The Top 10 Books I Read This Year.

Happy New Year's Eve Americans! And Happy New Year to Australia! (And it's getting close in Europe, I believe, if it isn't already.)

I was going to give you a big fancy list, but then blogger decided to fail on me. So you get this instead.
My 10 favorites of 2010. Note that these weren't necessarily published in 2010... it's just when I read them. :)


10. The Secret Life of Prince Charming


9. When It Happens


8. Uglies Trilogy


7. The Book Thief


6. Thirteen Reasons Why


5. The Maze Runner


4. The Hunger Games Trilogy


3. Perfect Chemistry


2. Percy Jackson and The Olympians Series


And my favorite book of 2010 is...
1. Before I Fall

Those are my picks for this year. What were yours? Comment below!




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A Snarky Prose

It just had to be that time of year again. The time that you were practically required to spend with your family. The time that you pretended you got along with them. It was the time of year where you stuff your face at the parties, for lack of anything better to. And then when you stepped on the scale after it was all over, you’d curse at yourself, saying that you wouldn’t let this happen again. But it always did. Oh, and it’s also the time of year when all good television was in a vicious loop of reruns. Which just all around sucked for everyone.

See, that brief description up there might not be you, but it sure hell is me. I hate the holiday season, especially New Year's. Christmas isn’t half bad, except it’s just a total excuse the economy made to tell people to spend money. And tricking little kids into believing there’s a Santa Claus? I personally was never thrilled at the thought of a huge overweight man in a red suit coming into my house. Um, pedophile alert. But that whole Santa thing really crushed some kids.

I look out the window of my studio apartment with a beautiful view of New York City. I have the best view of Central Park out of everyone I know. Right now, it’s covered in a white blanket of snow. Even though snow’s pretty high up on my most despicable things list, I can’t help but admire the view. Sure, it’s a bitch to drive in. But at least it’s pretty.

Limousines have been driving past all day. Considering it’s New Years Eve, Times Square is a madhouse. Celebrities are pouring in from all over for Dick Clark’s annual bash. And there are crazy people who wait in line for days to see this thing. Um, are you mad? I can hear everything right here. And I’m not talking about turning on the TV and watching it. Yeah, it’s that loud.

I can never understand what’s so great about the new year. And if I get that it’s-a-fresh-start-and-a-chance-to-start-over bullshit one more time, I’m going to punch someone in the face.

Because let’s be honest, a new year means one thing, and one thing only. Sure it’s one more year of life. But it’s also one year closer to death. Maybe I’m being slightly morbid here, but don’t tell me you haven’t thought that before.

And what if I don’t want to move on? Maybe this year is the best year of my life. Who says I have to let it go and “start fresh”?

Or maybe I lost everything this year, but I still don’t want to let it go. Maybe I don’t want to let go of him. Maybe my world was perfect until he was gone. Maybe he was more than just a high school crush-turned-sweetheart. Maybe we would’ve been together forever.

But I’ll never know.

Screw the New Year. I can’t let him go.

.................................................................

This piece is titled, "Not A Winter Wonderland" and it's a piece I entered in a contest on Figment. I didn't put this up for the votes (though they would be nice!) but because it was a quick little write-up inspired by a prompt that basically just said "write a five hundred word piece about New Year's using the word crush."

It's really fun to write snarky. When in doubt, go that route. :P

If you have any suggestions for the piece, please comment below!
Or if you like it enough to vote for it on figment, click here.

Thanks everyone!

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Winter Wonderland


Bringing you some pictures of the aftermath of the two-day storm I endured up here. Which is actually pretty wimpy, because it rained the yesterday.. so a lot of the snow washed away. Still a pretty decent showing though.

Oh, but it's sooo icy. I swear I could skate on my driveway.





I'll admit, as of right now the snow is pretty.
It's been a cold barely-above-freezing 33 degrees.
But I love looking at snow when the skies are blue and the sun is shining.





Speaking of winter wonderland, I have a new short story up of figment titled
"Not A Winter Wonderland." It's posted up for the New Years contest.
This piece features a snarky MC who hates all things holiday related, but really is just sick of losing everything and doesn't want to let go. Here's an excerpt.

Christmas isn’t half bad, except it’s just a total excuse the economy has to tell people to spend money. And tricking little kids into believing there’s a Santa Claus? I personally was never thrilled at the thought of a huge overweight man in a red suit coming in to my house. Um, pedophile alert. But that whole Santa thing really crushed some kids.

Check it out (and heart it if you like it) by clicking here.

Ooh, and one last thing. I finally got the reaction buttons at the bottom of each post.
Please do click them! I know people don't always feel like leaving comments, but these will hopefully give me a better sense of the traffic I'm getting on this blog. :)


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I Have Two New Obsessions, Blog Followers


1. Twitter.
How is it that I did not get a twitter account until just yesterday?
Ah, I love it.
And I'm already addicted.

I just think it's cool the whole aspect of following the people who influence you and you can see what's on their mind, right when they say it.

I think I've been holding out because I didn't need another thing to become addicted to. Well, too late! Hehe.

But twitter is nothing without followers. So follow me by clicking here!


Moving on to more important matters...
VAMPIRE ACADEMY!!!

Oh. My. God.
Seriously.
I've only read the first book, and I'm already obsessed.

The characters are brilliant.
Rose is probably one of my favorite MC's I've ever read. Her personality is so much fun to read, and while she acts all badass, she has her vulnerable moments as well. You can really respect her for how much she cares about her best friend, Lissa.

And then there's Dimitri. Mmmm... I think I'm in love with him. Hello, new literary crush. He's just so, gah how do I even describe him? I think this one quote says it all:

“If I let myself love you, I won’t throw myself in front of her. I’ll throw myself in front of you.” – Dimitri Vampire Academy

*Swoon*

I sort of shut myself out from vampire books, ever since Twilight. It wasn't a conscious decision, it just happened. I'd never even heard of these books until recently Then I hear Evie raving about them. She turned our whole little facebook group VA obsessed. And I'm so glad she did.

The best part is, in my opinion, is that when you read these books, you actually forget that they're vampires. The Moroi and Dhampir's (good vamps) possess so many human like qualities, that it's easy to forget. Mead has taken all vampire stereotypes and thrown them out the window. I love it!

I have Frostbite, and I'm SOOO tempted to start it. But I'm using it as motivation to finish my science homework. Do I have the willpower... or will I crack? We shall see...


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Are You A Lauren Oliver Fan?

Then check out this awesome fan page I found!
http://deliriouslyfalling.blogspot.com/

They're currently doing an ARC giveaway for Delirium.
Super exciting!
I'm so stoked for this book, you have no idea.


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Looks Like We'll be Having a White Christmas















It's not the best quality, I know.
But I took it from my bedroom window.
It's too cold to go outside!

Lately it's been snowing constantly around here.
I like the snow well enough.
But I hate the cold that comes with it!
I swear, if there could be snow without cold I'd be all set.

Oh, as of now, I'm finally on winter break. Woo!
We have the LAMEST break ever this year though.
We just started, and we go back January 3rd.
Blech.

I NEED this break.
Even though it's not even going to feel like much of a break with all the science work I've been assigned.
But hey, what else is new?

I'm in desperate need of a major read-athon and write-athon. Here are my vacation goals:
1. Finish Beautiful Creatures by tomorrow
2. Read first two Vampire Academy books that my friend lent me.
3. Write at least another chapter of Perfection and 5k of Blissnorant.
4. Read Elixir and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo if there's time.

I just want a lazy vacation, where I can catch up on some much needed sleep.

And an update about that Flash5 contest I entered:
I made Top 5. I was actually number one among the voters, which I'm extremely proud of. After Lauren Oliver's results came in, I was announced as runner up. SO CLOSE! I'm a tad disappointed I'll admit. But I'm still flabbergasted (I love that word!) that Lauren even LIKED my writing. Even though I didn't win, being #2 out of 1,600 entries is still a nice little ego boost. And there's always a next time. I guess I'll have to wait for Delirium, like the rest of the world. Lol.
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My Thoughts on Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver


What if you only had one day to live? What would you do?
Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?


Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her deathand discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.





Oh. My. God
(Just a warning... be prepared for a rambling about how much I love this book)

I don't even know what to say about this book. I was speechless when I finished it, and I still am. It's one of those books that you think about when you have to put it down, and one of those books that you're counting down until you can pick it up again. If I wasn't loaded with homework all week, it's the type of book that I would sit down and read in a day, despite it being close to 500 pages.

This book is in my opinion the epitome of life, death, love, and friendship. The change we see in the main character from the beginning of the book to the end is amazing, and the whole concept of the book is so unique. In truth, I was looking at the book since it came out, but I wasn't sure what to expect, and I don't like buying hardcover unless I'm sure I want it (I prefer hardcover, but I just hate shelling out $18, only to end up hating the book.) But when a friend of mine suggested it, and I had Borders Bucks, I grabbed it immediately.

This story grabbed me from the moment I started it, and it moved me in ways only few books have. Usually I'm really good at predicting endings, but I had no clue how this story would turn out. And there are important life lessons in there, lessons about bullying and friendship that are comparable to the topics in Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

I thought it'd be boring seeing the same day over and over seven times. But each day was completely different, and everything built up on top of each other beautifully.

When I finished, I was completely numb. I shut the book, a million thoughts running through my head, and walked upstairs to my bedroom, where I burst into tears.

This book really makes us all really reevaluate our life, and the people around us. It challenges us to be better people, which is a message from many books, but this book does it beautifully.

I can't stop thinking about Before I Fall.
I think it's my new favorite book.

Well, for someone who doesn't know what to say, I sure said a lot....


Should I check this book out? Um.... YES X1,000,000. READ THIS BOOK PEOPLE. It's one of those stories that everyone should read, in my opinion. God I love it. You will too!






Blog followers, I need you.

Voting ends Friday for the Flash 5 contest I entered.
As of now, I'm ACTUALLY IN THE TOP FIVE.
I think I'm number 4 as of now.
I really need your votes in order to stay there.
All you have to do is click the little heart.
http://figment.com/books/7235-Do-You-Remember-

You would have to make an account, but why not join?
All you need is an email and a username.

Please, and THANK YOU.

I'm this close to having LAUREN OLIVER read my piece.
I'd love to have your support in helping me get there.

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Do You Remember? (A Piece I Entered in a Contest)

This is the piece I wrote for the figment contest.
It came to me out of nowhere, and I'm really excited about it.
It had to be 500 words or less, mines exactly 500 words.
SKILLS.
Though it was longer, I had to cut about 100 words. :P
Anyways here it is.

Do You Remember?

You hear them before you can see them. But who are they exactly? You don’t know


“What if she never wakes up?” a voice asks.


“She will. Trust me, I wouldn’t let her die.”


You wonder what that means. You try to think back to the last thing you can remember. But everything is fuzzy, like how a television breaks up when it rains. The things you remember don’t make sense… there’s always a missing piece.


Your eyes open, but your vision is glossed over. You blink a few times, gaining your bearings. You realize that you’re alone. Getting up from the cot you’re on, you see that you’re trapped in a padded oval room. The color white surrounds you.


A word pops into your head, and you realize what this place must be. An asylum. How did this happen? I’m not crazy, you think. But how can you possibly know for sure, considering that you can’t remember anything.


You wish there was a bathtub nearby; baths always cleared your mind.


That’s a crazy thing to wish for, you think. Maybe I am insane.


When you hear footsteps, you should be scared, but you aren’t. Frankly you’re too shocked to be scared.


You decide to situate yourself in the far left corner of the room, the spot furthest from what you thought to be the door. A moment later the door creaks open.


In came a man tall, stocky, his facial expression scary. Scary, because you couldn’t decipher it.


The man speaks."


“Where is he?”


Confusion sweeps over you.


“Where is who?” you ask.


“Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Where is Sam? You know what our deal was. You’re the one who came up with it.”


“Deal…?” you say meekly. “What are you talking about? Who are you? What have you done to me?”


He grabs your shoulders, shaking you. “Don’t you see? Sam did this to you! He changed you! Your mind, it’s different. You don’t even remember me? Not even one bit?” he asks. He lets go, and you stagger backwards to the wall.


Your head is pounding. You don’t believe this man for a second. You love Sam. Sam wouldn’t do anything to hurt you.


“Why would I remember you?!” you cry. “I’ve never seen you before in my life! And I’ll never tell you where Sam is. I love him!"


The anger in his eyes is taken over by pure hurt.


“I never would’ve believe that you could be changed this quickly by these people. What have they done to you? You’re delirious. I never would’ve let you gone if I knew…”


He let’s out a frustrated scream, punching the padded wall. Then he put his hands over his face and collapsed to the ground. He’s unstable, even more so then you are. You think that if anyone should be locked in this padded cell, it’s him.


But then he looks at you, and a memory rushes back.


“Caleb?” you whisper.



Duh duh duhhhhh....

LOL


So what do you think?

I chose second person because I love messing around with it, and I thought it was unique since most people don't go that route.


And it's a flash 5 contests so I had to use the words (or variations of the words) delirium, stagger, corner, bathtub, and oval.


If you like it, I'd love if you could vote for it here.

Just click the heart button. Hearts equal votes.

(You would need to make an account, but all you need to provide is an email. And the site itself is super fun!)


The top five will be judged by Lauren Oliver!

And the winner will receive an ARC copy of Delirium!

Ahhh!


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Marisa Writing Dystopia? Say What!

It's true, folks.
I began writing a dystopia novel.

Blissnorant


















Here's a lame pitch that I just wrote out of nowhere.
I only have the first two chapters written (about 6k) so as I write more I'll do a better pitch.

There are two main emotions that drive the human race: love and hate. People will go to extreme measures for both emotions. Those two four letter words were the downfall of mankind. That’s why they had to be eliminated. That’s why the scientists created Blissnorant, a drug that would erase a human’s capacity to feel these basic emotions. That’s why generations later, words such as war and poverty became extinct. It’s all because love and hate were eliminated from the world’s vocabulary.

Well, almost eliminated.

You see, the majority of people in this world called Encidious are blissnorant. Blissfully ignorant to complex emotions. Then there is the remote town of Philos, in the middle of what would be considered no-mans-land. These people are not blissnorant. These people know.

It's told in alternating first person between James of Philos, and Sophia of Encidious.
I'd talk more, but I'm not giving too much away.
I'm really excited on how it's coming along so far, and I can't wait to write more.

If you want a sneak peak, click here.
The first two chapters are posted on Figment, a new writing site that just launched.
I feel like that will be a better place for suggestions because of the lack of competition.
Then I can put it on InkPop when I reach the word count.

AH, I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK.
And please don't be quick to judge, and say that it's too much like other dystopias.
Because I promise you it isn't, or at least the end product won't be.
I've been especially reading up on dystopia lately so I don't accidentally copy something. :)

It seems like many InkPoppers are migrating to Figment.
It's interesting, and I love the no top five thing, so people who WANT to read your story will read it. No bribing over there. It does need some work in my opinion, but for it being a brand new site it's not bad. I feel like it'll be the place where I test my stuff out before I put it on InkPop.





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My Thoughts on the Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld

This amazing series is too complicated to explain, so I'll just give you the pitch for each book, and give my thoughts at the end. I could've done each book separately, but I figured it be easier to do it all in one, except for it's companion book Extras.

Uglies: Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

Pretties: Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun -- the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom -- is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.
Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life -- because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive.

Specials: "Special Circumstances" - The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor - frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.

And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.
The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.

Still, it's easy to tune that out — until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.


Can I just say that as a whole I loved these books. It's such a creative concept, living in a world where being normal is considered ugly, and Scott Westerfeld executed the setting and mindset of the people perfectly. I learned about new gadgets such as hoverboards and interface rings, and by the end of the series it was like I had my own. I was never confused with the terminology for a second.

These books follow main character Tally, and we see her change in predicable ways throughout each book. In the first one she's an ugly, in the second she's pretty, and in the third she's special. I personally liked Tally best when she was "ugly". Likewise, I felt like the narration was the strongest in Uglies. In Pretties and Specials, Tally's not herself for half the book, and then she figures out how to rewire her brain, so she's clear-minded again. I wished there was more clear-minded Tally than the "bubblehead" Tally in Pretties and the "Icy" Tally in Specials. Just my personal preference.

The science fiction elements and the technology was ingenious. I've been scouring for good dystopia reads lately, because my newest project is dystopian, and this is definitely up there with the best.

The characters overall were pretty well done. Tally was likable for the most part, at least after she found her way back from what the operation did to her. I loved David, which is probably why I liked Uglies best, that's the one he's in the most.

The only thing I have to say is that I felt in some parts the narration dragged, and I'd find myself skimming. There's long chunks of prose (i.e. when Tally's alone in the wild making her escape.) This didn't happen often though, and the action scenes definitely made up for this.

Loved it! If you're into the dystopia craze, this series is a great choice!


Uglies Rating:



Pretties Rating:



Specials Rating:












I Love Ya, Tomorrow. You're only a day away...

Is it just me? (probably)
Or did this week feel like FOREVER.
It dragged so badly.

Among my friends, it seemed like everyone was in a bad mood.
In science class we were working on our posters (yes, another poster. And this one's DOUBLE SIDED. Woo! *rolls eyes*)
And we were all just snapping at each other the entire class.
It was just one of those days.

I haven't been able to read at all this week.
I started Specials Sunday night, hoping to finish it by Tuesday.
Because I figured I could do a "My Thoughts" on the entire trilogy.
Hopefully I'll be able to finish it by tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow...
1. It's Saturday! Yay!
2. I have an audition for Jr. Districts (singing.) Wish me luck!
3. IT'S MY BIRTHDAY :D

All and all a good day I'd say.






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My Thoughts on Tangled

Why do these "My Thoughts" have to be limited to just books?
Answer: They don't!

On Friday I saw the new Disney movie, Tangled, which I based off the story of Rapunzel.
I was actually looking forward to seeing it, I love all Disney movies. AND it was in 3-D :D

This movie was adorable, as I expected.
As per usual, Disney knows what they're doing.
These movies never cease in their cuteness.

PLUS Mandy Moore was the voice of Rapunzel.
I love Mandy Moore!

This movie was such a smart take on a classic story. I loved all the characters, (especially Flynn)
I laughed, and I even wanted to tear up and the end.

But don't worry folks, it was a Disney classic happy ending :)


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