Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blog Party Game: Pass the Parcel

 The Notebook Sisters (one of my new fave blogs) are throwing a blog party! This game is called "pass the parcel"...but it's more like "answer these incredibly difficult questions"!

1. Name your top 5 favorite YA authors!
Seriously? Ya'll are just pure evil! ;) I don't know if I could ever just pick five, but I guess I'll have to try...
~ Shannon Hale,
~ Rachel Coker, 
~Trenton Lee Stewart, 
~ Brian Jacques, 
~ and J.R.R Tolkien 
(quite a mix, huh?)

2. What's the last YA book you read and what did you think of it? 

Umm...let's see if I can remember...Hmmm...
I think it was Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker.
No, it was The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (they're the only real books my almost 12-year-old brother will read, so I agreed to read them with him)

3. What's your favorite YA genre? (Dystopian, romance, sci-fi, contemporary, etc.)

Fantasy Fiction. I like a fantasy book with suspense, a tad bit of romance, battle scenes, comedy, and clear words...if that makes any sense.

4. Let's talk characters! Pick a character you love and tell us why?

Oh, goodness. Just one? Hmm...I think I'll have to go with Dasha from the Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale. She's a lot like me, I suppose that's why I like her. Then again, I can relate to almost ALL of Shannon's characters! Anyway, back to Dasha. She has a diplomatic approach to things, so do I, (but if talking it out doesn't work I usually show my Enna [another character in the series] side and end up pinning the person on the ground). Also, Dasha laughs and smiles like me. I know that's a weird thing to compare, but it's true! When she's especially happy, her nose wrinkles when she smiles - same with me. :)

5. Top YA villain?

Gollum. Totally.

6. Top YA couple?

I'd either say Dasha and Razo, or Gollum and The Ring. (no sarcasm there)

7. With dystopian on the decline, what do you think will be the next hot-trend in YA?

I have no clue, I really am never "up-to-date" on the newest trends. So, instead of saying some completely unintelligent answer, I'm gonna say: I. Have. No. Clue. But I hope it's something action-packed,epic, and funny, never forget funny.

8. What's the next YA book on your to-be-read pile?

I've been making a list of all the books I want to read over summer because I'm so super busy with school and haven't had time to read much (sniffle). Here's a fragment of that list:

Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
The Nine Lives of Chloe King trilogy by Liz Braswell (maybe)
The Dragons in Our Midst series by Brian Davis

9. What's the fastest time you've ever finished reading a book in? (And what was the book?!)

Haha, I remember it so clearly the first time I read a book in a day. I was 12 and read the Little House on the Prairie book: The Long Winter. Since then, I've finished (especially good) books in a couple of intense hours...I think the last book I truly devoured was Avalon High by Meg Cabot.

10. (And now for the burning question) Do you think books should be sorted according to colour or title? (This matters.)

Color. Definitely. It looks way more organized that way. Not that I've ever done that, my books are just strewn about wherever they please.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

(Book Review) Books of Bayern Series: Goose Girl

"In layer upon layer of detail a beautiful coming-of-age story emerges, a tale about learning to rescue yourself rather than falling accidentally into happily-ever-after. Hale uncovers her theme patiently and without preaching, focusing not on the moral but on the adventures her heroine must face in order to learn the lessons herself. The truly frightening moments are never gratuitous. Young readers may recognize parallels with their own lives in even her most magical adventures: the loneliness of feeling peculiar, the devastation of betrayal, the pride of sharing your talents and the joy of finding people to love and trust."
New York Times Book Review

(Here's a little backstory of how I came to completely fall in love with Shannon Hale's books) 

When I was around 12-years-old I found a book at the library called 'Princess Academy'. I devoured that book. Unfortunately, at that age, I didn't have the knowledge to look for more books by the same author. Then I moved across the country and the 'Princess Academy' faded into the background as a book I'd never forget. Then one day my family traveled to South Carolina to visit my Gramma, and she surprised me with a ginormous pile of books she'd got for five dollars at a garage sale. To my complete enthrallment, one of those books was 'Princess Academy' by Shannon Hale! Once again, I devoured that book. Then twice. Then, once at the library, I found Full Cast Audio's production of it. I can truthfully say I listened to that book daily for weeks upon weeks. I also can truthfully say I still did not have the knowledge to look for more books by my new favorite author. I guess luck was on my side, because one day I stumbled upon Full Cast Audio's production of the 'Goose Girl'...also by Shannon Hale! I felt so stupid! Why had I not thought of looking for other books by her?!? I grabbed the audiobook without a moments hesitation. I devoured that book as well (if listening to it all night until 4:00 am counts [I did not fully appreciate a night of good sleep back then]. In a month I'd read all of the Books of Bayern and then went on to search for the audiobooks...but that's another story for another time. ;)

Okay, I lied. That was not a 'little' backstory. I'm so sincerely sorry. Please accept my condolences.

Now on to my review!

 This story is beautifully written in a way that flows fluently and gracefully. There aren't too many long adjectives, but every scene is amazingly descriptive. I think one reason I love Shannon Hale's books is that I envy want to copy her writing style. Her books are written in a way that leaves me yearning for more. Something else I admire is the way she writes the dialogue between characters, I can vividly see the characters' expressions and attitudes just by reading the words they say. This is one of my goals for writing. I also can relate to her characters. Her characters are full. They're completely thought out in a way that makes them seem real.

The main character is a princess named Anidori, she the first child, and will someday rule her home kingdom of Kildenri. At a young age she learns she has the gift to speak to birds. Unfortunately, Kildenrians are superstitious of strange and unknown things. Therefore, her aunt (who also has the gift) helps her develop her gift, while keeping it secret. Her aunt also tells her stories. Tales of three 'gifts': People-speaking, Animal-speaking, and Nature-speaking. The last was either lost or rare, for the aunt had never met one, or heard rumors of one with this gift of speaking with fire, wind, water, or tree. The queen, Ani's mother, has the gift of People-speaking. Her ability to speak with convincing grace helps her in ruling her country, but others with this gift could wreak havoc if used for selfish reasons. Ani is quiet and shy, and doesn't like attention. She is constantly worried about failing her mother, and not making a good enough queen someday. Then, a horrible accident sends her life spinning, and she learns a secret her mother has been keeping for years. Ani soon finds herself in a foreign country, hiding, afraid for her life. Without a friend, without protection, and in disguise. Months later, news from Kildenri brings a new threat, and Ani must make a decision, that may or may not work, to save two countries.

There, did I do a good job? I hope I didn't give too much info, I really don't want to spoil it for anyone!

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