.
I'll leave ya alone now! If you looked at this, kudos! DFTBA!


Listening to: U.N. Owen Was Her - Touhou 6
Watching: Twilight
[Re]Reading: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly/Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
No quotes today...

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han | Review

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Published: May 5, 2009
Number of Pages: 276
Rating: 5/5

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along. (goodreads)

“Moments, when lost, can't be found again. They're just gone.”
My friends at school recommended this book to me. It was kind of like the hype for The Hunger Games, except it was only the girls. The guys weren't bothering me about it (thank God, I would have been scared if they had). I was pretty skeptical—I like the magical, bloody stuff. A love story? Really? But I tried it out—after all, I needed something to hold me off for Tuesday. (At least I have the other two since I finished this one within six hours) But anyway, my friend dropped it off and I started it.

The story is more heartfelt than I was expecting. I think the thing that I love most about it is that the protagonist does happen to pout quite a bit, but she's aware of it. I don't see that very often. In fact, throughout a lot of the book it's emphasized that everyone knows it.

All of the characters are structured well, and you care about all of them. There were no really bad people in the book, and I loved it. It's really a kind of nice change of pace. And the love story involved really is nice. It's nothing totally out-of-whack, purely realistic. And then another element is added to the triangle, making it a square, and it's pretty awesome.

But that's not the big deal with this story. You don't realize the big deal until much later in. It's not about the love story, it's not about the main character maturing into a young woman. It's about the bonds between families and friends, how they can build and crumble over the years. How even the smallest glance can pin you into somebody's memory forever. How one small word, one small phrase, can change everything for better or worse. It shows how people can build up walls of cruelty or indifference to what they truly feel.

The more I think about this book, the more I like it. The language in it was spectacular, and refreshingly easy to read. You never had to reread something to understand it. You learn to tell one person's speech from another just from the way they word their sentences. The story turned deep at the climax, and I found myself getting choked up along with our protagonist. (This is my one gripe. Belly? Augh. I'm all for unique names, but anything other than something like that. It's just me, though; and my preferences.)

Another thing that sort of took away from the story for me was that it seems like no much happens. I started reading, and when I was one hundred pages in, it seemed like only about three major events had occurred. It sped up later, I know, but it took away from the surprise of the story somewhat. But I will grant that even when it seemed like not much was going on, you were intrigued with what you were reading.

Hm...what else? This story touches the issues of teen drugs, alcohol, and smoking. I do like that. It's not enough that the book completely discourages it, but it gives a positive image of not doing it. Belly encourages Conrad not to smoke, and she chooses not to drink even when the opportunity is before her. When her mother and 'adopted' mother smoke pot at one point, she, Conrad, Jeremiah, and Steven all get upset. I liked that.

It also touches on divorce. It doesn't pin it as good or bad. I mean, it's always a sad thing, but it's nice that it doesn't make it sound like a sin. It happens, and it can either wreck lives or bring some people closer together. We see that even the happiest of couples can unravel. They're all just very unique views that the author expresses, and they're memorable.

I can't think of much else to say. I give this book five stars for being one of the best love stories that kept me majorly interested, and it didn't even have supernatural elements in it! Yippee! So, my friend lent me all three of the books, so I'm onto the second one... (; waiting for Tuesday~


Reading: It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han, I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak [reread], Looking for Alaska by John Green [reread]
Listening to: Xion's Theme [Slowed Version] - Yoko Shimomura
Watching: ...Family Guy. Sorry, I don't have epic morals ):
Quote: "Alaska, this is Pudge. He memorizes people's last words. Pudge, this is Alaska. She got her boob honked over the summer." — The Colonel; Looking for Alaska - John Green
[I think that quote is correct. I just put it off the top of my head.]

Thursday, October 13, 2011

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende | Review

Title: City of the Beasts
Author: Isabel Allende
Published: January 1, 2004
Number of Pages: 408
Rating: 4/5

Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold is about to join his fearless grandmother on the trip of a lifetime. An International Geographic expedition is headed to the dangerous, remote wilds of South America, on a mission to document the legendary Yeti of the Amazon known as the Beast.
But there are many secrets hidden in the unexplored wilderness, as Alex and his new friend Nadia soon discover. Drawing on the strength of their spirit guides, both young people are led on a thrilling and unforgettable journey to the ultimate discovery. . . .

As quickly as she could, she tried to explain to the Indians that she was wrong, that the vaccine would not save them, just the opposite, it would kill them, because the Rahakanariwa was in the syringe.

I read this book for my Spanish Culture Credit, an assignment our Spanish class has each quarter of the school year to influence ourselves in the ways, speech, and history of Spaniards. Honestly, I think this might be my favorite assignment so far. I looked at reviews for this book once I checked it out of my library, and had my doubts, since a lot of them were negative; but it turned out to be better than I expected.

I've never really considered reading many books that revolve around Native Americans, in fact, this might be my first one. Allende's writing style is definitely different from any other style I've read before. This is her first Young Adult novel, and I do have to say, it turned out well. It seems a bit innocent for the Young Adult norm nowadays (but that's kind of a relief for my book! (; ) but nevertheless fits the genre.

One thing I did observe was that at some points in the writing, the words were "blocky". This was just an observation that kind of gave evidence that this was translated directly from Spanish. Some of the characters seemed all similar in structure—they were either young and wishing to help the Indians or they were older and wanting to exterminate them. The only truly unique characters were Kate, Alex's eccentric grandmother; and Ludovic Leblanc, an arrogant explorer who turns out to be an enormous asset to the story at the end.

But those are the cons. I'm not sure of many others, other than the seemingly endless description. Granted, it was good description, but...does it need to go on for twenty-one pages? But I made it through, amazingly without skimming the paragraphs...oh, did I admit I do that? No, disregard that! :P

I know I say that not many of the characters seemed diverse, but that didn't diminish my interest in the main characters, Alex and Nadia. Though they were similar in traits and characteristics, their journeys were very different, and Allende has a wonderful talent in portraying those. At one point Nadia has to face one of her greatest fears, heights, and uses the strength of her spirit animal (the eagle) to face it. This section was riveting for me, and showed a great courage.

Alex has to go through more trials than Nadia, admittedly. He is already facing trials at home with his mother, who is dying of cancer; and his already-present anger issues. This is why he is sent out to his grandmother while his parents leave to a hospital for special treatment. Alex has to learn to face nature with his own wits and instinct, and he also goes through trials such as becoming a man in the eyes of the Indians. Like Nadia, he faces a challenge to find the legendary Fountain of Youth in order to heal his mother.

On that note, they also venture to El Dorado, the City of Gold. It turns out that, in Allende's world, the City of Gold is Fool's Gold. Alex remarks that the conquistadors who might have found this place and left alive would have left poorer than when they'd come. This made me chuckle. The Yeti of Amazon lore also turns out to be a god of the Natives, an interesting concept that takes the reader by surprise. The Fountain of Youth also turns out to be a trickle of water in a cave. I simply loved these ideas of these wonderful objects of lore turning out to be so much less grand than imagined.

The climax of the book does prove itself. One of the main characters—oh, what the heck, I'll just spoil it—the doctor who wants to vaccinate the Indians is one of the antagonists! Instead of the vaccine in the syringe, it turns out that it's a measles injection. The Natives fear a bloodsucking bird, called the Rahakanariwa.

 Nadia discovers the vaccine's true intentions and explains to them that the Rahakanariwa (Jeez, it's difficult to type that over and over) is inside the syringe. That ends in a bloodbath, and Leblanc's transfer from self-centered scientist to a determined hero. This part did shock me, because all through the novel Allende made you believe an Indian guide who accompanied them was the one who tampered with the vaccine.

So, I did enjoy the book. I don't know that I want to read the next one, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon. It seems a bit of a jump from Amazon rain forest to what sounds like...maybe China? Maybe, but I haven't decided yet. I would recommend this. It's a lighthearted, clever thriller that makes you think about things you've been told your entire life—things from the City of Gold to your beliefs in the power of Nature. Whether you believe in religion or not, Nature does hold power.

I'll end it there. I never mentioned it, but it might be worth just a little mention because it was another favorite arc of mine through the reading—Alex's spirit animal is a jaguar. I love the concept of spirit animals!


Reading: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa [ELEVEN DAYS FOR THE IRON KNIGHT!!!]
Listening to: Hollow Bastion - Yoko Shimomura
Watching: Shiloh Season
Quote: "Where they create wastelands, they call it peace." - Tacitus

Note: My life has been hectic lately. That's why I'm so behind on posts, especially Friday Fives because you don't want to hear me rant and rant about the bad things going on in my life, do you? Of course noooot. Anyway, I do apologize for this. I think before reviews on the three pending books I may have to reread/look them over again... Sorry again!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday Five (Writing's Back :D) [14]

1. Since Summer Began - Well, more like since after my writing class ended, I have been writing terribly... I forced myself to write, simply for the joy of writing, but it seemed like everything that came out was the stuff left over after a feast: simply the stuff nobody wants. But I rearranged it, figuring out how to fix some of that stuff; but last night I finally got over that. I wrote five entire pages! Woohoo, go me!

2. I'm...what? Out of books, you say? - I finished all the books I bought! What am I going to with myself? Oh, I know. Buy Sweep, Beautiful Darkness, Original Sin, and all the other books I have yet to get...what? The closest bookstore is a state away? Oh. ...Crap. Guess I'm just waiting for Iron Knight to come in at Wal-Mart...BUT WHAT? I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE TWENTY-FIFTH? AAAAAAAAAGH! Guess I'll just reread [even though I already reread Hunger Games]. ):

3. This is Strange. - Since the beginning of summer [like number one lol] I've had dreams, and they all involve this one guy who keeps reappearing. I've never met him, never seen him, never even imagined someone like him. He tells me his name is Cam and that he's a future character in one of my books. And, as any writer would do after having a dream like that, I wrote up something for him and slowly a story is building up in my mind for him. It's awesome, but at the same time so weird!

4. Archery! - Haha, usually I'm terrible at archery but these last two weeks in my PE class I've actually done pretty awesome. They call me...MISS ROBIN HOOD. Of all the girls, I had the highest score - yippee! Our goal was to reach 150, and I got to 175. It makes me feel awesome since one of my book's main characters is an archer, and to know that I actually do understand how to do it is great. (:

5. Song of the Week - Ezio's Family by Jesper Kyd

I'm not that big a fan of Assassin's Creed - I own the first one, but I haven't gotten too far. Killing people isn't my forte, lol. But I was listening to a ton of Kingdom Hearts music on YouTube and this was a strange oddball in the list of suggestions, so I clicked on it and found this masterpiece. I'm using it for the theme of Fortune, my third book's main character. LOVE it!


Reading: Divergent - Veronica Roth [rereading]
Watching: Finding Nemo
Listening to: Ezio's Family - Assassin's Creed
Quote: "Wake. Up. You are holding a loaded gun, you idiot. Act like it." — Four | Divergent - Veronica Roth

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins | Review

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Number of Pages: 374
Published: September 14, 2008
Rating: 10/5!

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love. (goodreads)

“Here your dreams are sweet | and tomorrow brings them true | Here is the place where I love you.” - Katniss

“Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games.” - Peeta

I remember the first time I saw this walking through the books in Wal-Mart, and stopping to pick it up. I skimmed through the plotline, flipped through a few pages, and shook my head. "I don't think I'd like it," I told Mom, set it back down, and walked away, content not to own it. If I really wanted it, I could just get it from the library and see if I liked it.

Not even a few months later, just about everyone I knew including probably my own book characters had to have this book. At my job in the library, I swear I saw this book get checked in and checked out like nobody's business. I got a blog, and just about every blogger I checked out LOVED this book. Finally, I caved. A few weeks ago when I went on my 'book shopping spree' I bought the book. It came as the fourth book I read out of seven.

I never thought I would love it.

I began to read it, skeptical, especially when I read about Katniss trying to drown poor Buttercup (helpless cat lover). But I kept reading—once I start a book, I must finish it. And by the end of the first chapter, I stopped reading, looked around the room, and kept reading until it was dark and I needed to get homework done. The next day at school I'm sure I lost a lot of valuable information because I was ignoring the teachers—guys, I was reading little parts of this book TO my teachers.

I have committed a sin: I have judged a book by its cover, and I have been proven wrong about this book. Now, I'll actually review this wonderful piece of literature that I'm actually going to reread once I finish Beautiful Creatures. Darn it, why won't the paperback of Catching Fire come out?!

The characters were likable, the story riveting, and Katniss's wry attitude toward anything that stands in her way prevented you from putting the book down. I was getting tired of the common perspective: dry humor. But Katniss was different, somehow—dry humor in the face of survival. When she first hears Peeta's name announced, and you had no clue why she was so concerned, she explains it in such a way you've completely forgotten that she was just announced to fight in the Hunger Games. The flashbacks were so beautiful, so smooth that you never thought of them as flashbacks! Or at least I didn't! (;

The description of Panem was 'flawless'—I thought of it as similar to a Native American walking into a [cleaner] New York City. Evil can be beautiful, and the ugly are good at putting on their makeup. This is what I thought of as Panem. But even within those mountains, there are people there who are kind and good, such as Cinna. Katniss and Peeta are already struggling, trying to get used to the idea of being enemies even though they have a private bond no one knows about, and you can feel the tension of it.

Haha. While Katniss was showing the judgeswhatever what she could do, and she fired the arrow at them, I started giggling. Totally owned! I think this was the point I forgave Katniss for trying to drown Buttercup.

Anyway, let the Games begin. The depiction of the landscape, the Tributes, the Careers, and Katniss's instinctual escape were amazing! Oh jeez, I really want to go grab the book and start reading it again now. And she didn't get the bow and arrow, grrr! But she got it later so it's all good. Guys, I seriously thought Rue was gonna stab Katniss in the back. But I WILL NOT SPOIL ANYTHING. No matter how much I want to.

Her defiance, her cunning, her bravery, and her intelligence led you through the story at such a pace you were struggling to keep up with her as she dodged through the fireballs, hid in the tree with the tracker jackers, and watched from the sidelines as she fired into the mines. At that point when she lost her hearing in her left ear, I really felt for her. Hearing is completely essential to me, and to know that one of my new favorite protagonists ever might have lost part of hers, made me ache.

Then the announcement is made—Tributes can get together. I think if I hadn't been sitting in a classroom I might have started cheering. But of course I felt sorry for Peeta. You could tell his feelings were genuine, and that hers weren't. It was fabulous. The grand finale with Cato versus Katniss and Peeta versus the wolf...things was AMAZING! There are too many things I want to say. Then after they win, and are expected to do the unthinkable, Katniss's decision just put the book near the top of my 'favorite books ever' list.

And the end of the book is just—I WANT CATCHING FIRE! NOW!! By the way I liked the mockingjays. (:

So those are all the for cons? I really think there was only one thing that irritated me...and it was so small I'm really trying to remember what it was. I'm pretty sure it was the fact Katniss was so instinctual with Peeta, pretending she knew exactly what he was going to do or what he was thinking. You can't predict people like that, as Peeta proved, but Katniss just got so upset about it that it sort of upset me too, for different reasons. But that was IT.

See how long this review is? See it?! That's how much I loved this book! IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THIS BOOK, DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I DID - READ IT!


Reading: Beautiful Creatures
Listening to: ---
Watching: Football again ._.
Quote: Um... xD

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White | Review

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Number of Pages: 335
Published: August 31, 2010
Rating: 4/5

Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal. (goodreads)

“Yes, I have a driver's license."
I leaned back against the wall, sighing. "Man, that must be so cool."
"It ranks right up there with lockers. In fact, sometimes I put my license inside my locker, and it's so cool I worry that the whole thing might explode with the sheer coolness of it all.”

This book made me laugh out loud so many times I got embarrassed at school. A lot. Just sitting there, peacefully reading/doing homework, and then I start laughing and everyone turns to stare at me. I don't care, though—makes for a good book! The very first page of the book made me start cracking up, so I'm glad I grabbed it when I saw it.

Evie is definitely different from a lot of protagonists I've read for. She's one of the first who has been a total badass girly-girl who loves pink and high-heeled boots. And even though she doesn't take crap from anyone, she has sympathy for the paranormals she tags as well as a cute disposition that made me want to be best friends with her ("Look at me, aren't I cute?").

I adored the names of the chapters, how they're all puns and almost all humorous. It's almost reminiscent of dark humor that Markus Zusak uses, consoling the reader though there's nothing funny about the chapter. All of the characters are different and likeable (aside from Reth and Vivian, I mean) and they each have some sort of quality that makes you curious about them.

I'm not sure what to think about Lend. I honestly don't feel like I got a whole lot of information about him. I did later in the book, of course, but something about him just makes me feel like Evie's letting her feelings for him rush a little quickly. But I prefer Lend over Reth, just so we're clear. xD Lend's power is definitely unique, and left me curious for a while until we figured out what in the world it was.

Onto Reth's arc with Evie, now that was intriguing. But I did get kind of annoyed with Evie there—even it if was for the plot. "I need you!" Why would you yell that? Moment of panic, I assume, and since there was a past relationship between them, but she's always going on about how dangerous the faeries are and how they twist words all the time. The minute I read that, I knew she was in for trouble... But I'll let it slide. She was about to get sucked dry, I probably would have done something along the same lines.

I'll make a paragraph about why this got four stars instead of five, though. Evie went through a number of things in this book that she chose not to confide in Raquel about, and when she did confide to Raquel about it. Like after Reth's first 'attack' and he drained part of his soul into her (I assume it was his), and her wrist and chest were glowing? Raquel saw it happen, but she couldn't see the glow. But, still—why didn't Evie tell her? Maybe Raquel wouldn't have believed her, but come on!! I would have told her, no matter what it would've meant for me. Regarding a faerie like Reth, I wouldn't have minded a bit more protection.

But I keep putting this into what I would have done. Maybe that's just Evie, but I still think it was strange. That's pretty much the only reason this was four out of five stars.

Otherwise, the plot had me in for a loop and all of the characters caught my interest and concerns. Even Vivian, seeing how lonely she was, made me feel for her. Kiersten White did an amazing job of representing all the characters and keeping you curious, especially at the end of the book. I'm eagerly awaiting a chance to grab Supernaturally, because I really want to know what Reth meant by "the right door" and what he plans to do. It's concerning, and exciting.

I'll halt the review there. I loved Paranormalcy just as much as Evie loves pink! I hope Lish makes some sort of surprise appearances, somehow, in the next book. I liked the bleeping too much. ): It seems like 7-8 paragraphs is the normal length for any review I make, haha... anyway, loved this book! Now, I'll probably be waiting until Christmas to read Supernaturally. Darn.


Reading: Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia
Watching: NCIS
Listening to: The Legend Comes to Life - Pokemon 2000 OST
No quote today :/

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Five (Dare to Dream!) [13]

Wow, so not much is happening in my life right now. xD Bear with meeeeee

1. A Tad Disappointed - I didn't win the DreamQuestOne contest—this is no surprise, but I let myself hope for just a little bit that Lady Suzanne and the other characters of my short story would get their moment of fame. ): Maybe I'll make that a little weekly story, I think it's long enough for that... ah well, there's always other contests. But I NEED CREDENTIAAAALS.

2. Five Years Later?! - Let me rant about my video games, just for a little bit, promise. Okay. Final Fantasy XIII-2 is coming out in January, and I'm not fazed with the trailers whatsoever. Yet Final Fantasy Versus XIII is a game everyone including pretty much God is waiting for, and they announced this game in 2006. I'm serious, 2006. It's 2011, and we've gotten like, three trailers as far as my knowledge goes. Yet a week ago or so, the producer JUST ANNOUNCED that they are working on it full time. Now. In 2011. Five years after the game was announced. ... -_-

3. Biology II is Disgusting! - This week has been torture in that class for me!! Our notes currently involve flatworm, ringworm, roundworm, worm and parasite galore... it's DISGUSTING. I shudder sitting here writing about it. The sad thing is that the movies we watch in there? My teacher finds me more entertaining than the movie! But come on, I don't want to watch someone eat fish with roundworm in it—EWWW! So disgusting!!

4. My Book List is FULL - Here are the books I want:
Perchance to Dream - Lisa Mantchev
Sweep Omnibus #3, 4, 5 - Cate Tiernan
Catching Fire & Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
If I Stay - Gayle Foreman
Inheritance - Christopher Paolini
Supernaturally - Kiersten White
Original Sin - Lisa Desrochers
The Forest of Adventures - Katie M. John
Guys, I don't have enough room on my bookshelf for all of these wonderful books. ): And my book shopping spree earlier—I'm not my last book...what am I to do?!

5. Song of the Week - The Mother of All Battles - Immediate Music

Immediate Music is the first encounter I ever had with VGM and trailer music, so they're kind of the standard I go to for creativity and ideas. I went back to them and listened to his, and fell in L O V E. Truth is, though; I would have chosen another song if I didn't think it would annoy all of you... but we'll focus on this one. I just love it! There's so much action in it, so much tension and aaaaaaah it's great :D


Reading: Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia/Margaret Stohl [I can NEVER remember their names!]
Watching: Family Guy. Sorry if this is humiliating lol!
Listening to: Advent: One Winged Angel [ACC Long Version] - Nobuo Uematsu
Quote: "Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it's so hurtful to think about writing." ~Heather Armstrong (This has SO described me lately ._.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore | Review

Title: The Power of Six
Author: Pittacus Lore
Published: August 23, 2011
Number of Pages: 406
Rating: 5/5

I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I'm ready to fight. (goodreads)


“If you ever know a man who tries to drown his sorrows, kindly inform him his sorrows know how to swim.”


Wow! I am so happy to say this book impressed me, a lot. I grabbed this book the minute I saw it on the shelf (during my book-shopping-spree) and I didn't get to reading it until this week, but I completely devoured it. There are so many things to go over in this work, so little time...

Pittacus Lore chooses to tell the story in two completely different POVs: John's and Marina's. The instant I began reading, I liked Marina's character. She is strong, firm in her beliefs, and she doesn't take crap. Immediately you grow frustrated with her Cepan, Adelina, who seems to have given up on rescuing Lorien. You can tell the minute the story starts this isn't going to have a lot of happy-go-lucky attitude in it, though there are parts that will make you laugh out loud.

That makes a good book. John, Six, and Sam are fleeing the law and learning to train at the same time. Lore is amazing with this: normally, when characters are on the run, all you ever hear about is how they're running. The trio don't do this. You hear about the things in between, their training and their banter and the moments where they slow down. I loved it! And the love SQUARE is even better!! Though near the end of the book that square is ruined, and it WILL make you mad. (;

There were two things about this book that I had trouble with, though. Those two things are One: Marina, John, and Six know that the charm has been broken. How...did...that...happen? Did I miss it? Because I didn't read anywhere explaining how the heck the charm was broken. Two: Lore needs more vocabulary words than 'ash'. Like...dust. And alternate between them, because I got a little irked reading 'ash' 'ash' 'ash' 'ash' over and over again during the action scenes.

You see the Mogadorians so much this time around! And WTF CANNONS. So much more action-packed, so much more battles of the heart, so many battles of the minds and learning. How Lore packed so much into this book, I'll never know! I know I was on page 101 one day and the next I was on, like, 342.

Yay Bernie Kosar! Just as awesome as always! <3 And even Henri makes a small appearance, albeit through a letter; but you can still sense the Henri-ness of it! The writing was so smooth I didn't even know when I was turning the pages. I'm not the kind of person who likes to get committed to a series, so when I do, I am SERIOUS BUSINESS about it. Am I using too many caps? Oh well. But I'm so glad I kept with this series—I want MORE!!

Now, typically, I don't enjoy stories about aliens. That was why I was hesitant on reading I Am Number Four, and hesitant on continuing the series. But that's the thing: Pittacus Lore (I love this pseudonym omg) makes it a DRAMA more than a science fiction. An action/adventure. The story is completely its own, and if there are any other books it can be closely compared to, it is not in my library. Each character is down-to-earth, in every sense of the term; realistic, likeable, and every single one has their own mysteries to be solved either by you or by the protagonist.

I can't think of anything else to say about this book. The first fifty pages or so seemed slower to me, but of course I was busy the day I started the book, so that doesn't matter so much. I loved it, and I'm eager for the next book in the series. I'm curious to see how the story will progress, I want to know more about our new Mogadorian antagonist, and I want to know...everything!


Reading: Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Watching: -
Listening to: Those For the Purge - Masashi Hamauzu
Quote: "There were only two kinds of people in our town. "The stupid and the stuck," my father had affectionately classified our neighborhood." — Ethan Wate

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Never Forget. Never Surrender.

It's been ten years. I am seeing, everywhere, people posting what they remember from what they were doing when the Twin Towers were struck. So I will share two stories—mine, which is a little muddled (I was six years old, I mean)—and my mother's, which will be much more coherent. But I'm also going to post what my community did in remembrance of this tragic day.

In first grade, it had only been a year since I had a close brush with possibly not being here today; I went through a rare form of food poisoning and was hospitalized for a week. I was still recovering from that, that's one of the more tangible things I remember. But I also remember my teacher, my classmates, and our confusion. I honestly wish I remembered more, but I didn't understand half of it at the time. I don't even remember how our teachers found out. Were they called in the middle of class? Did the faculty announce it? Did they wait until our classes were over?

I don't know. But I do remember coming back from recess, being one of the first people in the classroom. A rare event: our classroom TV was on. I caught a glance at the screen, and saw two smoking towers. News bulletins rolling under it. I got ready to ask what it was, but the TV turned off, and class resumed. Once school got out, my mom turned to me in the car before we even left the parking lot.

"Kendra, something has happened today. The world has changed. I know you're hungry, but we're going to go get gas—the prices are probably going to go through the roof. I'll explain on the way."

Once we got home, my father was watching it on TV. More videos of the smoking towers. Mom and Dad talking about things I had no clue about. But that didn't mean I couldn't sense the tremors vibrating in the air. I said nothing, not wanting to break the tension.

My mom didn't work yet. She didn't work until I went into second grade. She told me, many years later, what she was doing at the time. When I finally understood the importance of the towers, what the heck terrorism was, and how important it was that a war had been declared upon terrorism: an idea. She explained to me that she was working out—in my early years, she had major periods of fitness routines—when my grandmother called her. The conversation went something like this:

"What are you doing?"
"I'm working out."
"Turn your TV on. A plane just flew into the towers in New York."

My mom turned the TV on, of course, and to her disbelief watched the smoking towers. My mother and her mother spoke for a while, and then my mom called my dad. I don't know as much there, but I know that they both cried. My father, a man of steel, had cried. I have only known my father to cry a few times, and never have I been present.

My history teacher gives a speech similar to this every year on 9/11.

"Our world was changed that day. So many innocent people died, and for what? Monuments of our history, monuments of our strength, were destroyed...and history was made. Terrorism is an idea, and our President was so bold as to declare war on terrorism. To declare war upon an idea. This has never happened before. Would you say we are winning? Would you say we are losing? What do you say?"

May 1st, 2011. It was late at night, and I logged onto the internet to look something up before I went to bed. Instead my mind was consumed by the name I had heard for so many years, but never paid much mind to—my only true link to his name was 9/11.


I jumped out of my seat and ran into my parents' bedroom, my mind reeling. Really? Could he truly be dead? But maybe he isn't. Maybe it's a fake...but why the heck would they broadcast it then? I shook both of my parents, and after I received groggy replies, said, "They're saying Osama bin Laden is dead."

"That's nice," my mom mumbled. Taken aback, I just walked out. But in the morning my mom apologized, having been watching news reports all morning. "I thought it was probably just a farce," she sighed. I glanced at the TV. People held signs up in New York, cheering the nation on over and over and over. I smiled.

All through the day after I went to school, I heard the chanting of New Yorkers: "U-S-A! U-S-A! U- S-A! U-S-A!"

We have reached the ten year anniversary of 9/11. I've heard so many mixed opinions about it. "Let it die down; let those people rest in peace." "Never forget. This is our history."

Our class walked out to our flagpole last Friday, since of course we're not at school on Sunday. Our chorus sang Star Spangled Banner. We had a moment of silence at 8:48, the minute the first plane struck. Our superintendent rang our school's bell eleven times, and we said a prayer. Then we went back inside, but already I felt like I had done something in commemoration of this day.

Today, my friends and I have been trading anxious words on whether we should worry or not. Surely bin Laden planned something? Sure, he did; we learned that after he died. But what if it happens? I've waited to post this because of those anxious wonders, but thankfully it hasn't happened. I have so many worries, but I won't put them into words. Anyway...

I'll stop there. This ended up much longer than what I expected!

Where and what were YOU doing on 9/11? How have you remembered its anniversary?
Listening to: Empire State of Mind - Alicia Keys
Watching: Football - thanks, Dad. I LOVE football. [/sarcasm]
Reading: The Power of Six - Pittacus Lore
REGARDING THAT: I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I feel like my reviews have been super lousy lately. Why? Because I've been reading three and four books at a time before I review them, so I barely remember the books by the time I review them. I apologize for this, and I will have more reviews up soon, hopefully more coherent that the last few.
Pending Reviews: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Treasure Keeper by Shana Abé, Looking for Alaska by John Green, SWEEP by Cate Tiernan, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, and Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. Thank you for your patience!