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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Moral Message: Is it Necessary?

Hello Everyone,

For me in a story everything has to have an outcome. Now that doesn’t mean it has resolution, but that the story gave you a certain moral or idea that you will possibly take with you for the rest of your life. Reading books is learning, and that means that every word you put on a page you are sending a message. This message on your blog could be “I hate my job” or it could be, “Cats are the best pets in the world”, but with books it might be slightly more difficult. They can send mixed messages and be contradictory at times,for example its like after reading the Grapes of Wrath where you learn that your life isn’t actually as stressful as you once thought, but you could also get from it that people will do really weird and somewhat horrific things in desperate times (if you’ve read the ending, or heard about it then you know the exact  part I am talking about).

So I’m here to tell you that I zone in on certain aspects of books, and in my own writings I try to really emphasize between light and dark.  At the beginning, stories tend to capture my attention by action, romance, or simply new ideas, but its the author’s message that will have me either stop or continue.

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Stories about ending the world and how humans are hopeless, now it’s those authors I cannot stand. All the author does is tell his/her readers that they don’t have any hope of improving and they should only look forward to going downhill.
Well excuse me if I am interrupting anyone’s fantasy bubble, but humans need growth in order to live. We can’t just sit on the couch playing Left for Dead five hours in a row and use the excuse, “Zombies are going to take over the world, so why should I try?”

That is ridiculous! Sure, whatever, play the games, I couldn’t care less. But its the attitude that goes with it. We see it in the media, TV, Movies, Magazines, and even on the radio that we humans are worthless and shouldn’t continue to try.

What have we as a society come to?

My solution to everything is this: We have to stop spreading around garbage and negative energy and start helping each other. We need to work together through our words and helping hands. That is why writing is so important. It’s because it gives future generations hope to look for a brighter future,and that darkness will not swallow us up as long as we keep trying and are working together.

So yes, when I read the hunger games, I really fell in love with it. Until the second book came out and it was likeable, but as soon as I finished the third book I got MAD! With all the fans, and how many people the author reached out to, THAT WAS HER ENDING!?! Her message was horrible, and to basically give up on civilization as we know it!

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How could someone with such power, downgrade the human worth and tell everyone that there is no hope for humanity?

I apologize because I know how many people loved it, but I can’t stand that we are limiting ourselves to such a low standard.

When you write, make sure you know what message you are sending out to everyone. That is my advice to you, because if you create a book just because you thought it would be a cool idea, well think again. Your sons, daughters, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and so forth are going to read this and what type of message do you want to be sending out to them? It doesn’t have to be filled with rainbows and ponies, but at least try to make it worth the lesson.

Do we really want to be telling our children, “Oh don’t worry about going to school today, we humans are worthless anyways.”

So yes, I do judge a book by its message, and I can’t stand that when someone has power that they waste it on negativity. So if you want to write out to the world, please, I am begging you, to think twice before you send your manuscript.

If you would like to tell me what you are thinking feel free to comment.  I would love to hear about anything: what your morals are, why you look for a message in books or don’t, what is your favorite book that has a message etc.

-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!

The Confessions of a Book-aholic

I have always wondered why I have such an odd obsession with YA books. Over the many years of the yearning to read that newest story that will drive me towards excitement, adventure and thrill; I have discovered that, unfortunately, I am a bookaholic. I am, point-blank, ADDICTED! My condition torments me on a day-to-day basis, but my biggest concern is knowing if this is a common problem or if I am completely abnormal. Let me explain my symptoms and allow you to decide for yourself if you have caught this strange fixation.wpid-1367434834953.jpg

When driving by the mall, as if by an incomprehensible instinct, I always park by the big and bold Barnes and Noble.  I honestly don’t see why, considering there is never any parking when I go by, but somehow I can never resist. Once I have fought for a parking spot I immediately dash inside, the doors swing wide open, and I breath in the scent of pages filled with vibrant anticipation.

I wish I could tell you it ended there, but embarrassingly enough the story continues.

As I walk past the stands, moving towards my usual section, my eyes catch the books on display. Everything looks so interesting, and there is always something new and fresh. I wish I had enough time in my life to stop and pick up a few of them just out of curiosity, but I know it is a rarity if I ever find that time in my day. I ignore my adventurous taste as I head towards the section that never slips past my notice.

“Young adult” are the words I hardly glance at anymore as I routinely skim the covers of its shelves.

After skimming through the different covers that scream out at me, I feel the semi heavy weight of the book in my hands. The book is smooth with a hidden electricity that tingles up my palms urging me to decipher this newfound energy into words. As the energy seems to linger at the back of my mind I already know I’m hooked.

This is the part that will be eerily weird to those of you who have never been a book lover before. I open the pages, lift the book to my face, and smell the sweet perfume of freshly pressed paper. It’s strange to think that paper could smell so good, I know, but it leaves the feeling that my next journey is about to begin.

I phase out here. My mind blurs like it has been intoxicated after only reading the first word. I am detached from my body becoming one separate being with my book. Emotions begin blending, my eyes can only visualize this new world of adventure, and my new life has just begun.

This is my obsession. I am addicted to reading, because it feels as though I am living a separate life, experiencing things I never thought imaginable.

This is my curse, my disease,…and my home.

If you can relate to a bookaholic like me write your thoughts down below. I would love to hear your story.

A. Willow

Quick Tip: You Are What You Read

As all of you may already know: Writers must be Readers.

Today I will quickly explain the different books you should be reading and why.

First you must ask the question: What Genre do you write for?   If you cannot answer this question then I would highly recommend you to start going through every section in the bookstore, grab the books that interest you,  and decide what you think you would like to write on. More than likely you write what you usually read. If you can find a genre that you love that’s great, but for most of us it isn’t that simple.book-genre

In order to write well you must broaden your reading. If you normally stick to YA paranormal romance, than move to the MG fantasy, or adult literature. You should have a taste of what different genres are about so you know your limits in your area of writing.

To know other genres will help you focus your attention on what is important.

For example: If you only read YA fantasy, you are so used to the trends of the fighting mixed with the romance that you don’t even notice it anymore. Once you go pick up a book of literature, a book of adult romance, and a book of children’s fiction, you can tell what is appropriate for your general audience and what might be more appropriate for another genre.

So instead of picking up the same old books you always read, expand your knowledge and embrace the journey to a better writer.

(Don’t kill yourself though. The requirement is one book of each genre not ten! You may go back to your normal books after that)

Enjoy your reading!

A. Willow