Howl’s Moving Castle By Diana Wynne Jones

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That’s right I finally read Howl’s Moving Castle! 🙂

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Goodreads Synopsis: Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

Oh my word, this book is one of the best books I’ve read all month.  It was hilarious! Honestly the synopsis above doesn’t do the book justice.

Starting the story I was a little bit bored. Sophie works in a hat shop, and she’s good at what she does. But she’s not particularly good at anything else. Along comes a witch, and that’s when things get interesting.  I loved it that he main character is 90 for most of the book.  It’s funny to see Sophie trying to do things that would have been regular for a younger woman, only to realize that her bones and body ache after a walk. Sophie is no-nonsense, get the job done and unapologetic for being the way she is.

Howl, the second main character, is also very funny.  Howl has a reputation of being an evil wizard, when he’s really not. He’s melodramatic and a skirt chaser, but there’s also more to him that meets the eye.  Howl goes around saying things like this to Sophie: “Yes, you are nosy. You’re a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman. Control yourself. You’re victimizing us all.”

Or you have this hilarious exchange between Howl and Sophie:  “Really, these wizards! You’d think no one had ever had a cold before! Well, what is it?” she asked, hobbling through the bedroom door onto the filthy carpet.
“I’m dying of boredom,” Howl said pathetically. “Or maybe just dying.”

The plot is good too. Little twists and turns divert your attention right to the end when it all comes together.This book is great for a cold lazy day. Wrap yourself in a blanket, get some tea and prepare to laugh away your afternoon.

I gave this book four of five stars, and I recommend it to all of you.

Oh Yeah, I was Tagged.

Infinity Dreams Blog Award

I was tagged by Deborah O’Caroll over at The Road of a Writer! Thanks and sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to it. 🙂

Note: I wrote this all up last night but apparently forgot to publish it. 

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So here are the rules:

  • Thank the blog that nominated you.
  • Tell us 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them.

Woah 11 facts, isn’t that asking too much? What if I’m a boring person? Just kidding I’m the most amazing person you ever met. Just kidding I’m me.  Yes it is very late and my brain is mushy, so what?

1.  I’m married, and I’m not yet 20 (does that count as 2 facts?)  I married my best friend, after knowing him for years and years we decided our lives would be better if we kept closer tabs on each other. We were very competitive in high school and I wouldn’t want him ruling the world without me.

2.  My birthday is coming up!! Yay!  20 years ago on the momentous day of August 10th the world rejoiced to finally have me in it.

3.  I am a cat person. I’m not really fond of dogs, though they seem to be very fond of me. That said I have two lovely cats that I love a lot, one’s all black and fuzzy and other is black and white. I would gladly become a crazy cat lady, but my husband won’t let me.

4. I dislike superhero movies. If you know me in real life, or if you’ve followed this blog for a couple of months, you might already know this. If you’re new to my blog, (thanks for following btw!) then take this fact seriously 😉  I do actually dislike superheros and movies about them.  For the most part they just bore me…* says in monotone voice* Let us watch a movie where hero suddenly gets ”super” powers, then has to fight bad guy, and blow things up and crash buildings under the guise of saving people.

5. I have 11 siblings.  I am the eldest of 12, number 12 is due any day now.  Out of this large number only three are boys. I’ll let you do the rest of the math because I suck at math. 😀

6. My favorite actress of all times is Audrey Tautou, I’ve seen her in Amelie, Mood Indigo, Therese and a few more films that aren’t coming to mind right now.  I think she’s absolutely adorable, and just…ugh her acting skills are amazing. I’ve cried watching every film she’s in, and that’s saying a lot because I don’t cry.

7. Frida Kahlo. She’s the number one inspiration in my life right now.  I am competently blown away with what she went through and overcame. I love how vivid and real her paintings are.  I feel that I am half the person she was then my life is accomplished.

8. My favorite color is gray (sometimes silver but mostly gray).  I know, I know.  That’s boring you say. That’s dull, or that’s depressing.  No it’s not. It’s calming.  It’s completely opposite of dull or depressing. It makes me happy.

9.  My favorite tea is Chai tea.  Carefully seeped so that it’s a nice dark brown color, the tea must be hot not lukewarm. Then add some honey, or sugar if there’s no honey and then add a few drops of milk. Stir then drink.  *sigh* It’s heaven.

10. I’ve lived outside of the US! Go me. 😀  I’ve lived in St. Lucia, the Philippines and Mexico.  Fun times guys, you should all go somewhere outside of the US, it’s awesome.

11. If I could travel back in time I’d go to the late ’60s and become a hippie. Why? Because. That’s why.

And now for Deb’s questions, because they’re awesome. Also because it’s a part of the tag. 

1. Since I’m against superheroes this is a cruel question. 😉  Probably…hmmm…probably the ability to read minds. Because that would be funny.

2.  Sure! I am currently working on a short story collection with my husband.

The old man is throwing balls of mud at the door. The house is nice, nicer than his, two doors, a screen door for keeping bugs out in the summer.   He is screaming at the door.

“You give her back to me!”

That’s all you get. For now.

3. Best book? Gosh dang that’s a hard question. 😛 Best book of this week would be Tiger Lily.

Tag: Jessica, My Sister, Dabby, Shelby, and Melody.  That’s all I’m tagging because…I’m tired and I can’t think of anyone else to tag.

My questions: 

1. If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?

2. If you had to choose which would you rather have,  only four toes, or twelve fingers?

3. If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Why Do You Care?

Since I’ve been reading so much, I’ve also been pondering.

Welcome to my pondering. 😉

As many of you know I’m a writer.  I’ve been writing since I was little, like ten or maybe younger. I remember one time rewriting one of my favorite books as a kid, but having to go to my mom to ask her how to spell a lot of words. It was a book about cowboys, y’all I loved that book.  I wrote the book on different colored card stock, drew pictures and stapled it together to look like a book. I wish I had a picture to show you guys. 😀
When I was 13 I stumbled down the rabbit hole into Nanowrimo and I was enthralled. My wordcount for that year was around 13k.  Since then I haven’t been able to stay away from Nano. Writing has been what I have ate, drank, and breathed since then, petting plot bunnies is my specialty.
So since I’ve been reading all of these books lately it’s got me wondering.

What makes you care about characters?  Characters come in every shape, race, gender and origin. They all have different quirks and skills, different back stories.  They each have something that they want.  We read books to be entertained, or to learn something, or to be inspired.  So what makes you look at a character and say,

“This one. I love this on.”

Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to chat with everyone about characters, loving characters, and also how to write characters that other will love.

Falling Into Place

Because I’ve had access to a library for the first time in over 6 months I have been reading a ton of books. I recently hit 110 books!   I’ve been reading a lot of YA books recently, because a lot of blogs that I follow have been recommending YA.  Now I haven’t particularly happy with the books I’ve been reading  I would say a good 95% of the YA books I’ve read these two months have been disappointing, boring, or cliche, or all of the above.  I’m a firm believer that no matter how old you are, you can enjoy all types of books.  You can be 90 and enjoy kid’s lit and YA.  Or you could be (like I was) 15-16 and be in love with 19th century Russian writers. Books are books and they are meant for all ages.
But recently I’ve been feeling that I’ve just outgrown YA.  The stories are no longer as appealing to me, and what’s worse, the aren’t convincing.

So I won’t go into all of my woes, instead I want to talk to you about a YA book that I loved.

WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead.

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Today I finished this book here, titled “Falling Into Place”.   Hello emotions and feels! I really really enjoyed this book.

Why you ask? Well let me tell you.  First of all the writing was great.  The POV is told from someone who is outside of the story (I won’t tell you who) which makes it really cool.  The POV for this book hooked me right away.
The second reason I really liked this book is that the characters are real. Liz,  Kennie and Julia were really believable characters. Why were they real? Because they had pretty terrible lives, lives that they ruined themselves. Liz and her friends consistently ruin other people’s lives in the book, Julia has a drug problem and even Kennie has a story that’s heartbreaking (but I won’t get into this because spoilers!)

You don’t love the main character in this book, I didn’t at least, and I would be extremely surprised if anyone does. But you do feel for her.  Liz is raw.  She’s unlikable and she’s just tried to commit suicide.  So if the characters are unlikable why should you read this book?  For me, this book made me think. It made me think about how I treat people, do I give them the respect they deserve, or do I treat people like crap? In the book Liz sufferers from bulimia, she treats her body and herself with zero respect. This made me think about how I treat my body and myself.

I like books that make me think, and this was definitely one of those books. Now I’m not saying it’s a profound book, but it isn’t your average story with no point.
Also until the last few pages you don’t know how the story is going to end.  Amy Zhang’s plot is almost flawless, she brings in characters at the right time and she doesn’t give away all of the secrets in the first half.

Sometimes I feel like YA books make high school seem like such an awesome time of boyfriends and finding yourself and true love.  But high school usually isn’t like that, and I felt the “Falling Into Place”  really showed this.

So to conclude I gave this book 5 stars, I really enjoyed it and I recommend it to you all.

Have you read this book? Did you like, or hate it? What have you been reading recently? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Caps Lock in Published Books

This is a writing pet peeve of mine.  I really really dislike it when I’m reading along in my newest library book and then there’s a sentence like this:  I AM A SENTENCE IN CAPS LOCK.

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Noooo.  Reading a sentence in caps lock pulls me out of a story so fast it gives me whiplash.  One minute I’m frantically turning pages to see how the story ends and the next minute I’ve thrown the book across the room.

Part of me gets the reason why authors decides to do this, I get that it’s for emphasis.  But the other part of me feels so that it’s unprofessional and…wrong.  It distracts me so much.   It gets even worse if I see more than one sentence the same novel. It bothers me to the point where I’ll give the book one less star, just for this one pet peeve.  To me it looks childish, and I know that’s a very judgmental thing to think. It’s like the author is saying to me:

“Abi you obviously aren’t smart enough to tell if a character is upset so I will help you.”

*Sigh*

So why do you think authors do this in published books?  I’m wrong to be so frustrated?  What do you think about caps lock in books? How do you deal with pet peeves in books?

Writing Bad Book Reviews

Ugh.
What a fun topic am I right?  No, I’m being sarcastic.  Bad book reviews aren’t fun, not writing them (unless your a sadist) not reading them for your own writing, just not ever.  *sigh*

I guess this topic is coming up for me is because I write more bad reviews than good reviews. Side note I suck at writing reviews (I’m working on it) so I’m not sure if I’d call what I write “reviews” more like “my feelings on said book”.

So why do I write more bad reviews than good? I promise I’m not mean or bitchy or just like to disagree for the fun of it…okay in real life I do both sometimes. 😉 But really I just have a heart of stone. I wish I had a better way to describe my heart, because stone doesn’t seem hard enough.  I feel like if a Vulcan and I had a competition of feelings, I would win.  Name 10 of your favorite books and I will probably dislike one of them.  Does anyone else find this sad? Because I do. (Okay so maybe a Vulcan would win the feelings competition.)    It takes a lot for me to be interested in a character, and to be interested in a story, interested in the good guys saving the day and all of that stuff.  This often leaves me finishing a book being either a) bored to tears,  or b) frustrated that I didn’t like the story.

That said, most of the time, it pains me to write a bad review. Writing is hard hard hard hard work.  Writers put blood, tears, dragon eggs, shooting stars and vampire teeth into their writing.  Like seriously they have to hunt down all of those things, that’s fricken hard!   I often feel like I should put a huge apology at the end of my reviews.  It’s come to the point where I’ve pretty much stopped writing bad reviews at all (okay save that one book because there were incorrect facts in it.)

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on a book (except for you, yes you…just kidding.)  When I dislike a book I’d like to be able to accurately express my opinion, because I’m an opinionated person. So now I’m in a predicament. I need to work on the skill of writing reviews. What are some of the ways you guys write bad reviews? Do you write reviews at all?

I feel like bad reviews are a necessary thing in life. Bad is there to balance the good. And let’s face it, until I publish a novel there is no perfect book out there. 😉