Sunday, December 6, 2015

Back to the Books

Hello, all you lovely, lovely people.  First of all, my sister's lovely blog has inspired me to make my own lovelier.  Therefore, you have her to thank for my new background.  Seriously, click that link, visit her blog, and thank her in the comments of her most recent post.  I'm counting on you.

Now, back to me!  Most of y'all know that I plan to be an author, hopefully a really famous one.  What you might not know (but probably do, since I blasted it to the world on Google+) is that I recently participated in and won NaNoWriMo.  That's National Novel Writing Month for you ignorant folks who don't care enough about me to know what I've done the last two Novembers.

Just kidding.  I love you, and you know it.

Anyway, I did NaNo and it was pretty great. 

Oops, I totally just randomly pasted my whole NaNo book onto this draft.

Anyway. Have a banner.  Winner 2015 - Square Button  Now that we're finished with that, I have a blog post to get to, and this has already gotten chaotic and off-track enough.

Let's talk about books!  Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I have some books to talk about, things I've read and things I'd recommend, and maybe even talk of my own book!

Books to Recommend

All the Wrong Questions, a series by Lemony Snicket (All ages)
Because it's awesome.  It's new and interesting, but subtle and sophisticated at the same time.  It contains possible the best writing I've ever had the privilege of reading, and is hilarious to boot.  It may be my favorite series, and I can't for the life of me decide which book is my favorite.

Mister Max, by Cynthia Voigt (All ages)
Because it's clever, exciting, and helps satisfy that part of me that is always sticking up for the kids, saying they can do anything an adult can.  Because it's written for kids but doesn't talk down to anyone.  Because it has a strong, bright, male protagonist and I'm tired of girls hogging everything.  Because it's fabulous, and you should read it.

The Agency, a series by Y. S. Lee
Not only is it set in Victorian England, which is pretty awesome on its own, but it deals with a lot of things besides.  It was a little refreshing to see the women here using the misconceptions about them to their advantage instead of whining and complaining like I've seen other places.  Also...spies.  When a book combines women in gorgeous dresses with martial arts and subterfuge, it's  got to be pretty awesome.  Another part of the story that I was not anticipating but found much enhanced the depth and interest of the story was the main character, Mary's, half-Chinese background.  I wasn't aware of that racial tension between Asians and English during that time period, but it does seem to fit, and is heightened by the fact that the author is Singaporian (not sure if that's a real word, but whatever).

The Fixer, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I loved the main character, Tess.  She's tough, smart, and kind of sarcastic, but she's not rude or a total smart-aleck like so many others.  That's refreshing.  She's also got a lot of stuff on her plate, which is added to a whole lot by the suspected murder of someone high up in D.C.  Then there's the whole Fixer thing, which is pretty awesome.  To quote the jacket: "When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.'s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians' scandals go away for a price."

Hope was Here, by Joan Bauer (All ages)
I love books that feature MCs with a specific skill and place in life, and that's why I read Hope was Here.  Hope has grown up with her aunt, travelling from place to place as they work at and slowly improve restaurants.  Her aunt cooks, and Hope is a very experienced waitress.  And then there's the whole politics thing, which I also find very intriguing.  I'm not going to lay out the plot, I'm just going to tell you to read it.

The Safe Lands, a series by Jill Williamson
First I'll just say, this is a bit of a strange concept--a dystopian retelling of the story of Daniel.  But it worked for me.  Now, all of the Bible isn't PG, and this series wasn't either.  It dealt with some pretty serious issues, including drug use and sexual promiscuity (not at all descriptive).  But the whole way through, it's showing how these are wrong, so I didn't object to them like I would have in most other books.  The writing was good, the concepts were intriguing, and it had a happy ending.  I'm happy.  I will say, though, at the end I was wiped out, because I felt like I'd been completely plunged into another world.

Moon over Manifest, by Claire Vanderpool
Looking at it in retrospect, I'm just going to say this: this book made me cry so much.  So.  Much.  But it also made me laugh, cry with joy, and smile unstoppably at the end.  It pulls you in deep and doesn't let you go until you've felt every emotion possible.

The Great Greene Heist, by Varian Johnson (All ages)
Not many people know this, but I absolutely adore heist stories, especially clean heist stories.  And I love this book.  It has a smart, enigmatic main character who always wears a tie (one of my favorite details) who also has a really cool brother, and some friends with special and varied skills.  It's exciting, quirky, and even manages to be unique.  The dialogue is some of the best I've read, and always manages to draw me in to read more.

Okay, I'm finished with book recommendations for now.  What to do next...  Oh, I know!  I'll talk about some of my characters from my NaNo book!

Theodore Richard Norwood IV
He's rich, got a private island for his birthday once (I forget which birthday), and is pretty fancy.  He also likes to come up with detailed plots and not tell anyone about them, but still tell them what to do in order to further the cause.  I won't tell you some of the most important things about him, though, because it would ruin the book for you once it's written.  I will say, however, that he can be pretty arrogant sometimes, but he can also be really nice and thoughtful (though he'd never admit it).  He likes to drink coffee every morning as he reads the paper; black coffee, of course.  Anything else would ruin it.  He also can pick locks.

John Sebastian Northmond
He's Theodore's best friend, hired as such when Theodore was ten.  He's a pretty big guy and can seem pretty intimidating; he's often mistaken as Theodore's bodyguard.  He's very observant and can kick a door in (yes, he's quite awesome).  He's not very good with kids, but he likes them all the same.

Josephine Cora Greenleaf
She's a redhead who likes to keep her feelings to herself.  She runs an insane asylum where most of the inhabitants aren't really insane.  She's nice and quirky, but can be quite dangerous to her enemies.  Her biggest asset is that she has plenty of loyal friends and she's extremely loyal herself.

Rain Nomwo
She doesn't have a middle name, but she does have a big family.  Rain is the oldest of nine kids, and does quite a bit of hiding from her responsibilities.  She's a little shy and withdrawn, but can be bold with people she's comfortable with.

EDIT that I completely forgot to include earlier:  If you have any book suggestions for me, please tell me in the comments!  Thanks!

That's it.

So long, y'all!