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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Team Healthy Love

One of the major problems I often find with YA books is the relationships. So often, affection is shown only through physical interactions. I’m all for some kissing, but why is kissing and sex often the only way character feelings are developed? I don’t consider pure physical attraction a relationship. It’s not healthy, and I don’t think it’s what we should be teaching our teens a relationship is.
My favorite love stories are those where the relationships are developed. The awkward flirting does-he-like-me-or-not stage is so much fun to read. The dialog is where we get to know our love interests and see them interact, and where we, the reader, falls in love with them.

Image DetailI was drawn to Fallen by Lauren Kate because of the enticing and beautiful cover, as I’m sure many of its readers were. I read the first two books, and I still don’t understand why Luce and Daniel are together. I know there’s physical attraction, and they’ve been together forever, but that doesn’t tell me why they love each other or why it is so important for them to be together. I saw a commenter on goodreads post about not being Team Daniel or Team Cam, but being Team Healthy Love. I think this is so, so true. Girls, if a guy treats you like dirt, why are you still with him? (Even if he is a hot angel.) Why are our authors supporting unhealthy relationships with the romance in their novels?

Image DetailThere are also books like Shatter Me (I’m using this one because it is the most recent example I’ve read) where the relationship is built at first on the actual characters, but is then abandoned to the physical. Why, when kissing is introduced to the relationship, is kissing all that happens after that? What happened to the actual romance, the conversations and interactions that make these characters memorable?

Image DetailThe upside is that all of these less-then-great relationships make the amazing ones stand out all the more. Take, for instance, the Hunger Games. I love the relationship between Peeta and Katniss. (I’m sorry, but Gale is never even in the running.) Is it dominated by physical contact? No. Do we get to know and fall in love with the characters? Yes. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Destined by Jessie Harrell, and every single one of Shannon Hale’s novels are all great examples of good relationships, to name a few.

What do you think? I know I can't be the only one that feels this way, and yet books with (in my opinion) unhealthy relationships are still some of the most popular. Are there any books you would add to these good relationship/bad relationship examples? Or do you disgaree with any of my examples? Let me know, I'd love to hear what you think.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Oh my characters

I've just started a new story. Actually, it's not "new." I first thought of it three or four years ago, and have attempted it at various times since then. This is just the most recent attempt. Anyway, the characters are all new and haven't been developed yet. A few of them have names but I'll probably end up changing them as the story progresses.

There are a couple of characters that I haven't gotten around to naming yet. Naming takes time, searching babynames.com and other websites for the perfect name. I don't want to take that time. I just want to write the story. So, for now, in place of names I'm writing variations of "What's His Face."

The problem? It's weird to look back over my work and see "What's His Faces" everywhere. I'll need to change that soon. Also, I'm getting kind of attached. Do you think readers will mind terribly if I keep "What's His Face" for names?

And What's His Face said . . .

It works. It so does.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shatter Me

You know when a book looks really good: maybe the cover grabs you first, then you read the blurb and realize you HAVE to read this book. You're so excited. You wait for weeks for it to be released, you spend your hard-earned money on it, and . . . Image Detail
It's not that great.                                                                 

Welcome to Shatter Me.

It's not that it was terrible. It wasn't. It just wasn't as great as I was expecting it to be. For one thing, I didn't especially like either main characters. From the blurb I thought the book was going to focus of Juliette's power, and on her "fighting back." Girl power. Um, not so much.

The romance took hold maybe a quarter or a third of the way through, and the rest of the plot got set aside. All we hear about is touching and kissing and really? I'm all for some kissing, but that's not really as interesting as the whole touch-that-kills bit.

Then we come to the end. A few pages from the end, when I realized where it was going, I wanted to laugh out loud. This really is the sappiest ending of any dystopian novel I've read. It also felt way to much like X-Men.

It wasn't bad, though. Metaphors were over used, and in some cases the striked-out words were a little much, but over all the writing seemed strong. I really enjoyed the beginning, and the villain was excellently constructed. Actually, I think he was the best bad guy I've read in a while. The rest just didn't meet my expectations.


Thanks to those who entered my contest! Emma B., Sharon K. Mayhew, and Christy (Love of Books) will each receive a signed Born Wicked bookmark.
The winning name was . . .

For coming up with the winning name, Sharon K. Mayhew will also receive a Born Wicked sticker. :]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Poop Jokes

"Why did the cow go to the bathroom?                                           

He had to poop." - Strange little boy I know

"Why did the zombie go to the bathroom?

He had to poop." - Brother of above strange little boy

Obviously, these kids have got bathroom humour down.
Also, we learn that both cows and zombies poop in bathrooms, which is a relief. It's good to hear they're potty trained.


**Also, don't forget I'm giving away signed bookmarks! Leave a comment on the Name my Laptop Contest post to be entered. Ends Saturday.**

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Destined by Jessie Harrell

Coming 11/17/11This week I had the great pleasure of winning an eARC of Jessie Harrell's book Destined.

Here's the blurb:

"When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she's come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

Destined is a fresh and heartachingly romantic retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth from debut novelist, Jessie Harrell.

So, actually, I won this book in the middle of the week. I had homework (why hello there, math, nice to see you). Typically during the school week (and often during weekends) I have no time to read. I read this entire book in between doing my math and English homework, because once I started I had to know how it ended.

I love the voice. This story takes place in Ancient Greece, but Psyche's voice is very contemporary. She's very fun and ratable, and the contemporary slang never bothered me or seemed out of place.

The characters! Oh, the characters. They all have so much depth. I loved the sister, Chara. She's not in the story very much, but she has layers and her motives are developed and believable. None of the characters are just filling up space, they are all distinct people and fun to read.

I love the love story! It's so much fun to watch it evolve. Eros is so entertaining, and at times he is pretty hilarious. (His friendship with Hermes is fantastic.) I also appreciated that it's a real love story and not just about lust - they really do love each other, and that fills me with all kinds of sparkles and warm feelings inside.

I loved this book! It's become one of my favorites of this year. I highly recommend you read it when it comes out on the 17th. Or, you could go check out the blog tour and enter to win an eARC like I did. Each tour stop is giving away a prize, so lots of chances to win.

Seriously, you don't want to miss this book! I hope you guys love it as much as I did. :]

Thank you to Jessie Harrell for the eARC, and the chance to read Destined before it's out!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Name my laptop - CONTEST!

Okay, so I love naming things. I love naming my characters, and new pets, and dreaming of names for my future children. (Yeah, my siblings think I'm weird, too.) Even so, I can't come up with the perfect name for my laptop.

So - this is where you come in. My computer is a black INSPIRONmini like this one:

And he - she? - needs a name.

Wait a minture, Gabi, you say. You said there was a contest here.

Yes! There is! Would you like to win a SIGNED Born Wicked bookmark?

They are so shinny and glossy!

(front and back)

How can you get one? Well, I'll be giving away TWO. One will go to a random comenter.

As for the other - well, I am asking you lovely people to come up with a name for my computer! Male or female, first name or full name, your name or your great-aunt's make belive dog's name, whatever suites your fnacy. I will choose my favorite name from the coments, and that person shall win the second signed bookmark. That name will also probably be the one I give to my darling laptop.

This contest will be open until Saturday the 19th. Plenty of time to get your creative juices flowing!

You do not have to be a follower to enter, although I love all of you who are. :]

So, what would YOU name my computer?

Youtube Tuesday!

Today's Youtube video is from one of my absolute favorite movies. It's funny, because at first my sister and I didn't want to go see it - the previews weren't that great, and besides, it was a "boy movie." My brother wanted to see it though, so we did. And guess what? My sis and I ended up loving it more then my brother did.

I'm Still Here from Treasure Planet:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Best fairy tale retellings

I love fairy tales. I love the Grimm brothers, and Hans Christian Anderson, Russian fairy tales, and Disney princesses (But only the new-er ones. The older ones get my feminist-britches all in a knot.). It's not a surprise, then, that one genre I absolutely love is fairy tale retellings.

So, may I present, my four favorite fairy tale retellings:
4. A Curse as Dark as Gold - Elizabeth C. Bunce

"As Charlotte struggles to manage the difficulties she inherits along with Stirwaters Woollen Mill, she discovers a shadow world at the fringes of the familiar: Dark magic, restless spirits, a mysterious Helper. A wicked uncle, an age-old curse.... How can Charlotte prevail with such forces allied against her? In this novel inspired by “Rumpelstiltskin,” the miller’s daughter of the fairy tale comes to life as a young woman determined to save her family and her mill--whatever the cost."

I love the female lead - she's so strong, and that's something the original fairy tales usually lack. I also love the magic in it. It's really an original telling - you don't feel like you already know the story and how it's going to end, which is nice in a retelling.

3. Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted Original Cover

"How can a fairy's blessing be such a curse? At her birth, Ella of Frell was the unfortunate recipient of a foolish fairy's gift—the "gift" of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it's hopping on one foot for a day and a half, or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse—once and for all."
When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, I actually got grounded from this book. I'd read it over and over again three or four times in the space of a month, so my mom said I couldn't read it again until I read something else. I hated the movie when it came out. They'd ruined it! I mean, the entire scene with the ogres? In the movie Char comes in all like the knight in shining armour and rescues Ella, where in the book, that is SO NOT HOW IT HAPPENED. And Ella's character is completely different. Actually, everything is completely different. ARGH.

2. Wildwood Dancing - Juliett Marillier

Wildwood Dancing Cover Art

"There are many mysteries within the wildwood. Jena and her sisters share the biggest of all, a fantastic secret that enables them to escape the confines of their everyday life in rural Transylvania. They have kept it hidden for nine long years.
When their father falls ill and must leave their forest home over the winter, Jena and her oldest sister Tati are left in charge. All goes well until a tragic accident allows their over bearing cousin Cezar to take control. The appearance of a mysterious young man in a black coat divides sister from sister, and suddenly Jena finds herself fighting to save all she holds dear. With her constant companion Gogu by her side, she must venture to realms dark and perilous in her quest to preserve, not just those she loves, but her own independence as well."

I almost didn't read this. To tell the truth, the cover kind of put me off. I though it would be more of a kid's book then I wanted to read. I am so, so glad I checked it out anyway! It's a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses, and it is the best retelling of this story I've read. It doesn't feel like a retelling of this story, though, because it is so original. I love Gogu. I love Jena. I love the voice and the setting. I'm scared to read the companion novel, because I don't want it to be narrated by someone else. I loved this one so much.

And, my favorite retelling:

1. The Goose Girl - Shannon Hale

"She was born with her eyes closed and a word on her tongue, a word she could not taste. Her name was Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she spent the first years of her life listening to her aunt’s stories and learning the language of the birds, especially the swans. And when she was older, she watched as a colt was born, and she heard the first word on his tongue, his name, Falada.

From the Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original, and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can lead the people she has made her own."

Okay, I love everything by Shannon Hale. I've read all of her novels, and they are all amazing. But this one is my first love and my favorite. I had never read the original story, so I really didn't know what to expect going in. It is a beautiful story - Shannon Hale has a rich voice that really does feel like a fairy tale. I love the characters, and the villain has the best ending ever. If you haven't read this one yet, you really should try it out. The companion novels that follow (each with a different narrator) are all fantastic as well, but the Goose Girls remains my favorite.

What about you? Are there any fairy tale retellings you love that are not on my list?

Proof that I'm studying too much

I've been studying all week for an exam today in animal science. It was over nutrition, digestion, vitamins, and minerals. Last night I had a dream about selenium.

Oh, but it gets better. A couple of times this semester I've dreamt about math. One night, I was factoring polynomials. (Haha. I can factor in my sleep.) The other, I was appointing each freckle on my arm a coordinate on a graph.

Yes. Giving my freckles places on a graph.

At least I haven't started dreaming about my professors. Last year, I had a dream about my PE teacher. He was making us run 50 miles in 5 minutes. (I hate running. This teacher made us run SO MUCH. Not 50 miles in 5 minutes, but sometimes it felt like 50 miles.)

The good news? Only two weeks until Thanksgiving break! Are you as ready for a break as I am?

Book Giveaway Alert!

Win a MG/YA novel of your choice! Go here for the giveaway: http://rainlaaman.blogspot.com/2011/10/book-giveaway-book-of-your-choice.html

I'm a new follower, but just looking over her posts I love this girl. She made me laugh out loud several times. So, go follow her! But hurry, because the giveaway ends tomorrow, Saturday the 5th, at midnight.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thank you, Sharon Creech

Beth Revis is having a huge contest. To enter, you must share the book you are most grateful for.

Actually, it's hard to narrow it down. There are a couple that I count as my favorites, that I can read again and again and again and still love like the first time. Among these are A Ring of Endless Light, Bridge to Terabithia, the Wanderer, and Daphne's Book. But, right now, I would have to say I'm most grateful for Walk Two Moons.

Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech, is one of my long time favorites. I love the voice. I love the grandparents, and the lunatic, the blackberry kisses, and the story within a story. (I love Ben.) But most of all, I love what it means. It's about people being more complicated then you first take them for - about walking two moons in someone else's moccasins before you make your judgements about them. It's also about loss. How we deal with it. That even though it hurts, it can be okay.

Walk Two Moons has meant a lot to me ever since I first read it. So, thank you, Sharon Creech. Thank you for this book.

With love,


Would you like to be a part of this? See here for the details.

And the Winner is . . .

Random.org picked entry number 23, latishajean, as the winner of XVI!

Yay! *throws confetti*

If you didn't win, don't worry. There will be more cool giveaways. :]