June 23rd, 2011

kitty content

Reading and Fanfiction...

So I've blogged about this before, but lately, it's been on my mind again. Fanfiction was the first story-telling I did (in my head). I put myself into my favorite books, and that was how I got myself to relax enough to sleep at night.

I actually read quite a bit of Star Trek fanfic too -- though this was the licensed stuff. I went through a phase where I bought (usually at secondhand stores) a ton of books written about the Next Generation characters -- I still have one of them, and I really like it.

What appeals to me about fanfiction is the fact that the world building and characters are already set -- I think it gives the writers freedom to explore other things, since they know their readers will already know the foundation. These days, I mostly read Harry Potter fanfiction, and since I've been reading it for a while now, I have a list of authors that I know will write good stories -- and as a reader, I love the relationship aspects which are explored in more depth. That's also what benefits me the most as a writer. Even though it's more challenging to delve into some of the more complex relationships when you're also setting up the world and establishing the characters, it gives me a goal and ideas of what words (for me, as a reader).

I've also been reading an online serial -- probably not something which would appeal to everyone, but for me, it's been very helpful, as the MC struggles with internal perfectionism in a very similar manner that D does. Even though he's an adult, I've learned so many things about perfectionism and possible ways for me to handle it.

All this helps explain why my book reading has dropped this year. I'd hoped to increase the number of books read, but as we near the half-year mark, I'm quite a bit behind my total for last year. *sigh* But it's not because I've stopped reading -- I'm simply splitting my reading time between books, online reading, and some fanfic, as well. Overall, I'm probably reading more (in amounts of words read) than ever before...but I'll keep working on that balance :)

Book Reports (63-65)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool). 'R' means it's a re-read. Different colored font means it's an ARC for 2011 (and I'll try to remember to put the month it's released, as well). I'm linking to Tattered Cover's pages for the ARCs.

If you'd like to see my year-to-date four-plus- and five-star recommendations, visit Robin ReadsnWrites.

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

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Ashes, Ashes, by Jo Treggiari ***** I actually started this in the bookstore, and as I didn't have any book-buying funds at the moment, I went ahead and asked the library to purchase it -- which they did! I definitely enjoyed this. It has many elements that I love -- the 'natural' disaster(s), the plague-type illness, the strong girl who's vulnerable underneath, the sexy guy, a good mystery, etc. Although I suspected what was going on (as far as the plague went) early on, I still enjoyed reading more about it. Not all the mysteries were solved (as far as I could see), but I felt there was a solid ending. I liked Lucy and Aiden, and I really liked the tension and pacing throughout. The story: Lucy is surviving on her own after the plague and then a series of natural disasters have destroyed her world and killed her family. She's heard of others living in groups, but she's never managed to leave the little camp she's made for herself -- until the dogs come after her, and a boy (Aiden) saves her. He tells her about the place where he lives with some others, and when the rains lead to another tsunami, Lucy makes the choice and runs for the supposed safety of their group. However, she isn't there long before the Sweepers come and take some of the members, and when two of the stolen return, something isn't quite right. Lucy doesn't want to return to living on her own, but she's suddenly not sure who she can trust, and as more lies are revealed, she and Aiden decide they have to find the kidnapped, come what may. (YA dystopic, released 6/11, publisher: Scholastic)

Invasion, by Jon S. Lewis **+ This was okay for me. I think it's probably perfect for twelve year old boys. It reminded me of an X-Men-type novel, where comic books come to life (which is exactly the premise). If I read comic books, I think I would've been able to follow the whole idea of the plot better. Still, the beginning definitely caught my attention. The MC, although said to be 16, acted much more like a 12-13 year old, and his inner dialogue was also quite young. There were some other details which disrupted the story just enough for me to disconnect. However, as I mention above, I do think it would be enjoyed by pre-teen/early teen boys. The story: Colt starts his summer by visiting a top secret facility which appears to be a school (where his older brothers attended) -- however, after some tests (which are similar to video games -- very much like Men in Black), his memory is erased. He goes on his merry way until months later, when his parents are killed in a car accident, and Colt must go and live with his grandfather. There, along with a new friend (who seems familiar, for some reason) and a childhood friend, Colt discovers that his favorite comic book is actually real -- and soon he's fighting for his life against creatures he'd only seen before in 2D. (Tween boy adventure?, released 1/11, publisher: Thomas Nelson)

Family, by Micol Ostow **+ I really enjoyed Ostow's Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa, and certainly, this was just as well-written. Plus, it was in verse, which I love. HOwever, the subject matter simply isn't to my taste at all, and despite the lyrical writing, I couldn't find a way to connect (or even empathize) with the MC. I felt quite sorry for her, but mostly I was horrified at the whole idea, though the ending was very powerful (and I loved that). I think those who have an interest in history and/or horror or cults would find this very enjoyable. The story: After years of sexual abuse by her 'uncle' (her mom's partner), Mel meets Henry, who offers her a new life. He takes her to a ranch, where she's iniated into his 'family' -- and although she loves Henry (and almost worships him, as do all the other young people on the ranch), she's not as thrilled with his orders to sleep with other men (though she enjoys her times with Henry) and follow their wishes. Eventually, in the midst of drugs and sex and the all-important family, Mel must make a choice -- between their way (which now includes murder) or her own, all on her own. (YA verse [loosely based on the Manson 'family'], released 4/11, publisher: EgmontUSA)

Currently Reading: Well, nothing, at the moment, though I just got a bunch of e-galleys; so I'll probably try for a couple of those.

On Deck: I also grabbed two library books which I'd never heard of before; both sound intriguing.