My new home: ReadMeAway.com!

Hello, everyone!

Yes, this is not a drill! I have a new home over at ReadMeAway.com! I still have to import some comments, which I didn’t expect, so there’s that. But otherwise, everything’s up and running! A post should be up there already talking about what to expect on my new blog.

See you there, dear readers!

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Bloggers Beyond Books: Let me interview you!

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If you haven’t heard, I’ve started up a new feature on the blog that I call Bloggers Beyond Books. In this feature, I interview book bloggers about their non-bookish passions. I’ve interviewed Emily about ballet, and JosĂ©phine about floorball. I’m in the middle of interviewing other lovely bloggers about their passions, and I’m always on the look out for more bloggers to interview!

How does the interview go?

I like my interviews to be more of a conversation than simple Q&A, so my interview style can be rather drawn-out if you’re more a fan of questionnaires. We start off an e-mail thread, I send you the first question, you send me your reply, and I send you the next question. I like doing it this way because sometimes I want to ask a follow-up question, I want to react to your answer, or it just seems more fun! 🙂

Am I looking for specific hobbies/passions?

No, not really. Anything unrelated to books, reading, or writing books would be good. Whether its collecting tiny FabergĂ© eggs, playing basketball, step dancing, teaching aerobics, baking, psychology, medicine, or make-up. If you’ve got a passion that you want to share with your fellow bloggers, I would like to interview you.

So how do you get interviewed?

Comment below with your non-bookish passion! 🙂 The WordPress comment system asks for your e-mail, so I’ll be able to contact you. 😀

I created this feature because I like to hear about people’s passions, and I want to share it with my fellow bloggers. So if you’re up for it, let me interview you!

Talk To Me 21: The New Girl

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the plot coupon of The New Guy. This week, I want to talk about the other version, The New Girl. Special thank you to Angie @ Pinkindle Reads & Reviews for her comment about it, thus making my blogger mind go “Write it! Write it!”

The scenario:

You are Girl McAverageteen, and your family has just moved to a different city/state/region/continent/etc. You are clearly annoyed by this development, as you feel that you have left behind practically EVERYONE from your previous school and thus your life is RUINED. Skype? Facebook? Social media? You have no idea what that is, and resume your dramatic moaning about how your family is ruining your life, how everyone will forget you back home, how you’ll never see them again, etc.

As you walk into your new classroom, you feel all eyes on you. The phrase “NEW GIRL” might as well be flashing above your head in bright marquee letters, complete with confetti. Everyone is looking at you, and everyone notices you. But you’re just Girl McAverageteen! Why would they notice you?

Rules of plot, of course.

Then, you see them. The bubbly friendly classmate, the friendly guy who will not end up as your love interest, the bitchy mean girl, the broody hottie in the back who will so obviously become your love interest. You feel it, a tingle that something is about to happen.

You’re the new girl in town, and this is your story. Have fun!

Alright, raise your hand if you read a lot of YA and have not encountered this storyline before. If you haven’t, please recommend me some good books because your choices probably don’t have the tropes that I get tired of in usual YA books. Anyway, this plot coupon is something I’ve encountered fairly often.

Plot Coupon Characteristics:

  • Main Character (MC) is the new kid, and since nothing seems to be more exciting than having a new kid in school, they clearly get all the attention from everyone. EVERYONE! Including people from different grades and classes! Really? I don’t know about you all, but I could never keep track of any of the new kids in my high school unless they were in my class.
  • MC will probably make some mistakes, like sitting at the “wrong” lunch table and earning the ire of some clique. This mistake will either make her more endearing/cute to Potential Love Interest, or embarrass her and make her social status plunge.
  • MC will end up becoming attached to Bubbly Friendly Girl and Friendly Guy because they’re here to show her the ropes! Through them, the reader gets all sorts of exposition. Who’s dating who, who the Bitchy Mean Girl is, and insider information on Potential Love Interest.
  • Speaking of love, Potential Love Interest may be that untouchable hot guy who rejects everyone and doesn’t want romance. Until he meets MC, and he becomes automatically smitten with her! He doesn’t know why! Rules of plot, people! (Thank you to Angie for bringing up this point.)
  • Friendly Guy may end up developing a crush on MC, and despite the fact he has been so helpful and kind to her, MC will end up pursuing the unfriendly but hot Potential Love Interest. Really? Really.
  • If fantasy is involved, MC is special but she doesn’t know it yet. The school is probably under some curse or something, and only she can stop it! How did they deal with it before she came along? I don’t know, but now that she’s here, everything will be fine. … Right?

There are more characteristics of this plot, but I intend to cover those in further discussions about the other characters, like Bitchy Mean Girl. Look out for those in the coming weeks! 🙂

What I like about this Plot Coupon:

  • It does hit the mark on some of the struggles of being the new kid. You don’t know the teachers, sometimes you have to run to catch up with the academic pace of things, and you don’t really know who’s a good person to hang out with or who will bitch about you behind your back.
  • If the setting is in our world, sometimes the MC will experience a whole new culture that is absolutely fascinating to read about!

What I don’t like about this Plot Coupon:

  • Dramavalanche. This is why I sometimes steer clear of YA books with a high school setting. Okay, it’s one thing if the MC and Bitchy Mean Girl have an argument and their social cliques are fighting. It’s another thing for it to escalate to the whole school, making MC a social pariah, and even turning her family against her!
  • Insta-love potential. As the new girl in town, she and Potential Love Interest don’t have the benefit of having a history. Trying to bring these two together in the course of a short book can make the romance seem rushed, rather than growing naturally.
  • MC leaving her new friends in favour of the hot guy. Sigh. If this happens, I shake my head and consider reading something else. This paints the MC as ungrateful to those who helped her out when she was new, and makes it seem like the only thing that matters is romance. Nope, sorry!

Some examples of books that use this Plot Coupon:

  • Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins)
  • School Spirits (Rachel Hawkins)
  • Ink (Amanda Sun)
  • Twilight (Stephanie Meyer) (Angie’s example!)

I highly recommend the movie, Mean Girls, for those who want to see this plot coupon handled in a really funny way!

What about you, dear reader?

Have you encountered this Plot Coupon before? Tell me about your experience with it!

Let me know in the comments!

Review 36: On the Jellicoe Road (Melina Marchetta)


36-MarchettaTitle:
 On the Jellicoe Road

Author: Melina Marchetta

Genre: Young Adult; Contemporary

Synopsis: “I’m dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.”

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road. (Goodreads)

Rating:

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Weekly Digest 12: Ana’s Slow Week

This week has been a lazy week in terms of book-blogging. I haven’t replied to comments, or commented back yet. Oops! I’ve been working on some stuff offline, mainly for school and for fun. I’ve also been discussing a video game feature with Jeann of Happy Indulgence. I’m excited to get it up and running soon! 😀

What am I doing this week? Reading some of the books I had on my shelf last week, I hope!

On my shelf:

I’ve got nothing on my shelf this week that I’m going to read for fun, since I checked out books for school. It feels kind of nice to be learning something related to my field again, since I’ve been learning something completely different these past few months. 🙂

This week on RMA:

Blog-o-plane, now boarding!

I’m rather lazy this week, so only a few links this time!

So how are you, my lovely readers? How has your week been? 🙂

Review 35: The Chaos of Stars (Kiersten White)


35-WhiteTitle:
 The Chaos of Stars

Author: Kiersten White

Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy; Mythology

Synopsis: Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you’re the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she’s only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there’s no such thing as a clean break from family. (Goodreads)

Rating: 

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Bloggers Beyond Books: JosĂ©phine & Floorball

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This is a feature where I interview book bloggers about their non-bookish passions. For more information, click here!

Last week, I interviewed Emily about her passion for ballet. Today, I am joined by the lovely JosĂ©phine of Dudette Reads to talk about floorball! Read onto learn what exactly floorball is, good strategies, and the life of a floorball player (injuries and all! Ouch!). I can barely hit a ball when it isn’t moving, much less keep up with the fast-paced moves in floorball!

Like all interviews, she’s included some really helpful links if you ever want to take a whack at floorball. 🙂

Heads up, dear readers!

Double teamed along the boards

Double teamed along the boards

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Talk To Me 20: My “YES!” moments in books

When I’m emotionally involved in a book, I end up reacting out loud to certain events. When something bad happens, I can actually be heard going “Nooo!” In my head, it sounds more like “NOOOOOO!” but I end up verbalising something less dramatic. 😛 When something good happens, I actually go “YES!” in a very triumphant voice.

Today, I want to talk about what moments make me go “YES!” in books. Basically, the moments that I LOVE seeing in books. To the list!

#1: When the protagonist gets called out for their crappy behaviour

Not all protagonists are perfect. If they were, I would be very bored. They’re bound to have character flaws and do stupid things. I think I love it when a protagonist gets shaken up by someone they trust and told “You’re acting stupid!” I like it when the protagonist gets called out because it’s usually the prelude to some serious character development.

If everyone around the protagonist thought they were perfect and wonderful and fawned over them, I wouldn’t buy it. The protagonist wouldn’t seem believable to me at all.

#2: When the protagonist stands up for themselves to a character that’s been treating them badly

Oh, I love this moment. I’m sure the main character has another character that’s been treating them like dirt, whether through verbal insults or physical pushing-around. When the main character finally realises that NO ONE deserves that kind of treatment and stands up to that character, I can’t help but cheer them on.

#3: When the protagonist realises that they can be better

There’s that moment in books when all seems lost. In fantasy books, someone has just died/been kidnapped or the magical item has been lost. Maybe the protagonist has been deserted by their companions or been wrongly accused. They may spend a fair bit of them in the gloom, and I can understand that.

What I love is when the protagonist decides to stop feeling sorry for themselves, put on their big kid pants, and attack the problem with renewed vigour. Cue a training montage if you feel like imagining that.

Those are just a few examples of my “YES!” moments in books. As you can probably guess, they all relate to character development. When events trigger a change in the character and get them on the road to becoming more well-rounded, I like those moments. Maybe even more than the swoon-worthy kissing bits. 😛

What about you, dear reader?

What are some of your “YES!” moments in books? Do we share “YES!” moments?

Let me know in the comments!

Review 34: Howl’s Moving Castle series (Diana Wynne Jones)

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Title: Howl’s Moving Castle; Castle in the Air; House of Many Ways

Series: Howl’s Moving Castle

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy

Synopsis: Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye. (Goodreads)

Rating: 

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Weekly Digest 11: Return of RMA & Bloggers Beyond Books

Hello, everyone!

This week, I came back from my blogging break for the month of April. I also started my new feature, Bloggers Beyond Books, featuring the graceful ballet-loving Emily! Her interview is linked below, and for more information about this feature, please check out this page.

What has been consuming my time lately? Well, video games! I finally joined Steam and I’ve installed my Humble Bundle purchases through it. As always, video games are pretty addicting, dear readers! Be warned!

On my shelf:

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  • The Chaos of Stars (Kiersten White)
  • Code Name Verity (Elizabeth Wein)
  • The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)

Mostly standalones this week, all awesome! 🙂 I am in LOVE with the cover of The Chaos of Stars, which I found through Francine @ Always Lost in Books.

As a side note, I didn’t know Code Name Verity was part of a series! :O Can someone clarify?

This week on RMA:

Blog-o-plane, now boarding!

So how are you, my lovely readers? How has your week been? 🙂