Train Like You Are in …. the Divergent Series

Question: Does anyone really love to exercise? 
Answer:  Surprisingly, yes. 

So much of exercising is considered a chore to most people, myself included. I have found two true forms of exercise that I actually love: tennis and hiking. Unfortunately, I live in Georgia, so occasionally hiking is cancelled by the extreme humidity and heat.

One day while reading….who knows what, I realized that I would exercise if it meant I had to survive whatever adventure life awaits me. If I prepare for running off with The Doctor, surviving a zombie apocalypse, or living in some dystopia, I have to be in shape!

This led to my realization: I’ll make my workout plans revolve around a particular fandom. That solves both of my problems with exercise: a way to make an exercise plan, and a way to keep things interesting. This led me to  working on this post off and on all week, dragging my feet about posting it. I’m not sure if I am worried about if someone won’t like the idea, or most likely because it means I am committing to a workout plan.

I decided to break my fandoms up into monthly chunks. 4 weeks of exercise, with a “rest week” in-between (mostly to give myself an extra week to plan out my next month.)  I’ll post a general schedule for the week, with a breakdown if anyone wants to see. There will be weekly progress updates which are either going to be “THIS WAS AN AWESOME IDEA” or “WHY, WHY DID I THINK THIS WAS SMART?” I’m thinking and hoping it’ll be the first. So without further ado, here’s my first fandom and workout schedule! Things of note: I tend to be strangely intense when it comes to working out. Don’t judge too harshly?

First Fandom: Divergent August 31 – September 27

The Divergent series was my spring time read. If you haven’t read it, you must be living under the same rock I was! I held off on reading the series so long because I burned out on dystopias in 2012ish. Probably a good thing as I hate waiting for books in a series to come out.

Summary:

Trish Prior grew up in the Abnegation faction, one of the five factions in post-apocalyptic war Chicago. At the age of 16, she and the others her age take a test to decide which faction they should move into based on what personality trait they place above any others. The five factions, Abnegation, Dauntless, Erudite, Amity, and Candor each have a role to play in their society. Trish finds out she is actually Divergent, meaning she values multiple factions at an equal amount. She chooses to leave her family in Abnegation and move into Dauntless, the protectors of the city who value bravery before all other traits. She and Four, her Dauntless leader and potential love interest, try to stop an uprising that could threaten their entire population.

If you haven’t read it, READ IT. And then when you are done, come find me so I can give you a link to a fan fiction that’ll make you feel SO MUCH BETTER ABOUT EVERYTHING.

So, outside of a regular dystopia, Trish Prior has to survive getting into Dauntless, or become Factionless.

Let’s be honest. We all would fight to stay with that face.

Characteristics needing to survive the fandom:
  • Running (cause…duh)
  • Stair climbing (Dauntless’s territory is essentially a pit)
  • Hand-to-hand combat (A protector needs to be able to fight!)
  • Extremely good upper body strength (To be able to get onto a moving train, as well as climbing up to the train platform.)
Basic Workout Plan Overview:

Monday:
AM: Yoga
PM: 2 miles minimum + heavy bag routine + Core

Tuesday:
AM: Pilates
PM: Legs Day + Stairs Day

Wednesday:
AM: Yoga
PM: 2 miles minimum + Upper body Day + Core

Thursday:
AM: Pilates
PM: Legs + Stairs + Heavy Bag Routine

Friday:
AM: Yoga
PM: 2 miles minimum + Heavy bag routine + Core

Saturday:
Tennis and/or hiking

Sunday:
Tennis and/or hiking

Let me know what you think, or if you want anything further in depth! Look for my first date next weekend — let’s see how much I still love Tris + Four next weekend…

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Crochet Project: Knot Headband

I wish I had taken more pictures of this project! And it felt good to finally complete one after so long. I’ve got way too many unfinished projects sitting around. Anyways, this is a a knotted headband I made for an amazing friend of mine. It was made with Caron Simply Soft Party yarn. Caron Simply Soft yarn is pretty much my favorite right now. It was a simple pattern, and I can’t wait to make more of them. I should have gotten a picture of her wearing it — hindsight. Anyway, this is a quick post — I’ll get better pictures of my projects from now on.

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Review: Hex Hall Series

Hex Hall Series
By Rachel Hawkins
2010-2012
Hyperion Books

Rated: moose-mdmoose-md 2.5/5 Moose

This will probably be the last time I review something as an entire series, and instead focus on each book individually. But as hard of a time as I had getting through the first book, I figured I would go this route one more time.  This is a second series I read in my hunt to understand how boarding schools are portrayed in YA literature. Strangely enough, only the first book really takes place at a boarding school. Warning: Minor spoiler, as I am discussing the whole series.

Overview:

At the age of thirteen, Sophie Mercer found out she was a witch. Unfortunately for her, this isn’t an easy thing to live with. Remember the television series Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and how she was constantly messing things up with her magic? Sophie is like this, but worse. And instead of witchy aunts to help, she’s living with her non-magical mother. Her magically inclined father is more or less estranged, sending random birthday cards or letters.

After a love spell gone terribly awry on prom night no less, she is sent by the Council to Hex Hall. Turns out Daddy dearest is also Head of the Council, so it is more like a serious grounding than anything else. Hex Hall or Hecate Hall as it is really called is a reform school for Prodigium (witches/warlocks – both light/white and dark, were-animals and faeries….and the random pink loving vampire.) I still haven’t figured out if it’s irony to call magically inclined creatures “prodigy,” but to each her own.

By the end of the first day, she’s met the school’s mean girls (Elodie, Anna, and Chaston) , befriended the school freak (Jenna), gained a crush on the school’s hottie (Archer Cross), a creepy ghost keeps following her around, and learned that there are two groups that hate Prodigium – L’Occhio di Dio commonly called “The Eye” and the Brannicks.

The series progresses with Sophie learning some dark things about her family as she tries to adjust to going to an all magic school. She gets caught up in a strange love triangle, and finds out that The Eye is specifically out to get her. With the help of her estranged father, roommate slash outcast best friend slash vampire Jenna, Hex Hall’s groundskeeper Alexander “Cal” Callahan, and school’s hottie Archer, Sophie tries to stop the oncoming war between the Prodigium and regular ole humans. 

Things I liked:

It may be easiest to bullet point what I liked about this series, because there wasn’t much.

  • Jenna. A lesbian vampire who has a pink fetish who also has a good bit of teenage angst cracked me up.
  • Cal. He’s quiet and really almost kind of pointless outside of saving everyone when needed (he is the most powerful healer ever, basically), but he seemed like a solid voice of reason….when he actually is allowed to speak.
  • Where Hex Hall is located: Georgia. Not too many teen books are set in my home state, so I had to have some love there.
  • Elodie as a (SORRY SPOILER) ghost. Hated her in the first book, but as a pissy “told you I’d haunt your ass” ghost, I liked her.
  • The second book. The plot, the setting, the lack of Archer Cross, and the twists.
  • Thorne Abbey. 35 kitchens? 200+ rooms? Multiple libraries? Yes please.

Things I didn’t like:

First, I want to say that I had SO MANY GOODREAD FRIENDS LOVE THE FIRST BOOK. I had to double check multiple times, because I seriously almost didn’t finish the first book. I think if it had been written as a teenage girl’s journal or something I might have liked it more. There was something about the tone that was just…a  little off for me. Sophie’s sarcasm and humor seems incredibly forced, but not in a good way. Ad the only other person who talks like she does (meaning “quick witted” and “sarcastically”) is the school hottie, so obviously they should look at each other longingly across the lunch hall. And sarcasm is apparently genetic.

[ Serious side note – is it? Because my dry wit and sarcasm came from my stepfather if you ask me. No joke there. ]

I’m really not sure what compelled me to finish the first book, other than I adjusted to the writing style at some point. Or maybe it lessened? I’m not sure. But I am glad I read the second book. It was definitely the better of the three books. I really think it’s because Archer Cross, the MC’s love interest, was missing for most of the book. Well not missing per se, but he wasn’t there for most of it. It allowed for the second half of her love triangle to shine. Only, not really. Cal is there as in a figure who kind of lurks around being friendly with Sophie, and despite me being firmly Team Cal, it’s mostly because I didn’t like Archer Cross at all. Hell, I was also quite Team Jenna. I mean, Sophie keeps claiming Cal is her friend…but they never talk or anything. Except maybe the beginning of the second book. But really, each time he’s all “Let’s talk,” she goes “Yeah we’ll hang out later.”

We get it. Archer is who you want to be. Hell, Bella and Jacob had more of a relationship than Sophie and Cal did.

Then I got to the third book, where the Brannicks are suddenly a huge part of the plot. Sophie spends two books being chased by The Eye, so I’m not going to lie, I really forgot there was a second group hunting the witch.

And since Archer is back in the third book, and making out seems to be more important than SAVING THE WORLD, I was back off the wagon by the third book.

Conclusions:

Am I glad I read the series? Meh. It gave me a good bit to think about with my own writing, and that I need to figure out what exactly about the dialogue bothered me so much so I don’t accidentally do it myself.

I still am trying to figure out why my friends liked this series. I get that it’s light and has magic, and maybe I have grown up some. If I had read it in 2010 when the first book came out, I might feel different. I really wanted more focus on the growing war and the relationship between Sophie and her dad — it resolved into a good father/daughter relationship, despite 17 years of almost complete radio silence. Even her relationship with her mother was too calm for me.

One of the twists in the first book, and one of the twist in the third book, I liked. All the other ones I found a bit predictable. It’s definitely not a series I’ll read it again, nor will I read the spin-off story.

The Black Tapes – a quick podcast review

I’m almost done with reading the Hex Hall series, but I figured I would talk about the podcast I’ve been listening to all week. I guess first I should start by confessing…

I seriously love podcasts almost as much as I love movies. 

I can binge listen to podcasts almost as hardcore as a Netflix marathon. I’ve posted a list of my favorites at the bottom if you want to check them out (which I totally recommend). I don’t stick to one genre or type really even, and they make work days go by so much quicker.

My current love is The Black Tapes Podcast. A friend of mine recommended it to me after he listened to the Nerdist episode with a recommendation. Since he has accepted my recommendations for podcasts in the past, I couldn’t say no. Plus, I am an absolute sucker for for anything supernatural related. I was instantly sucked in.

The Black Tapes is a bi-weekly podcast from Pacific Northwest Stories and Minnow Beats Whale, two companies that I’m not 100% sure are real. It is a serialized docudrama hosted by Alex Reagan as she searches for the truth about the supernatural, as well as looking into a mysterious past of her (for lack of better word) co-host Dr. Richard Strand of the fictional Strand Institute. Alex goes through Dr. Strand’s black VHS tapes, a collection of supernatural situations that Dr. Strand has yet to officially disprove.

Rated: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 4/5 Moose

My first impression:

I must confess (so many confessions in this review…) that I didn’t realize this was a fictional work. I have a hard time not believing in the supernatural, so I took the podcast to be a serialization of a woman trying to find the truth and prove that the supernatural exists. Plus, I knew a there was an organization offering $1 million to anyone who can prove that the supernatural exists. I just….didn’t realize it wasn’t the Strand Institute at first. It took me 3 episodes to realize that this was a work of fiction. I listen to the 7 episodes that were already out in one day, and they haven’t been deleted off my playlist yet.

The podcast is set up similar to Serial Podcast, which I was shocked to find out I loved when I first listened to it. Each episode consists of Alex Reagan reviewing one of the VHS tapes, conducting interviews and discussing the cases with Dr. Strand. They look at cases involving ghosts that haunt a man from childhood, jumping to his child at some point; the “unsound,” which led to the death of a lead singer of a Seattle grunge band; a case involving a demon board and even a case involving an exorcism. On top of each case, there  is the overall mystery of Dr. Strand himself – who is he and what happened with his wife??

Things I liked:

I love the setting and pace of the podcast. The VHS tapes are super creepy, sometimes leading me to double check the shadows in my apartment and the monsters under my bed. I also frequently wonder whether or not Alex and Dr. Strand are flirting in an odd way (but this may be due to the “opposites attract” love stories I’ve read recently). On top of the great plot lines, the theme song cracks me up every time I hear it.

Things I didn’t love:

At times the podcast’s dialogue seems a little forced and unnatural. I also occasionally spend way too much time trying to figure out why the heck I find Dr. Strand’s voice so familiar. It’ll come to me at some point. I fear that similar to Serial, there may not be resolution in the podcast, which won’t lead me to dislike it of course, but will make me want to kick something.

Conclusion?

I recommend it. It would be one of the first ones I would recommend. It’s definitely not my upmost favorite, but that spot is reserved for two other podcasts that won’t be dethroned anytime soon. This podcast will be on my re-listen list, especially around the Halloween season. And next time there is a Kickstart, I’ll definitely pitch in.

3 Other Podcasts Worth A Listen:

 

  • We’re Alive: A Zombie Story This is my all time favorite podcast ever. I’ve listened to this podcast so many times, even before it officially ended last year. I cry at the ending of every season, every time. In fact, I’m probably due for a re-listening. If you love Walking Dead or World War Z, or ANY zombie story, give this one a shot. It has such a unique twist that satisfies all the way to the end.
  • Serial Podcast This podcast is only 12 episodes, focusing on the murder case of Have Min Lee and her boyfriend Adnan Syed who was accused and found guilty of her murder. The twist: the murder case happened back in 1999, and the listener does not get the resolution they crave at the end of it. But the intriguing case and doubt created definitely make the podcast hard to turn off.
  • Nerdist Podcast This is my second favorite podcast ever. Chris Hardwick interviews actors, comedians, and musicians, but I think the “Hostful” episodes with Jonah Ray and Matt Mira tend to be my favorites, or with Wil Wheaton. I have fallen further in love with actors I sort of liked before, and have found myself crying at laughing so hard at the comedians on the podcast. And he interviewed Jimmy Carr at one point.

 

Waiting Wednesday: Furiously Happy

I probably won’t do this meme started by Breaking the Spine weekly, but I do like the idea of having a way to record and dig through books I am excited about. Because, let’s face it, I’ll be excited about a book one day, and forget that it came out until months later! And doing this, I remembered that Christopher Moore’s Secondhand Souls came out yesterday, which is a sequel I have been waiting on for NINE YEARS. It has definitely scored a place near the top of my reading list, so look out for the review soon!

Waiting Wednesday Presents:

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess

Expected Release Date: September 22, 2015

Five years ago, I realized that the type of non-fiction I loved is written by women who embrace their awkward badass-ness. This list includes books by Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, and Jen Lancaster. Jenny Lawson’s first book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened had me laughing and so happy I never worked in human resources. I love anyone who can be real about their problems and instead of being embarrassed of her family, she uses them to define her life. Plus, a dad with taxidermy hobbies! I read the book in my book club and recommend it constantly. I don’t know if anyone has ever taken me up on it, but they TOTALLY SHOULD.

Her second novel is about her battle with mental illness (depression and anxiety), which I fully believe society should be talking about more. These are real illnesses, and we need to stop sweeping them under the rug. So why not read about them and laugh? Jenny Lawson promises the following stories within the novel:

  • The time I lost both my arms in a sleeping accident
  • The neighborhood swans that tried to eat me
  • The day Australia refused to let me get Chlamydia even though I was wearing a protective koala costume
  • Advice on how to survive the zombie apocalypse, the airport, and the zombie apocalypse at the airport
  • Completely inappropriate things I’ve blurted out to fill awkward silences at my psychiatrist’s office.

Ms. Lawson, I hope to be able to make it to your book signing in Atlanta, and until then, I’ll keep reading your lovely blog posts.

Backup Waiting Wednesday Books:

  • Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling
  • Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson
  • After Alice by Gregory Macguire

Top Ten Tuesday: Young Adult Science Fiction 101

I’m excited this is my first Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s meme is “Top Ten Books that would be on your syllabus if you taught ______ 101.”

Now, I know I have seriously never wanted to be a teacher (my patience is too short!) But as an English major, the first question out of anyone’s mouth is “So….you plan on teaching right?” You get asked this enough, you do eventually start to wonder what the heck your classes would be like.

No surprise, mine would be definitely Young Adult literature related. (Embrace who you are. Just do it, self). I half debated something paranormal related or Gothic related, and even potentially fantasy related, but if I was going to teach, I would want to teach my favorite book first. So without further ado,  see the reading list for my Young Adult Science Fiction 101 class.

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Eagle

This book is one of my oldest and favorite book ever. It was published in 1963, but I believe it has stood the test of time easily. It is about a girl named Meg who father is a governmental scientist that has gone missing while working on the tesseract. She goes searching for her father with her 5 year old brother Charles and friend Calvin, as well as three witches: Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. They hop from world to world, experiencing a Utopian and a dark hive like world ruled by “IT.” This book continues in the series called “The Time Quintet.”

 Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

This book is my first dystopia on the list. Sorry, but not sorry — I love dystopias. In this one, parents are not allowed to have a third child unless under extreme circumstances. Ender is one of those kids, born to have the good qualities of both of his siblings. Because he does, he is sent to learn how to fight the pending war. I debated between this one and Ender’s Shadow, which I technically liked more. Both have great qualities — Ender’s Game focuses more on the political side, while Ender’s Shadow shows  more of the poverty of this world. I’m not sure you can understand Ender’s Shadow without Ender’s Game, but if you love the character Bean, read it.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Again, I love dystopias. And I love this series, which I’m not going to give any summary of as it’s one of the most popular series these days. I know this wasn’t a new or original story, but I love the technology added to this series. The nightmare-ish creatures in and outside of the arena, as well as the insanity of the arenas themselves.

Animorphs by K.A. Applegate

Kids battling parasite aliens? Don’t know who to trust — your own family might be infected? 54 book series, where five teenagers and a teenage alien change from innocent kids to war veterans before they can legally drink? HAVING THE ABILITY TO CHANGE INTO ANY ANIMAL YOU WANT?! Yeah, this was on of my favorite series growing up. (it was also one of the best bonding tactics, leading me to some of my oldest and dearest friends.) It’s also one of the first experiences I had losing a character I loved.

Gone by Michael Grant

Did you know that Michael Grant is K.A. Applegate’s husband? This was enough to sell me on trying this series. The Gone series came out roughly the same time as Stephen King’s Under a Dome (I think before, but I didn’t start the series when it first came out). It has a similar concept – a town has an impenetrable energy barrier around it and everybody over the age of 15 has disappeared. Some of the kids begin to develop powers in the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone), causing a rift within those left. The kids try to set up their own community while waiting for adults to save them. But something much darker lurks, and not everyone will survive.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

I was iffy about this book at first — while I enjoyed it, it isn’t necessarily one that I would reread. But I would never, ever teach a class and not teach a zombie book. This is a YA zombie series about a village surrounded by fences and forests filled with zombies. When there is a breach in the fence though, what do you do? Okay, okay, it isn’t overtly Sci-Fi, but zombies alone can be discussed as a science fiction phenomenon.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Would this go before or after Michael Grant’s Gone series? Probably before. Again, is it science fiction? Probably not. Okay, really, probably not. BUT it is a book that led to so many science fiction stories. Plus a nice compare and contrast section on dystopias where teens are left on their own and how they react.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adam

Confession: I celebrate Towel Day every May 25th. This book would be a perfect book to counter all the depressing dystopias read during my class. It’s light and hilarious, even if the world does blow up in the beginning. It’s also another book to bring the perfect balance between old and new. Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are wonderful guides to the wacky universe outside of our small planet.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

I begrudgingly loved reading this book in my eighth grade class. Begrudgingly, because I hated my teacher but loved this book. This book was written in the late 50s and early 60s, first as a short story. I’m not 100% I would consider it YA, but since I read it as a teen, why not.
The story revolves around Charlie Gordon, a man with an IQ in the 60s who undergoes an experimental surgery to increase his intelligence. Algernon is the mouse who underwent the procedure prior to Charlie. It is successful for awhile, but at what cost? And what happens when or if the effects wear off?

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Okay, who didn’t read this book in middle school or high school? And of those who read it, is there really anyone who didn’t like it? I am not a biology person at all, but I loved every page of this book. Dinosaurs! Real (kind of) live (sort of) dinosaurs! The kid in all of us should enjoy this series.

Are there any books on this list that a student would hate or refuse to read? Any books that should have been on it? I tried to keep a balance between new and old, especially as dystopias are huge right now. But if there is one that should be on here instead of Hunger Games, I am happy to entertain the ideas. (Don’t say Divergent though, I am still angry at Divergent!)

Operative Griffin’s Review of the Gallagher Girl Series

This is my first book review, so expect some mistakes!

Gallagher Girl Series
By Ally Carter
2006-2013
Hyperion Books for Children

Rated: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md3.5/5 Moose

I decided to review the entire series at once, rather than each of the six books. They were all relatively short, so one longer review seemed appropriate. This series was recommended to me many years ago, and I am glad I waited until after all six were done. I hate waiting for a series — definitely makes me a product of our times.

I initially decided to read the series as I want to write my own YA spy school book (or series…but that’s even more daunting sounding.) I figured it would be best to see what’s worked and what hasn’t, and this series did not disappoint.

Overview:

Cameron “Cammie” Morgan is the daughter of the headmaster at a prestigious American all-girl boarding school. A boarding school, that is known as, if one has the appropriate clearance, being one of the best spy schools in the world. The school was founded by Gillian Gallagher, who was responsible for keeping Abe Lincoln alive longer than he should have been, for defeating the leader of the Circle of Cavan (who eventually becomes the main antagonist of the series), and for founding the Gallagher Academy. Each book takes place in a term of Cammie’s school year, starting with the fall term of her Sophomore year.

Cammie enjoys her life as a pavement artist codenamed “Chameleon,”  an operative who blends into her surroundings with ease. Her mother plays a big part of her life (obviously, as she is headmaster), but especially as her father went missing years before. His best friend, Joe Solomon, becomes the school’s Covert Operations teacher, inspiring the girls to be better than the best spies.

Cammie shares a room with her best friends Rebecca “Bex” Baxter, the only non-American student to ever attend Gallagher Academy, Elizabeth “Liz” Sutton, the smartest girl in their class (if not the whole school) and one of the few students who is not a legacy, and their newest classmate Macey McHenry (who joins in the first book). While the girls are considered some of the smartest in the country (if not the world), they are, of course, just teenagers, and they frequently leave the school without permission on their own “missions.”

While the girls are taught everything important to being a spy, from learning and practicing fourteen different languages to disarming or killing a person with a dry noodle, they are not taught how to engage with boys of their own age. The four girls go on misguided missions trying to understand the teenage boy mind, whether it be about Cammie’s first love Josh, or understanding the boy-spies who share their school in Book 2.

Eventually the series gets darker as there is an attempt on one of the Operatives’ lives, leading to the involvement of the Circle of Cavan. This leads to missions all over the states and Europe, adding danger and elevated threats to the Operatives’ lives. Who will live? And who is secretly a member of the Circle?

My first impression:

I enjoyed the first book, and immediately thought of my youngest sister. This series is really geared for her age, with not too much violence in the beginning, and age appropriate romance. It’s not a series I plan on rereading, but I am glad I finally did. I liked the four main girls quite a bit, though I wished for more of Macey and Bex plot lines. While there are several boys throughout the books, I honestly didn’t particularly care for any of them (certainly not as crush worthy as other fiction boys I’ve read of this year. *cough Tobais Eaton cough*)

Things I liked:

I liked the youthfulness and innocence of the series. I enjoyed that as the girls aged, this lessened, but never fully disappeared. Cammie’s indecisiveness about her future rings true to my heart (as it does with most, I suppose.) The involvement with the Circle of Cavan intrigued me. The fifth book was my favorite. I don’t know what it is, but I feel that the fifth book of any series tends to have more angst and darkness.

Things I didn’t like:

While I understood the set up of the first book, there were characters introduced that were never used again. It’s almost as if it was a waste of time — I’d been happy with the first two books combined. I also found the end of book five incredibly rushed — I wanted more explained. I don’t want to spoil anything about the book, but it was as if one large question was answered, so why focus on all the other questions built up over the book? My final issue was with the forced adult relationship. I could have done without them, or at least changed who Joe Solomon ended up with.

Trying to understand boarding school…

….when you went to public school.

I went to public school all the way through my undergrad, then did a brief and regrettable year in a private grad school (regrettable because the student loans? Oh boy.)

While I do have some “experience,” which is all chalked up to five years on an intense online community, I still can’t quite grasp the boarding school life. So tonight I am composing a list of books that are set at a boarding school. Research, of course….ahem. This research is for my NaNoWriMo novel. This research is definitely going to be easier than reviewing and deciphering insurance policies!

My Ridiculous Boarding School Book List for Research

  • Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter (I’m in the 4th of 6 books)
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter
  • The Naturals by Jennifer Barnes
  • A Little Princess by Frances Burnett
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  • Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Anna and the French Kiss Series by Stephanie Perkins

Boarding School Books for Re-reading?

  • Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (THERE IS MORE THAN ONE?!)
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (Well, why not.)
  • Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger (okay… I should actually finish this one first)
  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire

I could obviously use as many recommendations as possible. I took a look at Goodreads, and there are 529 books on the best list. So if there are any that I absolutely have to read, please feel free to throw them my way! I’m happy to live in….imaginary plaid skirts for awhile.

Back to it?

I didn’t keep up with this site – I don’t keep up with much of anything when it comes to writing. Nonetheless, I’m trying to turn over a new leaf.

In July I wrote over 20K words of a story for Camp NaNoWriMo. I haven’t really touched the story since. Almost immediately I went into Gishwhes, which was amazing this year. Work had a new project, plus a stupid summer cold — there is always an excuse, right?

I’ve started planning my November NaNoWriMo story, but I’m never going to be able to do the amount of words necessary if I don’t start exercising my muscles now.

I added a new page for my crochet projects as they are completed – there will be posts of them of course. It’ll also be where I’ll list my projects that I need to finish (because I have super been slacking off on those.)

So expect my ramblings about writing, reviews of books or series or tv shows or whatever… and potentially postings about work? Either way, expect my ramblings as I try to get back on track with my writings.