harry potter

Top Ten Tuesday

It’s been awhile since I did one of these but this should be fun! And as always, these prompts are from The Broke and the Bookish. 

April 7: Top Ten Characters You’d Like To Check In With (as in, later down the road to see what they are up to)

Fair warning: Potential SPOILERS Ahead!!

blood of olympusPercy Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians/Heroes of Olympus – I just can’t get enough of him, sorry not sorry. Percy is highly entertaining to me and I could read an entire other series of him…especially to find out more about his life as an adult, has it changed? Is he with Annabeth? TELL ME MORE!

Elizabeth Darcy from Pride & Prejudice – Do opposites really attract forever? How will the kids be raised? Has life in riches changed Lizzie Bennet at all? Questions I would love answers to and more.

The Pevensies from The Chronicles of Narnia – Okay, so we get some glimpses into what happens to them later in life but Susan seems to defect from everyone else and Lucy seems to still be awesome. Did they go off and get normal jobs? What were they? Did they have kids? Did they tell the kids about Narnia?

Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter series – I’ll say it, Neville is kind of an underrated badass. He is way braver than we think he is and based on the tidbits from Rowling, he seems to have turned out great and be genuinely happy. I would love to see a story of him as a Professor interacting with the latter Potters and Weasleys.mockingjay

Gale from The Hunger Games – What happened to this guy? Seriously, Katniss and Peeta, we know what happens to them but Gale’s ending is so much more vague. Is he happy? Did he find love? Did he help win the war effort even more? Also, what happens after they off Snow? Gahh!

Eragon from The Inheritance Cycle – Okay, so he was fated to this life away….but are he and Saphira happy there? Is he like Brom teaching the next generation? Does he EVER have kids of his own? Do the dragons make a magical comeback? Does Saphira have babies!?!?

Marco and Polo from The Grand Escape – Recently, I found out this book is actually a series. So I guess I can find out what else happens to them but I always wondered if they ever left the house again after this one fateful adventure. (For those of you not in the know, this is a book about two housecats who escape into the city and have to find their way home; kind of like Homeward Bound.)

hornsCarver Young from Ripper – This book drives me crazy! It is so good and I’m obsessed with the writing and the characters and there is nothing else after it. Does Carter become a detective? Does he catch bad guys? Does he leave the orphanage??

Pandora from Doomed – So you avoided the apocalypse (unlike most other books) and hooked up with a hot guy and now you have to go back to high school?? What happens then? How long until society can knit itself back together? Do you adjust well? What career path do you follow?

Iggy from Horns – Are you finally at peace?

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Book Review: The Iron Trial

the iron trialMagic, madness, and malignancy: it’s tough to be a Mage. Especially when you’re Callum Hunt. Cassandra Clare (author of the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series) comes together with star Holly Black to build a magical world alongside our own that is definitely more than meets the eye. If you liked Harry Potter (or anything by Clare) then this is a must-read. It’s about the same length as the first HP and written for the same age group and I personally think it has lots of potential.

The Iron Trial follows Callum Hunt and his journey to…well something above mediocrity. His dad doesn’t want him to go to the Magisterium, despite having gone himself, and is always railing on the fact that magic killed Call’s mom. So Call goes to the testing knowing as the “iron trial” to get into the school with the intention of purposely failing to keep away from the school. Unfortunately for him, things don’t go as planned.

Call arrives at the school bitter, confused, and unhappy, and things don’t get much better from there. His teammates are two high-powered, intelligent, likable people that Call has no idea how to interact with. Between getting made fun of and fearing that he isn’t learning as quickly as his classmates, Call just wants to go home.

Little by little, he adjusts to life at the Magisterium but fears that what his dad said about the Masters and their goals might be true. Call walks the tightrope between enjoying himself and being miserable. A situation that isn’t helped when he begins unraveling the secrets of both the Magisterium and his own family’s past.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I was afraid it would be a Harry Potter knock-off or something equally as unimportant but I was absolutely sucked in to the plot. It was complex but not overly so, there were undertones of depth and a twist that isn’t quite what you expect. There is darkness lurking and it pops up in unexpected places, most delightful.

I did have one point of annoyance and that was the spelling of Callum’s nickname. Seeing “Call” on the page instead of “Cal” bothered me to no end. Every single time I read it, I wanted to pronounce it as it looked instead of how I knew it was pronounced and it became very distracting. But other than that, I loved the way this was written, very nice flow, easy language.

The major “love story” plot here was between Call and his dad which was great and the main emotions that were invoked were fear, frustration, and some sadness. The book was gripping but not overly intense, though I still had to pry my fingers from the page on occasion. Some strong personalities came into play which made for an even better read and I’m glad the Goodreads synopsis was as short and sweet as it was.

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

My personal rating: 88

  • Writing style – 8
  • Plot – 9
  • Dialogue – 10
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 10
  • Love story – 8
  • Invokes emotion – 7
  • Synopsis accuracy – 8
  • Consistent level of interest – 9
  • Stays on topic – 9
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesdayOctober 14: Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit (whether fictional or real)

1) The United Kingdom, England, London, Hogwarts – Harry Potter series, books by Jane Austen: Who doesn’t want to visit a land of magic, love, and tradition? Modern day or Georgian era, I’d be happy with either, as long as a Hogwarts tour happens.

2) New Orleans – The Dark Hunter series, Chronicles of Nick: A festive city with people and daemons and really hot guys who kill supernatural entities, yes please. Colorful place with great food, art, and history, sounds just up my alley.

3) Alagaesia – The Inheritance Cycle (Eragon): A land of dragons, elves, magic, and mayhem. It might not always be a ton of fun to be in that world but it will definitely be interesting.

4) Kaeleer – The Black Jewels Trilogy: While the books contain three realms (Terrielle and Hell are the other two), Kaeleer sounds like the most interesting (and safest). Not to mention it has unicorns and large cats who also possess badass magic.

5) Narnia – The Chronicles of Narnia: A lion who rules the world and talking animals fighting for it? Definitely a war that I could be a part of. Plus they have a shimmering ocean and magic that can be harnessed. Oh and learning to duel with a sword with centaurs? Awesome.

6) Montana and Oregon – Mercy Thompson series and Alpha and Omega series: Mountains, werewolves, and magic, that’s my kind of place. Montana is the refuge and Oregon is the place you run away to. Both have mountains and forests and men with protective instincts.

7) Ancient Greece – Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Gods, demi-gods, mythology. All these elements roll into one big party that could come crashing down any time. Friends and enemies at the same camp, and quests to make your toes curl.

8) Ireland – The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy: So this one is a bit of a “throwback” considering I’ve already been to Ireland but come one, that country is so fascinating. It has magic and myth everywhere and I would love to go back.

9) Erilea – Throne of Glass series: Swordfights, dead magic, and an evil king? Doesn’t sound like a fun place to be but the women wear dresses and the men are soldiers. I’d like to drop in for a spell.

10) The Seven Realms – The Seven Realms series: Definitely one of the most interesting realms I’ve ever discovered in a book. Chima combines “natives” with haughty locals and gives them a princess born a both, a thief to annoy her, and a kingdom falling apart. Take me there so I can attend school with all these people.

Teen Topic Tuesday: Sex in YA Novels

YA novels

I’ve noticed that YA novels differ greatly with discussing the topic of sex. I find that fascinating given the profusion of sex in our current society. Are some authors trying to avoid the topic because it is too embedded into our culture or because they are creating worlds so outside the current norm that sex wouldn’t even be on the table? And yet, other books have sex as a main focus, usually more fantasy or “real life” driven novels. What are those authors saying about sex and society?

Let’s have some examples because that’s always fun!

hp1-7 Harry Potter: no sex…there isn’t even kissing until the 5th book, and then after that, everyone is kind of busy trying to survive but still.

The Hunger Games: okay, so Katniss is pretty busy trying to survive the Hunger Games and then once she gets back, there is a whole love triangle thing happening that doesn’t really get resolved until the final book.

The Giver: Well Jonas is supposed to be 12 in the books but he is like 16 in the movies, so I can understand this one. Plus his society doesn’t believe in love…

Revolution 19: Robots and death but no sex.

The Selection: Sex before marriage is illegal, especially if you’re going to be the future queen, so obviously America doesn’t risk that.

Legend series: Unfortunately, no. (damnit, June)

matchedMatched: Definitely not, just another depressing love triangle that makes me want to strangle someone, usually the female lead

Maze Runner: No sex, which makes sense in the first book since only one girl shows up…but later events, could have fit in there somewhere (*spoiler* would have been an interesting twist when the girls gang up on the guys)

The Mortal Instruments: *spoiler* Plenty of opportunity but considering they think they are siblings for the better part of the series, that would just be weird

The 5th Wave: Okay, apocalypse and she basically ends up alone, this one I get

Doomed: Nope, no sex. Even though 17 year old Pandora is on the road with two very attractive young men

cinderThe Lunar Chronicles: No sex so far (fingers crossed for Wolf and Scarlet!!)

Delirium: I can’t remember but I don’t think the main characters actually have sex

Tiger Saga: Unfortunately, there is another distracting love triangle and the whole guys turning into tigers for the better part of the day thing that makes sex nearly impossible, though there is lots of tension at various points

Seven Realms series: Once again, lots of tension but no sex. Plus there is a lot of fighting for your life type action so it kind of makes sense.

 

 

twilightThe Twilight series: *spoiler* There is visible waiting until after marriage, cough, Edward, cough, so it doesn’t happen until the 4th book.

The Fault in Our Stars: *spoiler* Sex at the end of the book, which makes sense to me

matchedDivergent: *spoiler* Abnegation has a thing about being touchy-feely and it’s implied that Four and Tris have sex but no detail is given

The Wolves of Mercy Falls: *spoiler* If I remember correctly, Grace and Sam progress to that stage in the second book but in a very sweet way. Plus they’ve already been sharing her bed for months beforehand so yea, ’bout time.

House of Night: *spoiler* There is definitely sex in this book. And in particular it’s how Zoey ends up in a sticky situation that rocks her world.

 

Well now looking back, I can see that the idea of sex is usually lost in extreme post-apocalyptic societies. But isn’t it interesting that in a world that holds sex appeal in such high esteem, how often our YA novels skim over the topic completely?

If sex isn’t being talked about in a way that our teens can relate to, then isn’t the point of including it kind of lost? I like series that both include and don’t include sex, especially ones where surviving is more important than living, but isn’t it also important to talk about procreation? In particular, in post-apocalyptic settings where life and death are a matter of every day living? Because obviously the people there are still having children. (Unless you are Katniss who swears she never will.)

And while sex might not be the most important topic, I think it’s one that gets a lot of press and media exposure but not necessarily one that teens are talking about in safe or healthy ways. Especially with the typically assigned gender roles about “the s word” and what it means to “be a real man”.

I know that I have sexual tension, innuendo, and scenes in the novel that I’ve written and I’m happy with that decision. I think it’s important to represent real people (read: imperfect people), regardless of whether it is a fantasy world or not. So let me ask my fellow writers, what are your thoughts on this topic? Why do you choose to include or not include sex in your writing?

I think novels can have a powerful impact on the psyche of the growing mind and in doing so, shouldn’t we take the time to address the issue that are most pressing on those minds? Sex is a part of life, a part of becoming an adult (and being one), whether you choose to participate, abstain, or wait. I think it’s important to leave our readers with a positive impression of sex, not a negative one, that should be the goal. I know it’s the one I strive for.

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday

The blog “The Broke and the Bookish” posted this topic as this week’s Top Ten Tuesday: top ten authors that we own the most books of. So I’m doing my own version.

16-Sherrilyn Kenyon I own all except for the newest Chronicles of Nick book and over half of the Dark-Hunter series (I have read all except for Styxx, which is next on my list)

9-Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series here, both of which are amazing. I can’t wait for the next Anna/Charles book to erupt onto the scene and I really need to buy the latest two Mercy books.

8-Rick Riordan Percy Jackson and the Olympians (all), Heroes of Olympus (first one but I’ve read the others), The Kane Chronicles (read the first, own the second too), love the mix of myth and reality.

7-C.S. Lewis All Chronicles of Narnia. Nuff said.

7-Anne Bishop If you haven’t read the Black Jewels trilogy, get off your computer and go buy it. Or at least log onto Amazon and download it. The realm is spectacular with BAMFs all over the place.

5-Heather Killough-Walden Sexy werewolves that give in to their nature (not just fight it like superficial d-bags? Uh, yes, please!

4-George R.R. Martin A Song of Fire and Ice, obviously. Have yet to buy the latest one, but I did read the library version!

4-Cinda Williams Chima The Seven Realms series is amazing. I think I read the entire thing in the span of a week, ordered them all from Amazon and devoured. If I ever have the chance to reread them, I will!

3-Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games series. One is paperback…it really bothers me.

3-Quinteria Ramey An interesting set called The Forever Trilogy, don’t really remember what it was about except that it sort of involved an angels/devils theme.

I’ve come to the sad realization that there are so many books that I don’t own but want to, mostly Harry Potter. Yea, I definitely need to buy my own set of Harry Potter books. And there are lots of series that are partially finished, I also need to fix that.

Is it just me…

…or are most book characters being made much older when they are brought to life in movies? I first started realizing this phenomenon when “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” came out. Don’t get me wrong, I love Logan Lerman (like a lot) and I think he did an amazing job playing Percy. He had the right looks, the right temperament, and the skills to handle a sword. But in the first book of the series, Percy is 12 years old. Twelve! Logan easily makes the character appear to be in the 16-18 age range (being that he was around that age during filming), which is definitely not in keeping with the story.

Isn’t the whole idea of a series to grow and learn with the characters as they grow up? Not just in books, but on TV as well? Take “Harry Potter” or “Boy Meets World” for example. You wouldn’t let an 11 year old start on book or season 5 would you? (And not just because they would have missed everything that happened before) Because doesn’t that defeat the purpose of learning something about the people as they learn about themselves? Why care about a character that you can’t relate to because of an age difference?

Not the mention the fact that it also gives the youth unrealistic expectations of how people at a certain age will look. For example, Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior are both played by women who are in their early 20s when their characters are 16. And while I enjoyed the portrayal by these wonderful actresses, I kept thinking they looked more like they were 18, which misses the boat on what being 16 and dealing with these crises can mean.

And now, a loved childhood classic, “The Giver” is being made into a movie and the main character, Jonas, definitely does not look like he is 12. Probably because the actor is actually about double that age. What is this phenomenon? Is it because film makes are trying to draw in a larger audience? Or because it might be troubling to see an actual twelve or sixteen year old in some of these fictional situations?

I think by making the characters older in the movies, or choosing older actors to portray them, we are actually losing a bit of what makes some of these stories so moving, breath-taking, and in some cases, disturbing. I don’t think the full impact of what the authors are trying to say is truly understood by the audience. I’m sure there is an explanation, reasonable or otherwise, for this but Hollywood sometimes just can’t leave well enough alone.