Thursday, February 26, 2015

Follow Friday: Books on Fire + Friday Funnies

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

Your house is burning down and you have time to select three books you own to take with you. What three books? - Suggested by Alison Can Read. 

Okay, this is kind of a tricky question and I'm going to be super-nerdy about it. First of all, no matter how much I love my books, I don't think they are what I'd think about if my house was on fire. I'm first dive for my 4-year-old niece and sisters (whom I live with). But, assuming everyone is safe and that I can get to three books without risking any lives...

Yeah it's still a tricky question. The obvious answer is to save my ipad because it has hundreds of books on it, and I can always download and read my faves there, even if the print versions get burnt up.

Beyond that, because I'm religious, I'd probably save my scriptures. I've had the same set since I was eight years old and they have literally hundreds of annotations that couldn't be recovered. 

After that, I don't know. I have some collectible classics. They're still replaceable, but more expensive than most of the other hard or paperbacks I have. So, I guess those would be my considerations. In that order. :D

How about you? What books would you save?

Welcome to Friday Funnies! Because everyone needs a good laugh on Friday.

Just some random things that made me laugh this week. Enjoy! :D

(Yeah, definitely NOT!)

(The comments are what make this so hilarious!)

(I think all writers can relate to this on some level.)

(Probably only funny to TWD fans and--as with all TWD memes--extremely insensitive, but I spit out my water when I saw it, so had to include it.)

Hope some of these gave you a laugh. Everyone have a safe and wonderful weekend!

3 Things You MUST Remember When Establishing a Villain's Arc

Villains are some of the most fun, complex characters to write. Depending on your story, your villain can be deep, shallow, funny, creepy, or just about anything in between. Unless we're writing very simplistic children's stories, most of us prefer complex villains, because that makes them more compelling. The more flawed and human they are, the more relatable, which we all know makes for better writing. 

So, here are three things every writer MUST consider when planning a villain's character arc.

1. Villain Psychology -- Here's the thing about villains. They actually want all the same things as heroes and regular people who don't engage in evil and/or douche-baggery. They want love, happiness, peace, justice, etc. The major difference is that villains, unlike heroes, no longer have the hope that they can obtain these things. They have a very negative outlook on the world, so they try to force people to give them these things in various, nefarious ways (i.e. violence, deceit, scheming, etc.)

Another thing to keep in mind is that, despite all their swagger, pride, self-confidence, etc., at their core, they actually have very low self-esteem, a very negative outlook on life and, more often than not, they hate themselves. The more evil your villain is, the more deep their self-hatred. That's important. If a person truly has awesome self-esteem and self-love, they don't feel the need to dominate and hurt others. 

(Keep in mind that the villain will generally not admit any of this, even to themselves. They themselves may not realize this. Also, none of this nullifies their free will. They still have to be held accountable for their actions, but it's important to understand their psychology.)

2. Why they do what they do (OODs). I have an entire post about Objects of Desire, or OODs HERE but the gist is that every character, villain or not, needs at least two: one tangible, one intangible. The tangible one is the thing that they are actually trying to obtain in the story. The intangible one is a more general life philosophy. 

For example, your villain may want money, revenge, power, world domination, etc. That's his or her tangible OOD. But the one I want to talk about that most writers fail to take into account is the intangible OOD. So what is it for a villain? 

As I said above, it's really the same as for heroes, at least up to a point. But here's the rub: really bad villains can reach a point where they no longer want those good things. They no longer want to be saved. They can get to a point where they hate themselves so much, they wish for annihilation. 

I started thinking about this while re-reading Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson's A Memory of Light. Check out this line:
Rand (good guy): "If my victory is not assured, neither is your fall. Let me pass. For once, make the choice you know you should."
Moridin (really bad guy): "Now? Now you beg me to return to the light? I have been promised oblivion. Finally, nothing, a destruction of my entire being. An end. You will not steal that from me...By my grave, you will not!"
Keep this in mind when crafting your villains. Of course redemption is always a possibility, but the more evil they are, the more likely they have given up on redemption all together and wish only to be nothing. 

3. The Arc and Where They Are On It

On the left of this arc is a villain who actually borders on good. You'll find people like anti-heroes and very sympathetic villains here. Their motivations might change throughout the story to where we hardly consider them villains anymore at all.

On the right are the really far-gone bad guys. We're talking Mister Kurtz (Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness), Hannibal Lector, and other seriously evil baddies who are nowhere near redemption. Quite the opposite.

When planning your villain, place them somewhere on this arc. Do they still have a great hope of redemption? Are they too far gone to want anything but oblivion? Are they somewhere in the middle, straddling the precipice between the two?

What do you think of the Villain OOD Arc?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Roth

I was so glad to finally be able to read the third and final installment of this trilogy. I loved the first two books and have been looking forward to reading Into the Still Blue for some time.

Plot: Into the Still Blue picks up where book 2 left off. Aria and Perry have lost a lot, including friends and family. They're surrounded by enemies and trying to find a way into the peace of the Still Blue. It's hard to describe the plot without giving spoilers, especially for those who haven't read the first two books, so I'll just say it's more of the same. But I don't mean that in a bad way. The story goes where you want to see it go and we get more adventures with this world's favorite power couple. :D

Characters: I liked that the characters stayed very true to themselves and each other. The two main characters, even more than the world are what makes this trilogy worth reading. Book 3 does not disappoint in this regard.

Writing: As always, Roth's writing is very good. I always kind of wish that her imagery was a bit more vivid. I can always visualize the action, but not always the setting. That said, her writing is easy to read and you just fly through it.

Ending: I won't spoil, but I thought this was a very fitting ending to the trilogy as a whole. I didn't see any glaring holes or spot any major elements that were unresolved. I was highly satisfied with how it ended. More so, I will say, with how the Divergent series resolved. This just fit.

Overall: Okay, one thing I will say is that I had a hard time getting back into the story. I don't think this had anything to do with the story itself or the characters or the writing. It was just me. Perhaps if I had re-read the first two books (I really didn't have time) to re-familiarize myself with the story, it would have been better. As it was, I just couldn't get super-excited about the final installment of this series, despite how good it was. But I have a hard time with most YAs anyway, and I think I was just kind of over it. But if you like YA, if you liked the first two books, if you're big on dystopian, you'll probably love it. I really liked it, but it wasn't my favorite.

Has anyone else read Into the Still Blue? What did you think of it?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Heroines + Teasers

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teasers come from Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. I was supposed to read this last week, but couldn't get around to it. Excited to read it now, though! :D

"...The two armies stood facing each other, tense and alert, each biting their promise between their teeth. 
Or their lie. 
Akiva realized he'd been expecting this success, because he was unsurprised by it. He was pleased--or a greater word for pleased. Moved. Grateful, to the full reach of his soul. The detente held. 
Until it didn't." (pg. 114)

What are you reading this week?

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top 10 Favorite Book Heroines from Books, TV or Movies 

This is gonna be hard. Not because I can't think of any, but because there are too many awesome ladies out there. How to confine it to ten?

10. Michonne, Carol Peletier and Beth Green of The Walking Dead - I had to give a shout out to the heroines of my favorite TV show. Keep in mind I love these characters in the show, not the comics. (I'm sure they're awesome in the comics too, but I've never read them and I know there are major differences.)

9. Kaylee Kavanaugh of Soul Screamers - I loved this series! Had to love Kaylee! :D


8. Tris Prior of Divergent - Though like many others, I was a bit underwhelmed with how the trilogy ended, I still loved the journey and I loved Tris!


7. Hermione Granger of Harry Potter - Yeah, I know we'll see tons of Hermione and Katniss today, but for good reason. They both gotta make my list. 


6. Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games - Ditto #7.


5. Daenarys Targaryen of A Song of Ice and Fire - Repressed and abused, she still became strong. When she lost everything, she fought back, raised an army, and decided to take back her kingdom. Love her!


4. Arya Stark of A Song of Ice and Fire - Ever adventurous and brave to a fault, you just can't help but always turn the page to see where her heart will take her.


3. Aviendha of Wheel of Time - She embodies every good quality of a strong woman. Warrior, courageous, kind, honorable, nurturing (sort of) and, you know, total badass. :D


2. Egwene al'Vere of Wheel of Time - Down to earth, smart, a leader. The way her story line ends always makes me cry, but I just love her!


1. Nynaeve al'Meara of Wheel of Time - Perhaps my favorite heroine of all time, I'll always love her character and her story arc.

Who are your favorite heroines?

The Walking Dead Recap, Episode 5.11: The Distance

Episode 11: The Distance

We start right after Aaron showed up in the last episode. Everyone else is in the barn and Maggie and Sasha bring him into the barn to meet the others, having already taken his weapons and gear from him. Of course everyone goes into full suspicious-eyes mode. Aaron starts to give his shpiel about how he has a community he wants them to "audition" for. He has pictures and tells them that he's been following them and his job is to bring people into the community. Unfortunately, this sounds a whole lot like a memorized speech, almost like he's selling them a vacation or something. Rick punches him in the face. Okay, assuming this Aaron is being truthful, he's got the most dangerous job ever! If he's going around approaching people who've all obviously been through hell, you gotta know they're going to be paranoid, and you're probably going to get punched in the face. Just sayin'.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Memory of Light Read-Along, Week 6

Welcome to week 6 of our A Memory of Light Read-Along! This week we read Chapters 29-36. Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that's come before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk. Sue over at Coffee, Cookies & Chili Peppers is hosting this week. Hop over and check out her answers as well!

Ishmael/Moridin (Source)
1. Finally, Graendal’s Compulsion of the Great Captains has been uncovered. Do you think that Mat’s medallion will protect him from her ‘advances’? It seems as if Ituralde was the only Captain to resist the Compulsion: any ideas about why that might be?

I hope Mat's medallion will protect him, but I think it really depends on whether or not Graendal was actually using channeling to do it. His foxhead protects him from weaves, but Graendal was using dreams and T'A'R', so I suppose we'll just have to wait and see. 

I don't know why Ituralde was the only one to resist. (Can't remember, specifically.) It could be that the others did resist in their own heads, but we just didn't see it. Maybe it had something to do with being close to where Perrin was (as the wolves turned up to help save his forces). I don't know. Hopefully we'll know soon. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Follow Friday + Friday Funnies

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

Do you like fantasy or realistic books? - Suggested by The Realm of Books

I'm definitely a fantasy girl. High fantasy and medieval are my favorites by far, though I also read lots of dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, etc. I also, of course, like historical fiction, but because that takes place in a different time period than ours, it has its own kind of fantastical element. 

(Fantasy worlds, my favorite!)

I really like Katie McGarry books, but she's pretty much the only contemporary author I get excited about, and therefore the only one I really read, unless I get tons of excellent recommendations. 

I'm mostly a Wheel of Time/Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Robert Heinlein kind of reader. The more strange creatures, magic, secret societies, alternate histories and, you know, castles, the better. :D

Welcome to Friday Funnies! Because everyone needs a good laugh on Friday.

I know it was last weekend, but here are some funny valentines (with plenty of pop culture references) for your viewing pleasure. :D

Which Valentine was your favorite? Did you get a funny one this year you'd like to share?

Thoughts for Thursday: What We Strive For

Thoughts for Thursday is a new feature hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

This week's theme is what we STRIVE for.




What's your favorite quote about striving? Do you have one to add?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Hello All! We've just finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in our Potter Head Read-Along. It's being hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey, and it's not too late to join in if you're interested in reading with us. Details here. As most people are all kinds of familiar with our boy-wizard's world, this won't be your average book review. I'll just talk about points that struck my fancy while re-reading. 

(If you're one of the four people in the world who haven't read or seen HP yet, be warned there may be spoilers below.)

Ah book 5. So sad! I remember that book 5 was the first one I had to wait for. Not very long, mind you. There was something like a two or three year gap between books 4 and 5 while Rowling took a year off. I finished book 5 a few months before book 5 came out, and even that was torture!

Book 5 has so much great stuff in it: great developments, great villains, and tons of character development for Harry. We got to learn more about the centaurs, who are surprisingly closed-minded. We met a real giant--and Hagrid's half-brother, no less!. The there's the formation of the D.A., the delicious rebellion of the teenagers in general, the coming together of the Order of the Phoenix, occlumency, and of course how much we love to hate Umbridge.

Rowling has done such a great job with all these characters, that I thought it was the best thing in the world when Moody, Lupin, Tonks, and a bunch of others we love showed up to escort Harry at the beginning. So great! Number 12 Grimmauld Place was just all kinds of fun, and you can't help but love Kreacher, even if he's an evil little dude. (Polar opposite of Dobby.)

Of course this is also the first book that had a supremely tragic ending. (Yes, I know, book 4 was pretty tragic, but as much as I loved Cedric and was sad he died, our sadness there was more for Harry than anything else, and we didn't know Cedric very well. It was infinitely more heart-rending when Sirius died.)

This was one major gripe I had with the film. I've said it before, but films often try to downplay the darkness that occurs in books and it bugs me to no end. I think the film makers thought the end of this book was too sad, or maybe that it cast Harry in a negative light because he was so angry. So, instead of hash out how Harry was really feeling, they took all the emotion out of that final scene in Dumbledore's office. I had a major problem with that. Of course we got very little of the centaurs in the film and even less of the details like Dobby and the visit to St. Mungus, which was also a shame. (I've always felt like the films short-change Neville's story line.)

Of course the Department of Mysteries bit was greatly simplified in the film (to be expected, as it would have come across as confusing on screen) but I definitely enjoyed the detail of the book more.

On the other hand, I thought as usual that all the actors did an excellent job bringing the film to life. Imelda Staunton, who played Umridge, personified the character wonderfully, though admittedly she's not nearly ugly enough to match the description of the character in the book. The poetic justice of Harry saying, "I'm sorry Professor, I must not tell lies," to Umbridge when the centaurs carted her off was all the film. And the bit in the Ministry of Magic where Voldemort possessed Harry was actually more powerful in my opinion in the film than it was in the book. 

So...pros and cons, as usual. There were things the film did really well and things that it didn't. Overall, I really enjoyed this installment, despite the tragedy, and am excited to begin book 6.

How did everyone else like book 5?