It’s been a long, long time


Hi everyone, long time no see 🙂

Frankly it’s a little weird for me to be doing this right now, revisiting a blog that I haven’t really touched for four years. Looking back, it kinda seems like I just disappeared off the face of the Earth.

It’s been nearly four years since I made my first post on here so I’m gonna be honest with y’all: I am extremely embarrassed right now. I’ve never mentioned it, but I’d only just turned thirteen when I started this blog, and my stupidity youth naivety inexperience seems glaringly obvious looking back. I have half a mind to just wipe everything, but a small part of me’s a bit nostalgic for when I used to be able to write and write and write and WRITE.

That being said, I’d like to give this another go. I’d like to think that I’ve matured a bit in the time that I’ve been gone. Lots of things have changed about me since I was thirteen and I’ve got my fingers crossed that my writing’s one of them. I’ve also read a hell of a lot more of everything since then, and I’d love to share all of that. (This might not seem like a big deal, but please consider that I might actually know what I’m talking about now that I’ve had high school English classes.) While my writing’s a bit rusty, I’m more confident in who I am as a person and I hope that shows through despite how wonky I sound.

I guess this is sort of a what’s up/heads up post before I actually do anything (like give updates on what’s happened since 2012). I’m smack dab in the middle of exam season but I couldn’t stop thinking about this, and I think it won’t stop bugging me until I actually do something.

So. This is me, saying “hello” again.

 

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TCWT


So, you may or may not know this, but I signed up for the Teens Can Write, Too! chain for November. And I am EXCITED. It’s my first time, so you can kind of see why.

Anyway, this month’s prompt, graciously given by Kirsten from Kirsten Writes! is:

“As anyone who reads (or writes) teen fiction knows, “Young Adult” covers a wide breadth of genres, from comedy to romance to horror. Should YA fiction be broken up into categories as adult fiction is?“

Essentially, YA Fiction is a category that spans a whole bunch of genres. It’s this huge umbrella term, so it’s pretty vague.

I’ve got 2 sides to choose from, and I find myself agreeing with both of them. In my first opinion, I think that it should stay together in one huge section, except that section should be divided into smaller sections. If you compare the size of the Teen section in a bookstore, especially a major one, you can tell that it’s smaller than the Adult section, which really spans the entire store. If they broke it apart entirely, like if teen romance goes into the romance section, and if teen sci-fi goes into the adult sci-fi, I think that it would be spread too thinly.

Also, the books nowadays have multiple genres in them, and they could manage to belong to a bunch of sections. This one book could take place in 19th century England, so it could go in Historical Fiction. However, it could have aliens and invasions, so it could go in sci-fi.(oh, wait, that’s War of the Worlds…) Would they stock the books in both sections?

However, if the section’s rather large, it can be a pain to look through the whole thing just so you can find the book that you’re looking for. I cannot tell you how much time I’ve spent looking through the Teen section just looking for the book that interested me. That was mainly because I forgot the author’s name, but still. There are all these books that just happen to be grouped together because their main protagonist is a teenager and/or deals with things that one would usually associate with teenagers. Even if the themes are considered “more mature”, it would still be stocked in the Teens section. Take “banned books”, for example. They’ve got teen characters, yet some themes would be considered for older audiences; but, they’re still placed in the Teens section.

Besides that, there’s some confusion regarding the organization of the genres (for me, at least). Anyway, I’ve been to this one bookstore a couple times, right? So whenever I went, I always got lost trying to find the Teen section amongst all the adult books, because there didn’t happen to be a sign that said “Teens” that hung over the YA section that would’ve made life easier. So, in that section, there are three rows of shelves. On one part of the side of the first shelf, it’s the teen bestsellers. The rest of that row is a bunch of random YA Fiction that’s only organized by the author’s name. In the second row, the alphabetically organized books continue. Finally, in the third row, there’s a sign that says “Paranormal Romance” and the WHOLE shelf is filled with books fitting into that genre.

I was, and still am, confused about that. Why would they only organize one part of the YA category according to the genre that they belonged to, and leave the rest of them to be in this huge mix? It didn’t make any sense. If you’re gonna organize some of it, at least organize all of it! Save me all of us confusion!

What I hope you get from this is that yes, Young Adult Fiction should be split up, but not too far. I find myself favouring that side after writing all this down. I just hope that bookstore employees and librarians do arrange the books like that so that I don’t get lost amongst all the choices again. Please.

This is Halloween


Happy Halloween everyone! In honour of Halloween, I have written (or tried to, at least) a short story. What I tried to do is use a bit of suspense to make it seem more scary, instead of getting a parade of horrors to traipse in. One of my inspirations was Edgar Allan Poe, because he does suspense so well. And what better way to learn than from a master? Anyway, without further ado, here it is:

Hanging by a Thread

The cross legged children squealed with peals of laughter. The marionettes danced on the miniature stage, as a tinny melody played from a worn out old phonograph, behind the manipulator. He worked tirelessly, but there was a sort of deadness behind his eyes. His audience wasn’t able to see it, due to the curtain masking everything. As the strains from the song faded, the marionettes dropped into a bow, and the manipulator stepped out to the applause of his audience. He smiled, but it seemed forced and brittle, like a cracked mask.

After putting some money into the shabby top hat in front, the audience left, for it was dinner time, and they were out to find it. Only one lady stayed behind, along with what he assumed to be her spouse. She hobbled forward, and leaning towards him she croaked, “Young man, that was a splendid show you put on. I enjoyed it immensely.”

“Thank you, ma’am. Although, I’m not that young anymore, I’m five and twenty. I’d also prefer to be called Mr. Thomas.” He replied drily.

“Well, you’re certainly talented, Mr. Thomas. That must’ve taken years for you to master. Anyway, please excuse me. It was a pleasure.” The old lady shuffled away, but Mr. Thomas’ eyes stayed on her. She wore large, heavy jewelry, and expensive looking clothes, and suddenly he had a flashback of his mother, dressed similarly, but pleading with his father…

He snapped out of it, and angrily he packed up his marionettes, carried the stage, and went home.

Rain poured and pattered against the windows as Mr. Thomas entered his apartment. He slammed the door, and threw away all the marionettes and the stage into one corner of the room. Picking up the money, he counted it, and realized that he was one step closer to getting the amount of money his father told him to come back with after he kicked him out ten years ago.

Just thinking of his horrid father threw him into a fiery rage. He frantically looked around, and threw the first things he could get his hands on; his marionettes. They crashed against the wall, and slid down eerily, as if they were people.  Gathering the two of them, he saw that one had a hole through his head, as if he’d been shot point blank.

That should happen to Father, he thought darkly. He couldn’t stop himself. He let out all of his pent up fury on the puppets, thrashing and ruining them. He soon realized that he damaged his marionettes beyond repair, and thrashed his apartment, anyways. With another glance at the puppets, he almost felt a pang of regret, but nevertheless, Mr. Thomas threw them out on his front step like his father did to him so many years ago. As he turned away he swore he saw them turn to face him; something he’d swear to his dying day. But that was impossible; they were just marionettes.

The storm still raged on outside as he turned down the lights went to bed, and fell asleep.

Even more people turned up at the spot where Mr. Thomas usually held his marionette plays. All were perplexed, and asked each other “Where’s the puppet man? So and so told me he’d be here by now.” Nannies consoled upset children by giving them candy, and all the rest walked away. It seemed that Mr. Thomas had never existed.

Mr. Thomas kept to his apartment that whole day. He wallowed in quieter fury and despair, but by no means was it any less that yesterday’s. He now had no means to earn a living. Puppetry was the only thing he knew how to do. Old puppet shows at his father’s mansion streaked through his mind, the ones that he’d enjoyed as a young boy and had taken for granted. Back when he was cared for, loved, and before he became an embarrassment to his family. Memories flooded back to him, threatening to drown him with pain.

At night, when quiet was supposed to reign undisturbed, a knock on the door jolted Mr. Thomas awake. “Who the blazes is awake now?” he muttered to himself. He dragged himself up, and peeping through the door’s eyehole, he was shocked breathless. Standing on the opposite side, out in the rain, only shielded by a frilly parasol, was his mother. She looked exactly like she did years ago, gorgeous and demurely smiling. With fumbling hands, he opened the door, only to see that nobody was there.  He stepped forward, only to hear a sickening crunch that sent what felt like cold hands playing piano on his spine. He realized with a jolt that he stepped through a corpse’s skull. His mother’s head lay crushed and rotten, as if it’d been dead and lying there for years. Strings led from her wrists and legs, leading off into the shadows, from where emerged two ruined marionettes, holding them. Their faces were smashed in, the clothes tattered, and the girl hobbled with one leg. In unison, they lifted the strings, and then his corpse mother rose back up.

Mr. Thomas’ blood ran cold. “What are you?” he whispered. They only sneered, and began to walk away into the shadows, with the Corpse Mother in the lead.  Against his will, he trailed them. It felt like he was being controlled by strings. What’s going on? He thought worriedly. A high pitched voice one would imagine to belong to a child echoed.

Your worst nightmare, Daddy, it said.

Daddy? Since when was I Daddy?  He thought.

Since you made us…

The marionettes’ heads turned backwards to face him. He winced, and realized that he was being led to the cemetery. He struggled against the ropes and tried to run away, only to be pulled closer. His wrists were burning, and skin was scorched where rope would have been if he’d been a marionette.

As soon as they were in the cemetery, they headed directly for a hill with a towering tree. Two headstones were nearly visible in the dark night. Mr. Thomas’ vision grew even blurrier as a shower promptly started and drenched everything beyond comprehension. He was dragged closer and closer still. He stumbled forward, and saw that one of the plots still had to be covered. His Corpse Mother stopped at the foot of the plot, and like a marionette whose strings were severed; she dropped into the hole with a sickening crack.

A rope came out, dancing like a snake listening to charmer music. It wrapped itself around Mr. Thomas’ neck. Like a dog being led by its owner, he was yanked to the tree. Flailing and struggling, he was dragged up, branches pounding him everywhere. He wasn’t able to see or breathe, but managed to grab a branch and pull himself up to find himself at the edge. The noose made him stand, and there was a strong gust of wind. All he could hear was the roar of the air, and he knew that the ground would hit him and his legs would probably be broken.

The ground never came.

Mourners visiting the grave of old Mr. Thomas, whose son he kicked out some ten years before, were alarmed to see a figure dangling from a tree. It looked exactly like his son.

What do you think? Good? Bad? I’ve tried making suspense stories before, but they were absolutely horrid; however, those were ages ago, and I hope I’ve improved since then. But don’t we all?

I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1) by Pittacus Lore


Wow. It’s been 25 days since I’ve last posted. This is way overdue. I have just been very busy. So, here is my latest review, which is of Pittacus Lore’s I Am Number Four.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Book Rating: 3 out of 5

Genres: Fantasy, Sci-fi, Romance, Post Apocalyptic (in a sense)

Lorien, a planet near Earth, was destroyed by the Mogadorians. During the chaos, 9 children were sent to Earth with mentors to continue the race of the Lorics and someday fight back. These 9 children will develop powers, train, and will have to work together if they want to stand a chance against the Mogadorians. They are still being hunted down, except that they can only be killed in order, thanks to a charm cast by one of the elders.

In order to survive, they must keep moving from place to place, and shed all of their identities, and everything they’ve ever known, just to stay safe. But it isn’t enough. The first 3 were killed. And he’s next.

I Am Number Four was generously lent to me from a friend, who offered when I told him I had nothing to read. I accepted it with thanks, thinking that I’d like it, because I’d seen the movie, and it wasn’t that bad.

Overall, it was an okay book. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t one of those books where I told every single person I knew and bugged them to read it. It was like, “Read, and move on.”

The characters were probably one of the better points of the story. Four, who’s also known as John Smith for the majority of the book (he was Daniel Jones at the beginning, when they lived in Florida), was the most developed character in the book. I knew almost everything about him. He was born on Lorien, and was raised there until the Mogadorians attacked and destroyed everything; he was sent to Earth with his CĂŞpan, Henri (at least, that was the name he chose for himself). He had to move frequently, and change his identities along with them, because he could never risk revealing himself to the Mogadorians. He’s also fifteen, but he’s been on Earth for 10 years.

My favourite character, though, was Sam. He was so awesome as the nerd that actually wasn’t that stereotypically nerdy, like they’re usually portrayed. He was pretty well developed, too. He seemed very realistic, like you could find him at school or on the street.  I can’t really say much right now, because some of his background will spoil the story, which isn’t really the best thing to do in a spoiler free review.

I liked the antagonism between John and Mark (Mark is Sarah’s jock exboyfriend that she dumped because she realized that he was a total jerk and that she was growing more and more like him). On the first day, John picks a fight with Mark, which I think wasn’t really the smartest idea, because he’s only a sophomore, and Mark’s a senior. Plus, he couldn’t risk revealing himself as an alien with his superpowers.

The pacing of the book could’ve been improved. There were a couple parts that I thought were unnecessary, and it sometimes dragged. The climax felt like it would go on forever, which isn’t the best thing, because climaxes, in those types of stories, are rather fast paced, energetic, and are supposed to leave your heart thumping (at least, if they’re told well). It was too long for my liking. The sentences were really long, so I guess that contributed to that fact. I wouldn’t be able to think in really long sentences if that were happening to me. But I can’t really tell you what that is.

The romance (yes, there is romance)…well. The only thing I can think of now is the word “cute”. John Smith falls in love with Sarah Hart, who’s a year older than him. I find that he does the noble heroic thing a bit too often, which I guess is understandable considering that he is a hero in a sense. Think Edward protecting Bella (except John is nothing like Edward but in that. Same goes for Sarah). They also got rather sentimental at times.

The version that I read had a bonus, which was Sarah’s diary. I got to see things from her point of view, which was very interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read any books like that, where there’s a personal account of another, slightly minor character in it.

Also, there were quite a lot of flashbacks and dreams in I Am Number Four. At times, they were good for giving some backstory, and explaining things without giving huge, irritating info dumps. They broke the flow of the story if they were just inserted at random times, though, and I could’ve done without a few of them.

In my opinion, I Am Number Four is an okay book, but not exactly my cup of tea. I still enjoyed it, though.

Airborn (Matt Cruse #1) by Kenneth Oppel


Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Genres: YA Adventure, Fantasy, Steampunk

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the airship Aurora, a luxury liner ferrying wealthy people from one place to another. It’s the life he’s always wanted; his father was a sailmaker and he believes he’s lighter than air. After rescuing a dying old man from a balloon wreck, he is told that there are beautiful creatures in the sky, ones that humans (except him) have never seen before. Skeptical, Matt learns that the man died the next day.

A year later, Kate de Vries goes aboard the Aurora, intending to see what her grandfather saw when he set out on a balloon expedition. Only after befriending her, and surviving a pirate attack can Matt start to believe that what the old man said could be true.

Kenneth Oppel is an amazing writer. I had the pleasure of meeting him a while back at a festival over here, where he was promoting Half Brother, another book of his. Since it was a festival, and he’s a pretty big deal, along with the fact that there were hundreds of people there, I was mainly ignored after he autographed my paper, even after I said that I loved his books. Hurts. Anyway, I read Airborn during Grade 5; it was totally awesome, so I immediately read the second book that I got from the library with Airborn (by the way, “airborn” is not a typo). I freaked out when I found out we didn’t have Starclimber, and it was this huge deal for me because it was like, the big finale where your mind will probably explode of awesomeness. Just saying.

One of the main reasons why I really liked this book was because it was from a guy’s perspective. I haven’t mentioned this before, because I realized it just now. It’s balancing to read from his point of view, because I find that usually in books girls portray things differently than guys do, especially if it’s in first person. I find that usually, if the protagonist is a teen girl living in the present (even if she’s in a paranormal book, as long as she’s a teenager), then the chances are pretty good that there’s going to be a boy introduced sooner or later, or there already is a boy, and she just spends time thinking about him, and other things that are typically on a stereotype-fitting teen girl’s mind. Sometimes it’s good to take a breather from that, and lose yourself in other perspectives.

The plot was great; although since I read it a couple years ago and I read it again recently, I can’t recall exactly when I was surprised. It had all the makings of a great plot. When the book started, it was already exciting, because Matt was on crow’s nest duty, and had sighted the failing hot air balloon. It was also he who had to swing out of the crane in midair, more than a couple thousand feet high. So already then, you’re on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what happens (obviously he makes it; why else would the book be more than 300 pages?). When Mr. Oppel feeds you the plot, everything’s paced excellently. There were no drags, as far as I could tell, and nothing was resolved too quickly and left me unsatisfied. The climax was nail-biting, thrilling, and eye-widening. In relation to other books, the climax was longer, although people could have different thoughts on when it began and ended. Nevertheless, it’s exciting.

Matt and Kate are awesome. Kate is, in my opinion, an awesome role model for girls. She’s headstrong, intelligent, and independent. Sneaky, too; she outwitted her dry chaperone many times in Airborn. Matt is brave, realistic, and ambitious. He doesn’t seem like the perfect hero with no flaws and will save the damsel in distress (like Kate would let him), which is why I like him. He’s also very comfortable in his surroundings, and has always believed that he belonged in the sky. Like I said before, he’s realistic, so he’s got problems of his own, like how he’ll support his mother and sisters home in Lionsgate City (he’s Canadian, and Kate comes from Lionsgate City, too), because his father died on the job and he’s the main breadwinner in the family. A couple times you see that Matt gets jealous of Bruce Lunardi, the son of the owner of the manufacturer of the Aurora, especially since he took the position that Matt wanted, he’s rich, apparently handsome, and he knew Kate before Matt did.

There’s some romance in this book, mainly between Matt and Kate. It’s not really focused on much, because the main plot is different, and I don’t even think that it’s a major subplot. It’s the second one, in my opinion. Mr. Oppel drops hints, though, that Matt likes Kate. I won’t be a spoilsport and tell you what happens in the end, except that they keep in touch.

The setting is really unique. I don’t know if there’s an official word for it, because it seems like it’s in a different universe, where some things have changed, like the fact that airships are there instead of airplanes, there’s a ship called the Titanica, and there are places like Europa, and the some of the oceans are called Atlanticus and Pacificus. It’s familiar, but different at the same time. It’s not a dystopia, or a utopia. Also, you can’t really put a finger on when it happens. All I can figure out is that it’s not in present day, because life seems simpler and it isn’t muddled with the technology that we have today.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel is an awesome book. If you like steampunk, fantasy and adventure, you will not be disappointed! Airborn will leave you amazed, and if you liked that one, you’ll love Skybreaker and Starclimber! I will definitely review those.