2017 Reading Challenge: Follow the Book Dragon through the Year

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My Reading Challenge Thoughts

I always like to have a reading challenge for myself every year and this year I am upping the amount of books I want to read. I am going to read 50 books over the course of the year and I am going to document reviews of all of them as I finish each book. I already have a list of books I am going to start on Goodreads.com. Click here if you want to see and become friends with me on Goodreads! 
Anyways, here are the books on my 2017 To-Read Book Shelf:
2017 Reading Challenge

Many of these are from series I want to finish up or are right in the middle of. All of them are ones I am really enjoying! So be on the look out for reviews from these novels and from others. If you have suggestions about what I should add to my shelf comment below or friend me on goodreads.com and talk to me there!

If you want to do a reading challenge, but don’t know where to start comment below and I will send you some helpful hints or write a helpful hint post. 🙂

 

Sincerely,

 

The Book Dragon

Coming Back from My Hiatus–A Summer’s Tale

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My Hiatus

Summer 2016 turned into many sunshine-filled months of gluing myself to my computer to accomplish my final task for my Master’s in Creative Writing–My Capstone. I had to write 15,000 words of a novel I wanted to start to create and a publication plan with it, so I ignored any other writing I would normally do (including this blog) and set out on my journey. During my adventure into the stressful life of storytelling for a final grade, I found Mia. She is a mid-twenties, young, business owner who has accomplished a few of my own dreams, but nothing ever is what it seems.

I only finished the first third of the novel and I am still walking down Mia’s path as she faces tragedy and her past. Since school is over I can start sharing some of the writing love back to my beloved blog. So I will be sharing bits and pieces of Mia’s journey as I continue to complete the novel. Here is a small section of the story.

Falling to Pieces

“MOVE!” I screamed at the body lying down on the pavement beneath me. I was floating–suspended in midair–witnessing the disaster beneath me. I wanted to help. I needed to help, but invisible strings kept me in place, only allowing me to see and not act.

“Stay with us!” a paramedic hollered at the body. I could only see the person’s jeans and their right hand, lifelessly stretched out. Something glistened for a split second on one of it’s fingers–something gold…

I shot up out of bed when I Prevail, a local rock/screamo/heavy metal band from Grand Rapids, jarred my sleep heavy body awake with their version of Blank Space by Taylor Swift from my iphone next to my bed. In my opinion it was the better version of the song. I pressed my palms to my eyes, trying to remember what I had just dreamt about. It was already slowly fading into the black void. Once I opened my eyes, accepting defeat, a glisten of something gold flashed below me and I instinctively grabbed at my ring on my right hand, twisting it as I always do when I am nervous. For a moment I almost remembered my dream, but the moment past as I heard many feet clicking across the floor toward my bedroom.

So I welcome you into the life of Mia and I hope you stay with me through the journey of writing, the rejections of publishers, and the final joy of getting my manuscript published (Lord willing).

Keep Shining,

 

AshleyDannie

What’s with Paper Towns and this so called Teen Whisperer?

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Move over Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins, a new voice for young adults everywhere has emerged and he doesn’t just write for them but writes as them. Yes, John Green is moving YA Literature away from the unrealistic characters teens have fawned over in their own little fandom worlds to writing about actual teenagers and their reapaper townsl life struggles.

Quentin is a normal senior in high school, living in Orlando, who loves hanging with his friends, playing video games, and of course, crushing on his extremely gorgeous, popular next door neighbor—Margo Roth Spiegelman. In his mind, her world is perfect and untouchable, but all that changes when she knocks at his window one night, bringing him on an adventure of a lifetime. What could be better than playing pranks on all the popular people whose mission in life was to humiliate you until graduation? By the end of the night, he found a new confidence he was going to use to somehow get Margo to hang out with him and the boys until grad, but that came crashing down when he found out Margo was gone.

“I could feel her on her tiptoes and then her mouth was right up against my ear and she said, very clearly, ‘I. Will. Miss. Hanging. Out. With. You’” (Green 81).  That one line became his first clue to the mystery that was Margo Roth Spiegelman—she was leaving.

Now, Quentin’s on a mission to follow Margo’s other clues to find her, so he can have his happily ever after with the girl he has always loved from afar. But as he searches the clues he starts to see that maybe everything he thought was actually just a mask she wore to get her through living in this paper town.

Green conveys what a paper town is on his popular vlog called VlogBrothers. They are fictional places companies place on their maps and if another mapping company has the same fictional town then they know they are copying them. This does play a little bit into the novel, but paper towns have different meanings as the story moves.

It’s a paper town. I mean look at it, Q: look at all those cul-de-sacs, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the house that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper house, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And the people too (Green 58).

Green uses this starting point to fuel the symbolism of a paper town, but I will leave it at that, so no spoilers are revealed. It’s funny though reading that quote, because as soon as I read it the first time it made me think of what I thought of my hometown. All these paper thin people around me, thinking that life couldn’t get any better being on top in a small town. I, like Margo, wanted to get out of it and like her I did—the only difference is I told my parents and friends.  

I mean isn’t that every teens’ dream? To get out of the shadows, whether they are someone else’s or their own? How Green brings to life the characterization of not only the mysterious Margo and the quirky Quentin, but the detailed personalities of his friends and the misleading identity of Margo’s so called friends greatly qualifies him to be dubbed the “Teen Whisperer.” As I read, learning the different personalities of the characters, I could pinpoint classmates from my own school who acted the same—even Margo.  I guarantee you will do the same as you read. What is also very real about the story is the life lessons Green coveys and one young adult need to learn by the end is this: “She spoke quietly then, the tiniest crack in her voice, and all at once Lacey Pemberton was not Lacey Pemberton. She was just—like, a person” (Green). Green breaks stereotypes and the masquerade teenagers create as they go through middle and high school.  

Except just like every piece of writing, nothing is ever perfect. The flow of the story can be slow at times, making us wait until the third section (the book has three sections) for the story to speed up and head toward his ultimate goal, but isn’t that life? We go about our mundane routines, trying to find something exciting, but a lot of times the excitement only lasts for a day or two, just like in the novel. Oh, I might have said too much about the ending…but don’t worry I didn’t spoil it altogether. Even though the flow can be slow when it comes to the overall plot Green intertwines mini plots that include the friends which helps lead to the overall theme and I couldn’t imagine Green writing the story any other way.

So pick it up, because whether you are a teenager trying to navigate school life or an adult feeling stuck in one spot, Green’s novel will enlighten and challenge you to look beyond your own Paper Towns.