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July 14, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Wrap-up

I participated in the Once Upon a Read-a-thon this week. While I did not completely read any books during the three days, it did help me get back into the swing of things. My vacation totally threw off my reading schedule. I was able to finish the last few hours of The Undomesticated Goddess and start Room. I made progress on Tribulation Point and almost completely read Convergence (had I not had plumbing issues Tuesday cutting into my reading time I would have finished it). I participated in at least one mini-challenge each day and they were fun.

Speaking of mini-challenges, this is my entry into Day 3 Pitch a Book challenge at Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing blog.


As for my favorite book during the read-a-thon I would have to say Convergence by J. D. Watts. It was easy to read (you want quick reads during read-a-thons) and really held my attention to the point I was thrilled to be able to run an errand (which meant walking across campus) with the heat index of 103 F, because I could read on Convergence on my Nook.

I came late to the Harry Potter party

Today's theme for Review Appreciation Day at The Cait Files is all things HARRY POTTER.

When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone first hit the shelves, I was holed up in my dorm room at North Georgia College surounded by textbooks. I often felt like WWIII could break out and I would be none the wiser (well, that's not exactly true since I went to military college and I'm pretty sure the campus would change drastically if WWIII broke out). But you get the picture, that I often felt isolated from current events, so I was complete unaware of this phenomenon hitting bookstore shelves. I don't think I even heard anything about Harry Potter until a few years after I graduated college.

Now, we are told that it will all end on July 15, when the 8th and final movie hits the big screen. Though, it won't be the last we hear about Harry Potter now J. K. Rowling has decided to publish the ebook version. But in honor of the last of the story being told (you have to admit that the movies at times seem like a different story than the books). I am sharing my Potter experience.

I did not take an interest in Harry Potter until almost 2005. I joined a movie club and received 10 free movies. I decided that I would see what all the buzz was about and ordered the first 3 movies. I was hooked with the first movie. I immediately searched out people I knew who I could borrow the books from.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanI really liked the movie version of Prisoner of Azkaban when I first watched it. After reading the book, I decided it was my favorite one. There seemed to be more emotional development in this one: a connection to his parents, in particular his father (his patronus) as well as the bonding between Harry, Hermione and Ron. I have to admit that when I watched the movie I was confused by the appearance of the stag at the end of the movie. From the movie, you do not learn that significance of the patronus form, which you do get in the book.
 
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Widescreen Edition) (Harry Potter 4)The first movie I saw in the theater was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. What stuck with me most, though, was not to read the book immediately before seeing the movie. I kept trying to mesh what I was seeing on the screen with what I knew took place in the book. Which with HP 4 having a large portion of the book left out of the movie, it was difficult and I was confused most of the movie.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)I never read any of the books on release day as I always borrowed a copy. I remember in the lab, we were banned from speaking of Half Blood Prince until everyone had read the book (there were several people with copies so it only took a few weeks for everyone to read it, but during that time there were many whispered conversations as each finished the book). Knowing that I would have to wait for the book, I would start re-reading just weeks before the release and usually from the library, which slowed down how quickly I could read through them (the waiting list is always long). I managed to attend the midnight release of Deathly Hallows at Barnes and Noble. It was kind of boring, truth be told. But I had fun hanging out with my friends Amanda and Barry.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
For a few of the movie releases, I hosted a movie marathon. I think I hosted it for the 4th, 5th, and 6th movies. The first two we did actually watch all the previous movies in 1 day, starting about 1 pm and ending close to midnight. For the last party I split it between Friday and Saturday nights, but the parties were not as well attended and I didn't host it for the 7th release. I decorated my house for one of the movie marathons and several people brought Harry Potter foods. We tried treacle and pumpkin cookies - this was before the The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook (which I have the free Christmas cook book and saw that there was another section available for free recently for my Nook).

Harry Potter And The Order Of The PhoenixI was able to pick up copies of Chamber of Secrets, Half Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows at my library's Fall Festival sales over the years. After the 4th movie, I started re-reading the book after seeing the movie, often as soon as I got home. I debated whether to re-read Deathly Hallows following the release of part 1 or waiting for part 2. I decided to wait until part 2.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Widescreen Edition)I went to a midnight showing for Order of the Phoenix. Like the midnight release of Deathly Hallows, I'm glad I experienced it, but do not wish to do it again. We had a large group and trying to find seats together put us in the 3rd row. I was so tired; I remember feeling owlish. And the movie was a blur (whether because of the close range or tiredness, I don't know). I left the movie hating it. Subsequent viewings have improved my opinion of it.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4)As I write this post I'm continuing my personal movie marathon (I'm reduced to watching one movie a night) with Chamber of Secrets (I got behind because the plumber came Tuesday night). I won't be going to the midnight showing; I'm not even going on opening day. I'm waiting until Sunday to enjoy the movie with friends, because I think that is truly what has made Harry Potter a special experience. I think more so than any other book Harry Potter has brought people together with their common love of this fantastic fantasy series.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)Harry Potter opened me up to a new genre (prior to Harry Potter, I don't think I ever voluntarily read a fantasy novel). It also exposed me to online communities - I was a regular visitor of MuggleNet.com, while I stuck mostly to the news sections I did read a bit of the writings/stories that were submitted. I also loved their weekly caption contest, though I never participated.

So I bid farewell to an era, knowing that Harry Potter will live on in the pages upon my shelf and the images on my DVDs. I would love to hear your Harry Potter memories. Or share your favorite book, movie, moment, etc. of the Harry Potter experience. If you have a Harry Potter related post be sure to link it at The Cait Files post so that everyone can read it.

July 13, 2011

Abbi Glines: Creating the Characters (a guest post)

I would like to introduce you to a new author, Abbi Glines. She recently had her debut young adult novel released by Wild Child Publishing. I'm looking forward to reading Breathe. Since my TBR pile is quite tall right now, I was so happy Abbi offered to share about her characters in today's guest post. Give a big Girl Who Reads welcome to Abbi Gline
Creating the Characters in Breathe
by Abbi Glines
Breathe
A fabulous idea never becomes more than a spark in a writer’s imagination without riveting characters to back it up. The reader has to feel some sort of passionate emotion toward the characters in a novel in order to be interested in the plot they are playing out. So when a writer is typing out the next bestseller, the characters they create need to take on a life of their own. When a character begins to change the idea and twist the plot you know you’ve got yourself a strong personality unfolding.


My debut YA novel, Breathe, had three main characters who evolved in my head before I typed the first word.


Sadie- She would tell the story. It would be her story. Her life. She would be strong but reserved. Her life would make her different than other girls her age. She would need to stand out to catch the attention of a rockstar. She couldn’t just be a pretty face.
 

Jax- The rockstar, the heart throb, the unattainable, he would be larger than life yet once the reader saw him through Sadie’s eyes they would realize he was just a guy. He would have feelings that no one expected. He could hurt, love, cry and still be famous.
 

Jessica- Sadie’s mother and the oh so easy to hate character in the story. I knew this mother. Maybe not literally but in general. She was the aging beauty queen, selfish and needy. Depending on her teenage daughter who she’d forced to grow up too soon. I never meant for the reader to love this woman. Unfortunately she wasn’t a creation of my imagination. She was a mixture of bad mothers I’d had the displeasure of meeting.
 

Once the story began pouring out my thoughts and developed on the computer screen in front of me, other characters showed up. Marcus for example. He is obviously well loved by readers but he hadn’t been in the original plot. He just appeared one day in the kitchen with Ms. Mary. I was just as surprised to meet him as Sadie was. He was easy to write. I had known guys like him when I was younger. The friend who wanted more but knew they’d never be given a chance. The good guy who falls for a girl whose heart is otherwise taken.
 

Maybe some authors sit down and map out every character in their story before they write the first word but I don’t. I start with my core characters and let the others show up. You never know who will walk in the door next. It’s all part of the ride. 

Find Abbi Glines and Breathe on the web:

Website: www.abbiglines.com
Twitter: @AbbiGlines
Facebook
Barnes & Noble
Amazon 
Wild Child Publishing
Read my review: Summer Fun

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Update: Yesterday wasn't a good day for books. I was on the phone most of the day at work so I didn't get to listen to Room. I did get some reading done on Tribulation Point (now on page 95) and Convergence (page 87). 

Mini-challenge: I did the YA Bliss blog challenge of naming best love triangles. This was harder than I thought (I don't read a lot of romance with love triangles), but here our mine:


Dicken's Tale of Two Cities: Darnay - Lucie - Carton. You could make it a square and throw in Stryver as he wants to propose to Lucie.


Schneider's Blind Faith: Chase - Karsyn - Gabriel 


Meyer's Twilight Saga: Edward - Bella - Jacob.


  
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July 12, 2011

BEWARE: Vaccine-nation

Vaccine-nation: Poisoning the Population, One Shot at a TimeVaccine-nation by Andreas Moritz
Paperback, 296 pages
Published March 2011 by Ener-chi.com
ISBN 9780984595426
Read: July 2011 (I think I've been reading it since April)

Please do NOT waste your money on this book. I'm all for opposing viewpoints, but biased propaganda is not informative. I have never given a book a 1 star rating, but this book got one from me. I felt the author was hypocritical and contradicted himself several times. And if I had to read "HIV virus" one more time I was going to scream (the V in HIV stands for virus, so he was saying Human Immunodeficiency Virus virus). He was also very repetitive (which is a tool of brainwashing). 


What I took away from this book:
  1. media doesn't always tell us the whole truth or they spin it for sensationalism (wait! I already knew that)
  2. we shouldn't be pushing for national healthcare (I'm all for informed consent and right to choose medical care and national healthcare could strip us of these).
  3. Be informed when voting (these people are the only ones we can truly hold accountable for the decisions that affect us as a society).
  4. Greed can corrupt people (again I knew that before I read this book).
He did make some good points about eating better, getting plenty of sleep, exercise, and less stress in maintaining our health. But the constant insinuation of conspiracy and use of inflammatory words overshadowed these points. He says the medical industry uses scare tactics to make money off the unsuspecting public, yet, he does it as well. He ties autism, SIDS, miscarriage, etc. to vaccine use. He accuses the medical industry of covering up, using slight of hand, and presenting misleading data. Again, he did this, too. He erroneously reported statistical data. Within any sample where the majority of the population has been vaccinated the sample will have a higher number of vaccinated individuals. So saying that 70% on the 1500 cases where vaccinated individuals really doesn't mean much (an elementary stat course will tell you that). Since the sample does not live in isolation, it must be compared to the population (this is a classic example of comparing apples to oranges). 


In addition to his tactics, I fear he may also be giving deadly information. He does not believe cancer is a disease and that we can heal ourselves of it. He says a temperature of 106 F in a child is not really all that high. 


I could go on and on about why this book shouldn't be read or taken very seriously, but I've already wasted too much of my time on it. I did receive a free copy at my request for review (I have always been curious about the books infomercial authors sell). While I didn't think I would change my view on vaccines, I was hoping for a less biased argument.

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Update: I finished the audio book The Undomesticated Goddess, so will start Room today. I'm on page 65 of Convergence and page 45 of Tribulation Point. Though it doesn't seem that I'm getting much accomplished, the read-a-thon is helping me get back on the reading train after my vacation.
I checked out the mini-challenges yesterday. I had no clue about the book covers and I don't read mythology (I didn't even know there was an Egyptian mythology). I would like to read the Percy Jackson series as the movie was pretty good.


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