To Brave the Adventure that is Nanowrimo?

With Nanowrimo just around the corner, I find myself at that fork in the road… do I join or do I just watch everyone else around me panic?

Well… I’m still standing at that fork in the road, but I’m curious to know if any of our readers are into NaNo! And if you are into it, do you like planning ahead or just winging it when november begins?

On my first attempt at NaNo, I tried to plan out a basic idea for a story… but then it didn’t pan out because once november came around I hated the idea… hahaha… on my second attempt, I tried to wing it… but then I just stared at a blank document for two hours and gave up– then I forgot about it by the second week because life sucks sometimes.

Have any of you been successful? Made it at least halfway? Or just fail miserably like me?

Sorry this is so short~
You’ll probably notice posts to be lacking… well, midterms are around the corner. Ahhh, the joys of a working student right? So fun. :)

Until next time!
Sam

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My Wandering eyes have found: Shadows

Title: Shadows
Author: Paula Weston
Publisher: Text Publishing
Type of book: Hardcover
Genre: Fantasy, paranormal, angels & Demons, Romance
Pages: 388

So I did a little indulging on the Chapters/Indigo website and bought 3 books, completely different from one another. My reasoning for such spontaneity are as listed: 1) it’s been a while. 2) I legit had read all which sit on bookshelf. 3) I look for any excuse to go book-shopping :). So This particular website was rather kind to me and introduced me to Shadows by Paula Weston. So once I foudn this little treasure I had no choice but to consult my book-guru Goodreads and what jackpot it came out to be. Needn’t I forget the fact that I bought this book despite it being a hardcover and that is a big time deal. For one simple fact {I may have mentioned it before but I will repeat} I ABHOR hardcovers.


It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.
And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

-Goodreads

I do not know about you, but I get a feeling that this book will not be your typical girl meets mystery-drowned boy. I haven’t been interested in a book surrounding angels and demons since Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I think this could be it. Yes, I am getting my hopes up and yes, waves of chills went down my spine whenever I look at the cover. That’s just how they bait me I swear. It feels very much that it should not be in the YA section.

My hopes for this book is that I will get a series of unexplainable events, people ending up dead, maybe some whispers of Gabby Winter’s brother from a shallow grave {maybe even find out that he didn’t really die and is actually imprisoned in a dark place}. My aspirations on the romance are that I don’t want instant trust from Gabby. Goodness knows that a stranger coming into your life and talking nonsense isn’t someone you bring home to meet the folks. I basically I want this romance to build up and to make sense. I won’t accept reasoning that because she sees him in her dreams, that he is a good person. That’s just ridiculous-ness at it’s finest right there. {not to mention overdone}.

I do hope Gabby will after a series of horrible scary happenings have no choice and man up and become the warrior her dreams make her out to be. I want Gabby and her black knight go places no mortal has ever gone and maybe…just maybe end of the world happenings, but I think that’s a little stretch seeing it is the first book.

I really hope this book will standout and wow me, nay, I need it to blow my mind. {with old age comes picker times bwahahah} Doesn’t it sound sweet?! I am get hyped up! The proper review for Shadows will only follow sometime maybe next month, but warnings: I do have a book in between to get to beforehand so it might be pushed till December. It’s almost fitting though if it was ready for December don’t ya think? Nevertheless the more I read other reviewers comments basking the book in nothing but magnificence only furthers my anticipation.

Anyways that is where I will leave you all tootles!

-Meli

Mandy’s Miscellaneous Flavours: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Mindy Kaling

Three Rivers Press (Sept. 18 2012)

Hardcover

Humour and Entertainment, Humour, Essays

222 pages

https://i0.wp.com/www.3000books.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/mindy1.jpg

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
 
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
 
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

***

First off, on the extremely slim chance that you are somehow reading this, I love you Mindy Kaling and I wish we were friends 5ever.

Anyways…

After lugging around numerous dense and heavy books amid midterm season (lord help us), Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me is the perfect break from it all.

Not to say that this book is merely consisted of fluff. On the contrary, this book still has substance underneath all the jokes. Like Ben and Jerry’s after a long day filled of BS. Ice cream with the yummy brownie bits in it.

So what is Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me book about? In Mindy Kaling’s words: “In this book I write a lot about romance, female friendships, unfair situations that now seem unfunny in retrospect, unfair situations that I still don’t think are funny, Hollywood, heartache, and my childhood. Just that really hard-core, masculine stuff men love to read about.”

So it’s no surprise being the manliest manly-man out there that I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Within this book Mindy Kaling talks about her life from childhood to adulthood, her success with The Office, from her ups and downs, to bullies and best friends, all in the form of witty stories.

We are given a peek into Mindy’s creative and playful mind, with passages entitled “Don’t Peak in High School”, “Types of Women in Romantic Comedies Who Are Not Real”, “Why do Men Put on Their Shoes So Slowly?” and other clever remarks that are sprinkled throughout the book.

At times serious, at times hilarious, but always honest, Mindy Kaling manages to weave a string of what would seem as incoherent thoughts together. Among one of her musings, one story that stuck with me well after reading it was of one about the friendship between her and a girl called Mavis in high school. The story of two friends finding each other at the perfect time only to drift apart and go their own ways just seems like something everyone will be able to relate to.

At times it’s as if she was peeking into my own mind (“There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it”) rather than the other way around. And I guess that’s what I ultimately liked about this book and Mindy herself, how relatable she is. Flipping through the books pages was like reading letters sent by a close friend, which I liked a lot…

And not because the only thing I get in the mail are bills.

Until next time!

Amanda  

Curiousity Corner: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

This week instead of a review, I’ve decided to write about something that I have hopes to read at some point…soon? In the distant future somewhere at least.

Okay. So. I feel like everywhere I go, I’ve been seeing this book. That’s weird isn’t it? And each and every time this happens, I’m reluctant to flip through its contents. After all my stubbornness, I’m taking it as an extremely delayed sign. I think because the cover shares the same color scheme as the Twilight series (which I’ve read…though I shan’t speak of it) that it through me off a little bit? Yeah, let’s go with that. So I shoved my bitterness aside one day whilst bored on my cellular device as usual. I ordered a sample from Kelley Armstrong. Bitten seems to revolve around werewolves. Normally, I wouldn’t indulge in this sort of furry fantasy. But I’m thinking Year of the Vampire is over. At least for now.

The first few chapters that I got to peek, introduces our main character Elena who is a newly bitten wolf still trying to hold onto her humanity. It does seem to sound like the usual self-loathing supernatural creature, but I’m interested to see where this goes. Especially when Elena gives into her wolfy urges. It’s always a little fun when they join the dark side for a quick spin, don’t you think?
This is going to be added to my collection soon enough. Hopefully it won’t be collecting dust.

xox,
Sasha

A Depressing Tale From Michelle’s Paper Garden

This is something I thought of when I am walking home in the middle of the night.
________________________________________________

The girl could not be more than sixteen years old yet she held a sleeping baby, a boy, wrapped in a plain blue pressed to her not fully developed breasts. He had been born only a few hours before she decided to take to the streets, an unwise action to be sure, but she deemed her task important enough to venture out on a cold winter night with a newborn. Foolish child was completely unaware of the predators who lurked just beyond her sight. Like myself.
I couldn’t help but smile a little. Merry Christmas to me, I thought wickedly as I began to follow her to the street at the edge of the park. I remained in the shadows of the trees, my feet never touching the ground.

She looked to her left and then to her right before crossing the quiet, snow covered street. It was a precautionary measure that had been etched into her head since childhood, but it did nothing to warn her of my presence or for that matter, of the presence of the others who were hovering about her: the homeless man whom to most would appear to be sleeping on the park bench was a ghoul, a creature whose enjoyment of the dead bodies is disturbing even to the most sadistic of night creatures; the unusually large stray dog who was sniffing around garbage cans in the park was a werewolf with hungry red eyes, and the old Santa Clause at the corner was no jolly old elf, but a redcap with a thirst for blood. All watched her carefully, all were aware of the others hanging about.

She raced up the steps of the large gothic building whose great towers seemed to reach the sky and stained-glass windows that were larger than any man; a church with all its stone glory. There were lights coming from inside the church, as it was Christmas Eve and midnight masses were popular for some reason. I would never understand Catholics.

With the utmost care — or at least the utmost care one can show when leaving a newborn on the front porch of a church— she placed the baby in front of the door. “I’m sorry,” she whispered to him before placing a kiss on the child’s forehead.
How sentimental, I thought sourly as the girl rose and slammed her fists against the wooden doors. Then, she rushed down the steps like a prankster who had just left a flaming gift on the doorstep of a hated neighbour and across the street. She quickly whipped past the homeless ghoul, who immediately perked up, as she vanished into the trees.

With a cruel grin of black pointed teeth, the creature rose from his bench and walked after her. The wolf growled hungrily from behind me, and proceeded to follow him, hoping to get a bite before the ghoul had his way with the young girl. No one would want to take a bite after the ghoul.

My head snapped back to the abandoned baby, and I immediately noticed that the redcap had moved from his corner. He had almost reached the staircase when the wooden door swung open, flooding the porch with soft candlelight and warmth from the many bodies that were seated in the pews. A man, a priest from him garb, stood in the doorway with a confused look on his elderly face. He spotted the baby and his expression changed to one of pity. He scooped up the child, mumbling comforting words that the sleeping baby would neither hear nor understand. He looked around, but saw no one, as the redcap had dropped his disguise and had ducked behind a tree.

It was my turn to act. I stepped out of the trees and walked to the edge of the park. “Good evening, father,” I said cheerfully as I walked across the street without looking one way or the other. I had no need to be cautious.

The priest pulled the child close to him, either because he worried that the baby would be cold or because the tiny voice in the back of his mind was telling him that I was not like him. Men of the cloth were not known to appreciate the unusual. “G-good evening, miss. Merry Christmas,” he replied with a forced smile. There was a twinge of fear in his dark blue eyes.
Hmm, so it’s the latter. I sighed as I walked up to the priest, who took an involuntary step backwards. He stared straight at me, and I in turn, stared right back.

My pupils narrowed to a thin slit. “You have nothing to fear, priest. I am just like you,” I told him, though the words made me want to gag. No one wants to be the equal of their food. “Now, give me the baby and then walk back into the church to finish your service.”

The priest nodded as he handed the baby to me and turned to renter the church. Some of the churchgoers asked him what had happened, but he ignored them all as he marched up to the alter. Paying no mind to the strange looks from his congregation, he began to preach. Those in the pews mumbled to their neighbours, but did nothing else.

The baby made a noise, rubbing his little nose with a balled fist. I glanced down at it. I could feel my fangs peeking out of my gums as I watched the blood rush through the tiny creature. There was nothing like the taste of a newborn.

There was a growl from behind me. I looked over my shoulder to see the redcap, thin and pale, standing at the foot of the staircase. His blood-soaked cap was clutched in a skeletal hand. The ghoul and the werewolf appeared on the other side of the road. The werewolf, now in human form, was covered in blood. The ghoul adorned a bloody skull on top of his head and the face of a pretty sixteen-year old girl was sewn to his bare chest. He chewed absently on a severed arm.

I turned to look back into the church. There were so many warm bodies that it sent chills up my spine. A low, content hiss escaped my lips. I smirked coldly. “Have at it, boys.”
A blur moved past me and the first scream followed as a large wolf tore into the jugular of a little old grandmother. The ghoul waddled over to the door, screeching gleefully at the mounting fear in the room. The redcap glided by me, turning in the doorway to face me.

“Coming, Camilla?” he asked, his voice was hoarse.

“No,” I replied as I lifted the baby. “This will be enough for me.”

The redcap nodded before closing the door. There was a soft click, trapping everyone inside like cows in a slaughterhouse. Screams and the sound of crunching bones were the only things that could escape the church.

Grinning like a schoolgirl, I spun around to make my way down the stairs, which I had planned on skipping down. I could have done a jig, I was so happy. Once I made it down the stony steps, I glided across the street and vanished into the dark, snowy park.

Meli’s Nostalgic Tales: The Dark Heroine/Dinner with a Vampire

Title: Dinner with a Vampire
Author: Abigail Gibbs
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Type of book: Trade paperback
Genre: Paranormal, Vampires, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 549

Have any of you ever been a victim of quotes on books compelling you to read it because it’s supposed to blow you away? Well, that is what happened to me, this book promised, and I quote, to be “The sexiest romance you’ll read this year…”

four words…What the hell happened???!!!

Do not get me wrong, this started off beautifully, totally sucked me in. Our main Character Violet is left alone by her friend awaiting to go party and suddenly she witness stranger beings going at it all of which end up dead, followed by having said executioner seeing that there is a witness and deciding to abstain from killing her. There are some theories as to why he left her live, but let that be discovered at your own leisure. Golly, Violet Lee, what were you thinking when you saw a massacre happening decided not to use all means to get away fast enough? I liked her, I liked her a lot. When she got kidnapped and became a potential meal for a house full of vamps, she didn’t turn into a lamb and succumb. She fought…like a fearless bastard {my friend’s latest saying} and said “no way am I giving up on humanity! I am an amazon!” which was great!

The thing is these vampires were not as I accepted, in this society, only people of higher positions {military or presidential and so forth} know they {vamps} exist and there is a treaty in place. {Gawd I love talk of treaties feels so much more bad ass}. So should say a vampire kills a human then here comes the next war. Alas, Violet Lee is not our usual specimen; she is in fact the daughter of the Secretary of State for Defense {wowza} and he wants nothing more to start a war but wants his kid safe. I think.

The author’s writing style I enjoyed immensely, her description was appetizing and I think this is one of the reasons I got as far as I could. Violet in her own way appeals to the compassionate side of these vampires, even the son/prince of them all Casper Varn, who is a spoiled hot-head yet deadly couldn’t turn away. I believed I could get through this and write nothing but awesome things about this book.

Unfortunately I cannot. Why you may ask? Because I have yet to reach the end and I am not sure if I ever will. Ladies and Germs, I reached up to page 338-339 and I could not do it anymore. The unspeakable happened…

…They had sex. ;__; Do not get me mixed up I do love some smut, but I felt it killed the whole dynamic of where the book was going. Violet and Kasper had this ongoing sexual tension: he was forbidden to feed off her, touch her or even get near her, all of which he did not heed. Violet couldn’t stop wondering why Casper was an enigma which made her want to seek him out even more. My friends, Violet took a turn for the worse, her sleeping with the enemy not only sealed her fate as a human but comprise the lives of millions. All I could keep thinking about is “why are you so selfish? Did you REALLY have to get it in??” She couldn’t stop crying about missing her family and friends and that humanity meant everything to her but as soon as Kasper would place his poisonous lips onto her, she’s be like “Being human what now?”

I had enough, I expected something else I actually wanted her to plot to get herself out of that mansion, maybe submit Casper a betrayal and more drama. Who knows maybe there is a turn around and maybe I’ll find out but as of yet I keep glancing at it and I cannot muster picking it.

So based on what I read that is my opinion, if you decide to take a gander I accept spoilers.

Grading: 3/5

yours truly Meli<3

Great Characters!

Hey! Sarah here, and today I’m going to be writing about something more writing oriented.  Keep a look out for a book review soon though, on one of the books that Sam and I received as part of our Random House Canada fall preview!  I’ll also be posting on my own blog soon, about everything that went down there! (http://sressiambre.wordpress.com/)

For now though, I have a post that was inspired by our recent trip to Comic Con Montreal (Sam, Meli, Michelle, and I). And it’s all about great character writing!

Alright, so what is it about characters that make them so memorable?

On the surface, when wandering around Comic Con, I think it would appear that cool looking costumes and weapons are the sole reason for a cosplay choice.  Upon deeper speculation however, I think there’s much more to it.  I believe that good characters have the ability to capture the love of an audience, and that if well written, they can last for many years, even when the book/film in question is not in the spotlight.

Firstly, and perhaps the most popular costume choice is that of a superhero.  Everyone wishes to be more than they are at some point in their life.  Imagining that you can save the world, and protect those you care about? Who doesn’t think that would be great?

Now, when writing our protagonists, they will most likely be heroes and heroines of some sort.  Not always with powers, not always with disguises, but they are almost all inherently good at heart and want to take action to overcome the antagonist or obstacle in their way.  We want to write protagonists that our audience will cheer for.  And we want our audience to be able to empathize with them, and many times, wish to be them in some way (though not the situations we put our characters in!).

Next, villains! Writing good villains can be harder than writing our protagonists.  They can come out looking like stereotypes; card board cut outs of what evil looks like, with no redeeming qualities.  Though this type of monolithic evil can work occasionally, I have found that I prefer my villains be more complicated.  I think that a good antagonist had justified reasons for what they are doing, and that it should be less certain that they are wrong in their beliefs.  Having villains as complex and real as your antagonist is what’s going to make your story levels better, and stop it from falling flat.  It keeps readers on their toes, not always sure if good will actually conquer evil, and questioning even where the line between the two lies.

Some of my favourite characters are not necessarily good ones.  And of course, this is my time to once again rave over George RR Martin’s character building in his Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones, for the HBO viewers).

Though there are characters you hate (Joffrey, anyone?), many have gathered a following of fans.  Tywin Lannister, for one.  The things he does are so heart breaking to Stark fans, and yet he still commands a certain respect from readers who see he uses his skills to accomplish what’s best for his family (though the way he treats them is not particularly admirable).  Then there’s a character like Theon Greyjoy, who is so cowardly that he loses all respect, and yet still manages to get pity for the situation he’s in (though I’ll admit, I’m in the minority of those who actually enjoys his character and POVS).  And who can ignore a reader’s (and viewers) favourite: Tyrion Lannister.  Though he’s witty, and relatable, he has still done terrible things (read the books!) and it’s amazing that Martin can still make him so loveable.

The line between a protagonist and an antagonist is not always clear, and I’m sure that’s why the more complex characters are so much fun to choose for cosplay at an event like CC.

Lastly, I want to talk about the more obscure costumes I saw.  Which brings up the topic of secondary and minor characters.  They may seem insignificant, but in reality they run the story just as much as the main ones do.  Now, continuing on with Martin, there are so many characters that this point really becomes important.  A character like Beric Dondarrion may not be on as many pages as Tyrion, but he holds a lot of power and is a fan favourite because of his endurance and skill.  Jaqen H’ghar (a personal favourite) plays a seemingly small role in the books, but has a remarkable presence (I also believe he will have a much larger role in the next books).

Looking at JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, it’s characters like Fred and George, Dobby, Luna and Neville (though I’d argue that they’re main characters by the end of the series) that make readers laugh and cry; sometimes more than I would for the main characters.  Writing good secondary and minor characters could make or break your story.  They can greatly influence the main plot, and can certainly capture the hearts of your readers just as much as your main characters.

So who are your favourite characters of all time? Why?

Do you prefer a more complex villain to a monolithic evil?

How do you go about writing diverse and riveting characters?

Let me know!

A book review should be my next post here.  Til then, hope you’re all enjoying yourselves! Feel free to recommend your favourite books to me!