Saturday, July 15, 2017

Carve the Mark

While I don't do this for every novel, I was looking at some others' peoples reviews of Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. I noticed that many, many people talked about this book being racist. Honestly, I kind of wish stereotypes didn't even exist in the world. As someone I know recently said, "I would rather let the characters I write be awful because they are human trash, rather than their race, class, religion..." and so on. I completely agree with them. If writers didn't have to worry about stereotypes, things would be so much easier. They could simply focus on writing a good story, and that's what Roth did, in my opinion.

I'm sorry if this makes me seem ignorant, but at first, I didn't even notice that Roth had been racist. When I'm reading, I don't really think about the race of a person. I can hardly even think about what their face looks like. Typically, if the author says they have a certain hair or skin color, I may try to imagine it, but I mostly focus on the events and the emotions when I'm reading. I think that's all a person really should be paying attention to. Apparently, she portrayed someone's race poorly because they were an aggressive character. I don't know the exact details, because I didn't really pay attention to that kind of thing. Anyways, I'll say that there were a lot of horrible characters in that novel. There were ones who were probably white, and all different kinds of races. I didn't go in depth and study all the characters, but according to one blog, two of the most violent characters were white. Nobody complains about them.

I think that a reader should only despise an author's work because they killed off a good character, or because they absolutely despise the antagonist, not because they think it is racist that someone who was dark-skinned happened to be evil. What should Roth do? Just completely make all of the evil characters white or any other race but that one specifically?

Overall, I think the story was actually really good. If you aren't going to read this story because you have heard it is racist. Please try to read it anyways and simply focus on the story, rather than the character descriptions. You might enjoy it a lot more. I personally actually loved this book. I'm sorry if I have offended anyone with this post, but this is just my opinion. I just want people to enjoy a good book for what it is, and not worry about the races off the characters. Just read!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Old Books


                I have just recently began to reread my favorite book series as a child. It's the Sister Grimms books by Michael Buckley if you want to check it out. Anyways, I still had the full series sitting on a shelf in my house and so I decided I could just try it again. I was not disappointed at all. I think I mostly loved it back then because it involved fairytales and magic and so on. However, I know appreciate it for entirely different reasons.

Reason Number One:

The characters are so stereotypical!

                Normally, this is not a very professional thing to do in writing, but I find it hilarious. There are two main characters, Daphne and Sabrina. Daphne, the younger sister, is very cheerful. She's your typical little kid. Always excited about everything (especially when she finds out her grandmother lives in a fairytale world), and she absolutely adores her new home in Ferryport Landing. Sabrina, on the other hand is the complete opposite. She is super sarcastic and pessimistic all the time that it's ridiculous. She's always incredibly paranoid and jumps too the conclusion that her grandmother is insane. It's just one of the things that makes this book so entertaining.

Reason Number Two:

There are so many jokes that I don't think I would have caught when I was younger.

                    Don't get me wrong, it's not any dirty jokes or anything like that. Just simple things that children could have understood, but I don't think that I did when Ir had it many years ago. Here are a few examples I've been collecting (later on, when I do a book review on this, I will include the rest).

At this moment, Sabrina is already thinking that Mrs. Grimm is insane and may or may not be torturing other orphans. 

                      "Mrs. Grimm took the girls' hands in her own. 'Second, there is a room down the hall that is locked. It's locked for a reason and I ask that you stay away from it for the time being. You might hear some unusual noises coming from inside, but just ignore them. Do you understand?' She asked," (Buckley 30).

Fantastic. :)

                       "'Mr. Canis went to the store to buy you some clothing...Sabrina looked in the bag. Inside were some of the strangest clothes she had ever seen. There were two pairs of bright blue pants that had little hearts and balloons sew onto them. There were two identical sweatshirts that were as awful as the pants- bright orange with a monkey in a tree on the front...'I feel like a movie star,' Daphne said as the girls hurried downstairs. 'You look like a mental patient,' Sabrina remarked," (Buckley 44-45).

Sabrina was humiliated.

                        "'You three are detectives?' Mr. Applebee looked from Mrs. Grimm to the children, eyeing them suspiciously. 'Yes,' Mrs. Grimm said, causing Daphne to practically swell with pride. 'Well I think a crime has been committed, Mrs. Grimm,' Mr. Applebee said. 'You do?' 'They should arrest whoever dressed your granddaughters this morning,'" (Buckley 79).

Keep in mind, these are all little dwarves and Elvis is the Grimms' dog. 

             
"'What are you laughing at?' the leader snapped as he crawled to his feet.
"'Sorry, Tony, we didn't mean to laugh,' one of the goons said.
'What are you doing?' Tony bellowed.
'What?' the tall one said defensively.
'You told her my name. We all agreed we were going to keep our identities secret.'
The tall one shrugged. 'Sorry, Tony, I didn't think.'
'Steve, you just did it again,' the other thug pointed out.
'You did it too!' Tony shouted. 'You just told them Steve's name.'
'Who cares?' Steve said.
'Because they can identify us to the cops,' Tony complained as he turned his attention back to Mrs. Grimm. He raised his heavy crowbar above his head and snarled. 'Now we have to kill them!'
'Easier said than done,' a voice said from behind them. Sabrina and Daphne turned to see Mr. Canis emerge from the shadows with Elvis close behind.
'Look out, here comes her boyfriend.' Steve laughed. 'You want to handle them, Bobby?'
'Shut up! Both of you!' Tony shouted, (Buckley 87-88).

Wonderful. I apologize if you didn't find that entertaining but I found it pretty funny, and I'm sure I'll find more of these moments later on. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Have you ever reread a childhood favorite?
 



Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fault in Our Stars Realization

I have not yet read the Fault in Our Stars, but I made an interesting observation about its title a few months ago. So I'm sure you all know that the Fault in Our Stars is about two love-bird teens with cancer, as this book because very popular not to long ago. Well, anyways, I saw someone with a shirt that showed some constellations. One of the constellations was this:Image result for cancer constellation in night sky

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cancer_(constellation)

I mean, obviously there aren't lines actually drawn between it the sky, but you get the point. Anyways, for some reason The Fault in Our Stars came to my mind, and I realized something. Let me break it down for you:

The Fault: 

The definition of fault is an unattractive or unsatisfactory feature, especially in a piece of work or in a person's character. 

If you think about it, this "unsatisfactory feature" could be cancer, which also happens to be the name of the constellation. 

In Our Stars: 

The Cancer Constellation is literally in our stars. Hello people, am I the only one seeing this?

So in a full summary, the title of this novel could be referring to this constellation. I wonder if John Green meant to do this on purpose, or if he perhaps the title was supposed to mean "Why is there cancer when there is a Heaven?" Maybe he meant it to mean both. Who knows? Maybe he just thought the title sounded cool. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or if you have any other ideas as to what this title might mean. Perhaps I'll have a review out for this in the summer. We'll see. Maybe it's finally time to completely jump onto the John Green train. Until next time. :)

Fire Color One

Absolutely amazing. Fire Color One by Jenny Valentine is named after this painting:Image result for fire color one

http://en.artintern.net/index.php/news/main/html/1/1933

This painting is by Yves Klein. You may not see it at first, but if you look closely, you can see the outlines of two human figures. A beautiful painting, and a beautiful book. Fire Color One is the story of Iris, a girl who has just had to move back to Europe with her mother (Hannah) and her mother's boyfriend (Lowell), due to money problems in the United States. They also moved after Iris committed arson by burning down her school. Fire is her escape. Iris is struggling with the fact that she has been separated by her friend, Thurston. Thurston was the only one who understood her and stories about how they met and what they did together are slowly revealed throughout the novel. Many years before, when Iris was two or three, Hannah left Ernest (Iris' biological father). He lived in Europe, so once they moved back there, she gave him a call.

It turns out that Ernest was actually dying of some disease. Hannah and Lowell are ecstatic, thinking that as soon as Ernest dies, they will collect his many extremely valuable paintings and become rich. Iris doesn't really care about him at first. She doesn't even remember him. She thinks she should feel sad, but can she really feel sad for someone she doesn't know? So they all go to visit Ernest. Almost immediately, Iris and Ernest have a connection and Ernest tells her many rather interesting and some unexpected stories of his life. The end of this is unexpected and wonderful. Fantastically made. I'm not sure if Valentine could have made this book much better.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Zeroes

I was pretty excited when I picked up this book. Zeroes is by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti. I had read some of Westerfeld's books before, and I had liked them, so I was happy to find another book of his. I had actually picked this book randomly from my library. At my library, around February, in celebration of Valentine's day, they have a "blind date with a book" thing. This is where they wrap books in gift paper, and only write a few clues to the story's plot on the front (that way, if you hate horror books, you won't pick one up, ect. ) I loved doing that last year so I did it again this year with Zeroes. In Zeroes, it's your basic superhero book... except SO much better! The first thing I really like with this book was that all of the powers were so unique! Here is the list. (Also - WARNING! This isn't necessarily a spoiler, but if you would rather have the powers revealed to you throughout the book, then don't read the next section!)


  1. Scam - His was pretty interesting. Every since he was younger, "the voice" could talk. Even before he could. The voice is basically this other form of consciousness completely separate from Scam (Ethan). Scam just thinks of what he wants, and the voice will try to convince the people to do it. The voice also knows things it shouldn't. Plus, Ethan thinks the voice is helpful, because it makes him sound less like his stuttering self. It was kind of frustrating, but definitely interesting for the plot to see what Ethan's voice would say next.

2. Crash - Her real name is Chizara. She has hispanic heritage, and she can crash any technology she can sense. Chizara loves doing this (as long as she doesn't harm anyone in the process). All of the technology hurts her. She can feel it stinging and poking at her all day long. When she crashes things, she reaches into the interworking of the devices and she completely melds them or fries them. She's even crashed her own phone before many times. The change in her personality was very evident in the story.

3. Flicker - She prefers to be called Flicker, but her real name is Riley. Riley was born blind. She started to learn braille, until she learned she could see through her sister's eyes and read for herself. She can look through anyone's eyes, except for Anonymous. She uses this too see what is happening inside buildings during missions, and she can hop around the area to look for people. I thought her power was pretty creative.

4. Anonymous - Who? Oh, that's right, Thibault. They always forget about him. Thibault is the one who can go in, and no one would know he was there. Literally. They would forget about him. It does backfire for him, however (insert a sad, lovely back story that you'll have to read the book for!). Sometimes, even his own team forgets him. His power is kind of complicated, and it's kind of fun to figure out how it works as the story goes on.

5. Bellwether - He is also known as "Glorious Leader" or Nate. During meetings or missions he can direct the minds of people or of the team towards the same goal, and it helps keep the people encouraged and gets things done. The team doesn't always appreciate it when he does this, but at some points, it's a nice thing to have around. 

I would recommend the book. Now that I think back, I can clearly see how each of the Zeroes has changed in some way, and I love that I can see an individual difference in each of the characters. The ending is a nice finish as well. It's a good read and you should pick it up! :)


Paper Towns

Paper Towns by John Green. Believe it or not, this is the first John Green book I have read. *gasp!* Yes, I know, I'm not normal. I didn't fall for The Fault in Our Stars like everyone else did. I didn't even finish the Divergent series *another gasp!* See, sometimes, I feel like the way a book is portrayed in the media makes it seem to cheesy and overdone. However, I recommended a book to a friend, and in return, they recommended Paper Towns to me. So, I agreed to read it, and as soon as I started, I actually ended up liking it. Basically, it's about Quentin and Margo. They were friends when they were younger, and one day, they were walking around near the park, and they saw a dead man slumped against a tree. Margo was intrigued, but Quentin was repulsed. This is when their friendship started to drift away. Years later, in high school, Margo shows up at Quentin's window. Quentin has always liked Margo (maybe loved?) so he was welcoming. Margo convinces Quentin to go on this revenge trip with her, and they go around pranking everyone they dislike in the city, and so on... It was interesting to see how each prank came into play, and Quentin and his friends become pretty entertaining (especially in an event that comes across later in the book). John Green is not the ridiculously cheesy writer I thought he was, and in fact, I may consider reading more of his books. I did start reading the first chapter of The Fault in Our Stars and I actually liked it from the beginning. He is a very funny author, and I like books that can make me laugh. Perhaps I'll read it soon in the future. I also liked that the theme of the "paper town" was strong and noticeable throughout the story. It was a good message about growing up and moving on from your childhood. Good job to the author! :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

All These Things I've Done


WARNING: contains a few spoilers (but I tried not to give away that much).



"All These Things I've Done" by Gabrielle Zevin is brilliant. Here is one quote that stood out to me (maybe because it's on the last page). "For one moment, I was a person without a last name and so was he. We did not have fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, uncles, or cousins to remind of us what we owed or were owed..." I feel like it summarizes one of the main things Anya Balanchine had been searching for throughout the whole novel, and she finally found the pathway to reaching that. Anya Balanchine is a sixteen year old orphan in the year 2083. Her family is part of an illegal chocolate business. In the future, laws are made so quickly it's hard to keep track. Crime is very existent in the country. Chocolate and coffee are banned. Anya's father is in charge of the family business. Well, he was in charge. Until he was murdered. When Anya was still very young, her mother died in a car accident when someone shot her through the window. They had been going for her father but they missed. Her older brother, Leonyd, or Leo, the oldest child of the family, suffered an injury from the accident and has never been the same since. Even though he is eighteen now, he has the mind of an eight year old. Anya's sister, Natty, doesn't remember her parents much, because she was even younger than Anya at the time. Anya's grandmother lives with them now, but she is very old and must be on a life support machine at all times. This being said, Anya is basically in charge of their small family, and Imogen, the nurse who stays with their grandmother, helps out a bit. Others keep pressuring Anya to follow in her father's footsteps with the chocolate business. Anya is going through so many problems at home, and it doesn't help that she seems to always be getting in trouble at school and with the government. Her problems get worse and better when she meets a boy. She wants to enjoy her self and have a boyfriend. However, it doesn't help that she has a name like Balanchine and is associated with her unsafe, illegal, and criminal family. Anya just wants to enjoy her life, get through high school, pursue her future career, and have a boyfriend, like any teen girl might be going for. However, Anya goes from one awful event to the other. It's a fast paced novel and it's nice to see Anya improve her life and the lives of those around her as the story goes on. I would recommend it.

Now that I have the summary and such out of the way, I just want to say that I loved the characters in this book.

Imogen: She was helpful throughout everything.
Leo: He was just a really lovable character.
Natty: A fun, flirty girl who is positive most of the time, but shows her worries later on.
Scarlet: Such a kind, loyal friend.
Anya: A great, complex character.
Win: One of the best boyfriends in a book that I have read about (I would say it's up there with the husband of Eadlyn from the selection series - I didn't want to mention his name because it would spoil everything).
Gallina (the grandmother): Someone who wants to see the children have a good life but is wearing away mentally. Another kind of complex character.

There is so much packed into this novel and overall I just think it was great.