Change

Change is inevitable, irreversible, and necessary for every living thing. We all must age, everyone changes their perception, but the change that seems to matter the most are the changes we make on our own. woman-moving-boxes-istock-de

Today while I was packing, trying to figure out why on earth I had decided to move, it hit me. We all must go through change, but its our own choices that make us grow. We chose to walk a different path. We wanted to move on from the life we were previously living, and most of all we wanted change.

Although I have to admit, it can be really scary. Thinking about my life financially, friendships, and family really made me nervous. It affected each of them in different ways, and I didn’t know if I was making the right choice.

But if I stumble and there are a few mistakes here or there, that is okay. If for some reason this move doesn’t work out, and I’m left crying about the separation, I know that, in the process, I will be GROWING. 

I laughed at myself with this thought as I taped a box and set it on top of my small stack.

Think about it in these terms, and if you are a writer or avid reader then you know exactly what I mean.

Each protagonist in a story is going to change. The characters that grow are the ones that you view as your heroes. Now think about the villains or the ones you don’t like. Change seems to affect them very little if at all. That’s because a villain is set in his/her ways and they don’t want to grow.

This shows us that as individuals we want to see ourselves as well as our heroes grow in life. You cannot love a superhero if he keeps fighting the same battles and making the same mistakes over and over again. You would get frustrated and say “didn’t you learn anything from last time?”

So if your writing a story, or reading a book, look for this in particular. If you dislike a certain character this could be the main reason.

I will admit, I did stop packing to write this post, but I felt the need to tell everyone what was running through my mind. I want everyone to see that we all must grow in order to move on with our lives and learn new things. It may be a scary step, and possibly not in our choice to make, but the outcome will be well worth it.

Thank you for reading, and I hope everyone can begin to see change a little differently. Comment below if you have any thoughts, or feel free to tell a story about what changed you.

A. Willow

 

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Writer Appreciation!

This post is to my fellow writers I have interacted with online. I would like to thank everyone for being brave enough to put their work out there and show the world what we can do. Today I will be dedicating my time to showing everyone the fascinating things I have found on the web within the past week. They are all blogs and I hope everyone can get a chance to support and create that sense of strong community I know we have.

Blog 1– The first I would like to show grabbed my attention as a fantasy genre writer, but after looking at the picture it became much deeper. Not only did she write a wonderful expression of what we need to do when we are going through pain, but she also gives a drawing she drew herself. I loved this combination, and you are my #1 for the week! Keep up the good work Emily, and show everyone your wisdom of getting past the hard times. Feel free to look her up at  Emily’s Remedies at Life is Pain

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Blog 2–  The next blogger is someone whose writing spoke out to me. She has written a book that I am planning on reading soon, but after reading the first few chapters I fell in love with the way she writes. Please visit Bledel Brook’s  blog Live’s I’ve Lived and check out her book on Amazon. Its about overcoming hardships of a young girl growing up into a woman.

Blog 3– A simple father that warms the heart of all of us. Short poems make it an easy quick read, but they stay in your heart and soul for the whole day through. Click on the  The Happy Husband and see what a father can produce through love and caring affection.

Blog 4– The last one of the day is another poem. This specific poem shows us that we may not like the person on shattered-mirrorthe other side of the mirror, but we should handle with reason and not a brutal force of destruction. You should visit the blog Saleem Dreams and the poem Self Reflections. And take a look at his other poems as well.

Thank you fellow writers and dreamers for sharing your hard work with the world. I chose you specifically because I found inspiration in each of your posts. There is a light that shines, and shows that human beings can overcome the dark side of ourselves. In this world today, too many people are falling to the darkness, and I find these writings refreshing. There is hope, there can be change, and there is love out there. We just have to go out and find it!

Please let me know any thought, comment or question you may have. I like talking to aspiring writers, and would love to grow my community with you!

Your community friend,

A. Willow

Quenching Your Thirst: The Hunger Games Trilogy

Happy Thirst-day!

On this special edition, I will be critiquing the Hunger Games Trilogy all in one. With so many fans and public awareness, I will simply be stating more about my own thoughts on the series rather than on an individual book.hunger_games_trilogy (1)

Name:

      Book 1– The Hunger Games

      Book 2– Catching Fire

      Book 3– Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins

YA Genre: Dystopian

Pages:  1163 Combined

Reading time:  1 week

Rating: 3 out of 5

Trilogy Overview:

Well if you haven’t heard about this book or series already, here is a quick overview. Katniss Everdeen lives in a dystopian world where people are being mistreated by the government. As punishment for a battle fought close to a century ago, the government forces 24 kids from the rebellion 

side and makes them enter a game for their life. Everyone has played by the rules the last 75 years, obeying the strict eye of the government.

 Until Katniss comes along.

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She defies the government by using her wit and “charm” to overcome the challenges the government poses on her. 

As almost everyone knows there are movies based on these books. The first one has already come out being a big hit and the second comes out in theaters on November 22, 2013.

So read the series before the movie premier and compare the two.

Trilogy Review:

I must say, for a trilogy that has been the in the hype of entertainment for the last few years, I was thoroughly disappointed. After watching the first movie about a year ago, I loved the entire idea of the hunger games,  but now after reading the series I was stunned into an agitated silence. This dystopian feel of the books only showed even deeper in the books. So deep that you began to see how helpless the entire cause was for the protagonist of the story.

When I read stories I don’t look for happy endings, or for a guy to save the girl like in the Disney fairytales. Instead I look for morals from the author. What message is the author trying to send to her readers is a huge part about why I love books, but the message throughout this trilogy was next to nothing but depressing. It gives no hope to our race as humans, basically saying that we are meant to suffer and continue suffering and shouldn’t look for a happier outcome.
Is this really what America wants to see in the next few decades?

Back in the great depression years, America used to fantasize about superheroes like superman and captain america, and now look at what we wish upon our nation and the world. All we can think about is a zombie apocalypse, Dystopian worlds for our future, and aliens massacring the world.

These books are no exception to this way of thinking, and without a message from the author telling us about how we can get past it I will never appreciate these books in the literary world.

Life should be about overcoming the darkness of our day to day lives and instead this trilogy leaves a sour taste in my mouth and words I wish I had never read.

Please let me know how you liked the books, because I did enjoy them while I was reading. It was just the message that crumpled my hopes for the story.

An Expression of Rejection

To express one’s self on a page is hard to do. It comes from the soul hidden deep behind the corners of your mind. All you want to focus on is what feels real, what feels right.

But then you get rejection after rejection and you can’t help to think that maybe your miracle will never happen.

Becoming published is a business you must have patience in, which I lack severally. I wish the day would come where I can float among the clouds of achievement, where I can see my work on a shelf and I can say “That’s my baby. That’s my treasured book.”

To imagine that moment brings tears of joy to my eyes. To actually think I could be chosen for such a high achievement. I just have to keep telling myself, be patient, work hard, and  soon you’ll get there.

If you are in the same position as I am, I just want you to know that a rejection isn’t the end of the world. You just have to believe that out of all the thousands of literary agents out there only ONE is perfect for you. We just haven’t found them yet.

Stay inspired to write, and you’ll get there when the time is right.

A. Willow

Quenching Your Thirst: The Elite

Happy Thirst-day….Again!

Yep that’s right, this is my second book this Thursday.  Lets just say I’ve been busy catching up on my reading this past week. I’ll also admit that I was way too excited to wait until next week to post this book. It’s a good one!

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Name: The Elite

Author: Kiera Cass

YA Genre: Dystopian Romance

Book Form: Hardcover

Pages: 323

Reading Time: 2 days

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

Back of Book:

The Selection began with 35 girls. Now, with the group narrowed down to the Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s love is fiercer than ever. The closer America gets to the crown, the more she struggles to figure out where her heart truly lies. Each moment she spends with Maxon is like a fairy tale, filled with breathless, glittering romance. But whenever she sees her first love, Aspen, standing guard, she’s swept up in longing for the life they’d planned to share. 

America is desperate for more time. But while she’s  torn between her two futures, the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want- and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Book Review:

There is nothing greater to me than a book that plays with my heart. A book that gets me so emotionally attuned to the character that I can’t even tell us apart. This is what Kierra Cass does to me in this series.

Being the second book of a trilogy, I thought it was going to be horrible. Usually, these middle books are used to fill in blanks, and get you to the third one. I did get a slight sense that she was filling, but her character and her story overpowered any thing more than a seconds thought on the matter.

This book, along with the first, is exactly what teen girls are looking for. They want the romance, but the hesitant step to dive forward. There is doubt in America’s mind, like most U.S. girls, but there is also an erupting courage. America’s struggle with the two men in her life is a problem a lot of teen girls are dealing with. Should we pick the man we had originally planned a life with, or should we take the person who seems to care for ME.

To be honest, America made me angry in the first one, but I realized it’s only because she hasn’t truly found herself until the very end of this book. I admire her new found strength and her courage to take large steps, and it made me fall in love with this book even more. The last part I will mention is my favorite scene towards the end, when the truth is finally discovered within America, and she decides to take the bold step and speak out.

This book is for all of us hopeless romantics out there, but I will ask you to please read the The Selection first so you aren’t lost along the way. I also didn’t give this a full five because there where still minor things I might not have loved, but overall this book blew me away.

I can’t wait for the third one The One coming out next spring. When I first found out I had to wait that long I grew very angry. I wanted to dive right in to the next book, and here I have to wait another year. Oh well, I should probably work on my patience  anyways.

Feel free to let me know if you like the book too, or if it wasn’t for you. We can’t all be in love with Maxon!

A. Willow

Quenching Your Thirst: Being Henry David

Happy Thirst-day!

Before we get started for the review I just want to say I NEVER would have picked up this book on my own, but for you guys, I broadened my horizons.

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Name: Being Henry David

Author: Cal Armistead

YA Genre: Contemporary

Book Form: Hardcover

Pages: 304

Reading Time: 2 weeks

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Quote: “When you’ve lost your past you have to live in the present.

Back of the book:

“How can you move on with your life when you can’t even remember it?

He wakes up in Penn Station with no memory of who he is. All he has in his possession is a  worn out paperback of  Walden by Henry David Thoreau. All he knows is that he’s on the run.

And so he becomes Henry David, “Hank” for short. With the book as his guide, he sets out for the only destination he can think of: Walden Pond. There, while sleeping in the woods and hiding around town, it seems like he can begin again, with new friends and a girl he can’t stop thinking about. 

But when pieces of memories start coming back, Hank realizes the stranger  he fears the most is himself. What’s in his past that his mind won’t let him face?

Review:

As you have seen by my grading (2.5) I was not impressed, but before I begin to criticize the book I would first like to point out its strengths. The book was interesting, I’ll give it that. The fact that a boy can’t remember who he is, not even his name is intriguing, and the beginning description literally feels like a strike to the face.

What made the story good,  was how the beginning and the end weaved together a beautiful metaphor on how to treat life. I found the meaning behind the book the best part about it, but the actual story lacked depth.

The story, at first, was so intriguing I couldn’t put the book down. It was after the first few chapters that it winded down, but nothing seemed to be happening. From chapter 6 to about 15 or so I call those the Dead Pages. There were sparks here and there of interest, something that would bring the book back to life, but they were quickly extinguished.

It was as though Cal was trying to keep the book going, and drag it out to become a novel. I believe that if the book lost 100 pages, it would make more entertaining. It would keep you on the edge of your seat and not dread so long on things teens don’t want to read.

I believe this book is for those who are heading down the literature path. This long, drawn out book is exactly what most literature is all about. It had some intense parts, but overall it was very boring and took me forever to read. If your the type of person who can take on a slow book that has great meaning behind it then I say go for it, but if your like me and want something you want to fall in love with you should pass.

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts about this book. Every one of us has different styles and maybe this is yours.

As always your thoughts are welcome.

A. Willow

Should You Judge a Book by its Cover?

I’m sure many of you have heard time and time again to never, EVER, judge a book by its cover. It’s something that’s been drilled into us since the first time we could read, but does it still do us any good to ignore the one thing that catches our eye?

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 I am here to tell you to Stop following this rule and to START judging!

The phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” may truly have  meant something a decade or so ago, but with this new generation of YA books it’s hard not to disagree?

In earlier years I put my heart and soul into this one little phrase, but as the years went by, the more books I read, the more I realized covers in the Young Adult genre are unique for a reason. YA has stepped up to be the boldest genre in the book world, and for that reason publishers are putting more time into their covers. Covers are now providing the readers with more meaning behind the artwork, and beginning to grasp the concept of the book as  a whole. All it takes is to take a  closer look, into the depths of the illustration itself.

Today I will tell you how to judge a book, and why it is significant.

There are 3 specific qualities that will help you:

Step 1. What grabs at your heart?- There are people who believe that artwork is the gateway into one’s soul. So look around and find the cover that speaks out to you.  When skimming through the hundreds of books on the shelf, it’s easier to find a cover you fall in love with a lot faster than reading every single back that you pass.

So, when you find that one book that seems to be screaming out your name, take it!

Step 2. Take a closer look- Glimpsing a magnificent cover isn’t the same as thoroughly inspecting it. There are going to be certain quirks to the cover that tell you what specific sub-genre it is, and little quirks that will tell you the main theme or plot of the story. For instance, it will be pretty easy to tell if it is a contemporary, romance, fantasy, or paranormal book by just looking at the cover. Teens in their swimsuits on a beach is usually contemporary, while a wolf standing next to a girl with odd colored eyes is normally going to be paranormal. After doing this, you’re going to start getting a sense of the book you are holding in your hand, but we must dig deeper to find the actual story within the artwork.

Usually, the cover will hold a certain trait that is very significant for that book. It will be a little hidden symbol that represents the book as a whole. It could be as simple as a phrase on the front, or a discolored star in the sky, or simply a rock on the ground that is glowing from the moonlight. This shows the interesting aspect that makes the book unique.

Step 3. When in doubt, don’t toss it out- If you aren’t sure about the cover, or even if you’re obsessed, you should still read the back before placing it back. YA covers are supposed to help you decide if the book is right for you, but they shouldn’t be the ultimate decision. The back is there to guide you further into the story you have already seen unfolding in the cover-art.  So when I say you should judge a book by its cover, what I’m actually saying is you should judge a book by the front cover first, and then the back .

With such an intense and wide variety of YA, it might seem like you are being bombarded by all these books you could never hope to read in your lifetime. These steps are supposed to help you find the book that YOU love, but if you have a natural knack for adventure, then maybe it would be wise for you to do the opposite.

Enjoy your crazy cover journey, and let me know how it goes!