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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review: The Mystery at Lilac Inn


Read September 9, 2017 through October 23,2017

I always base my ratings off what I think the age group meant for the book would agree with. With that said, the Nancy Drew series is for children and I have taken that into consideration while reviewing this book.

The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene had some new things to bring to the series and revived some old features that are prevalent in all the Nancy Drew books, for example her love for her father and friends, which is always nice.

I won't say any spoilers, but the ending seemed quickly put together, which I'm unsure why: the book's only 180 pages long. Some things could've been explained more within another eight pages or so. That was my biggest problem I had with it. I couldn't remember some of the characters since there were so many, but as long as the mystery got solved in a somewhat understandable way, which it did, then I'm happy.

I'm giving The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene a 4/5 stars. See my rating system below:
  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”
Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/WritingMime


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: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/


Other Blog:
http://writingmime.wordpress.com/


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Book Review: Under the Dome



Read from October 24th, 2016 to August 19th, 2017.

I'm so excited to say that I have completed a life goal of mine by reading my first 1000-paged book! It's also my first Stephen King novel, which did not disappointed.

Under the Dome was very Stephen King-esque in the way that it was a psychological thriller. You never knew what people were going to do next. The dome was definitely an interesting plot device, too. Everyone was going crazy!

I'd actually give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars because there were a few moments when I thought it got slow (Very few and close together in the second half. It's probably because it's hard not writing a couple of slow scenes in a 1000-paged book). Near the end I saw one tiny, tiny plot hole that had to do with the giant government fans. And I also wanted a horrible death or judgment day for a certain someone. I didn't think they got exactly what they deserved. Finally, I wanted more, if that's too hard too believe! There were a few things I wanted to know at the very end.

In general, I thought the story was very satisfying. From page 1 to 1072, I knew I'd finish the book. I loved watching people grow together or suddenly die. I felt things that were expected. And I learned some neat survival tricks. Mostly though, I took from the story an unexpected message about violence, how it worsens in groups, and how to forgive one's self after committing an act of violence.

I had fun, to say the least.

I'm giving Stephen King's Under the Dome a 4.5/5 stars. See my rating system below:
  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, “I really liked it,” but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, “I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn’t sit well with me.” 2/5 is, “I really didn’t enjoy it and I’m not going to recommend it.” 1/5 is, “no one read this – throw it in a lake.”

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/WritingMime


Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/


Other Blog:
http://writingmime.wordpress.com/


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Review: The Reality Bug


Read sometime in 2008 and again in 2017.

The Reality Bug of the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale was one of my favorites when I was a little girl. I'd say I read it in 8th or 9th grade, and now this was my second read through. I'm obviously much older, but unfortunately I remembered a lot of the twists that happen, so alas it wasn't as shocking or amazing as the first time. It still made me nostalgic, though!

So I'm going to try to mix my feelings about this book, from my childhood and adulthood reads, for this review.

I'd say this entire book is fast-paced, per usual. It started slowing down for me near the end with all battle scenes, but that could also be my childhood telling me what already happened in each fight. I remember being amazed at the imaginative images during my first read and so shocked at the twists that ensue at the end. I'm sure if you're a first-time reader, and maybe a tiny bit younger than me (23 y.o.), this would still be a very fast read for you or a loved one.

This is my favorite childhood series, so of course I'm giving all the books 5 stars, because if this review affects another child's potential to choosing it, I want to make sure they do. For a reread, it was a bit disappointing knowing what is going to happen, so I would've given it 4 stars this time, and if I read it for the first time as a 20 something year old, I might be inclined to give it a 4.5, as long as I’ve read all the books that come before this one. Hobby Ho! My grading system is down below:

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, "I really liked it," but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, "I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn't sit well with me." 2/5 is, "I really didn't enjoy it and I'm not going to recommend it." 1/5 is, "no one read this - throw it in a lake."


Monday, May 29, 2017

Book Review: The Bungalow Mystery



Read from May 22, 2017 to May 26, 2017
This third book in the Nancy Drew series, The Bungalow Mystery, by Carolyn Keene was so close to getting five stars, but I did have one little issue with it.

Again, I'm basing my review off the fact this is a children's book, not an adult's, though I would say this book was acceptable as both.

The helpful and classy Nancy Drew took us on another fun adventure, this time around a lake with near death experiences. It was an entertaining read! My only criticism toward this book would be on the passages explaining how the bank worked and why the criminals were suspicious. I never got a full understanding how the bonds and money issues functioned in this book, and I had trouble understanding why the suspects were suspects, if that makes sense.

Mostly, though, one can guess what the author meant by these passages and look past them. I loved the action in this one. I feel like the series is getting more and more dangerous! I also like the idea of Nancy collecting something from each case and keeping it in her Dad’s house (a little reader's nostalgia). Overall, it was a good addition to the series.

I am giving The Bungalow Mystery by Carolyn Keene a 4/5 stars. My grading system is below:
  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, "I really liked it," but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, "I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn't sit well with me." 2/5 is, "I really didn't enjoy it and I'm not going to recommend it." 1/5 is, "no one read this - throw it in a lake."


Book Release: "The Adventures of the Gween Gwob: There's No Place Like Home"


The Adventures of the Gween Gwob: There's No Place Like Home is now available on Amazon and Createspace! Buy the paperback and/or eBook now!

If you'd like to see how I published this children's book, I'll put my short how-to clip here:



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Book Review: The Hidden Staircase


Read from May 10th to May 14th.

I'm going to base my ideas about The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene on its intended audience. I wouldn't expect a children's book to be too scary or too headstrong. Therefore, my 4/5 star recommendation would be for teens and younger.

I really liked this book compared to the first book in the series. I think The Hidden Staircase had a lot more surprises than I was expecting, and even some scary parts (not too scary - kid-friendly).

I'd say the ending was a bit rushed, and there were moments in the book that I thought were too obvious or the solution to a problem was given too easily. But for a kids' book, it seemed to work out alright.

I will say that this definitely got me ready for the next book in the series. I learn more and more about the character that is Nancy Drew every book. (She's so well-behaved!)

As a children's book, I'm giving The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene a 4/5 stars. I LOVE YOU, NANCY DREW! My rating system is below:

  • My rating system stands: 5/5 is a knock out of the park; this book deserves to be read by everyone. 4/5 is, "I really liked it," but it did have a couple of kinks. 3/5 is, "I believe there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book, but for one reason or another, it didn't sit well with me." 2/5 is, "I really didn't enjoy it and I'm not going to recommend it." 1/5 is, "no one read this - throw it in a lake."


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Know what these literary terms mean?


Disclaimer: Each of these words might mean something slightly different to each person, but in general these are the easiest ways to describe them!

Premise

 “An assumption that something is true” is a broad definition, but in literature, one can describe a premise as a teaser. Ask a friend about a book, and they will tease you with exciting elements of the characters, plot, and/or the setting. Same with a movie trailer. If you see fast cars and explosions throughout the clip, you’ll assume that the movie will be an action/thriller. The premise of this movie is that it is an action movie with lots of cars and explosions.

Trope

My definition of trope, or the most interesting definition of a trope, comes from an essay by Rigoberto Gonzalez. A trope is “an anchor that can keep the narration coherent and even helps the writer find a way into and out of the narrative.” Although “trope” covers a range of figurative language, such as irony, metaphor, and allegory, this one is most interesting because it defines a technique that most people use, but don’t know what to call. Until now.

Say you want to write about an event, maybe a very important museum trip, but you don’t know how to start or finish your narrative. At this event, however, you remember that there was a dog always present. Start here. Go from the dog to the museum trip and then back to the dog. The dog becomes a trope for your story - something to refer to at the beginning, maybe middle, and the end of your story so that you stay organized and focused. It prevents you from going on tangents. The dog could even have parallel meaning with a theme or message that you’re trying to create.

Motif

A motif is something that keeps reappearing in your story, like a color, shape, weather, phrase, etc. The motif symbolizes progression in the story and has metaphoric value. If the dog in my pervious explanation for a trope just so happens to represent the eternal life struggle, then it’s also considered a motif. Not only does the dog have symbolism, but it also reappears throughout the story.

Here’s another motif: every time you see the color red in the movie The Sixth Sense, you know a ghost is about to appear. Red symbolized a ghost, but it also appears throughout the movie, giving hints to what’s about to happen next.

Idiom

Idioms are those neat phrases that you only understand a handful of. You know, like:
  • raining cats and dogs
  • keep the ball rolling
  • busy as a bee

Idioms are used in our language every day, but unless you know the background context from which these phrases originated from, you’re going to have trouble understanding what the other person is trying to tell you.

Idioms have to originate from somewhere. For example: “don’t jump the shark” derived from the show Happy Days when the character Fonzie jumps over a literal shark to increase television ratings. However, that episode marked the first of many where the script took an unexpected, unwelcomed turn. Saying “jumping the shark” means don’t draw attention to something in an unwarranted way.