Saturday, March 31, 2012

What I would do if I were in The Hunger Games

was inspired by a random tumblr-

me in the Hunger Games

Announcer: 5..4...3... 
Me: *trips*
>>BOOM<< 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

a poem by Amaranthine

//feeling a bit inspired today. Enjoy.//

http://www.interiordesigninspiration.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Photo-Cookies-4.jpg


little Johnny's mother slapped his hand
warning him away from the cookie tray
placed hot and steaming fresh on the kitchen counter
which he knew he shouldn't touch
but the cookies looked so sweet and piping hot

those were the days
when Johnny learned what he thought was life
that you shouldn't cheat
or the playground monitor would whistle
and drag you out of the game.
when you play play fair.
that no one likes a liar.
if you shatter a window, it'll catch up to you
when the grown ups find out

And most of all,
don't touch a cookie tray
hot out of the oven.
It looks good but burns worse.

Now Johnny wishes for those days,
when the rules still applied
Now cheaters win
no playground monitor to drag them out of the game
People lie and they do just fine
They shatter lives and never look back
and no one finds out.

And Johnny saw the cookie tray
searing hot on the table
He knew that it would burn
but it was all laid out with any number of tasty and tantalizing cookies.
And he couldn't resist
And no one was there to slap his hand away.

But little Johnny still lives inside somewhere
Newly hurt every time someone is unfair
instead of getting used to it.
He'll never get used to people cheating.
He still wants to be the playground monitor,
and try to drag them out of the game.
He hears about people whose lives were shattered by lies
and he won't forget them,.

They won't make little Johnny stop caring
and somewhere inside him
he still nurses
the burns
from the tray he knew he shouldn't have touched.

 

Hey.



image
What's up.

Let's see...how's life been doing. I'm soo pumped for Spring Break, but I have all these assignments to get in first...ehhh... I need to write an entry for the Maximum Ride Nevermore contest..technically I already have two entries, but they both suck.

Not to mention finishing my NaNoWriM

Like I"ve already ranted to most of you, GAM is coming up, I'm one of the only experienced people going, all my friends are AWOL, we have tons of newbs, tons of stuff to learn and prepare, and not a lot of time to do it in.

Right now life is just bleh. I think I'll shower and go to sleep. Or write.

I can't bear posting a post with no substance though...


Thursday, March 22, 2012

the hunger games pre-movie post

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lznlokWBYf1r1iip1o1_r2_500.png
Mostly a bunch of gifs/pics/vids in tribute(haha, see what i did there? Tribute?) to the ginourmous Hunger Games fandom. I criticize it all the time, but hey, the series is good XD.

And besides, the new Dance Moms episode is taking forever to load.

I've been preparing for the movie by watching an appropriate amount of behind the scenes, interview, and released clip vids as well as parodies. And can I just say Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson might be my two new favorite celebrities. I've seen Josh Hutcherson in two movies before, Bridge to Terabithia and RV.I still can't believe it's the same guy. He's so funny XD

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lzxdvm73DF1r854ido1_500.gif

  http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lzxdvm73DF1r854ido2_r2_250.gifhttp://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lzxdvm73DF1r854ido3_r2_250.gifd





1. Did you read The Hunger Games before or after you knew about the movie?
Before.

2. How did you find out about The Hunger Games?
Mostly word of mouth. A bunch of people, my best GS friend, some people we were camping with, and Qui all helped.

3. Which is your favorite released scene?
This one.

4. Which scene are you looking forward to the most in movie?
I'm looking forward to seeing the tributes training in the center, most of the epic battle scenes in the arena, and especially the "I BLOW SUPPLIES UP IN THE AIR SOMTIMES SAYIN AAYYOOH TAKE THAT CATO" part.

http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m15d1bvySA1r6u5t3o1_400.jpg
5. Which scenes are you dreading?
All the death scenes. Especially the tracker jackers and the mutts. I'll probably have to close my eyes/cover my ears.

6. Who's your favorite/best cast actor in the movie besides Jennifer and Josh?
Probably Isabelle Fuhrman as Clove..She's so pretty and good at being scary and perfect. She's going to nail her (cough) one scene.


Also, the chick playing Glimmer, and Amandla.(She's so cuuuteee)

 


So let's get to parodies.

I am disappointed by the lack of good Hunger Games song parodies out there. Most of them have uncatchy lyrics or bad editing, and unprofessional recording.(Of course, I'm just whining-the most recording I've ever done is my spanish assignments on my computer mic.)

If you're unfamiliar with this "I Wanna Go" video parody, you should not call yourself a true fan.

 It's so awesome..and funny..and weird and perfect XD. No spoilers

I also really like this one. Beware the spoilers. The song is perfect too.
So, midnight premiere tonight...I don't have tickets, mainly because I want to see it with my parents and they haven't finished the book yet...I'm not worried about missing it completely, I just don't want the world to be burned out by the time I finally see it.

More Isabelle Fuhrman pics(Why oh why can't I look like her?) XD I'm not a fan of her character in the books, but she's so prettttty XD
\


imaged

Wish she could (cough) come back as another character in the next movie.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Elements of a Literary Blockbuster

Have you ever wondered what differentiates Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Eragon, Artemis Fowl, The Hunger Games, etc. from other books? What the heck makes them so famous? Besides being well written and all that. I know a ton of well written books that aren't nearly on the same level they are!

This is more of a thought/opinion post than anything.

http://dauntlessmedia.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/eldest.jpghttp://1.bp.blogspot.com/_F6bXGRQXSB8/SdP--GWjnPI/AAAAAAAAAAs/K2_VPCRAZ9g/s400/The+Floating+Island.jpg

I just finished reading two books, Eldest and The Floating Island. Both well written fantasy novels, that while good, would not make it near the top of my "Best Ever" list. I bet you've read Eldest. It was everywhere a couple years ago. I bet you've never even heard of The Floating Island. (This isn't really a fair comparison, as Eldest  is Older Teen and TFI is Children's, but hey, it started the discussion)

Suzanne Collins. What did you just think of? Yeah, her beyond-blockbuster series The Hunger Games. She wrote another series a couple while back. It was called Gregor the Overlander. I read Gregor, and it was suspenseful, engaging, fun to read, and a good book. But it never reached nearly the same level of hype as THG, even before the movie.

So I was wondering, what makes these amazing blockbuster books so different from your average well written book?

1. Good writing in general. Characters, suspense, yada yada.
This one is sort of obvious, but most blockbusters are an entirely different level of "good" writing. Like, "good" writing is here, and JK Rowling is (jumps on chair) here!

2. An interesting, original premise and a plot that, when summed up, makes people actually want to read it.
This is huge. Most people read books not because of advertisements and whatnot, but from word of mouth. People tell you about a book and you decide whether or not you want to read it! And so, most blockbusters have an interesting premise that is memorable and makes you motivated enough to want to look it up.

Imagine your reaction if you're hanging out and your friend mentions a book. "Oh, what's it about?" you ask. What they say determines if the title goes out your other ear, or if you actually take the time to look at it and read it.

"A futuristic totalitarian world where children are conscripted into a televised fight to the death." Interesting!
"A 12 year old who goes to a boarding school for wizards" Great!
"A flock of kids who are genetically modified to have wings and fly, among other superpowers." Totally!
 "Greek myths and monsters in the real world!" Gotta read it!"A 12 year old genius billionaire criminal mastermind and his gun toting fairy sidekicks!" Awesome!

"A 12 year old who falls to the underground world and chillaxes with giant beetles and bats..." (<-Gregor) Maybe?
"Some kid who is attacked by pirates and goes to live in a haunted inn?"(


Can you see the difference here? No matter how amazing and beautiful and awesome a book is, it all goes to waste if no one is intrigued enough by the boring-sounding premise to read it.

Same with Alex Rider and Inkheart. Two series that, IMHO, did not deserve all their blockbusterdom. They both had really interesting sounding ideas though. A fourteen year old spy and a girl who can read characters out of books sound really cool, and that's why they're blockbusters and other books aren't.

Sum up your novel in one sentence for me. If it's something like "Somebody is the lost race of something/a princess/ a ninja and her mom/dad was murdered/missing and she joins this organization" good luck, you'll need it.

3.  Magic magic is magic.
Blockbusters usually involve some kind of magical power. I think the key is how the authors develop the powers and add their own special touches. None of the blockbuster authors stick to the traditional ideas of what magic/elves/fairies/wizards should be like.

 And it's all luck, I think, whether or not readers *click* with the idea or not. In James Patterson's Witch and Wizard, I couldn't connect with the characters or their magic at all. I was like "Okay...she shoots flames out of her hands randomly..." I'm still not sure what Whit's power was.

4. Switch things up
Don't like the idea of wizards being ancient, noble and mysterious? Make them modern, organized and quirky! The traditional nature blond singing-in-the-meadow elf not for you? Give her mechanical wings and high tech laser blasters!

A lot of the authors took something that was old and remade it as new and original. There's a whole world of new ideas out there!

5. A specific set of secondary characters(and some sort of backup organization/higher cause)
This is something I saw a lot when I was reading. I think readers like having an established set of characters more than characters who are always fading in and out of the picture. In books I liked, characters were always laid down and established quickly. The reader's mind, IMO, needs some people to latch on to, and learn about, and root for. There'll always be secondary characters close to readers' hearts.

This is the character problem I had with Eragon, with TFI, with Alex Rider, and even with The Hunger Games at first. There were  just too many darn characters that I couldn't keep track of. Who was important? Who wasn't? (And it didn't help when they all had names like" Eldaerawynila") That, or there was UNO or DOS main characters and all the other characters were minor and teeny and there was never anybody to play the main character off of and help him/her develop.

Also, Harry Potter had Hogwarts, Percy had Camp Half Blood, Eragon had the Varden. What higher cause/backup organization is your character fighting for? I don't know why this works, but it does. I think it causes more opportunities for plot twists and character development. It makes the character feel less like a lone ship drifting in the big ocean of the story and help make the character more solid and relatable.


6. Humor
Humor is like everything. Even sad dark stories have some humor. Your plot could be total crap but if it's funny, I'll like it.

7. Quirky characters(PLEASE DO NOT OVERDO)
Quirky characters are so much fun to read/write about. Most stories have characters that don't fit into predeveloped character modes, and are mean, or quirky, or funny, or airheaded. They always add flavor and life to the story and make it unique.



But for the life of me don't cram your story with them PLEASE.



8. The balance of conflict
Conflict is a big part of stories, but I think a problem in non-blockbuster stories is too little or too much of different kinds of conflict. Remember there's inter-protagonist conflict, protagonist-antagonist conflict, inner conflict, situational conflict, and stories should have all or most of them.


Just remember, original is much more likely to be blockbuster.
I would recommend breaking out of the classic-fantasy genre for now(although anything is possible!) I think the classic fantasy cycle is fading out for now and there's less interest in it.
Dystopian/modern is really in right now, not just because of The Hunger Games but also because of books like Uglies, Divergent, Delirium, City of Bones and The Maze Runner.  The future has infinite possibilities, and it's easier to write about than you might think.


There's always twists of classic-fantasy. What I would like to read is more modern YA sci/fi like Maximum Ride, but without the paranormal gene. I'd also like to see more blockbuster modern James-Bond-ish spy/espionage YA, like Alex Rider but more awesome. 


More Artemis Fowl-like sci/fi-fantasy blends would be great.








PS. Stay tuned for my Hunger Games movie release-celebration post tomorrow. Yes, it'll be a day early but I don't want to be posting about it the same time as anybody else. And I know it's sorta feeding the flame(PINKY) but it's everywhere anyway. And I'm still excited for the movie and owe THG something for all it's taught me.

PPS. I talked to one of the main girls who got me into THG yesterday, and I asked if she wanted to see the movie with me. And get this-she actually said she didn't want to see it in theaters because the books really freaked her out and she wanted to have the option of pressing pause. And I was like "Jdlajflsjlaj I had no idea! You too?"

PPPS. I plan to just close my eyes and plug my ears.

PPPPS. I saw this thing on tumblr where it said "Cato's theme song from the movie has been released!  Click play!" and so I did and the song was "Who Let the Dog's Out" and I nearly fell of my chair choke-laughing.



Saturday, March 17, 2012

(wipes tears from eyes)

Crazy Woman's History Month Lady Gaga parody is making me cry a bit.
But seriously, watch this video. It's weird, but I dare you not to tear up.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-vbr0ZwzD_u4/T2PNbx3ZaCI/AAAAAAAAev0/KfXFVq0KH-I/s1600/Bad%2BRomance%2BSuffrage%2B2.jpg
It's gotten ugly
They passed the 15th
Still women have no right
Nor guarantee
To liberty
Child, health, wealth
Or property
Hey! We’ll raise our banner
Across this land hey!
‘Cause franchise isn’t just
The right of a man
Universal
Yuh, yuh, yuh, it’s universal!
Yuh, yuh, yuh, universal!
You know we don't want to
Take freedoms from you
Just want our rights and nothing less
We cry for freedom
Oh, hear our voice
And see we’re equal to all men!
Oh oh oh oh...
We the whole people
Not just male citizens
Formed this most perfect Union!




Gone

 My highschool dreams are gone
My childhood sweets are gone
Life is a song that doesn't last for long

This is one of my favorite songs because it introduces a simple idea that so many people forget. The idea that most what we worry about, dream about, put so much stock in and hope in, will soon be gone. And what we have now, what we depend on to fulfill us and make us who we are, won't always be around.

Everyone wants to be remembered in some way, but everything fades. All kingdoms and governments fall. Once-hot clothes go out of fashion. Technology that was once cutting edge is replaced by some Apple product. 

This principle is common in the entertainment business. One minute you're the hot young new thing, and the next minute you're not. Names that were once all the rage "immortal" are fading faster and faster in our memories. Like some critic said, "the worst day of Lady Gaga's life will be the day no one remembers or cares about her." In the magazines we can read about celebrity's increasingly desperate attempts to stay in the public eye as they get older and more and more musicians and actors come to take their place.

Even non-entertainment jobs work that way. You could have a successful business career, but businesses fail and are bought out. Etc. etc.

One thing I always thought was weird was when in Percy Jackson,  Annabeth  says she wants to be an architect because she wants to build something permanent, something that won't fail her, something that'll last and be remembered, a monument for the ages. Apparently, she hasn't realized that buildings often have a shorter lifespan than people. Girl needs to watch more action movies.

What do you depend on for your security and your self esteem? And when it's taken away from you, what do you have left?

I used to depend on internet popularity(or *cough* what I considered internet popularity) for my self esteem. It didn't matter what  happened to me IRL, as long as I was near a computer, I could log on and be popular, funny, and knowledgeable. I could rack up followers, collect comments, and work on the Lakehouse, my pet forum that was growing in popularity and success every day.

But then life speeded up, blogs began surpassing me in followers, the forum went through several swervy events almost equivalent to a crash-and-burn, and everything was overwhelming and I was beginning to fall out of touch with my friends, both online AND(as a bonus) IRL.

And I came to a frightening realization. At the end of the day, without my followers, my forum, or my friends, I'm just a girl with a computer. I'm basically nobody. I'm a loser who alternately spends the afternoon reading or glued to Tumblr.

So many people lose themselves and worry about and devote themselves to things that actually don't really matter, and then all that disappears and they're left with not much.

 One of the main problems with culture today is short sighted perspective. People glorify giving it all up for the present, living in the present and doing whatever they can to have fun now, no matter what consequences it will have for their future. "What's the point? You only go through life once, so why not sap it for all it's worth?"

Christians believe that this life isn't all there is. And we believe in heaven, but heaven isn't just an eternal awards ceremony in the sky where the good people get rewarded. It's the other way around-Heaven is where we were meant to be, where the real life is. This "life" is just a short warm up, or test, before the real thing. On Earth, we're tested to see who we really are and how much we understand. Why live for the moment when you can live for the eternity?

I guess what I"m trying to say is, don't be so obsessed with following a pre-set path for success. Whatever "success" we achieve on this earth is short lived, and we should be more concerned with learning about God and ourselves, following His plan for our lives, and learning how to get in touch with Him. Because that's what the real test is.

We are God's ambassadors. With all the distractions and temptations the world throws at us, from academic success to fame to popularity, can we keep our real goal in mind? Can we remember where our real home is?

The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.


James 1:11

This verse is talking about us, even if we don't perceive ourselves as rich.

So enjoy life, and go for what's out there. Just don't be so obsessed with it that you find yourself chasing after something that'll soon disappear.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day Everybody!

Today is pi day.Happy pi day everybody. Unfortunately I do not have any pie in my possession. So eat a piece of pie for me, okay? If you haven't already, be sure to check out Allie Brosh(aka the most epic blogger EVER)'s post on Pie Vs. Cake. Language warning :P.




.http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/03/pie-verus-cake-scientific-approach.html


]
For some reason, I'm also in a poetry mood. Here's a poem I really like that also describes how I've been feeling lately, sometimes. I love the rhythm of this poem, especially when read aloud.

Life is Fine  
by Langston Hughes                                
I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn't,
So I jumped in and sank.

I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn't a-been so cold
I might've sunk and died.

But it was         Cold in that water!          It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn't a-been so high
I might've jumped and died.

But it was         High up there!       It was high!

So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love--
But for livin' I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry--
I'll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine!     Fine as wine!    Life is fine!



Monday, March 12, 2012

what IS this?

National Unfollow Amaranthine day? I used to have like 123 followers. Did you find my dance moms GIFs THAT offensive?

I always lose followers, but that doesn't mean I have to like it ;( I never unfollow unless they haven't posted in a couple months.)

...

So, how's life? I'm reading A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court right now. It actually is a bit hard to understand, but I like it. It's for school. I like how the guy uses dynamite on everything and makes all the knights sandwich boards and advertising toothbrushes and soap and stuff.

I've always considered myself to read faster than normal, but it depends on what book I'm reading. Like The Hunger Games is really easy to read quickly, everyone always finishes it really fast. But Pride and Prejudice? I started that book three years ago and I'm still not done yet. I'm reading Eldest, and I read that one in large chunks, but time passes in between the chunks and I haven't picked it up in days even though I'm near the end.

Watched new Dance Moms today.

Not really in a good mood today..Today was just...resigned? I only saw a few of my really good friends, but I haven't seen some of my best friends in a while and I miss talking to them. I need to talk to JC and Ley(and Rachelisa Jedi)...XD You know who you are. 12PM Pacific tomorrow. Be there or be square.

God calls us to endure the blahh times as obstacles as well as hard times, I guess.

I hope I have HSM small group tomorrow. They keep cancelling it. But I'm bringing snacks! :D

We're organizing Brownie Luau again this Saturday! You can read my post about it last year.

uhh...my mom blew up a potato in the microwave.

I'll probably write a real post tomorrow.



Thursday, March 8, 2012

updates on life(aka excuses to post tumblr gifs)

If I had to describe my life in one word right now, it'd be cold. Brr.


Let's see..what's happening?

I got my back bend kickover from le ground in acro. It's awesome. :) I never thought I'd be able to do it XD
http://0.tqn.com/d/gymnastics/1/0/Z/8/-/-/DSC_0044.jpg http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=30822773
Of course, it's not with straight legs(yet). And I don't hit my splits in the middle. Come to think of it, it's actually sort of a back flop-over.


http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a177/Suemitraa/skeletonkey.jpg
I read Skeleton Key and Eagle Strike(next two Alex Rider books) last night. The series has gotten better, but it still has the same problems. Just like Suzanne Collins makes the simplest events seem chilling and scary, the numerous random deaths in Alex Rider are just like "meh...whatever."

They all still have similar plots. Such as:

1. The book opens with some sort of mysterious circumstance. Usually an assasination or an exchange where one of the members gets stabbed in the back(sometimes literal, sometimes not) and killed. Either way, someone usually dies.
2. Alex Rider is hanging out drinking Coke and feeling sad about not having a normal life.
3. The mysterious circumstance catches up to him in some way, either through MI6 or some random guy trying to kill Alex, or something weird catches Alex's attention and he investigates it.
4. He makes use of his secret agent/karate skills to thwart whoever's trying to kill him and gets away.
5. It turns out the mysterious circumstance is part of an even larger scheme and Alex, because of his age and experience from all previous books, is the only one who can stop it.
6. Alex has to go against his will and masquerade as somebody. He makes it clear he doesn't want to, but he does because usually there's someone threatening him/his friends or pressuring him to do it.  He's usually given a bunch of gadgets like homing bubble gum or headphones that fire lasers or aftershave that can disintegrate metal(I'm generalizing)
7. Alex sneaks off(or his guardians get killed) and he discovers a plot by some evil megalomaniac to take over the world/kill a bunch of people, with a nuclear weapon or bioweapon.
8. Alex gets caugh
9. They don't kill Alex for one reason or another and Alex follows them around learning bout their plans.
10.  Alex outsmarts them (by using his gadgets/using his secret agent skills/pretending to be dead) and saves the day.

I mean, how many times can one guy pretend to be dead? It was pretty convincing the first time, but now even if he REALLY died I wouldn't believe it.

And how many times can Horowitz play the "I'm only fourteen, I'm no secret agent,  I don't wanna do this, I have no parents and no girlfriend and everytime I try to do something normal something blows up woe is my lame life"card?

All the evil rich geniuses are pretty confusing. I mix them up with each other cause they're so similar.

I actually like Alex's girlfriend even though she was randomly dropped in there and serves no purpose other than to provide emotional angst.

 I love the song Harry Potter in 99 Seconds. I memorized it XD





I have a bet on with myself to see if I can go a whole day without coming across a Hunger Games reference(excluding, of course, Hunger Games-based websites/tumblrs/topics). And from billboards to a guy carrying a rolled up poster at church, it looks like I'll lose every day. For fun, I suggest you try it yourself.


biggest-hunger-games-fans:

whatthefinnick:

RUE, BB, NO. DON’T TURN TO PAGE 232. 

RUECEPTION

You lose.(IT'S RUECEPTION)

But THG is the next book my family is going to listen to on audiobook. It has a pretty decent audiobook, as audiobooks go. The way I downloaded it, it's on one ginormous 11 hour track. So, lots of fast forwarding. (sigh.)

I'm glad to see a THG humor blog has formed itself. Last time I checked, there wasn't one, but there is now. I love the Career picture in EW. They just totally radiate boss-ness XD.

http://www.hggirlonfire.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Career-Tributes.jpg 
"We pwn your faces."

  I have discovered a new time-wasting device-Dance Moms Tumblr!

Except I can't stay on long because I'm trying to avoid spoilers about the episode that aired last tuesday, and tumblr's full of them. For some reason I hear that beef jerky is inexplicably tied to the episode. Is it just me, or does "beef jerky" totally not belong in the same sentence as "dancing?"
 


 Can you say adorable?


http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ly126hCHR71r43mqxo5_250.gif

 http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0jvay6Be91qd9agqo3_250.gif
^everyone's favorite Dance Moms character. Admit it.



http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lumtu9KLeM1r43mqxo2_250.gifhttp://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lumtu9KLeM1r43mqxo5_250.gif
I don't know what I did before this show was invented.

 
Lately the episodes have consisted of wayy more screaming than dancing though XD
f

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dance video from first competition of the season :)

From my studio competition's team first competition of the year. They were nominated for Video of the Year! They rehearse right after my jazz class and I know most of the kids on the team, so it would be nice if you(with facebook accounts) could "like" the video so they could collect the most "likes" and win. :)

For the rest of you, just enjoy the dance! I love it XD

"Baby I'm  A Star" Pacific Dance'

http://www.facebook.com/rainbowdance/videos#!/photo.php?v=10150838361862576&set=vb.164934027374&type=2&theater

and of course you can watch it even without a facebook account. :)



Thursday, March 1, 2012

My all-time top book recommendations(with ratings, short reviews, etc.)

I've been looking forward to this post for a long time! Here are my all time favorite books. Now, whenever someone asks me for recommendations, I'll redirect them to this list. My taste in books is developed from a lot of reading, so if you have a similar taste, you should enjoy this post! I've probably mentioned these books over and over again, so hopefully you aren't sick of them XD.

These are in rough recommended order(from best-not best). I've also included some quotes from the books which I think characterize the books pretty well.

I know most of these books are already ridiculously popular. But there are some lesser-known ones down the line so hang in there.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-g2coDa5sKJg/ThkbE8SCsmI/AAAAAAAAAOc/zhDWO6tVtLI/s1600/Artemis+Fowl2.jpg 

Artemis Fowl (Books #1-7 )
Eoin Colfer
“I hope you’re as clever as you keep telling everybody you are.”
“I never tell anyone exactly how clever I am. They would be too scared.”
Family Friendly: 9/10(minor cussing and gruesome violence)
Dark: 1/10 
Synopsis(Artemis Fowl #1): With his father missing and mother driven insane, Artemis Fowl, a 12-year-old genius billionaire criminal mastermind, decides to secure the family fortune by kidnapping a fairy and holding her for ransom. But these aren't the fairies you grew up with-they're high tech armed and dangerous, and willing to do anything to hold on to their gold.  You can't help rooting for both Artemis and the smart and sarcastic fairies he antagonizes as the resulting hostage drama unfolds. The other six books tell more stories about Artemis's further run-ins with the fairy race.

What makes it fantastic: Humor(Colfer's a beast). The values of the story(value of life,family, loyalty) shine even though both Artemis and the fairies are somewhat corrupt and  sacrifice morals to achieve their own ends. Plus, it's a really unique blend of sci-fi and fantasy. You'll never read another book like the first Artemis Fowl(although the others fall into a more recognizable pattern).

Spotlight: Artemis Fowl boasts a full range of the most developed, loveable, best characters I have ever had the privilege to read about. Artemis is a whole category all by himself. (even though he does nothing but sit in front of the computer for the whole first book. My kind of hero.)



http://0.tqn.com/d/childrensbooks/1/0/i/M/Lightning-Thief.jpgPercy Jackson and the Olympians (books #1-5)
Rick Riordan
 Family friendly: 9.5/10
Dark: 1/10

“Love conquers all," Aphrodite promised. "Look at Helen and Paris. Did they let anything come between them?"
"Didn't they start the Trojan War and get thousands of people killed?"
"Pfft. That's not the point. Follow your heart.”


 Synopsis(of series): Percy Jackson thought he was just another 12 year old loser(who's never gotten a grade above a C in his life.) A really weird encounter on a school field trip opens up a whole new world. It turns out the gods, monsters, and stories of the old Greek myths are true, and Percy discovers a new destiny as he and his demigod camp combat a rising mysterious threat.(

What makes it fantastic: The premise of the series is already intriguing. And it doesn't disappoint. It's a treat to meet Riordan's tongue-in-cheek-yet-historically-accurate take on every Greek myth from Artemis to Zeus. And I learned a whole lot about Greek mythology I never knew before, and it was a lot of fun to watch Riordan weave Greek myths into modern world. Characters are also really fun and developed. Even though the series is a lot of fun, it has a suspenseful and serious plot as well, with lots of twists and turns.

Hey-This series is pretty popular, and it deserves it. However,it was written for middle schoolers, so look out for some "immature" humor and the phrase "shut up."

This series is intriguing and a whole heck of a lot of fun. Jump on the bandwagon already.
 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2c/Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher%27s_Stone.jpgHarry Potter (books #1-7)
JK Rowling
  "As much money and life as you could want!  The two things most human beings would choose above all - the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them. "
"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. " 
 
“You're dead, Potter.”
 “Funny, you'd think I'd have stopped walking around…"
Family friendly-8/10 for minor cussing, some bothering elements, and themes difficult for young children to grasp
Dark: 4/10 
Synopsis: Harry Potter discovers he is a wizard and goes to Hogwarts Magic School  and has to defeat Voldemort.(but seriously, if you don't know what this series is about, that's sort of sad.)


What makes it fantastic: Want to know the secret to Rowling's success and selling millions of books? As a reviewer said: "The reason the Potter books are so popular is simply because they're so good." They are. I don't feel the need to gush any more than what other people already say about them.  Her writing is very detailed and beautiful, rounding out characters, the world of Harry Potter, the plot points, the magic in full. There are so many plot threads that connect beautifully, and hundreds of little plot arcs used to their fullest potential. The world is charming, the characters are beautiful, and her narration is smooth, flawless, and humor filled.

Hey-And I don't think they are that dark or anti-Christian. They are way more virtuous and wholesome than most books on the market. There are many themes which I have NEVER seen explored outside these books, themes like anger management, patience, yielding, and trust in authority. The protagonists are actually admirable. The authority figures are, according to a Christian reviewer: "some of the finest ever in children's literature".

I hope everybody reads them. If your parents don't let you, it should be one of the first things you'll do once you leave home. ;)


http://www.geeksofdoom.com/GoD/img/2011/12/2011-12-19-enders_game-e1324327299437-533x425.jpg
Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card
 Family friendly: 2/10
Dark level: 6/10

“I don't care if I pass your test, I don't care if I follow your rules. If you can cheat, so can I. I won't let you beat me unfairly-I'll beat you unfairly first.”
 
    

“I’ll tell.”
"Then you're dead, too, sweet little sister."
"Oh, yes," said Valentine. "They'll believe that. 'I didn't know it would kill Ender. And when he was dead, I didn't know it would kill Valentine too.' "

Synopsis: In this affecting cult classic, six year old gifted Ender Wiggins is taken away from his family and sent to the hostile Battle School, where he is trained and manipulated, both physically and mentally, to become the next genius commander to help humanity wipe out the alien invaders.

What makes it fantastic: This novel takes itself extremely seriously. Ender's Game is about children, but it is an adult novel, hence crudity, violence, and profanity. The novel has a pervading sense of grimness, sparkling with dark humor.  Ender is an engaging, conflicted, disturbed heck of a six year old.  Card's writing is flawless and the novel accomplishes what it's set out to do.  Ender's Game is about gifted children and their role in society, the gray areas of morality during wartime, and the struggle to keep humanity when everyone around is losing theirs.



  
 
http://blog.wsd.net/nojhlibrary/files/2011/03/maxride.jpgMaximum Ride (books 1-8)
James Patterson<3

“Some kids get called 'bundles of joy' or 'slices of heaven' or 'dreams come true.' We got 'the fifty-fourth generation of DNA experiments.' Doesn't have the same warm and fuzzy feel. But maybe I'm oversensitive.”

"I feel like pudding. Pudding with nerve endings. Pudding in great pain!"

“Is dere anysing special about you? Anysing vorth saving?” 
"Besides my fashion sense? I play a mean harmonica.”


Family Friendly 8/10
Dark level: 2/10
Synopsis: This random, fun, thriller/suspense series chronicles the lives of Maximum Ride and her six winged"siblings":  as they fight and fly to find their real parents, escape the Erasers, thwart evil scientists, and save the world, of course! From snarky 14 year old Max to sweet 'n' scary 6 year old Angel, these genetically engineered, superhuman Boxcar Children take your breath away through these irreverent, suspenseful, and hilarious books.


What's fantastic: The concept of Maximum Ride could have turned out to be a deep, intense,theme-filled novel about vengeful escaped genetic experiments and their mixed up feelings and life. Maximum Ride does that to an extent, but in a way farthest from serious. More like a video game or action movie, Maximum Ride is pure, exhilarating, sarcastic fun. As long as you don't take the series too seriously, you'll love it. 

But: Maximum Ride is a pure-entertainment series and  the lack of planning in the series is evident. Questions go unanswered, plot threads are left never picked up again,and the Flock repeatedly just goes through encounter, experience, and fight scene without really building up to any climax or making any point.  In a review of Max, a sage reviewer says "Nothing really happens in this book. And it's like James Patterson doesn't want anything to happen, because then he would actually have to put some thought into where the plot would go."But I could never get enough of this series, and I wish it would go on forever. So there.

This series also has the joy of being the funniest series I have ever read. I crack up every other page. James Patterson is genius.


 The Hunger Games (#1 ONLY)
Suzanne Collins

“ 'I know we promised Haymitch, we'd do exactly what they said, but I don't think he considered this angle.'
'Where is Haymitch, anyway? Isn't he supposed to protect us from this sort of thing?' says Peeta.
'With all that alcohol in him, it's probably not advisable to have him around an open flame,' I say.”

“You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.”

 Family Friendly: 2/10
Dark: 8.5/10

Synopsis: Twelve districts of totalitarian Panem, each district sends two tributes to fight to the death on live TV, Katniss volunteers,blah blah blah.

What's fantastic: This is one of the best written, most suspenseful books I have ever read. Seriously. It's like magic. "you...must...keep...reading..." Major, major themes of sacrifice, courage, strength, perseverance.  A very fascinating and unique premise, with much cleverness throughout.(particularly in the way the games and Arena are arranged). I already wrote many blog posts on it, so go read those. Also, I neglected to mention: parts of the books are actually quite funny. I'll admit I cracked up a bit. (Effie makes me laugh)

And: Don't forget dark&disturbing. They aren't actually violent. Not a lot of violence is in the book, surprisingly. It's just that SC The Brilliant is very good at her job, and when her job involves you getting freaked out, you do. The books are intense and do a good job of making you feel like you're in that world. And it can have repercussions on your psyche and mental health. The reason I don't endorse Catching Fire  is because it's a 400 page buildup for Mockingjay, which is where the poodoo starts to hit the fan. And I don't endorse HungerGamesMania. Go read the book. Watch the movie. Learn from it and enjoy it. Don't go out and wallpaper your room in posters.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

http://www.rickriordan.com/Files/Images/lost-hero-book.jpgHeroes of Olympus (Books 1-2)
 Rick Riordan
“Two hundred Romans, and no one’s got a pen? Never mind!"
He slung his M16 onto his back and pulled out a hand grenade. There were many screaming Romans. Then the hand grenade morphed into a ballpoint pen, and Mars began to write.
Frank looked at Percy with wide eyes. He mouthed: Can your sword do grenade form?
Percy mouthed back, No. Shut up.”
Family Friendly: 8.5/10
Dark: 1/10

Synopsis: The demigods are back! In this continuation of the Camp Half Blood series, Percy and co attempt to defeat the rising giant Gaea. This time, they'll have to partner with their rival Roman Camp Jupiter to fulfill the Prophecy of Seven and prevail.

What's fantastic: As long as you don't go into the series expecting Percy Jackson, you'll be fine. The series gets major epic points from me. I didn't like the first one as much, but the second was great. The same things that made you love Percy Jackson-wit, cleverness, and breathtaking plotting. The books are longer and more sophisticated than the Percy Jackson books.

Hey: Like I said, this is not Percy Jackson. The charming chapter titles are gone, and Percy's snappy first person is replaced by a baffling six-point-of-view narration. Translation: There are six people narrating this story. ???? You don't have to read Percy Jackson first, but it's highly recommended. There are many throwbacks and references to the old series.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-l6NC8HCRR7U/TmS4HQAZP1I/AAAAAAAAACE/dHvoX01R890/s1600/The_Lion_the_Witch_and_the_Wardrobe.jpg
The Chronicles of Narnia(books 1-7)
CS Lewis
This should probably be higher up on the list. Oh well.

In our world," said Eustace, "a star is a huge ball of flaming gas." "Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is, but only what it is made of."

 “All worlds draw to an end and that noble death is a treasure which no one is too poor to buy.” 
Family friendly: 10/10
Dark: 0/10 

Synopsis: The chronicles of the creation and fall of the magical land of Narnia, and some of Narnia's most troubled times, in which its residents must call upon children from our world to help.

What's fantastic: Long hailed as a classic of literature, the series, edifying, entertaining, and instructive should be read by everybody.Narnia is magical and charming and has a sense of lasting till infinity. Most people have only read some of the books and seen the movies, but you truly get the full effect from reading all of them. They're easy to find and short, so no excuses. :)

http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1230379286l/83369.jpg The Mysterious Benedict Society(books 1-3)
Trenton Lee Stewart
 “Rules and school are tools for fools! I don't give two mules for rules.” 
 
“Mr. Benedict replied, "You must remember family is often born of blood, but it doesn't depend on blood. Nor is it exclusive of friendship. Family members can be your best friends, you know. And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family."
Family friendly: 10/10
Dark: 1/10


Synopsis(book #1): Four gifted children are sent to be spies at a mysterious school, where rules are backward and truth is twisted. The other two books detail the children's continued attempt to stop a megalomaniac in his plans for mind-control world domination.

What's fantastic: Even though the children are spies, the story is more fantasy/adventure than action/thriller. Readers are kept in suspense as the children peel away the layers and discover the truth and solve the mysteries at the school. The main characters are unwaveringly loyal, righteous, kind, and old-fashioned in the best way, really refreshing for such a modern book.

Also: Those who will enjoy the book are those similar to the Society in mental composition ;). Woven throughout the books are riddles that they and the reader solve simultaneously. Read this book, you'll really enjoy it.

http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100701164619/kanechronicles/images/thumb/8/8c/The_Red_Pyramid.jpg/200px-The_Red_Pyramid.jpgThe Kane Chronicles
Rick Riordan

Family Friendly: 8.5/10
Dark: 1/10

Synopsis: Demigods are so 2011! Meet the Kanes, magician siblings in crime, as they and the unleashed forces of Egyptian mythology battle to combat the rising forces of Chaos.

What's fantastic: Kane may seem like Percy Jackson on the surface, but the series' become increasingly different as the story goes on. The same things are true as with all Riordan books: snarky one-liners, witty chapter titles, irreverent gods, and amusing situations abound. Also, I learned a lot about Egyptian mythology, which is somewhat less publicized than Greek mythology these days. The two main characters, a a brother/sister duo, are relatable and fun  company on the ride.

Hey-Like Heroes of Olympus, the Kane Chronicles are snazzier, longer, and more sophisticated than Percy Jackson. Also, there's much more romance than usual in Riordan books, I guess owing to the older protagonists. I found the love-triangle bits sort of annoying. I would also read Percy Jackson first, since there are all sorts of treats and references for those who'll get em.




http://images.indiebound.com/789/478/9780061478789.jpgHowl's Moving Castle(along with sequels Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways)
Diana Wynne Jones
“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.”

Family friendly: 9.9/10
Dark: 1/10

Synopsis: Sophie Hatter lives in the magical fairytale land of Ingary. When the Witch of The Waste casts a spell on Sophie to turn her old, she seeks out the infamous Wizard Howl and his moving castle. Even though the Wizard and his odd companions aren't quite what she expected, she must help Howl solve his own problems and defeat the Witch of the Waste if she ever hopes to be young again.

What's fantastic: I have no idea how this series ended up on here. It's way different from the others. There is some action in the novel, but the majority of it focuses on Howl's womanizing bachelor habits and Sophie's interaction with him as she attempts to seek her fortune under his roof. It's a airy, pleasant novel.

Loving: My favorite part of this series has got to be the characters.Sophie seems to be a quiet, meek,self conscious and shy girl, but when she's transformed, she discovers she doesn't care what other people think of her and shows her true strengths and toughness. She embodies wisdom, hardworkingness, and responsibility as she mentors the young-by-comparison Howl, teenage apprentice Michael, and slippery fire demon Calcifer. Howl is a masterpiece, a vain, talented, spendthrift, fickle, but compassionate wizard who you can't help but want to wrap in a blanket and hug.(Sorry, that was random. I'm writing this all in one day and it's starting to reflect on my sanity.)


So there you have it. It's taken forever to write this and I'm exhausted. :) Hope you read the books! Love ya. <3

Books that I also recommend but didn't write reviews for one reason or other:

Septimus Heap by Angie Sage
The Hobbit
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
The Phantom Tollbooth by somebody.