Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bout of Books: Tuesday Challenges

There were two challenges today.

First, from River City Reading, What are 10 books I'm looking forward to?

1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
2. Days of Blood and Starlight Laini Taylor
3. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor                                                                            (these 3 have been in everyone of my TBRs for months)
4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
5. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
6. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (My first Rainbow Rowell book ever!)
7. We Were Liars by e. lockhart
8. Reboot by Amy Tintera (She's an Aggie like me!)
9. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (Like now. I'm not gonna be good at waiting for this one.)
10. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (Come on! That can't be that shocking.)

Second, from My Life in Books, the Bookish Battle Royal Challenge, which I am going to copy and paste the rules to cause there are specifics...

The Rules
  1. Choose three or more fictional characters as combatants – they can be haphazardly picked or themed (for example, I went with badass classic literature protagonists)
  2. List three strengths and weakness for each contender (feel free to skip this step if you’re using social media to participate in Bout of Books i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads…)
  3. Determine who would come out victorious and give a little explanation why you think they would win – get creative with the outcomes!
  4. Link in the comments and if you tweet about this challenge make sure to use the hashtag #bookbattleroyal in addition to #boutofbooks because I want to see all your dueling characters!
My entries:
     Characters: (1) Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass, (2) Johanna Mason from Catching Fire, and (3) Risa Ward from Unwind.
     Strengths: (1) Celaena - trained assassin, passionate, confidence; (2) Johanna - badass with an ax, screw you attitude, bigger heart than she'd like you to believe; (3) Risa - amazing pianist, medic, know self defense
    Weaknesses: (1) Celaena - prideful, arrogant, unable to follow orders...ever; (2) Johanna - traumatized, temper, no filter; (3) Risa - stubborn, tendency to end up in the wrong place at the wrong time (or maybe its the right place at the right time. Depends on how you look at it), not trained with any weapon...
    Winner: Honestly, it completely depends on the circumstances. Maybe Celaena and Johanna would just kill each other and Risa would win with her resourcefulness by hiding/running and just getting away. Then again Celaena is a trained and famous assassin... But Johanna survived the Hunger games TWICE... Yeah, it feels too easy and isn't creative at all, but my bet is on Celaena. She just has a lot more avenues of success than the others. Still think Johanna would be the best fighter in a group and Risa I think would do the best just surviving the real world, real life, but in a Battle Royal, I gotta give it to Celaena. =)

Friday, May 9, 2014



 I will be participating in the Bout of Book Read-A-Thon this year, and I am SUPER excited about it. My reading list is as follows:
  1. Finish whatever I was reading left over from the #AYearAThon read-a-thon this month (Probably Erased by Jennifer Rush)
  2. The Taking by Kimberly Derting
  3. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  5. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  6. Back up books include the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor and The Assassin's by Sarah J. Maas
I will be doing periodic updates so keep an eye out for that! =)

Check out my announcement video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXHQBU_CCRE&feature=youtu.be

For more info on the Bout of Book read-a-thon
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


Monday, 5/12

Books Read Today:
   Completed: None
  In-Progress: The Taking by Kimberly Derting
Challenge: If u like dystopians w/ action & a lil romance, but can also be an intelligent comment on society, try Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Total Books Read: 0
Total Pages Read: 99

Tuesday, 5/13
Books Read Today:
  Completed: None
  In-Progress: The Taking by Kimberly Derting
Challenges: http://ctwood09.blogspot.com/2014/05/bout-of-books-tuesday-challenges.html
Total Books Read: 0
Total Pages Read: 99 + 101= 200

Wednesday, 5/14
Books Read Today:
  Completed: The Taking by Kimberly Derting
  In-Progress: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Challenge: I paired Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor with the Blue Lagoon movies. Its like the sequal I ways wanted! =) https://twitter.com/holliwood_09/status/466773739120500737
Total Books Read: 1
Total Pages Read: 200 + 100 + 6 = 306

Thursday thru Sunday, 5/15-5/18
Books Read Today:
  Completed: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  In-Progress: Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Challenge: I blame work. I didn't do the challenges
Total Books Read: 3
Total Pages Read: 300 + 323 + 377 + 58 = 1,058

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Almost Sleeping: A Vocabulary Story

I wrote this as a junior in high school so I was either 16 or 17. It was part of a vocabulary assignment. We had a list of words we had to use in the story, so if a word choice seems odd that is why. Maybe another Thursday I'll post my updated one were I got rid of some of the vocab words. Hope you enjoy!

Almost Sleeping

Vocabulary story

            The sunlight glittered off the gentle, cascading waterfall. His mystical, bright blue eyes latched onto mine. Even as the land of enchantment around us began to deteriorate, his eyes stuck with me. Even as I drifted in that area of semi-consciousness, his eyes remained embedded in my mind. Then I was yanked from this realm by my annoying alarm clock. It was 6:30. Great! It’s time to get up.

            As I went on with my insipid morning routine, for some unknown reason I became very distracted, disoriented almost. By the time I was ready, my dad was gone and my mom was waiting, rather impatiently.

            “Okay, okay, I’m ready.” I said, grabbing my bags for school. In the car, I was overcome with this gut-wrenching, almost prophetic, need to put my seatbelt on. I invariably do not wear my seatbelt to school because I live right across the street, but I succumbed and as we backed out the safety belt was hugging my body gently.

            I remember pulling out of our driveway talking to my mom about how exalted I was about getting Homecoming Court. Then I was blinded by this bright, white light. I felt my entire body jerk. Now, I’m here in this black room. It’s not really a room because as far as I can tell there are no walls. It’s more of a nothingness, an abyss.

            “It doesn’t have to be.” I heard a voice and for some curious reason I felt my heart jump. It was a guy’s voice.

            “Hello?” I called. “Who are you? Where are you? Where am I?”

            “So many questions.” A boy about 15, my age, jumped out in front of me. “That’s just like you.” As his familiar eyes caught mine, the darkness faded away, replaced by a familiar scene. He smiled. When I finally managed to pull my eyes away from his angelic visage and look around, I realized I was back in my dream from this morning.

            “Am I asleep?” I asked, stepping away from the boy and inspecting my surroundings with a discerning eye.

            “Not exactly,” He answered, “but close.”

            I tried to repress my panic but I was loosing the battle quickly. I turned around and scrutinized the boy. He seemed amiable enough.

            “What do you mean ‘not exactly’?” Then a morbid thought overcame me. “What do you mean ‘close’?”

            “I mean you’re in a comma, which is kind of like sleeping, in that you’re stuck in your subconscious,” he gestured to the world around us, “like when you’re sleeping.”

            I suddenly became incredibly dizzy. I muttered an “Oh, God.” Put my hand on my head and fell back against a rock.

            “Are you okay?” the boy asked.

            I was suddenly unbelievably indignant.

            “And who are you?” I snapped.

            He seemed slightly apprehensive as he revealed his identity. “I’m Johnny Adams, your dream guy.” I gave a little chuckle. He grimaced as if I had slapped him, but then he seemed to lose his compassion and matched my anger.

            “What’s up with you?” He mimicked my loathing attitude perfectly.

            “Are you kidding me?” I looked at him as if he was the one who had lost his sanity. “Oh well, I’m sorry if I’m being a bit callous but you’ll have to forgive me. I just found out that I’ve gone crazy posthumously!”

            “Well, you always wanted to do something unprecedented.” We just glared at each other for a moment then he broke the silence. “Oh, Taylor, quit being so melodramatic. You haven’t gone crazy posthumously because you’re not dead.”

            “Meaning I’ve just gone crazy, much better.” Then something dawned on me. “How do you know my name?”

            “I’m a figment of your imagination, smart one.” He said emphatically but I could tell his anger had left him. “I’m in your head. I know everything you know, nothing more, nothing less.”  

            I walked away from him saying, “This isn’t plausible. It’s unconceivable.”

            For an answer I got a disembodied voice. “ ‘The Unkind Bee’ ” My mom’s voice. “ ‘I was out in the garden…’ ” It was an excerpt from my favorite poem.

            “What’s going on?” I asked Johnny. He gave a sympathetic smile. “You can still hear when you’re in a comma.” He hadn’t spoke but I knew somehow he had helped me with the answer

            “ ‘Smelling a rose, …’ ” My mom’s voice again. A storm cloud covered the sun. As a raindrop fell from my eye, a tear fell from the cloud. “ ‘When a great big bee/ Stuck his sting in my nose…’ ”

            “What do I do?” I turned to Johnny for the answer. “I want to see her.”

            “ ‘It was very unkind-’ ”

            “Please.” The word dripped with desperation.

            “ ‘As unkind as could be-’ ”

            Johnny’s face showed he had an idea.

            “ ‘When I didn’t hurt him,…’ ”

            “Please” I repeated. It was pouring now.

            “ ‘For that bee to sting me.’ ”

            “Honey?” My dad’s voice.

            “I might know a way.” Johnny got up from the rock he had sat on during the continuing storm.

            “What are you doing?” Dad.

            Johnny came into proximity to me and gently lifted my powerless hand into his.

            “I’m reading to Taylor.” Mom.

            Johnny’s breath warmed my ear. “This world around us is very malleable. You have the power to change it.” He whispered.

            “Sweet heart.” Dad’s tone brought more tears to my eyes.

            Johnny’s breath warmed my ear again. “Imagine what they are doing. Close your eyes. See them.”

            “She loves this poem. She can recite it verbatim, by memory.” Mom was determined.

            “She can’t hear you.” Dad’s voice sounded closer. I opened my eyes and gasped. I heard Johnny laugh. I looked him in the eye and found myself smiling.

            “Yes, she can.” My mom was saying. I broke apart from Johnny and turned my eyes onto the hospital room I was now standing in. I saw my dad standing up and looking down at my mom sympathetically. My mom sat in a chair next to the bed with my tattered copy of Runaway Rhymes in her hand.

            “This is ineffectual.” My dad tried to persuade my mom.

Then my eyes turned to the bed, my bed. I saw me lying on the bland sheets customary to hospitals, tubes going in and out of me, machines surrounding me.

“Oh, God.” I gasped, terrified at what I saw. “I look so… wan.”

“Well, you’re in a comma; you don’t get much sun here.” Johnny joked.

“It’s not funny.” I said.

“She can hear me” My mom began talking again. She opened the battered book and read. “ ‘There was plenty of room/ In the heart of that rose…’ ” The hospital scene faded away… “ ‘For a rather large bee/ And a very small nose.’ ”

We were back at the waterfall. The storm had stopped but the area still reeked of gloom. I had regained my composure.

“You know that wasn’t real, right?” Johnny said. I spun around and stared at him. “What they said was but what you saw was what you imagined was happening.” He sat on the same rock he had earlier.

“So, I can’t really see them.” He sadly shook his head. I went and sat next to him.

“Honestly, I’m surprised you imagined so much negative stuff and not anything positive.” He had regained his pompous air. “I always thought you were an optimist.”

I smiled. Yes, I actually smiled. What is it about this guy?

“Hello!” He knocked on my head softly. “I’m your dream guy.”

“Hey!” I said, pushing his hand away. “Stay out of my thoughts.”

“I am your thoughts.” He laughed.

“All right then what ‘positive’ stuff do you think I should have imagined.” I was trying to change the subject. Talking to your dream guy is a little weird.

“Uh-huh, trying to change the subject I see.” He laughed again.

“Stop doing that.” I snapped then laughed myself.

“Well, to answer your question. Flowers.” He said

“Flowers?” I was lost in the mixing subjects.

“You could have, should have imagined flowers in your hospital room.” He clarified.

“Why do you think I’d have flowers in my room?” I questioned.

“Now you’re kidding me, right? You have like a million friends.”

“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes jokingly. “I’m just a crazy vegetable. Why would anyone want to be my friend?” Johnny got up from our rock.       

            “Maybe because when you’re conscious you have no contempt for others, you’re never condescending. Maybe they’d be your friend because you’re ethical, you’re vibrant. It could be because you’re whimsical.-”

            “That’s a good thing?” I interrupted.

            “Yes, it is. Who likes a Plain Jane? It could be because at times, and I’ll give it to you that it’s not all the time, not even most of the time but, on occasion you’re judicious. You are a mentor to many. You have tons of charisma.-”

            “Okay, okay.” I rose from the rock and grabbed his hands he had been gesturing wildly with. We laughed together. 

            “Face it, beautiful; you are among the elite of human kind.” I was blushing as he bent down and kissed me. My insides melted and my knees buckled. Johnny caught me in his arms, laughing.

            “I don’t know what to say.” I whispered, resting my head on his chest.

            “You inarticulate? Never!” His breath warmed my ear again. I gently pulled myself away from him so I could look into his eyes. I felt myself start to drift away. “Don’t fight it.” He whispered. “Don’t be scared.”

            The sunlight glittered off the gentle, cascading waterfall. His mystical, bright blue eyes latched onto mine. Even as the land of enchantment around us began to deteriorate, his eyes stuck with me. Even as I drifted in that area of semi-consciousness, his eyes remained embedded in my mind. Then I was yanked from this realm. I found myself in a hospital room similar to the one I had imagined, less tubes, more flowers. I laughed.

            My mom quickly took notice and called a nurse. All the ruckus my mom and dad were causing called a lot of attention to my room. Through all the faces, I noticed a boy candy striper in the doorway. As his mystical, bright blue eyes met mine, he smiled.    







Thursday, May 1, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Discovering Me Prologue

This I did not actually write that long ago, about a year ago I think. It is the prologue and basically explains the premise of a book I am trying to write. Darn law school keeps getting in the way =) But I graduate on Saturday!!!!! I do hold this piece a little more dear to me, but I would love opinions as to the writing and/or the idea in general. Thank you for any constructive criticism.

Discovering Me Prologue
            I peek around the curtain to see into the house of the auditorium, scanning the crowd. I find Athena, Leo, and Albie in the second row a little off to the right, but no him. Where is he? Leo spots me peeking, smiles, and gives me a double thumbs up as he nudges Athena, who begins waving spastically. Albie, who I can see chuckling at the other two even from back stage, gives me a simple one sweep wave with a small smile on his face. He’ll be here. Breathe.
            “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,” Curie Kingsley, Albie’s mom and one of the city’s liaisons, addresses the audience taking center stage. “As you are all aware for a member of the Elite Caste to graduate from their studies and begin work in their area of choice, the Elite member must present to the city their first significant discovery which must be approved by a committee of qualified Elites.” Breathe. I should have just read the paper to him there and then, or given him a copy at least.
“Today we have one of our most promising up and coming Elites presenting.” Curie smiles over at me in the wings. She thinks she’s being comforting. Ha! “Her areas of study are more numerous and broad than most, covering primarily psychology, psychiatry, sociology, archeology, anthropology, and a little neurology. I know. She never was good at making decisions.”  The audience laughs. If only I thought it was funny. Breathe.  
“Now without further ado, I am proud to welcome Antigone Lace to the stage for her graduation discovery presentation.” Applause roars through the auditorium. Curie exits as I head towards the podium center stage where she had been.
            Breathe. One foot in front of the other. Look up! Smile! Breathe. Begin.
“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” This. I’d do this. Look up! Stronger. Louder. “What would you do if you knew you could not fail? A question originally posed by famous American Pastor Robert H. Schuller. Later the question would inspire Sophia Randolph to create the Randoplh Aptitute Dectecting Scanner, or the RAD Scan.” Breathe. “Over a century ago, it changed our world forever. The RAD Scan can determine as early as the first day of a person’s life what said person could be guaranteed to achieve, the maximum of their potential if correctly applied.” There are so many eyes. All staring at me! “The country in an attempt to improve both efficiency and level of achievement began using this device to separate each child into a group of those with similar capabilities called castes. Each city was divided into a series of sectors, one for each caste. The children are nurtured in whatever manner is required to make the most of the talents that the RAD Scan guaranteed.” Twenty-four seats per row. Thirty rows. Twenty in the balcony. “Since switching to this way of life, the country has produced more philosophers like Aristotle, more scientists like Isaac Newton, more artists like Picasso, and more saints like Mother Teresa than have existed across the entire span of history.” 1,200 people. Approximately fifteen people standing. 1,215 people. Two eyes each assumedly. “While separating the castes has cause some distance between the groups, there is no tension.” 2,430 eyes. “Only great peace has existed since the systems implementation.” All on me! Where the hell is he?! Breathe. “What would you do if you knew you could not fail? It’s an expression meant to free the world’s possibilities. That is what it did for Sophia Randolph. That is what Sophia Randolph meant to do with the RAD Scan. But…” Dark blue eyes. There he is. I said smile not goofy grin. Deep breath. “But the expression, this way of life, has slowly become a cage, a limitation on our dreams…”
                Here goes nothing.