Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Diviner Review

Author: Bryan Davis      

Characters: Fairly good. Though still not as good as they could be, they were greatly improved from the last book. I enjoyed the fact that the author widened his focus to include some of the dragons as well as the humans. However, I didn’t feel like I knew the characters as well as I should by the third book.

Location: Not too great. The setting was interesting, but rather confusing, and I had a hard time figuring out where places were in relation to other locations.

Plot: Fairly good. It’s fast-paced and interesting, with what seemed like a new plot twist every other chapter. However, in some ways, the number of plot twists kind of threw me off because they prevented me from feeling like I knew any of the characters well.

Other: While a great improvement over Warrior, Diviner is still not one of Davis’s best works.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Reason: A Christmas Story Part One

Hello, everyone! It's me, with a new story! "The Reason: A Christmas Story" was written last year. Its beginnings were inspired by the song "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and the image it put into my mind. However, it quickly grew beyond that one scene and into the story I'm posting now. So, without further ado, part one of "The Reason".

Part One
Angel rubbed her bare, white feet, trying to get some warmth into them. However, her effort was in vain. The cold air and snow surrounding her thwarted any attempts at warmth. Sighing, the diminutive figure began to work her feet into too-small shoes. She stood and pulled a ragged, grey shawl over her head. Then she picked up a basket from the ground beside her. Angel’s stomach growled in hunger, and she frowned. I wish I had a bit of food. Maybe turkey or ham, and potatoes, and- Angel shook her head, dispelling her dreams of feasts. “None of that, Angel. It’ll only make things worse!” she muttered. An orphan alone in a huge city, Angel often had to beg to get her daily bread, and even though this city seemed to be fairly generous, and the citizens often gave coins instead of just food, there was never enough. Because of this, Angel was extremely small for her age. Now, Yuletide, a celebration to honor the Prince of Peace and a time of great feasting and giving of gifts, was here, and Angel felt the hunger all the more acutely.
            Angel walked silently through the street. Strains of music caught her ear, and she stopped, hoping for a bit of cheer.  However, the bright tune only made her more upset. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” sang the musician.
            Angel frowned. How can you say that? You have no idea of how “wonderful” life is for me. No food, never-ending cold, and no home! What’s the point of Yuletide anyway? It only makes people like me more miserable. She quickly moved on, until she reached the area where the rich folk lived. She turned toward the door of the first grand house, mentally rehearsing her song, her plea for help, with every step. Angel had long ago learned that at Yuletide, the best way to get food or money was to sing carols and look pitiful as she did it. As she lifted her hand, Angel assumed her best “pitiful child” look, a task that was hard to master even with her ragged attire. There was a certain hardness about Angel that was difficult to disguise, and she looked more like a fifteen-year old than her real age. She knocked on the door, and a few minutes later, a tall gentleman opened it. Angle hid a smile. What luck! The master of the house was obviously having a party, which meant he answered the door himself. She extended her basket with a trembling hand and began to sing.

“The Great King rest you merry gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For the Prince of Peace our Savior
Was born upon this day,
To save us from the Dark Lord’s power
When we were gone astray.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy!
O tidings of comfort and joy!”

            As Angel continued her song, her grey-green eyes stared pleadingly from her gaunt face. Her shawl slipped down, revealing wavy, golden locks. By the end of the song, there was hardly a dry eye among the gentlemen who had gathered.  Each one dropped a coin or two into Angel’s basket before bidding her a good day and shutting the door in her face. Angel allowed herself a small smile as she transferred the coins into an old leather purse. “Maybe there’ll be food tonight!” she whispered. “At least Yuletide isn’t all bad. People are a little more generous.”

What will happen to Angel? You'll have to wait until next time to find out. In the meantime, please comment! I'd love to hear what you think. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Last Two Weeks

Hello, everyone! Sorry for taking so long to give you an update on my life. Anyway, here’s the latest from me.

·        On Thanksgiving, I finished NaNoWriMo, with a final page count of 413 pages or approximately 51,625 words. I was pretty excited when I ended up going over the required number of pages, since at first I thought I’d barely be able to write half that without reaching the end of my story.
·        What am I going to write now? Well, my current plans are to take a little bit of time off and work on short stories and planning Berstru until I feel ready to start a new novel. When I do that, I’m planning to write the sequel to The Call, for which my two temporary titles are The Rescue and Breaking Chains. However, I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head, including a sequel to Gone, a sequel to Elden Adventures, a story based off of “Rapunzel”, a pirate story that I would need to do a lot of research to write, and much, much more.
·        In other news, my birthday was last week, so I’m officially a year older, even if I don’t feel like it. I very much enjoyed it, especially the red velvet cake with white chocolate cream cheese icing that Mommy made. I was also very happy about my presents, which included some of my favorite books and cds.
·        We are officially into the Christmas season now! The tree and decorations are up and I’ve been listening to Christmas music almost non-stop since Friday. I’ve also been debating about trying to write a new Christmas story. If I can think of a plot I probably will, but at the moment it’s not looking good. On that subject, I will be posting “The Reason: A Christmas Story” on my blog starting Tuesday. I wrote this story last year, and I consider it one of my better short stories.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Inheritance Review

Author: Christopher Paolini

Characters: Very good! I don’t have any real complaints character-wise; all were interesting and colorful. I especially liked seeing more of Angela the herbalist, who will never cease to intrigue me.

Location: Very good, though not perfect. I will comment that there’s a lot of description, sometimes too much description. Other than that, I once more have no real complaints.

Plot: Very good! Paolini did an excellent job of tying up all the loose ends from the first three books in this book. The book had plenty of plot twists, far more than I ever expected. I will comment that it moves a bit slowly once or twice, but other than that, it was quite good.

Other: This book, which has been long-awaited by fans of The Inheritance Cycle all over the world, is a fitting end to the series, but is very, very, very long. It’s so long that it makes one of the Lord of the Rings books look short. Once you start it, you’ll be hard-put to put it down, so I’d advise reading it over a weekend.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaNoWriMo and Cupcakes

Hello, everyone! I'm back, with an update on my life!
  • My NaNoWriMo novel has been going very well. I'm over halfway done, and I rediscovered how much fun it is to write dramatic realizations. I also think that this book probably has far more plot twists than most of my stories and novels that I've written, though this is probably because it's also longer than anything else I've written.
  • Inheritance, the latest book by Christopher Paolini, is out! I just got it from the library today, and I'm very much looking forward to reading it. I have one book that I need to read first for a contest, To Kill A Mockingbird, and then we'll find out if I can read Inheritance and stay on track with NaNoWriMo at the same time.
  • Last night, Mommy made some very yummy red velvet cupcakes. These cupcakes were decorated to look like a Narnian shield, like the one Peter uses in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. You can see a picture of them below. The reason she made them is because my birthday is coming up, and we were celebrating with some friends. 
Picture by my daddy
    Well, I guess that's about it. Thanks for stopping by!

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Dragon Rider Legend Scene

    Hello, everyone! Today, I'm posting a scene that I enjoyed writing and thought you might like. To give you a small bit of background info so that certain aspects of this make sense, Dustin and Hunter are brothers, and they are also Dragon Riders, which is why Dustin can manipulate the flames near the beginning of the scene. Now, without further ado, my scene. 

                Dustin nodded. He remained silent for a few moments, then began to speak. “Gaze into the fire and watch its dancing light. Gaze into the fire and listen, my friends, as I take you on a journey to the past, to the time of legends.
                “In those days, Berstru was still young, and many places had not been explored. Even the great ports of Beylend were barely more than small towns. And at this time, there lived a young man in Uldea-”
                 “Hold on a minute!” Hunter had looked up from the fire to frown at his brother. “It was Hoaka, not Uldea.”
                Dustin shook his head. “No it wasn’t. It was Uldea.”
                Hunter crossed his arms. “It’s always been Hoaka and you know it.”
                Dustin scowled. “I’m the one telling the story and I say it was Uldea.”
                Hunter shook his head. “Da always said it was Hoaka, and he’d know.”
                Dustin let out an exasperated sigh. “Da was born in Hoaka. Of course he claims the hero is from Hoaka. Anyone who told the story would claim that the hero was from their region. If someone from Shidu was telling the story, the hero would be from Shidu, never mind the fact that Shidu wasn’t even established at the time. Now, do you want me to tell the story or not?”
                Hunter sighed. “Fine. I still think it was Hoaka, though.” He returned to staring into the fire.
                Dustin shot one last glare at his brother, then also turned his attention back to the fire. He began to speak once more, manipulating the flames so they reflected his words. “And at this time, there was a young man in Uldea who was the only one brave enough to enter the Dragon’s Roost Mountains. You see, these mountains were filled with ferocious dragons who refused to allow anyone other than their kind on their territory.
                “However, the young man was skilled at evading the dragons’ watchful eyes, and he would often venture into the mountains, both for hunting and pleasure. He learned the mountains like the back of his hand, and though he had a healthy respect for the dragons, he did not fear them.
                “One day while the young man was out hunting, he spotted a young dragon trapped at the bottom of a rocky gorge. The dragon’s wing was broken so it could not fly, and every time it tried to climb out, the loose rocks on the sides of the gorge sent it tumbling back down in worse shape than it had tried to go up. Eventually, the dragon lay exhausted at the bottom of the gorge, unable to move.
                “The young man, however, went down into the gorge, finding the best possibly route. He picked up the dragon, which, being young, was small enough to carry. He then made his way back up the gorge and set up his camp not far away. There he tended the dragon’s wounds and cared for it until it was well.
                During this time the young man and the dragon became strong friends. When the dragon was well and able to go back to its kind, both were greatly saddened at having to part. So, in an effort to not loose the friendship they had built, they made a promised to remain friends as long as both were alive and to meet as often as they could.
                They sealed this pact with the mingling of blood, and whether it was the mingling of dragon and human blood or the strength of their friendship or the blessing of Elohim or a combination of all three, something amazing happened then. A bond was forged between the two, stronger than ordinary friendship. The two were given a connection by mind and heart and could contact each other with their minds at any time, much as the dragons could do with one another. In addition, the young man was given a few powers like those of the dragons: the ability to read and communicate through minds, a healing ability, and the power to manipulate fire, as the dragon was a fire dragon. Thus they became the first Rider and Dragon.”

    What did you think? Did you like it! I'd love to hear your opinions! Thanks for reading!

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    The Errant King Review

    Author: Wayne Thomas Batson

    Characters: Excellent! The characters were interesting and endearing, with both old favorites and new friends. The only regrets I have are that some very interesting-sounding characters didn’t have a larger part and that there are some very sad parts relating to old favorites. 5/5

    Location: Fairly good. I didn’t get too confused, but I still wasn’t entirely clear on where all the locations are. Also, one other thing confused me slightly: Amara, to my knowledge, is the world where the DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul are located, but apparently it’s also a region in the world of the Dark Sea Annals. This was rather disconcerting. 3/5

    Plot: Amazing! I can’t even come close to saying what I think about the plot of this book; you have to read it to believe it. 5/5

    Other: This book, in many ways, is rather bittersweet. I can’t say exactly why for fear of giving the story away, but there are a few places where, if I cried over books, I would’ve been doing so.

    Overall Rating: 4/5

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    NaNoWriMo, New Tales, and Travel

    Hello, everyone! I've returned, with another update on my life!
    • I have officially started NaNoWriMo, and it's going very well! I've stayed on track and I'm actually almost a quarter of the way through already, thanks to the high daily goal I set for myself. Surprisingly, I'm actually writing it in third person POV, without an antihero. This is the first time I've done this since I wrote Rosa last summer. NaNoWriMo, by the way, is also the reason for my remodeling my blog, in case you didn't guess.
    • I'm reading The Errant King! The Errant King, in case you didn't know, is the latest book by Wayne Thomas Batson. I've been looking forward to it for a very, very, very long time (since last November/December), so when I discovered that it was out and my friend would lend it to me, I was extremely excited. I started it yesterday morning, and since it's a long book and I had to work on NaNoWriMo and such, I still haven't finished it. However, it is amazing thus far, definitely one of his best books.
    • In addition to The Errant King, I also got to read the latest book by John Flanagan, The Outcasts. While I haven't been waiting as long for this one, I was still very excited, and I was not disappointed by the book. It was better than I expected, and I almost like his new series better than the Ranger's Apprentice series.
    • Last weekend, we went to White Sulpher Springs for a retreat. It was very fun, especially since it snowed on the Saturday we were there. I got plenty of writing done, got to take part in an awesome snowball fight, played several awesome games with one or two of my friends and her family, and learned a new game that I was talking about the rest of the evening after playing it. Also, did I mention the fact that the food at White Sulpher Springs is awesome?
    • On Halloween, we went to Chuck-e-Cheese for dinner with our Bible Study group. It was very fun, especially since I got to see some of my friends who I hadn't seen in about two weeks or longer. I have also decided that Chuck-e-Cheese needs a fantasy-adventure game, the kind that you just keep putting more tokens in for longer time, but they need it to give out tickets. That, in my opinion, would be awesome.
    Well, that's about it. Thanks for stopping by!