Tuesday, January 29, 2013

[List] All-Time Favorite Novels (So Far)

This is a list of my absolute favorite novels (in no particular order). These are the books I stayed up all hours of the night reading; the books I think back on fondly years after I've read. They're the ones that make me feel all fuzzy inside. And I wish, wish, wish these worlds truly existed.

A great few of these coincide with a previous list I made: Ten Books I Want On The Big Screen 

It was really hard narrowing these down to ten . . .

Artemis Fowl Series - Eoin Colfer 

From a strikingly original new voice in fiction comes the story of Artemis Fowl, a very unusual hero. Artemis combines the astuteness of Sherlock Holmes with the sangfroid of James Bond and the attitude of Attila the Hun. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories. These fairies are armed and they're dangerous. Artemis thinks he's got them just where he wants them, but then they stop playing by the rules. . . .

Artemis Fowl is such a great character. He's an evil genius with an attitude. And he's Irish, which makes him ten times cooler (Irish pride!).

I have yet to read the last two books. I own them, but I decided I wanted to reread the entire series before I finished it. SO NO SPOILERS PLEASE! Or I keeeel you!

Pendragon Series - D.J MacHale 

Bobby Pendragon is a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy. He has a family, a home, and even Marley, his beloved dog. But there is something very special about Bobby.

He is going to save the world.

And not just Earth as we know it. Bobby is slowly starting to realize that life in the cosmos isn't quite what he thought it was. And before he can object, he is swept off to an alternate dimension known as Denduron, a territory inhabited by strange beings, ruled by a magical tyrant, and plagued by dangerous revolution.

If Bobby wants to see his family again, he's going to have to accept his role as savior, and accept it wholeheartedly. Because, as he is about to discover, Denduron is only the beginning . . .

I started reading this series in eighth grade and each year, until the last of the ten books came out in 2009, I waited anxiously for the next to come out. Also, the main characters in this book inspired the three MCs in my WIP The Kingdom's Champion. 

Alex Rider Series - Anthony Horowitz 

They told him his uncle died in a car accident. Fourteen-year-old Alex knows that's a lie, and the bullet holes in his uncle's windshield confirm his suspicions. But nothing prepares him for the news that the uncle he always thought he knew was really a spy for MI6--Britain's top secret intelligence agency. Recruited to find his uncle's killers and complete his final mission, Alex suddenly finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse. 

 The action in these books is phenomenal. Once I start reading them, I can't put them down. 

I actually haven't finished the series. I own the last book (I own a lot of books I haven't read. I'm an addict), but have been slacking on finishing it. I just don't want it to end! SO NO SPOILERS! 

The only problem I have with this series is that all the missions take place within a year. I was fourteen when I started reading these books, now I'm twenty-two finishing them, and Alex is still fourteen, goddammit! I feel old.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

[Review] The Maze Runner - James Dashner

Author: James Dashner
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Published: 2009
Rating: ★★★★★

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is empty. 

But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls. 

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they've closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the Maze after dark. 

The Gladers were expecting Thomas's arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up--the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might find their way home . . . wherever that may be. But it's looking more and more as if the Maze is unsolvable. 

And something about the girl's arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he might have some answers--if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

The Maze Runner has been sitting on my bookshelf for the past few months and I'm disappointed in myself for taking so long to read it. It was absolutely amazing. The tension is thick from beginning to end. I couldn't put it down and ended up staying up until 3:30 two nights in a row reading it (even though I was supposed to be getting my sleep schedule back in order for school). 

Thomas is a great MC. He's smart, brave, and willing to sacrifice himself for everyone else. I think my favorite character other than Thomas is Minho (big shock that I would like the Korean boy, right?). I like his attitude and throughout the book I was desperately hoping he wouldn't die. Everyone else could die. Just not him. 

Though I'm giddy to read the next book, The Scorch Trials, I'm scared of who's going to die next. Minho (and Newt, I suppose) better stay alive! 

Can't wait until they turn it into a movie. 

What did you think of the novel? Oh, and if you haven't read it yet, READ IT! щ(ಠ益ಠщ)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

[Update] It's That Time Again

Winter break is over.


I didn't get as much done as I had hoped. My goal was to finish a stand-alone fantasy novel by today, but that unfortunately didn't pan out. But I did write almost 27,000 words (which is pitiful considering the amount of time I had to do it), and I have a clear sense of where I'm going with the novel. It will be done by the end of January. Or else.

Overall, my break wasn't too bad. I watched a lot of anime and K-drama and read a few books, though not as many as I had planned. I even got to go see the Trans Siberian Orchestra in concert. Oh, and I won a couple hundred at the casino this weekend. Just makes me want to go back to Vegas, baby!

Anyway, it's back to school for me. This semester I will be taking:

  • Third Year Japanese (I've already forgotten everything from last semester.) 
  • War and Peace in Japanese Popular Culture (I get to read manga!) 
  • Writing in East Asian Cultures: From Oracle Bones to Tattoos 
  • Major Project (where I basically write a fifteen page paper on a subject of my choosing so long as it's about Japan. Should be interesting. Or painful. Most likely both.)

I was going to take Korean Film as well, but decided I'm sick of taking 17-18 credits all the time, so I dropped it. Now I'm only taking 14 credits, so hopefully I'll have a lot more time to focus on important stuff, like writing my novels. I also decided this might be the last semester I will be taking. I'm getting sick of school and after I'm done with Third Year Japanese, I'm free to graduate.

Aaaand if I get all A's this semester, my boyfriend will buy me a really pretty new bookshelf.

Is anyone else heading back to school? How was your break?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

[Anime Review] Reborn!

Japanese Title: 家庭教師ヒットマンREBORN! (Katteikyoo Hittoman Reborn!) 
US Title: Reborn!
Episodes: 203
Category: Shōnen
Aired: 2006-2010 Stream for free here at crunchyroll.
Rating: ★★★★

Description: Junior High School student Sawada Tsunayoshi fails at school, sports, and socializing, especially with his crush, Kyoko. That is, until a talking baby called Reborn enters his life. Reborn claims to be an Italian mafia hitman who works for the Vongola family, and it's his job to prepare the reluctant Tsuna into become the family's next boss.

Let the spoilers ensue.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

[Rant] I Hate Teens

I have a confession to make. I despise teenagers.

This is probably not a good thing to say since I consider myself a YA writer, and some of my followers on this blog are teens. No offense is intended, of course. You guys are awesome (and future readers of my novels are also amazing *wink*wink*). I just don’t like the vast majority of your peers.

I didn't like teenagers when I was a teen and me getting older hasn't changed anything. Except to make me more grumpy and set in my ways. One of the biggest issues I have with teens (and of course I'm speaking of a certain type, and not all) is they're always trying to act older than they are. The kids at my high school partied and drank and had the sex. I never understood it. Why try to act older than you are? You're a teen! Enjoy your time as one. It's not going to last forever.

Last weekend I was at the Mall of America. Unfortunately, I went the day there was a dance/Cheerleading competition. Why do, like, so many teenage girls, like, feel the need to, like, talk so freaking much?

щ(ಥДಥщ) Whhhhy?

I keep asking myself, why am I writing for teens since I don't like them? Truth is, I like the idea of a teenager. They're young, they're trying to find their way in the world (whatever that means), and they have a unique outlook on life. I love reading from the perspective of teenagers particularly because most teens in YA novels, at least the ones I read, are exceptional and interesting.

However, real teens bug the ever-living hell out of me. And I shouldn't say I hate all teens. I've met a few who are quite intelligent and hardworking (the creator of The YA Dogtown, for example). You know they're going places. I just wish there were more like them because, quite frankly, the future scares me. I suppose every generation goes through something like this though, huh?

The funny thing is I still get mistaken for a teenager. A few months ago, one of my mom's coworkers asked me what grade I was in, thinking I was still in high school. I responded, "Oh, haha, I'm in my fifth year of college." And you want to know what the sad thing is? I kind of miss being a teen. 。・゚゚・(>д<)・゚゚・。

I suppose I could also say the same thing for children too. I like the idea of children. They're cute and fun for a little while, at least, but, really, all they do is suck the life out of you and leave you with an empty wallet. They're the devil, and that's the reason why I won't be writing any children's books anytime soon.

I hate adults too though.

. . . Real people just suck. This is why I read. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

[List] Favorite J-Rock Bands

As a lover of rock and Japan, you'd think I'd be more into J-Rock. Especially Visual Kei, since the costumes are freaking awesome. The music is usually excellent, but the singer's voice throws me off a lot of the time. Either they speak terrible Engrish, or they just have sucky voices in general. It makes me wonder if the vast majority of people in Japan are tone deaf.

The following are my favorite J-Rock bands. Enjoy!

Maximum the Hormone (Death Note anyone?)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

[List] Top Ten K-Pop Idols

A few years back a friend introduced me to the K-Pop band Super Junior. Thus started my obsession--and really it has become an obsession--with Korea. I'm starting to think I picked the wrong language when I chose Japanese. And what's crazy about my love for K-Pop is that I don't normally like pop music. I'm all about rock and classical. But I made an exception for K-Pop. One, I can't understand what they're saying, so they don't sound retarded. And two, these men are flippin' gorgeous.

TVXQ's Kim Jaejoong

Lee Gi Kwang from B2ST

Lee Kiseop of U-Kiss
I think he would make an excellent Black Knight for when my novel is adapted to film. *nod*

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year and junk! I just put up my new 2013 calendar. Bilbo Baggins is looking at me like I'm crazy. Can't wait until December so's I can stare at Legolas. :B

This year I decided to make a few resolutions. I usually never bother because I don't do what I plan to do. But I figured if I put it out there in public, I'll have more motivation to actually go through with it. So here they are:
  • Get fit. I think this is pretty much on everyone's list. Except for the already awesome people. And I'm not talking about wanting to lose a bunch of weight by starving myself and becoming an emaciated little twig you can snap like a chicken bone. No. I'm talking all muscle, baby. Six pack and everything. Then I'll be ready to kick some ass! 
  • Finish a few books. I want to finish revising The Kingdom's Champion: Book One and start sending it out to agents. I also want to finish the first draft of book two and begin revising it. Lastly, I've started a new YA fantasy stand-alone, which I intend to have done by the 22nd of this month, which is when I return to school. 
  • Get better at multi-tasking/be more productive. I tend to stare off into space a lot. I have a ton of free time, but I never get anything done. 
  • Create more interesting blog posts/ gain a bigger audience. I'm still trying to get into this whole blogging thing. I haven't been very successful so far, but then again I haven't really tried all that hard. I'm still learning. Hopefully this year I will be able to make a stronger online presence and really find my blogging voice. 
  • Get straight A's in school. My boyfriend promised he'd buy me another bookshelf if I did. Heck yeah! 
  • Become super fluent in Japanese and German. I'm getting better, but this year I really want to improve my speaking, listening, and kanji. 
So what are your resolutions?