Update Schedule

There was once an update schedule. It lived a good life, a peaceful life. A quiet life. But then... things began to change. It became more and more erratic, sometimes completely disobeying its very reason for existance. And at last, the update schedule could take no more. It cast off its chains and went free, seeking new lands where it would be appreciated. This message it left where once it had lived, to warn other schedules of the peril.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NaNoWriMo (AKA why I won't have any time for the next month)

Good news, nonexistant readers- I have reached 50,000 words in a novel for the first time. Just in time for NaNoWriMo.
Yeah, that kind of killed my enthusiasm.
So, because of my upcoming attempt to write 50,000 words in a month, posts are going to be at a minimum (also, my computer broke, but hopefully that's getting fixed). I might get in a few books, I might not. I'll try to post on a semi-regular schedule, but this is my first time so I'm not sure whether it's a possibility.
As much as I'll miss all of the characters none of you have heard of because I hardly ever do writing posts, I'm actually very excited for this novel- and who knows, maybe I can write that much in a month.
Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Origin of the Mary Sue

Those of you who know me know that I secretly write fanfiction. Not only that, I occasionally read it. This is not a post about fanfiction- although I might do one, come to think of it. There's some good stuff out there among all the awful stuff, and I would have loved not to have to sort through it all.
Nor is it about webcomics, though that's coming too (actually, it has nothing to do with webcomics except for this sentence, because I thought of connecting it and decided against it).
Wow, this is a senseless post. I'll pretend that it's okay because it sounds sort of almost like a really bad copy of Douglas Adams (who is awesome). Now that we've mentioned Douglas Adams, it must also be said that this is not a post about the meaning of life, although if you're even a little bit nerdy you'll know the answer.
This was actually about Mary Sues, as is evident from the titles. All this stuff up there is just there because I'm writing blog posts while tired and the backspace key would require moving my hand (those of you who know me also know just how lazy I can get when tired). Besides, I went through all the effort of writing it.
Anyway. Back to the point (if I have one, which I'm beginning to doubt). I discovered the other day that the term Mary Sue actually comes from somewhere. There is, in fact, an original Mary Sue. All of you nerdy people who understood my reference above, you've probably seen Star Trek. The rest of you will just have to muddle along- I don't think it's all that difficult to understand.
There isn't really a set definition, but feel free to read this if you don't know what a Mary Sue is. It does a pretty good job.
Wow, this has gone off topic. I just wanted to share with you the existance of this story, in which the term Mary Sue was coined. It is now commonly used all over the internet (and, presumably, in real life).
By Paula Smith

"Gee, golly, gosh, gloriosky," thought Mary Sue as she stepped on the bridge of the Enterprise. "Here I am, the youngest lieutenant in the fleet - only fifteen and a half years old." Captain Kirk came up to her.
"Oh, Lieutenant, I love you madly. Will you come to bed with me?"
"Captain! I am not that kind of girl!"
"You're right, and I respect you for it. Here, take over the ship for a minute while I go get some coffee for us."
Mr. Spock came onto the bridge. "What are you doing in the command seat, Lieutenant?"
"The Captain told me to."
"Flawlessly logical. I admire your mind."
Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott beamed down with Lt. Mary Sue to Rigel XXXVII. They were attacked by green androids and thrown into prison. In a moment of weakness Lt. Mary Sue revealed to Mr. Spock that she too was half Vulcan. Recovering quickly, she sprung the lock with her hairpin and they all got away back to the ship.
But back on board, Dr. McCoy and Lt. Mary Sue found out that the men who had beamed down were seriously stricken by the jumping cold robbies , Mary Sue less so. While the four officers languished in Sick Bay, Lt. Mary Sue ran the ship, and ran it so well she received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Vulcan Order of Gallantry and the Tralfamadorian Order of Good Guyhood.
However the disease finally got to her and she fell fatally ill. In the Sick Bay as she breathed her last, she was surrounded by Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Mr. Scott, all weeping unashamedly at the loss of her beautiful youth and youthful beauty, intelligence, capability and all around niceness. Even to this day her birthday is a national holiday of the Enterprise.

Hope you enjoyed. The story is Paula Smith's, and the text is from...um... okay, there's no name on that website. Interesting. It was originally published in some fandom magazine in the 1970s (I think). It demonstrates perfectly why there's a need for the term Mary Sue (or Gary Stu if you're a stickler for genderized terms).

Edit/AN: Sorry about the formatting mistakes; I hope they're all fixed now. Thank you to S for pointing them out to me. If I missed any, please let me know.
I figured there was nothing to be done about the content of the post, so I left it as is. Note to self: do not blog when tired.
I didn't mention books at all this post- I'm still reading WoT (book 5 now), and I'm also reading a book called Strike, by D.J. MacHALE (yes, that's on purpose). I'll try to finish at least one before NaNoWriMo, so I can post another review or two before my free time goes nonexistant, but no promises.
Thanks for reading. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Review: The Emperor's Soul

The Emperor's Soul
The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

End suffered a bit from Brandon Sanderson Syndrome (he's messing up my general habit of using acronyms, he needs new initials) but not nearly as much as most of his do. All in all, a fine novella, although I was a bit confused by it being set in the same world as Elantris, since its magic system seemed only distantly connected.
Also, the emperor was kind of awful, but I think maybe he's supposed to be that way?
Shai was okay. I didn't love her. She was a little weird. Glasses were a definite plus, although if she can fix her eyes, why doesn't she? The whole Moon Scepter angle was never explained, just realized that. Interesting. Guess it wasn't important.
No Hoid, which disappointed me. Hoid-spotting is my favorite part of reading Brandon Sanderson books, but I can't really take away points for his not including a minor character who doesn't belong there (oh wait... yes I can... but it wouldn't be fair, so I won't).
I liked that he managed to fit everything into such a short space; normally novellas and short stories feel very rushed to me. This didn't really, and he crammed in a not-bad magic system explanation while he was at it.
So... yeah, pretty good book. No need to read Elantris or any of his other books first, this doesn't connect at all.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review: The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There is nothing like the warm, fuzzy feeling you get from finishing another Rick Riordan book. Technically it's a 2.5, but I didn't want to round it to 3 because it wasn't.
My major complaint (among other things): who edited this thing? Missing words and minor (and stupid) grammatical errors galore. It ruined the rhythm of the book- when you're reading a scene that you think is sweet or sad or whatever, you don't want to have to reread sentences to figure out which word was supposed to have been there. The writing also needed some serious polishing. There were way too many similes, and most of them were terrible Take this one: "He kissed her, and... okay, they had kissed before. But this was different. Piper felt like a toaster. All her coils heated to red-hot. Any more warmth and she'd start smelling like burned toast." Not only did Rick Riordan miss an excellent opportunity to say burnt toast, but this isn't even the worst of them.

Plot: The truth is, I remember almost nothing from the last two books in the series, so the plot kind of lost me a bit (it didn't really matter, though... that probably says something about the book). It's the same old "save the world" sort of thing. Bring the giant statue, discover ominous messages (is it just me, or does Piper never tell us what horrible thing Aphrodite had told her in her dream?), etc. They're all paired off now, of course (except Nico, who's been manhandled into the role of "token gay character", and Reyna, who is for some reason doomed not to find love or something). The old Jason/Piper (creepy- it's all based off of nonexistant memoriess), Annabeth/Percy (never liked that pairing, and if anyone says Percabeth I may vomit), Frank/Hazel (cute, but I don't buy it), Leo/Calypso (she's like thousands of years older than you. Can we all say ewwww?)

Jason: How not to be a hero: 1) Wear glasses (and don't even complain about them! Jason Grace, I sentence you to an eternity of opening dishwashers and then trying to see to take a plate out). 2) Hide behind a woman's skirt when in combat (not kidding, he literally does this). He failed. I really don't have anything else to say. Oh, and I count point one as a non-spoiler because you can clearly see the glasses on the cover. Did Rick Riordan's son get glasses or something?
Piper: Can we just say Mary Sue? Not only does everyone love her (and hey, if they don't, she can just magic them into it... feelings of remorse sold seperately), but she deserves their love! Plus, she's totally epic and can fight and all that, and she has long deep talks about people's feelings. She goes with her gut, but that's okay, because it's always right! She kind of sickened me, but she wasn't actually a bad character.
Hazel: Did she even get POV? She played pretty much zero role in this book.
Frank: Ditto. Except he's developed abs and can wear tight t-shirts. That was totally a necessary plot point, Rick Riordan.
Leo: He got very odd, that's all I can say (and his attempts to bring in popular culture are about ten books too late). Secret plots (seriously, who didn't figure it out as soon as he started plating the ship?), magical tables (which appear to share characteristics with that goat in Hoodwinked- "I was prepared!"), and a very odd use of slang in the narrative. I can buy Leo saying something hurts his feels. When Rick Riordan says Leo's feels are hurting, I burst out laughing. He was still kind of cool, but I didn't like him as much as I did in the previous books, which was a pity. Plus, he gives away a perfectly good Valdezinator in exchange for a daisy.
Nico: For a guy with as much pain and misery as Nico de Angelo is supposed to have, he sure acts happy, even in his POVs. And he has a totally pathetic crush on Percy (thank you for your attempt at being inclusive, Rick Riordan. How about you try some foreshadowing next time, okay?) I did NOT like the way he ended. It's all happy and mushy and ugh (I also really, really, really don't like the way Will acts toward him. It felt aggressive and not at all a good start to a relationship. Plus, isn't Nico like 14? The kid should be in middle school, not dating and killing monsters.) Nico was completely destroyed by an attempt to make him a sympathetic character, which is a pity, because at one point he was awesome.
Percy: I have a theory that Rick Riordan is Xed Alpha, because nobody else could write Percy that badly. He's an idiot! He doesn't have a character! Sigh. I mourn you, Perseus Jackson.
Annabeth: I think Percy's catching. That's all I can say.
Reyna: (Ahem, Praetor, you're not part of the prophecy, what are you doing in my book?) This was my major reaction to Reyna. She also had some weird backstory and in the end was probably supposed to be awesome but just got on my nerves (listen, Praetor, I like Blackjack a lot more than you, got it? If it's down to one or the other...) I also developed a habit of yelling at her, as you can see in the parenthetical comments. She and Nico got a little too touchy-feely for me. Couldn't they have had their deep discussions and cute little hugging moments off-screen? She was also just kind of... Roman. The Greeks were never so into the whole "the Ancient Greeks did this, I did something different, now I must fall on my sword" kind of thing (probably because it was the Romans who fell on their swords). Even Jason is okay with being a bad Roman once in a while. Reyna kind of overly obsesses about that. (Seriously, Praetor, you're not even Roman, okay? Rome is dead and gone.) Wow, didn't mean to rant like that. I didn't think I had much to say.

And yet I still feel ridiculously happy at the end of it. How does Rick Riordan do this to me?

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: The Winds of War

The Winds of War
The Winds of War by Herman Wouk

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I DID IT!!! 885 PAGES OF TINY FONT LATER, I HAVE TRIUMPHED! (...there's another one.)
Okay, you're probably wondering why someone who's read all of GoT, all that's out of SA, is in the middle of WoT, and consistently uses acronyms that no one could possibly understand is so excited about this. Yeah, it's long, but I've read much longer, and without the celebration. So here's the thing: few books are as long as this one. And it's not about word count (although I'd like to see you beat 365,879)- Words of Radiance, LOTR (I read it as one book), and two GoT books are all longer, as are a bunch of WoT books. But those didn't feel long. Winds of War... it might be the longest book I've ever read, feeling-wise. It just felt incredibly long. It was good, don't get me wrong- but it took a long time to read, and it didn't even cover all of wW2- just up until America entered the war. The rest is (I think) for the sequel.
It was, as I said, a very good book. I had no second thoughts about a three star rating. The journeys of the Henry family were interesting, as were the "history lesson" bits, and the mix of family, politics, and military warfare was an interesting one. I sincerely hope that someday I will be as awesome as Victor Henry senior... I loved that he had grandkids! It was the cutest thing.. Pug, Rhoda, Warren, Janice, Byron, Natalie, Madeline... they each had their own story (except Janice, she was honestly a bit boring because she came in fairly late and it was never really about her the way it was about the others.) The descriptions of Jews both amused and fascinated me (the inaccuracies as I remember them: 1) eat the pork, you idiot, if it's actually life or death. 2) I find it odd that Byron could pronounce לך לך perfectly on bis first try; that sound is usually impossibe for non-Jews to make, but perhaps Berel was simply trying to make him feel good. 3) Louis would be Jewish, not half-Jewish; a child born of a Jewish mother is Jewish. You can't be half-Jewish. As religious Jews, shouldn't the boat people have known this and corrected it?). I loved Natelie's Polish family, they were perfect. I'm not sure why Natalie spoke Yiddish, though, if she rejected her Jewish heritage. Maybe it was like Hebrew is today?
Anyway, this is getting long and boring. Basically, it was a good book, but long. Read it, but be prepared for the amount of time you'll be spending on it.
Oh, and the writing was excellent. The kind of thing you don't see nowadays.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: Don't Care High

Don't Care High
Don't Care High by Gordon Korman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In a school where students are so unmotivated that their school is called "Don't Care High" comes Paul... a new student who's arrived with something almost unheard of: ambition. Struggling in the world of locker barons, principals who only care about announcements, and students and teachers who just don't care, Paul and his friend Sheldon set out on what is initially a prank but might do the seemingly impossible and bring school spirit back into Don't Care High.
If you're bothered by unrealistic settings, don't read this- it is possibly the most exaggerated high school ever. This is, however, what made me love it. It was just a masterpiece of a high school experience. Yes, it's overdone, but that's what makes it funny. And in that respect, it succeeded wonderfully- I was laughing throughout. There were also suspenseful and sad parts.
I was a little disappointed by the ending- I was hoping for more of an explanation of Mike Otis's background- but it fit his character. I just wish I understood him, as that felt lacking in the book. True, no one understands him, but he was just such an odd character that I really wanted to and that was a disappointment. There were a few other unresolved mysteries, such as the principal (who never once gets to appear in person), but other than some minor quibbles with the ending it was really a very good book throughout.
It's aimed at younger audiences (or so I felt), so those of you who are used to my reviewing YA fiction be aware that although this is a very enjoyable book, and I don't think elementary school kids will be able to fully appreciate it, it's written at a younger level than I normally review. For those of you who enjoy this book, check out the rest of Gordan Korman's works.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's Been a While

Guess what? I'm reading a book (big surprise).
But here's the thing- it's a good book. As in, a book that takes me a week or two to read because it requires thought. Also it's 885 pages long. Then there's Wheel of Time, of course. And Blood of Olympus just came out (rule of life: you are never too old for Rick Riordan). So... yeah, I'm going to be pretty busy with long books, AKA not so many reviews.
I miss the reviews, but I really need the break from YA fiction. It's not permanent, of course- the need to let other people know just how terrible it all is isn't going anywhere- but no one could read that kind of awful book constantly.
I'm currently reading Winds of War, by Herman Wouk, and it's reminding me why I love reading.

Question- I've discovered that I no longer have any attention span when it comes to books, hence why WoW (not World of Warcraft, whatever that is) is taking me so long. I blame the internet and YA fiction. Hopefully I'll readjust. It wasn't so long ago that I was reading thousand page fantasy books in a day or two.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Importance of Reading Over What You've Written

I was rereading something I'd written today and it suddenly occurred to me that I'd named one of my characters Dr. Flynn Stone.
*Bangs head against wall*

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Readers are Good

I just wanted to thank everyone who's been reading this, from those I know in real life (you guys are awesome) to those on Goodreads (so are you) those from Google Plus (I know nothing about you, but you read this, so join in the awesomeness) and those who make the views count go up (I don't know who you are, but you make me very happy).
Thank you everyone! Nothing makes me happier than a new comment (the notifications now work, by the way, no more month-long delays), more views, a G+ or Goodreads follower, or a friend who comes up to me and says "I Google-stalked you and now I'm reading your blog".

So, while I'm doing this, news:
I'm reading The Rithmatist (Brandon Sanderson), Winds of War (Herman Wouk- I never realized I liked historical fiction before... I love this book), and sort of The Fires of Heaven. (must... finish... Wheel of Time... ). Short, Insanely long, and 200 pages shorter (but still nearly 700). So...um... reviews might not be so frequent once I finish The Rithmatist (which is, honestly, not very good and probably doesn't deserve more of a review than this sentence). But I'll try my best. And I'll still post about other stuff (NaNoWriMo is coming up... anyone else planning to do it? I'll do a post for it in mid to late October if anyone's interested in it or wants to know more).

So, that's that, thank you again, and remember that I love to see your comments. I am still taking review requests, and if you guys want me to read something you wrote or want to guest post I'm open to that too. Thanks for reading!