Monday, January 31, 2011

New Year's Resolution Check-Up!

Today is January 31st... we are one month into 2011. How has this new year been treating you? Home life's been nice, made some advancements at work/school? That's great.

So... how about that New Year's Resolution?

What resolution, you say?

You made one. You and I both know it. What I want to know is, are you keeping it?

I've never made a resolution before. I'm a regular goal-setter, especially when it comes to writing, but 2011 is the first year in which I made an active decision to try to better my life. My resolution was to read at least one book per week, because it really pisses me off when I don't make time to read and end up working on the same book for weeks.

And... I've kept it. So far I've read 6 and I'm working on number 7. I'm also not going to stop myself from putting a book down when it doesn't interest me, and I've done that once. I feel really good! It feels like I'm zipping through my TBR pile, and you know what that means? I can add more amazing books to it. Cue Valley Girl accent: OMG Book shopping!!!!!!!

Comment and tell me about your resolution's status!

Friday, January 28, 2011

I guess it's just one of those days...

I recently noticed that the beginning of FAKE, the novel that's with beta readers right now, is, to put it lightly, f'ed. It basically makes no sense. We have no idea who the main character is before she's dropped right into conflict. Genius Beta Reader #1 suggested that all the scenes with MC #1 in it are basically the same, and Genius Beta Reader #2 picked up on this, also, so I decided to go back to the beginning to fix it.

And of course, now I'm totally stuck. /Sigh. So I went to Subway, thinking that a 5$ Footlong would solve everything. It didn't. Now I'm back at the desk, staring at my Post-It Plot Wall in despair.

Hopefully something happens soon.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Look at this.

Just... wow. Me want. I love rings, and with this one I would always feel like I was wearing some super-special time-travelling artifact or something!

Steampunk jewelry is amazing. Steampunk anything is amazing.

Follow Friday (3)

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.

This week's featured blogger is Marie of Mission to Read.

This week's question is:

What is your favourite school subject?

In high school it was always English. English, English, English. Wow, that's a funny word. I was all about English class. It was easy for me, and all I had to do to get in the teacher's good books was tell them I was a writer. Gotta admit, I had all my English teachers wrapped around my finger. But now that I'm in university, I'm not digging it so much. I'm probably going to post on this in the near future so I won't say much. Anyway, my favourite subject in university is history. I have this amazing history prof, an older British lady with the driest, best sense of humour in the world. Her class is so much fun.

Sorry that all my posts lately have been memes! I think I have a writing-related post coming tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

RTW: Which Book Universe?

YA Highway hosts Road Trip Wednesday every Wednesday, with a new question every week. This week's question is:

If you could live within the universe of one book, which would you choose?

Harry Potter. Of course. What self-respecting kid-lit reader wouldn't give almost ANYTHING to go to Hogwarts, to play Quidditch, to cast magic spells? Really, if I had one wish in all the world, I would wish for the Harry Potter universe.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Font Lovin'

Yes, that is Britney Spears on my blog. Deal with it.

Anyway, being a writer, I have a weird fascination with fonts. But is it just me, or is the font her name is written in GORGEOUS?!

I would kill to have that font on a book cover of mine.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Follow Friday! (3)

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.

Whoo hoo, it's Follow Friday again! The question this week is:

Who do you cheer for?

Ohhhhhhhhh you may not want to get me started ;) I'm a big NHL fan, and I cheer for my home team, the Vancouver Canucks, #1 in the Western Conference and only just came down from #1 in the league. I'm actually so full of love for this team. We've got the best guys, skill-wise and personality-wise. The Sedin twins, Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo, some of the best names in the NHL. We're looking Stanley Cup-worthy this year, too!

Actually, the game is on in just a few minutes. See you :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thoughts on Matched

image source

I was completely unprepared for this book.

How many of us have had the hype surrounding a book colour our expectations? All of us, pretty much? Since this book had so much buzz, my expectations were two-fold.

The first set of expectations I had were, since this book sold for such an astronomical amount (can't remember the exact amount, but it was a seven-figure advance at auction), it must be amazing.

The second set was... but since dystopian is the hot thing in YA right now, what if publishers just found something they knew would sell a billion copies and cracked it out, not caring about the quality?

Since I'd read so many incredibly mixed reviews, I really didn't know which side of the expectation scale Matched would swing to until I actually read it.

My verdict?

Holy crap, it's amazing, guys.

There will inevitably be comparisons to The Hunger Games, since that's the biggest dystopian out there right now, but I'm serious when I say that, for me, Matched blew THG out of the water. I was lukewarm at best towards Katniss; I love Cassia. She's sympathetic in a way that Katniss never was. Cassia is the everygirl. She isn't an extraordinary hunter/gatherer, she isn't even rebellious and revolution-minded until the last quarter or so of the book. She's average in every way, until a perfect storm of events happen to turn her into a heroine. I loved this.

The love triangle is even fantastic, and I'm not a fan of them in general. But here it's really believable. We can easily see that Cassia loves Guy #1 as a friend, and because of that wouldn't mind spending the rest of her life with him. But Guy #2 really sets her on fire. There is no dilly-dallying between the two of them, agonizing and angsting and carrying on.

I was also caught off-guard by the sheer poetics of Ally Condie's writing. The writing in Twilight is overwrought, the writing in THG is nondescript, but Condie's writing is lyrical, experimental. I never thought literary style would work so well in a sci-fi.

Long story short... I'm really, really excited for the sequel, Crossed, due in November 2011 I believe. Ahh. It's going to be torture to wait.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Songs on Saturday (7)

Songs on Saturday is a meme-ish thing where I tell you want song I've been reading/writing to this week :)

Well, this week my song-on-repeat has been:

I saw this band when they opened for Hanson back in September, they put on a really good show. Anyway, if you ignore the annoying girls in the music video, this is a really sweet song. It reminds me of a certain character from FAKE, Sawyer. It totally describes his feelings - if you switch around pronouns so the song is addressed to a guy. Close enough, though, right? It always astounds me how much a single song can help you understand your own characters so much better.

Anyway. What songs are on repeat for you this week?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Follow Friday! (2)

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.

Today's question is:

What makes up your non-human family?

My answer: My beloved but dim-witted shih-tzu Jimmy, my lovely kitty cat Pumpkin, and my semi-tolerated mean girl of a cat, Amber. I've had an assortment of hamsters over the years, too, but I'm done with them because they make me feel guilty for not playing with them enough, and then I end up having nightmares for years into the future that they're haunting me. I'm kind of crazy.

Hello new followers! I'm always happy to follow back!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

RTW: Favourite Lines

I've never participated in Road Trip Wednesday before, but as I'm a big fan of YA Highway and snowed in (over a foot, couldn't commute to school today), I thought I would since this topic is a fun one.

What is your favourite line from your WIP (or a book you read recently)?

Yay! I love beautiful lines from books. I picked one from each of my manuscripts and one from a book I didn't write (but wish I had!)

From FAKE:

"He says my name like it rhymes with 'Lucifer.'"

From the newly retitled AS LONG AS I'M LYING:

"The notes all roll together, making more sound than I knew two human hands could create."

From the amazing THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak, which is almost entirely composed of gorgeous sentences:

"She was saying goodbye and she didn't even know it."

Jeez, it's hard to pick just one line out of that book. I just picked a pretty one that jumped out at me as I flipped pages. Then I teared up, remembering it. Sigh...

In other news, FAKE has been sent out to the beta readers. I can't make any more changes until I hear back from them, so I'm forced to work on AS LONG AS I'M LYING again. Hooray for exciting first drafts!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thoughts on Bloodthirsty

My New Years' Resolution, to read at least one book per week, has been successful so far. The second book I read this year was Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney.

The premise of this one had me from the start: boy pretends to be a vampire to get girls. I knew I had to read it as soon as I heard what it was about. Flynn Meaney hit premise gold with this one! What with the vampire mania, it's so timely it's crazy.

With that said, sometimes the publication of books gets rushed because of a timely premise. While Bloodthirsty was a crazy-fun read and I literally laughed out loud at a lot of parts, there were a few areas I felt could have been improved upon.

Sometimes the dialogue could be a bit stilted. A few odd lines were just weirdly written and it pulled me out of the book to be like "...what?" But the main thing about Bloodthirsty that was a little bit off was the fact that everybody just bought the fact that Finbar was a vampire.

It drove me a little crazy. I mean, it's very believable for a nerdy, skinny, allergic-to-the-sun kind of kid to pretend to be mysterious and intriguing at his new school to get lucky, but is it really plausible that the vampire novel-crazy girls would wholeheartedly believe that he was a vampire? Sure, I've met mysterious guys and kind of thought to myself "OMG what if he's a vampire/werewolf/badass faerie?" But it was always a joke, I never actually believed that said guy was a supernatural creature. Apparently all the girls in Bloodthirsty are dumb as stumps, though, because they totally buy it and act like idiots about it.

Is it a great work of literature? No, but it's a hell of a lot of fun to read, I did really enjoy it. If you can get past some of the silliness, it's pretty good, and the ending revelation is surprisingly insightful.

I give Bloodthirsty a 3.5/5.

May I also just take a moment to thank Poppy, a YA imprint of Little, Brown, for bringing us such awesome books these days? The DUFF, Bloodthirsty, Jane... the list goes on.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Follow Friday!

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.

What book(s) have you discovered lately from someone's book blog?

Anna and the French Kiss is something I've been inspired to buy lately from all the rave reviews I've read everywhere... this is a hard question to answer since I read so many blogs and get so many of my book recommendations from other bloggers' reviews. Almost every YA book I read I first heard of on a blog! Aren't we YA bloggers such great sources of information and book-love?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Beef with GLEE

A lot of you probably watch Fox's GLEE. It's an enormous hit centred on musically-inclined teens in their school's glee club who sing classic rock and contemporary Top 40 hits that pertain to their real life situations. This show has pretty much taken over.

I started watching GLEE last year, when my sister purchased the first half of the first season on DVD. I was hooked after just the pilot episode. The characters, how fully-developed! The drama, how suspenseful! The music, how catchy! I felt like I was taking a huge breath of fresh air. The teenage characters, even the adult ones, were turning stereotypes on their heads. There was a gay kid, a kid in a wheelchair, pregnant cheerleaders that were more than 2-dimensional mean girls. This show was breaking new ground.

That first season, although a little lacking near the end, was great. I downloaded a bunch of the music ("Don't Stop Believing" is now one of my all-time favourite songs), watched every new episode, and debated with my sister over who was better for Rachel, Finn or Puck. I was having fun.

Then came the second season. Suddenly, I was looking at everything differently. I don't know if the show changed or if I changed, but suddenly I was catching different undertones.

A few minor things in certain episodes started to bother me.

First thing, when Kurt had a crush on Finn and it made Finn uncomfortable. That's fine. That's understandable, I'm sure it happens in real life all the time. What made me uncomfortable was the fact that, the way the show portrayed it, Kurt was to blame. He had to apologize to Finn for being in love with him.

For a show that presents itself as really accepting of LGBT characters, this felt wrong to me. Why should Kurt have to apologize to Finn? It's not his fault who he ended up having a crush on.

Another thing that bothered me about the show's portrayal of LGBT teens was the brief, weird scene where cheerleaders Brittany and Santana are making out and then spend the episode making each other jealous by dating guys. What?! In no way was this elaborated on in later episodes, either! At first I was ecstatic: "whoa, lesbians! I'm in love with his show!"

And then... nothing. The fact that there was some kind of romantic/sexual relationship between Brittany and Santana was never brought up again.

I was deeply offended by this. Along with the way the show made Kurt look like the villain for loving Finn, the message I got from this was that teens can be gay, but gay teen characters can't have romantic relationships.

Come on. It's 2011. I think the world can handle some gay teen lovin' on primetime TV. You don't have to go all-out, it's true, but wouldn't the show be infinitely more realistic (and lauded for being so awesome) if there was just a little action for the LGBTs?

The other thing was Artie's disability and how there are miracle "cures" for this on the show. I'm talking about how he was able to take a few steps with a walker on the Christmas show. Again, it implies that there is something wrong with this character that needs to be fixed. Paralysis is, in most cases, irreversible, and paraplegics can and do get along just fine in the world. There is nothing "wrong" with them.

Why does this show present us minority characters like LGBT and paraplegic teens, and then treat them like works-in-progress, people who need outside help to become "proper" people? I'm sick of it, and will not be watching the show's future episodes and seasons until their representations improve.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I'm Back!

Why hello, everyone! It's 2011, as I'm sure you already know. I'm back now from an unannounced blog hiatus. I was housesitting for a family friend who forgot to give me the password to their wireless internet, le gasp, so I was unable to be online 24/7 as usual.

Anyway, 2011. My resolution (the first one I've ever made) is to read at least one book per week. I feel like I've been slacking on my reading and that has got to stop. My TBR pile is gigantic and really needs tackling! So that probably means a lot of book reviews coming up on the blog. I also have a shitload of really good post ideas, so you should be seeing some of those soon, I hope!

How was your holiday season? Did you make any resolutions? Remember that stating them makes you more accountable ;)

PS - I also finished my big-giant-huge edit of FAKE and am doing one more read-through before it will be ready for beta readers' eyes! I'm looking for more readers to help me whip this thing into good enough shape for agents' viewing pleasure, so if any of you would like to help me out, comment!