Wednesday, October 17, 2012

School Lunch

So it's been forever. And my "new" blog failed. I posted on it, like, once. Maybe. But, here's a bit of my writing. I'm rewriting Finding Before-Mike and  this is a writing exercise. Heather (the main character) is talking about lunch. This is zero editing, just writing. Like the old writing samples I used to post. Enjoy!

                I had learned early on that buying a school lunch was all sorts of sketch. Half the time, I wasn’t even sure it was real food they were offering.  It was safer to just bring your own. But you couldn’t have anything weird if you wanted to sit with the popular crowd. It was best to bring simple, stylish foods: some vanilla Greek yogurt, carrot sticks, and maybe a single can of soda. Healthy, but not excessively so. The girls who only nibbled on a single piece of celery were definitely whispered about behind their backs. But you didn’t want to eat like the band geeks – pizza and chips – or the Mormons – jello and leftover potatoes.
                Since I wanted to fit in with the popular kids, I tried to have the right lunch. I usually brought some sort of fruit – nothing weird like a pomegranate or grapefruit, just simple fruits like an apple or a bunch of grapes. I liked a good ham sandwich, nothing too excessive or smelly, just some whole-grain bread (trendy because of its health benefits), two to three slices of ham (more makes your sandwich hard to handle), a little bit of mayo (not enough to see from the outside of the sandwich, no one wants to see goop on your crusts), some lettuce and tomatoes (must be fresh), and a thin slice of cheese (preferably cheddar because it tastes good but isn’t too strong). And it all must fit comfortably in a Ziplock bag. If your sandwich makes a mess as you pull it out of the bag, you’re doing it wrong. I’d bring a protein bar but that had to be eaten carefully in broken-off-under-the-table pieces. Taking a chomp out of a protein bar in plain sight is not okay. And my water bottle was always right there, next to my arm. But not a pre-packaged, plastic bottle, I was a swimmer after all. It was a chic, light blue metal one with a screw-on cap and a breast cancer awareness sticker on the side.
 I worked hard on these lunches and learned the hard way a few times, like the time my banana broke and fell on my lap and I had banana goop on my pants for the rest of the day. Or when my can of grape juice spilled all over the table and stained Julie’s notebook. You can’t overdo it with anything, or you’re on your way out of the popular section of the cafeteria and into the awkward sidelines of tuna fish and kiwi.

My water bottle was really the best part about my lunch. It was metal because someone, somewhere decided that plastic reusable water bottles gave you cancer. But really, I think he’s just the one who invented metal water bottles and wanted a mad rush of consumers. But anyways, it was cool.  I picked it out of a big selection at a sports store. I chose blue because pink was too girly and the red was too bold. Pale blue was the way to go. All the blues were good, but the pale blue was more feminine, but not as drastic as the pink. And if you’re going to carry your water bottle everywhere, you don’t want the part your mouth goes on exposed. That is just gross for everyone.  So I got the kind with a screw-on lid, it keeps the rim clean and it’s spill resistant. And then there’s the breast cancer awareness sticker. You know the kind, the pink, looped ribbon one. That sticker showed I was trendy. I was supporting those in need, but not overdoing it like the girls who started a “save the whales” campaign last year. (They got ousted to the tuna-zone.) I had done really well with that water bottle. It said I was cool, sporty, and approachable. And it fit in the side pocket of my backpack. You don’t want to be the kid carrying their water bottle in their hands; hands should always be available for hugging girlfriends you haven’t seen in a while or catching a rogue Frisbee or football. But you don’t want your water bottle clanking around inside your bag because that causes too much sloshing and sounds strange as you walk down the hall. The side pocket is the way to go. Safe, but also shows off your coolness. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Blog

I've started a new blog solely for book purposes. This blog will become more personal, funny, etc. My new blog is called From Austen to Rowling. Clever, huh? I thought so. You can visit it here. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Jennifer Nielsen was invited to the Provo City Library to discuss/promote her new book, The False Prince. My fellow author friend and I went even though we had not read her book yet. We weren't sure if we would purchase the book while there, because, let's face it, even though we want to buy all the books in the world, we cannot afford to buy all the books. Sigh. BUT, we were so incredibly impressed with Nielsen that we decided to buy her book. (And we ended up getting the best price for a hard-back copy that we have seen so far! Woot!) So I bought it, she signed it, and I went home happy, but a little concerned about spending money I shouldn't have.

It was so worth it.

Nielsen's novel is amazing. I was so impressed. It was captivating, exciting, dramatic, funny, clever, and really entertaining. For me it was a really quick read. It's completely clean and the way she handles that was impressive. Instead of actually having her characters swear, she has them do things like "mutter a stream of curses" or phrases like that. It's a clever way to show how upset characters are without making the book vulgar. I really appreciated that.

The novel is about a orphan boy named Sage who gets bought by Conner the nobleman for a treasonous plan. Conner wants one of the orphan boys he picked to become a false prince - to come back and claim to be Prince Jaron who has been lost for four years. Sage doesn't like the plan. He doesn't like the idea of living a lie for the rest of his life and he knows the consequences if Conner and the new prince are found out. But he also knows that Conner will kill the boys not chosen, so that they can never become the snitch who reveals the truth. Sage's main goal is to just keep himself alive.

I very highly recommend this book. I'm pretty sure you'll love it. More books are to follow The False Prince and I can hardly wait.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

So I'm not a huge games fan. Every Sunday evening my friends get together to play games. I go because I dislike being left out of things (who doesn't?). For the first half, we play ultimate Uno, and I love that and it's a lot of fun. But then they want to play games like Hearts and Scum, which I am no good at and don't really enjoy. So one Sunday when these dull games were being started, I picked up Howl's Moving Castle from my friend's side table and decided to read that instead of playing games I don't like. It was great!

In the novel, Howl's castle does indeed move. Howl's fire demon, Calcifer is in charge of moving the castle abouyt the countryside. Sophie works in a hat shop, and one day the Witch of the Waste gets angry and makes Sophie old. Sophie trudges off, starting a new life, and ends up in Howl's castle. Howl and his apprentice, Michael, find her very annoying but she is a stubborn old woman and refuses to leave. So she cleans. She becomes friends with Calcifer, and learns some of Howl's secrets. Calcifer needs her help in breaking his contract with Howl, but first Sophie has to figure out what exactly the contract is. And then Howl is sent to find a prince, is being chased by the Witch of the Waste, and is courting Sophie's sister. Things get confusing for Sophie pretty fast, and on top of all that, Sophie would like to be herself again.

This book was not exactly fast-paced, but I did think it was exciting. Jones is a creative writer; I still don't completely understand all the magical secrets of Howl's castle. But this book was fun, and I think I will try some of Jones' other novels (she's published over 30 books!). You should try this one out.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review: The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull

I've been hearing about the greatness of Brandon Mull for years. I've met him twice and he is really fun. And now I have FINALLY read one of his books.

The Candy Shop War was fantastic. Mull's books are for a middle school age audience, but they are entertaining for adults as well because he writes so well. The story was exciting, interesting, and unique. Magic is a main topic in many, many novels, but Mull found a way to use magic in a new way.

Mrs. White moves to town and opens a candy shop. Nate, Trevor, Summer, and Pigeon go to check it out and Mrs. White invites to be her helpers, in return for some magic candy. Soon, the kids find themselves jumping over creeks and getting sneaky revenge on the school bullies. But things get fishy when a stranger says that Mrs. White is dangerous and their parents stop paying any attention to their children. Nate, Trevor, Summer, and Pigeon have to figure out what Mrs. White is really up to, even if it means losing magic candy privileges.

With candy that can make you weightless, candy that lets you pass through mirrors, candy that lets animals talk, and many other kinds, Mull's book was creative and fun. This book was a lot more than I expected. I am very impressed with Mull's writing and I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I chopped my hair! It was already short to begin with, but this feels great! I had to share cuz I'm just loving life this week. Yesterday was my roommate's birthday and we had a blast making a goofy movie complete with prom dresses, slicked back hair, and a genie (me). And I saw Madagascar 3 yesterday (so funny - my favorite of the 3). And it's also MY birthday week! (It's on Sunday.) So getting my hair cut the way I've been wanting to for a while was basically sprinkles on my cupcake. Let me know what you think. :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Book Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I very, very highly recommend Graceling. It was fantastic! This was Cashore's debut novel, and I am looking forward to reading more of her work. Her writing is clear and impressive, and her ideas are astounding.

Katsa is Graced with killing. She is a superb fighter. She has never lost a fight, and she is so quick and forceful that the king uses her to bully the people who do not obey him. Katsa is sick of hurting people, but doesn't know how to change things since that is her Grace. Enter Po, one of the princes of Lienid. He is also Graced, but with fighting. He and Katsa start to train together, and Po gives Katsa some ideas about the way she can run her life that she had never thought possible. Katsa starts to see herself and her Grace differently.
Po and Katsa set out on a very intense adventure filled with danger, rescue, and excitement. They discover some horrible secrets and some helpful and enlightening ones about Graces. Their adventures take them all over the seven kingdoms, where Katsa sees the ocean for the first time.

This novel was exciting and intriguing. Cashore's ideas are unique and interesting. It was one of those books where you think about it all the time. I'm looking forward to reading the sequels - it's time for a trip to the library.

I'm still not sure how I feel about book trailers, but here's the one for Graceling.