7.31.2010

Hey I just wanted to let you all know that I loved Graceling so much I'm reading it again. If that doesn't mean anything to you, let me tell you something. When I read a new book, I don't usually read it again for a while, especially when I still have new books to read. The only other book I read again immediately after I finished it was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (which is still my favorite book). Happy Reading!

Book Review: Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner

The war between humanity and Faerie devastated both sides. Or so fifteen-year-old Liza has been told. Nothing has been seen of heard from Faerie since, and Liza's world bears the scars of its encounter with magic. Corn resists being harvested; dandelions have thorns. Trees move with sinister intentions, and the town Liza calls home is surrounded by a forest that threatens to harm all those who wander into it. Still, Liza feels safe. Her father is strong and has protected their town by laying down strict rules. Among them: Any trace of magic must be destroyed, no matter where it is found.
Then Liza's sister is born with faerie-pale hair, clear as glass, and Liza's father leaves the baby on a hillside to die. When her mother disappears into the forest and Liza herself discovers she has the faerie ability to see--into the past, into the future--she has not choice but to flee. Liza's quest will take her into Faerie and back again, and what she finds along the way may be the key to healing both worlds.


Bones of Faerie is a dark fairy-tale twist with familiar things like moving trees with bad intentions and all together new things like glowing stones that explode when you touch them, and shadows that stalk you with motives unknown. This books is set in Missouri after the war between humanity and Faerie, and all that's left are a few towns, a sinister forest, and the gateway to Faerie itself: the St. Louis Arch. 

When Liza's sister is left to die on a hilltop because of the obvious faerie magic she is touched with, her mother leaves and goes into the forest. Soon after, Liza discovers she too is touched with magic, the ability to see. Liza's father despises magic, so to protect herself, she must leave her home and venture into the forest. Her wanderings lead to another town, one that accepts magic and teaches the children to use it, and she learns a secret about her mother. Now Liza must venture out into the forest once more and go through the gateway to Faerie, and find her mother. 

I enjoyed this book, with its dark twist on a fairy-tale. When Liza leaves her town, she realizes almost everything she knew about the world was wrong. Magic can heal as well as kill, and protect as well as harm. This book is about learning and trusting and fear and hiding. My kind of book. The characters were nicely developed, and the world was amazing with its familiarities and its strange new things, some all together dangerous. It was a good read, and I definately recomend it.   


7.29.2010

Book Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

A Deadly Grace
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight-- she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

       When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. 
       She never expected to become Po's friend.
       She never expects to learn a new truth about her one Grace--or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...


Graceling was amazing. I loved it. It was one of the best books I've read in a while. I loved the characters and the settings, and the way it all came together, and the unexpected love story woven in with it all. Katsa was an intriguing character with an amazing skill which was feared across all the seven kingdoms. Her uncle sent her all over to punish and bully people who had wronged him in anyway, but she was tired of it. She wanted to do something good. she organized a secret group who would go out on missions to help people, and save people from their crazy kings. One mission led to meeting Po, and a whole string of adventures unfolded around them, including Katsa confronting her uncle and then leaving the city. Graceling was skillfully written and had me thirsting for more. I definately recomend this book to everybody, and now I'm off to the bookstore to buy Fire, Graceling's compaion book.

7.28.2010

Book Review: Sisters Red Review

"The wolf opened its long jaws, rows of teeth stretching for her. A thought locked itself in Scarlett's mind: I am the only one left to fight so now I must kill you." 

Scarlet March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister, Rosie, from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and a blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt that her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferocioulsy alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Scarlett's only friend, Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax. But does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?

                                                                       
Sisters Red was a modern fairy tale packed with action and suspence that had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The detail was amazing and I felt like I was standing next to Scarlett and Rosie the whole time. This book was written in alternating perspectives so you got to know both Scarlett and Rosie really well, and hear their voices. Scarlett, a hunter, wants to do everything she can to destroy the Fenris and expects Rosie and Silas to help her in every way possible. Rosie only hunts because thats when she feels closest to her sister, but she's tired of it. She wants to try something else, be someone else, and when she falls in love with Silas, he convinces her to try new things. When Scarlett finds out, it drives them apart. This is a love story, a hate story, a fairy tale, and a story full of twists and turns you'd never expect. I would definately read this book again and again.  


 

7.27.2010

Illusory

A council had been called. All the important people of the City of Angabar were making their way to Central Hall, all wondering the same thing: What now?

The King and Queen of the Southern Realm of Taintus were seated already at the head of the large rectangular table of polished maple with excited expressions on their kindly faces. The door opened and the King beamed as the Nobles of Angabar began to poor into the meeting room. When everybody was standing behind their respectable chairs, the King and Queen stood and the people bowed. The King then smiled and gestured for them to sit down. “Thank you all for coming at such short notice,” he said in his pleasantly rich tones. His blue eyes twinkled and some of the people grimaced, knowing that he knew they were tired of being called to councils. “As soon as my daughter arrives,” he continued (they all looked at the empty seat on his left); “we shall begin this council.”

The King then sat in his chair and quiet murmuring broke out around the table. The King leaned close to the Queen’s ear to whisper something when the door opened once again. The noise stopped and all heads turned to see the King’s daughter walk through the door with a certain air of smugness about her. She carried herself upright and held her head high with her bouncy brown curls spilling about her shoulders, and there was no doubt that she was a daughter of kings. She walked pass the seated nobles, smiling almost mockingly at any who met her cold gaze. She seated herself daintily upon her chair and looked to the King. “Sorry I’m late, Father,” she said in a clear and proud voice.

The King smiled at her. “It’s quite alright, Madelene,” he said, his eyes beaming. “Now that you are here, we may begin.”

He cleared his throat and all straitened in their chairs, listening intently. “The King of the Eastern Realm, King Ebelard, has sent me a message requesting the union of our Realms.”

The few who had remained slouched in their chairs suddenly straitened up and were now gazing at the King intently, drinking in every word.

7.25.2010

Tips For Writers

Hey all you writers out there, whether you be 2 or 102; here are some tips you've probably already heard but is probably the best advice you'll ever hear for writing.

1. Practice. They say practice makes perfect. Let me tell you, it does. The Cinderella retelling and the untitled story are probably some of my best stories, but they're not perfect. There is a lot I could do to improve them despite what some of you may think. My first stories (I was quite proud of them when I wrote them)are terrible. They have all kinds of problems. Don't count on seeing them posted. But that's OK. Almost everybody starts out like that. Just ask around. You can't just practice once or twice a month and then think you can take on the world with your wonderful *cough* crappy *cough* story because you can't. Write every day, even if you don't feel like writing. Especially when you don't feel like writing. Again: Practice makes Perfect.

2. Read. You can't write if you don't read. Plain and simple. That's how you learn to write (I don't mean letters, or book reports, just FYI). That's how you learn to create your stories. Most people when they're starting out actually re-write their favorite books and just put in different names. My first story has an uncanny likeness to Harry Potter. The only difference was the main character was a girl and she had a brother. That's OK. Don't freak out if your best friend comes up to you with a story all excited and its a poorly written copy of the Goblet of Fire. Just pat them on the back and tell them how good their story is. Actually just pat them on the back. Their story (most likely) is horrible. Rewriting books is a good way to practice. You learn to develop the characters, develop their voices, and how to make the story flow. Another thing: don't only read your favorite books, branch out and read the crap that bores you to death. That's how you learn. I know I'm sounding redundant now but I hear repeating yourself is the best way to remember something. So read, read everything, and read often.

3.Write down EVERYTHING. Write down all your ideas, you'll never know when you'll want them again. Its a horrible feeling when you had this great idea for a story that you were really excited to write and all you can remember is that you were excited to write about it. Never throw anything you write down away, whether its character descriptions or single words. Keep it. File it away. Hide it under your pillow. Just DON'T throw it away. You'll regret it. Trust me. And if you do happen to heed my words and not throw your precious idea/single word/character description away, put it somewhere organized. If under your pillow is the most organized place you can find, put it there. Later in life, be it next week or in ten years, you'll be glad if you can find your things easily.

4. DON'T GIVE UP!!!!!!!! If you give up I will personally hunt you down and karate chop your head off. I mean it. If someone tells you your writing sucks, box their ears and tell them I told you to do that if anyone said your writing sucks, unless they said it politely and they are right. If they're right go and edit/write ten excellent pages that will make J.K. Rowling get on her knees and beg for you to tell her your secrets. (Just in case you haven't noticed, I'm a tad bit obsessed with Harry Potter). If you give up just because someone didn't like what you wrote, then forgive me, but you're pathetic. There's always going to be someone who doesn't like your writings and they aren't worth your time. I know it hurts when people don't like you but here is something that might make you feel better: Box their ears then walk away and never think of them again. Focus on the people who 1. like your story and 2. want to help you to make your story better (aka constructive criticism). If you give up just because someone told you your story would be great with a little more explanation in chapter two, or more detail in paragraph twenty six then you shouldn't be wasting your time reading this. Go play basketball or Mario Kart.

5.Do Other Things. Don't spend all your time shut away in the dark corners of your bedroom reading and writing. Get out and experience things. You can't write anything if you don't do anything. It will just be a poorly written copy of the Prisoner of Azkaban. You have to know what a rose smells like to describe the smell of a rose. You can't write a book about a basketball player if you've never seen a basketball game, even just on TV. That's just the way of the world. Don't talk about things you know nothing about. Don't write about things you know nothing about. See how that works?

6. Have Fun. If you don't like writing, odds are you aren't a good writer and you're wasting your time reading this post. You can love to read and not like to write. Its OK. Go read your book. Don't waste your time. Write because YOU want to, not because someone told you to (unless its a school assignment. don't tell your teacher I told you you don't have to write if you don't want to, 'cause you'll get in trouble). If you do like to write, ignore the people who tell you you're wasting your time writing, because they're wrong, k? Got that? Write because you enjoy it. Write because you're a writer.

These are just a few of the good tips that can be found all over the Internet, and even in books. Imagine that! Books that tell you how to write books! What a concept! Now having said this, go write me five pages then comment and tell me how much you liked/loved/disliked/hated my post. Good night!

7.23.2010

The Epilouge for a Story that I Never Finished

“Come, my darling, we are late,” said a tall, graceful, brown haired woman as she hurried out her door.
“I’m coming, Mother,” her fair haired, blue eyed daughter replied, trotting after her mother.
“Your father had better not be late either,” the woman said, mostly to herself.
“Mother,” the girl said, clutching her mother’s embroidered skirts. “Mother, where are we going?”
The woman smiled down at her daughter, straitening a red bow in her blond hair. “Did you not hear anything at all when you had your pretty little nose buried in your books?” she said, touching her nose. “We are going to your grandfather’s house.”
“Oh,” she replied. “And father is going to be there?”
The woman smiled once more. “Yes Felicia, my dear. And Uncle Mark, Auntie Mei, and Uncle Jeff.”
Felicia wrinkled her little nose. “Uncle Jeff is crazy,” she complained.
Laughing, her mother answered, “Yes, his is a bit odd. But we’ve something important to discuss and he must be there.” She paused. “And you need to behave yourself while we are talking,” she added.
“Yes mother,” Felicia said gravely, as if she wouldn’t dream of misbehaving. “Will we be there long?” she asked.
A frown touched the beautiful woman’s face. “I don’t know Felicia, darling.” The little girl looked up to her mother’s face her eyes holding a silent plea. Smiling again, she added, “But the moment we’re done, you can go explore with your little friends.”
Felicia’s face lit up with excitement at that, and she hugged her mother as best she could while walking.
They had reached the drive to the old manor house. The woman smiled at the familiarity of it then hurried to the door, her daughter trailing behind her. The door opened and a tall man with short graying hair emerged. “Ah, Mrs. Tallond, we’ve been expecting you. And here is the lovely Felicia.” He bowed to them and Felicia stifled a giggle. “Right this way,” he continued, pretending he didn’t hear and standing aside to let them pass. “Down the hall then up the stairs to your—“
“I know, Raymond, I grew up here,” the woman answered with an air of annoyance.
“Of course you did, Mrs. Tallond,” he said, bowing again. She rolled her eyes then started down the hall, taking her daughter’s hand in hers.
At the top of the stairs, a figure was waiting for them. “Alex,” he called when he saw them, spreading his arms wide.
“Mark,” replied Alexia, embracing her brother. Mark smiled down at Felicia. “Hello there. How’s my favorite niece?”
Felicia grinned back. “Hello, Uncle Mark.”
Still smiling, Mark put his arm around his sister’s shoulder and took his niece’s hand. “Let’s go see your father, shall we?”
They walked like this down the hall and to the right into the study. Alexia remembered how so long ago, she and Mark had raced down this very hall to be told of the school they were to go to…
“Alexia,” boomed a voice, breaking here out of her thoughts. “We were beginning to think you weren’t coming!” Felicia grimaced, recognizing the voice of Uncle Jeff. She allowed herself to be pulled in the room by her Uncle Mark then immediately walked pass Mark’s new wife Mei to her father.
Unfortunately, she didn’t escape the notice of Jeff. “Felicia,” he said fondly. He scrutinized her face. “You look so much like your mother. Except for your hair. Where on Earth did that blond hair come from? Your father’s hair is nothing like it either. Though you do have your father’s nose. Leonard, do you know where she gets that beautiful blond hair from?”
Leonard smiled down at his daughter whose chagrin was plainly visible on her face. “My hair was precisely that color when I was her age. Alexia wouldn’t remember, it darkened a few years before we met,” he said, squeezing Felicia’s arm. Just then, Lord Stavis walked out of the shadows. He gazed at his granddaughter affectionately before clearing his throat. “Now that Alexia has arrived, we may begin.”
Alexia rolled her eyes. She knew from experience that her father enjoyed speaking, so she walked over to her husband and daughter and made herself comfortable.
“As you know,” he continued, “Josaphine has just passed away.”
Mark looked surprised. “She was still alive?” Mei slapped his shoulder and he grinned. “I was just kidding,” he said, “Please continue, father.”

7.22.2010

Book Reviews

I've been thinking, and since I like to read so much, I'm gonna start posting about them here on my blog. I'm going to go through my bookshelf and reread all my books then tell you what I think of them. Right now I have 68 books on my shelf and my birthday is coming up so you can bet there will be more! The first book will be Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. While I'm reading that feel free to comment on my stories! Also, I will be posting a couple of sketches soon (when i find my camera) so keep on the lookout for those!

7.21.2010

Rachel

Rachel sat there in her dark room, her long legs hanging over the edge of her bed. She stared out the rain splattered window into the cloudy night, admiring how peaceful it looked. This was her favorite kind of night; wet, calm, the way the rain sounded on the roof.... The only thing missing was the moon, covered by the soft grey clouds. She sighed and lay back, resting her head on a soft pillow, wondering if anyone else enjoyed the rain as she did.
Sighing again, Rachel stood up and slid her sweat shirt over her head and draped it over the back of her chair in the corner of her room. She quickly pulled her long silky black hair up in to a messy bun to keep it out of her delicate face. She went to her dresser and pulled out an old pair of flannel pajama bottoms and an over-sized t-shirt. Pulling them on, she walked back to her bed and flipped on the little lamp beside it, a warm glow illuminating the small bedroom. On the bed was Rachel’s favorite quilt, tan with a leaf pattern sewn onto it; A gift from her aunt. On the dresser was an assortment of porcelain dolls and other little trinkets collected over the years.
She sat on the bed again, this time pulling her legs to her chest. She rested her chin on her knees, her green eyes bright and thoughtful. She looked over at her clock and was surprised at how late it was. She shut off the lamp, and with one last look at the grey sky, she pulled the blankets up and rolled to her side and fell asleep.

7.07.2010

Cinderella Retelling (first part)

My momma died today. It wasn't unexpected as she had been sick for a long while before. She told me not to be sad, that she would watch over me from Heaven. I'm trying not to be sad, but it's hard. Daddy isn't helping matters. He has locked himself in his study and refuses to come down. He said he has to pack for a trip. I hope he comes out soon. I want him to sit on his big chair and hold me close like he used to.

I hear a knock on my door. "Come in," I say quietly. My nurse, Mary Ellen, peaks her head in. She looks at me, her face full of sadness. "Come here, child," she said, and she holds her arms out. "Come let me hold you."

I get up from my window seat and run into her arms. As I bury my head in her soft hair she rocks me. "Oh, Eleanor," she says, stroking my white blond hair, "It'll be alright. Don't cry child, it'll be alright."

I let her hold me and rock me and I feel a little better. Mary Ellen always makes me feel better. She takes my face in her hands and wipes my tears away. She gives me a small smile and I give a watery one in return. She hugs me tightly then stands up strait. "Come with me, Ella darling."

I put my hand in hers and we leave my dark room and walk down the stairs. "Where are we going?" I ask in a small voice. She squeezes my hand and says "The orchard. We are going to plant a tree."

She leads me through the house and into the kitchen and we get a small watering can, then go through the service door beside the ovens.

It's warm outside and I hear birds chirping in the trees. The cherry trees are in full bloom and the blossoms smell delicious. Mary Ellen leads me through the trees deep into the orchard. We stop in a small clearing and she takes a small seed and a little trowel out of her apron and hands them to me. We kneel and begin to dig a small hole in the soft earth. When the hole is deep enough, I drop the seed in and we gently smooth it over. She hands me the watering can and I sprinkle water over the freshly dug earth. We stand up and brush our dresses off and she takes my hand again. She looks down at me and smiles. I smile back and we walk back to the house.

7.06.2010

Untitled

I don't have a title for this story yet, but I'm open to suggestions. Here is the first bit:

Alina drew the dark hood closer around her face as she hurried through the empty streets, trying to blend in with the shadows. She knew the pendant she had clasped in her hand would protect her from any harm but she'd rather not have to uses it. She came to a corner and paused, glancing around. When she was sure there was nothing waiting for her she darted around the corner and down the next street. Avoiding detection was crucial for survival.
As she hurried back to the safe house, she looked around and observed the ruins of this once great city sadly. The majestic buildings with their great spires were crumbling and covered in scorch marks, and the cobblestone street that had once been prided as the most beautiful street in the land was covered in cracks with weeds and grass sprouting up through them. She briefly closed her eyes and saw a vision of blooming trees, sparkling stain-glass windows, and laughing, happy people going about their business, but when she opened them again, all she saw was decay and despair. She shook her head to rid herself of such thoughts then turned down the alley that led to the safe house.
The safe house was expertly hidden and none but the most trained eye could spot it. Even those who knew exactly where it was had trouble finding it sometimes. The entrance was half-way down the alley in the shadow of a big pile of crates and boxes. The entrance itself looked like nothing of importance from the outside: a few pieces of broken crates layered haphazardly on the ground; but if you looked closely you could see a small key hole on the right edge. When unlocked, it revealed a sturdy looking metal door with another key hole.
The sunlight was almost gone when Alina reached the door. She pulled a small key on a chain from around her neck and was in the process of inserting it into the hole when she heard a distant shriek. She glanced skyward then quickly opened the door and disappeared into the dark tunnel.
As she placed the key back around her neck, she heard the door slam behind her then a loud click that meant the lock had engaged. She heaved a sigh of relief as the darkness engulfed her. This darkness was comforting. This darkness meant safety. She hurried down the dark tunnel without hesitation; she had been down it many times now and knew it well. When the tunnel began curving to the right she knew she was almost there. Alina heard the soft murmur of voices before she reached the large, heavy oak door. She smiled to herself at the thought of the few who would eagerly be waiting for her return.
She turned the heavy brass door knob and the voices went silent. She walked into the room and threw back her dark hood, revealing her youthful face and the abundant brown curls that hung loosely down her back. The atmosphere of the room immediately lightened as the tension leaked out. Several people grinned and waved at her but most people just went back to what they were doing before, pretending that nothing happened. Alina was used to such treatment' they were jealous. They wanted to go outside again, too. Some had never even seen the outside world, just the confines of the safe house. But it was too dangerous, and they knew that.
Alina unfastened the clasp of her cloak and hung it on a peg beside the door then dropped her bag lightly on the threadbare carpet. She heard footsteps behind her and a small smile touched her lips. "Hey, Vincent."
"Dang it. How do you do that?"
"I listen," she told him. She turned to face him and saw him grinning at her. "What?" she asked.
He shook his head. "Nothing," he said. "So, how was it?"


Comment Please!

PS this is not the Cinderella retelling.

7.05.2010

First Post

For this first post I'll just tell you a bit about myself and what I like to write about.

My name is Amanda Breck and I love to read, and I love reading about the worlds and characters created in books so much that I decided to write my own stories. Some of them include a love story, a kidnapping story, a dragon story, and a fairy tale adaptation. I mostly write about what ever comes to me. The first major story I wrote was about a brother and a sister I had a dream about. From then on I started drawing inspiration from the things around me and using it in my stories. A lot of my stories begin with settings similar to where I started thinking about the story.

A tip to all who want to become writers/authors: Read. A lot. And write a lot too. You can't be a good writer without reading, and the best readers are usually writers, too. One last thing; you need to practice writing. More times than not, the first story you write will stink. Mine did. So read, write, read, and write some more, then go back and read again. That way you can get better at both.

With that being said, good night everyone, and happy writing! I'll be posting some of my current story soon!

Search this blog!