Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Challenge Has Been Issued

Wow it's almost like Christmas! I actually got three posts done in a week for y'all! This one is pretty short and to the point though. That'll be a first. I always start out thinking that then rambling forever.

Anyways, in response to my plea for feedback on my blog and how to improve it, what you guys want to see more of or less of, and all that good stuff, my friend Dan (he's the one who wrote Unleashed!) gave me a suggestion that I turned into a bit of a challenge. He thought it'd be interesting to have me read an "adult" book every once in a while, like once a month or so. So naturally...

I don't know how much time I'll have to fit this in until school ends but never the less I will give it my best effort. 
(I just couldn't resist the small child going dancing like her life depends on it, and doesn't Lady Gaga's eye makeup just scream fierce?) Anyways, like I said I'm going to give it a shot and keep you all updated on how it's going. Additionally, I propose a similar challenge for all of you. Try reading a book outside the age group you usually read or genre once a month or so and see how it goes. Feel free to tell me how it's going for you in the comments below, on Facebook or email me at

Let's Rant About: Common Events in Teen Relationships in YA Novels

Whoo! So here's the rant I promised/warned you about. I feel bad doing this, but I need to get this out, and am excited to see what you guys think of the subject, and the discussion that will hopefully follow this.


It all started when I was thinking about what I'd put in a review on These Broken Stars. I remembered that I didn't really like the characters in it or Lilac and Tarver's relationship, but I couldn't figure out why exactly. Then I realized I had a pretty big issue with Lilac. She was just a straight up entitled "beach," (Yes, the sandy kind. I try to use nice words.) to Tarver at least. We are all told why, and it is understandable.*SPOILER* Her father basically murdered the last guy she had a thing with, obviously she wouldn't want that to happen again, but I had a serious issue with how she handled it. I mean really, the only way she could avoid this was to be cruel and mean when he was keeping her alive?

Then I realized that this tends to be a fairly common theme in YA novels. This whole idea of, "I love you, but to protect you I'm just going to push you away in rude unexplained ways, but in the end it's all going to be ok, and we'll live happily ever after..." is repeated in many YA books and it bothers me. When has this ever worked out in real life? Why are authors putting something like this in print over and over if we can clearly see that it isn't good and that it wouldn't work out so perfectly in real life? We are telling readers' subconscious' that this "solution" to dealing with situations like these in relationships in real life actually works out too. The world already lacks communication and kindness and relationships are already complicated enough with out trying to push every one away by being mean without explanation  because we've seen it work out in books. We know the subliminal messages conveyed in media and advertising is proven to affect the decisions we make and how we live our lives and reading something in a book doesn't necessarily work any different.

 There were so many other things Lilac could have done rather than be mean and hope that is irritating enough to make him leave her alone. Option one: tell him the truth a bit sooner than she did. Option two: politely turn him down (and maybe apologize for leading him on in the beginning if she was worried about that.) Option three: politely explain why distance is necessary with logical reasons. Option four: treat him politely, and with respect, but discourage any relationship from the start. She could have done other things too. Now I get that if she had done something different it would have taken away some of the conflict in the book making it less interesting, but I still feel like the authors should have either found away to make the book be interesting despite her polite rejection (or how ever else she decided to peacefully resolve the situation) or just not had the issue of her pushing him away in there and either just eliminated that element or replaced it with another issue.

What do you guys think? Do you read lots of books were this occurs? How do you feel about this theme in YA books? Is it getting old or do you find it to be entertaining and think it helps the story?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Short and Sweet Reviews

Wow guys, I really am sorry that it has been so long I really thought I'd get back sooner. Also, I haven't posted Short and Sweet Reviews in forever. So here I am writing a Short and Sweet Review.

Buy me!
 White Space
I was curious about this one mostly because of all the mixed feelings I had seen and heard about. Some people loved it, while even more hated it with a passion. I was open minded when I began but I was a little concerned that I'd hate it because it was so extremely large I was worried it would be extremely boring and overly descriptive. Thankfully ,I was wrong. I was pleasantly surprised by the book over all. It was chilling and gory and sparked my imagination keeping my on edge and perfectly disgusted and thoroughly freaked out. The plot was actually well paced, and delightfully twisty, and mind bending. Overall it was pretty darn good and one of the creepiest, crawliest, and fairly confusing books I ever read. I'd certainly recommend it to those of you who likes these sorts of books, 4 out of 5 stars!

Buy me!
 These Broken Stars
I had heard so much hype about this one and I was so excited to read it! Sadly, I was very disappointed. I didn't get into it ever. I never felt the need to read the rest, I never hungered for more. In fact, 99% of the time I was completely indifferent to the entire scenario and book. I'm not entirely sure why. I had one huge issue with the book, but that was personal taste, and I'm planning to indulge and rant about that in a post soon. (I apologize in advance. This is my therapy. I have to get it out.) Anyways, it wasn't awful but it wasn't anything special either. I was left wanting a lot more and the ending was killer, then all of the sudden quickly resolved into happily ever after the end, all tied up in a neat little bow. I didn't know what to think of that. Overall I probably wouldn't recommend it necessarily but I wouldn't discourage people from reading it either. I give it a generous 3 out of 5 stars.  

Buy me!

After loving the first book in the Sense Thieves series, I simply couldn't wait  to get my hands on the second one, Pushed. I had great expectations for this one. I wasn't too disappointed, but it wasn't quite as great as Touched. It was still quite worth it, and Corrine managed to work in some important themes and messages. Overall, I liked it quite a bit. It was a solid read and gets 3 out of 5 stars from me.

The Goddess Inheritance
I was excited to finally read the third Goddess Test book! This one threw me off a bit because the time frame was really super short and kind of strange. The book pretty much just focused on one problem and because of this and the time frame the plot was pretty simple. It was enjoyable but nothing too especially special. I'd give it 2.5-3 stars out of 5. It is a pretty fun series.    

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Welcome Back Hurah and Miscellaneous-ness

Ah it's good to be back, and it is hard to believe that I've been away for this long and survived with out you guys for that amount of time! Catherine did a fabulous job running things and I hope y'all enjoyed her posts as much as I did. I hope to get one or two reviews up relatively soon and have some ideas of other new things I look forward to trying out on you guys/ with you guys.

One side note of randomness I'd like to address right now: I would like your feedback. I want to know how you guys feel about my posts and features and such and tell me what you like and what you think I could improve on. Cait from the Notebook Sisters sometimes mentions what things she doesn't like seeing in other bloggers posts and I often agree with her, but I also recognize that I could very well be doing those things without knowing, because often we are blind to flaws in our own work. So, feel free to help me out by giving me feedback, whether it is in the comments below this post, or on another post, or by emailing me. Not just today but anytime you have anything to tell me whether it is feedback, recommendations, just want to chit chat about books, have questions, or anything else, feel free to contact me. I love hearing from you guys and making my blog better in any way I can.

Secondly, I have been thinking of doing a new feature to share my writing with you guys. If you didn't already know, I love writing. I don't just read I write. I haven't had much time for it lately, but I still love it dearly. I am also highly ambitious. I am so ambitious that it is almost more of a fault than a strength. So, when I saw one of Catherine's posts encouraging people to add on to her story with their own writing in the comments, and naturally I took the idea and ran with it and thought, hey, why not try writing an entire book that way? You guys would add on and the plot would happen as we went along and then Catherine and I could edit it. I think it would be really cool maybe someday it'd get published if it worked. Everyone would get credit and it would be a cool project and experiment. I will post the starting piece if you guy's would like to try it. I will try to make it generic enough that it can be added on to freely without forcing the plot or anything in any particular direction for at least the first part. People would be able to add however much or little they'd like. What do you guys think? Should we try it?

Also, as a reminder, or a notification if you haven't heard, I am still open to recommendations to add to the book chest for my nephews and nieces, and thank you for the recommendations you guys have mad. It you haven't seen the post addressing this, here is what's happening. I am planning on making a chest for my nieces and nephews and filling it with books that were or are very important, inspirational, exceptional, ect. to me, that I would like to pass down to them. If you have any more recommendations for books to add to the chest. Thanks again for all your recommendations!

I don't think there is anything else, but then again, by now I might have forgotten. So, that's all for now folks.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Takeover Day 4: I regret to inform you...

... that my plan didn't work out so well. As we speak, Briana's troops are storming the castle walls, stealing the things I stole from her, and murdering innocent people (because they're just mean like that.) My chocolate-induced road trip did slow her down-- I also employed the help of a man in a Mickey Mouse costume. You're welcome-- but alas, she's back. You're sad aren't you?

I would be. I was amazing leader.

BUT! Because I care about you (read: am disappointed in your lack of participation,) I will try my best to keep maintaining my letters and the features incorporated through a network of secret spies and trained mice. Comment! Participate! Have fun! (Or else)

With that, I must leave you. There are soldiers coming up the hallway. They sound angry. Briana must have brainwashed them into hating me. I'm too lovable to hate out of free will.

Hopefully, I will one day return and conquer the Reader, Writer, Critic kingdom again. But until then, Briana's back. The party's over. (I grant you permission to cry.)


(If you're just tuning in, I'm Catherine of Stray Imaginations, and I WAS your supreme ruler for the week. I commandeered Briana's blog after sending her on a drugged chocolate-induced bus ride, which you can read about here. Also, be sure to check out the collaborative story game. It was a Briana-free jamboree, but then it ended. Don't party on, peasants.)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Takeover Day 3: Reviewing Popular Music As I Would Books

If you're just tuning in, I'm Catherine of Stray Imaginations, and I'm your supreme ruler for the week. I commandeered Briana's blog after sending her on a drugged chocolate-induced bus ride, which you can read about here. Also, be sure to check out the collaborative story game. Welcome to the Briana-free jamboree. Party on, peasants.

Hi, there! Miss me? I hope so.

Last week, when daydreaming about what I would do if my plans for taking over the Reader, Writer, Critic Empire succeeded, a little thought threw itself at me (much like my plentiful suitors.) This thought was...

Reviewing Popular Music As I Would Books

In hindsight, this was a wretched idea. But-- what can I say?-- I'm stubborn, and I want to do it.

Prepare yourselves. This is going to be epic. Fire. Explosions. Volcanic Eruptions. You know, the works. (Also, a wrecking ball.)

Note: I am not reviewing the songs themselves, just their story lines. Yes, this is entirely unneeded for a music, but I'm pretending! Let me pretend!

(Also, to pick songs, I opened up the Top 100 playlist on Spotify and picked a few that seemed familiar. It was a fun time. I deserve a cookie.)

1. Counting Stars by One Republic

Characters? Dude's a dreamer, I'll give him that. Pretty beautiful. Also, do I smell an anti-hero? Everything that kills me makes me feel alive!
Plot? I like it. A classic riches-to-rags story. Who needs riches anyway? Count the stars and love each other instead!
Setting? I see stars! Stars everywhere! And a picnic for some reason. (Probably because I was just thinking of the civil war-- don't ask.)
Theme? Live! Watch the money burn! (You don't need it anyway.)

2. Wake Me Up by Avicii

Characters? So, this dude is obviously pretty self-aware. He called himself young and unwise, which took guts. He's got a good head on his shoulders.
Plot? Well, this is obviously character driven. I don't know what, exactly, prompted unnamed character to prompt this wish for "waking up," but it was a very interesting proposition.
Theme? "All this time I was finding myself, and I didn't know I was lost." Beautiful, this is.

3. Pompeii by Bastille

Characters? Left to his own devices, dude seemed to do pretty well. (What's with all these empowering songs? I'm a good random picker.) Also, an optimist. That's nice.
Plot? Well, I was expecting volcano explosions, but I guess this was cool, too...
Setting? Dark hills. (The volcano, I'm assuming.) A lot of the setting has to do with "closed eyes", so... And wolves, clouds, darkness. Also pompeii (VOLCANO!) (I like volcanos. I wish there was more volcano.)
Theme? Nothing is going to change. Now stop bugging me.

4. Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus (Yeah, I went there.)

Characters? First things first, SHE CAME IN LIKE A WRECKING BALL. That's certainly not passive. I like the spunk. I mean, what an entrance!
Plot? Ah... classic girl-scorned love story. She just wanted to break down his walls! But (spoiler) he broke her instead. A beautiful story of love lost. Also, DEMOLISHING THINGS. This is WAR.
Setting? I just keep picturing Miley swinging on a wrecking ball, so that's not ideal.
Theme? Something about wrecking things? (Or mean boyfriends who wreck things?) She never wanted to start a war! She should have just let him in instead! (Uh, what?)

5. Hall of Fame by The Script

Characters? Non-conformist! They've got drive, definitely. Who doesn't want to be a rebel-hero?
Plot? And now we've got rags-to-riches! The road to being a champion starts with rebellion (or something.)
Setting? I see a hall. It's white, sterile but all comforting. The pictures of "fame," as they say, are all empty. Which is... odd.
Theme? BE WHAT YOU WANT! (Or become famous. Being famous is good.)

6. Just Give Me A Reason by P!nk and Nate Ruess

Characters? I SHIP THEM SO HARD. 
Plot? Two people in love, just trying to make it work. And they will! Because they love each other, but I guess that's hard sometimes (I wouldn't know. Romantics are a concept lost to me.) Also, nightmares. Nightmares everywhere.
Setting? I picture a bed, and they're sleeping. Sort of creepy? But I ship them, so it's okay.
Theme? "We're not broken just bent, and we can learn to love again."Adorable.

Ha. Well I guess that's it. Not as painful as you thought, was it?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Takeover Day 2: Teaser Tuesday and a Collaborative Story Game

If you're just tuning in, I'm Catherine of Stray Imaginations, and I'm your supreme ruler for the week. I commandeered Briana's blog after sending her on a drugged chocolate-induced bus ride, which you can read about here. Welcome to the Briana-free jamboree. Party on, peasants.

That's right. I'm back. Remember those games and fun times I promised? Well, I lied.

Kidding. I'm not that mean.

But, first things first, TEASER TUESDAY!

This week I'm reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I'm halfway through, and it's already genius. Here's your teaser:

"Cinder opened her eyes. The netscreen on the wall had changed, no longer showing her life stats. Her ID number was still at the top, headlining a holographic diagram.
Of a girl.
A girl full of wires" (Page 82.)

Now, to the game!

You see, I rule much like the Roman emperors. I know that the key to a prosperous empire lies in the peasant population, and their tendency to wish for a thing called happiness. The leaders of Rome did this by winning wars and having a lot of money-- something which, sadly, I cannot do-- but also by entertaining the people, thus manipulating them into thinking they were happy.

In the Reader, Writer, Critic Kingdom, we don't have any arenas, but we do have our minds. (Honestly, if we did have an arena, it would be used for chariots and the 76th annual Hunger Games, although the latter wasn't very popular with the peasants, was it?) This is why we are going to use our minds and work together!

Seeing as all of you are readers, and several of you are also writers, I thought it would be fun to have a collaborative story. Anyone can contribute! By no means do you have to be good, you just have to know how to string together a couple sentences into something somewhat cohesive and understandable.

Here's how it'll work: I'm going to write up the first few sentences of a story, and then the next person will comment a few more sentences, and so on, and so on.

So easy, a peasant can do it!

A little girl stood by her bedroom window, watching the festivities before her. The streets of her gray kingdom were adorned in red and purple banners, and for once, the peasants were happy. In the parade that ran through the street, a short man in a Jester's uniform stood on a wooden cart pulled by midnight stallions, announcing the arrival of the new empress. Amazing ruler that she was, Empress Catherine thought the peasants of her Kingdom should be familiar with her face, the curl of her hair, and the way luxurious fabric draped her body. The girl stood, amazed, as the crowds down below threw shimmering black confetti, excited and pulsing with gratitude that their new ruler had overthrown the vicious tyrant that ruled before.
But then the Empress tensed, and her waving hand fell to her side. The crowd was ignorant, unknowing of the looming threat. Empress Catherine and the little girl were the only one's to see it...

Wishing you luck,