Infinite by Jodi Meadows

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*ASUNDER and INCARNATE spoiler warning*

As I write this I am smiling like a fool while holding back tears of mixed emotion and hoping that my classmates don’t think I am a total psycho. It’s taking a ton of willpower to not start giggling like a maniac and kiss the cover.

Yeah, it was that good.

INFINITE starts shortly after ASUNDER. Janan is threatening to rose, his followers are bing an overall pain, and Ana has been exiled out of Heart. INFINITE follows her, her friends,  and my new #1 favorite book boy (Sam) on a quest to save the newsouls as well as the old ones.

this is the one time where the love story goes hand in hand with the Earth shattering conflict. It is not a distraction whatsoever and in all honesty I had to pause and smile swoon while reading because SAM AND ANA ARE SO FREAKING PERFECT THAT I CAN’T CONTAIN MY HAPPINESS.

*takes a brief pause to calm the frick down* 

INFINITE is a beyond satisfying ending to Meadows’ heart pounding trilogy. Her world is complex enough to be magical, mystical enough to spark immigination in every reader’s mind, and the characters.. well, i think I’ve made it way more than clear that they are amazing. Bravo to this fabulous series! 

*claps dramatically with stars in eyes* 

 

Liked INFINITE and the rest of the INCARNATE series? You might also enjoy…
EVERMORE by Alyson Noel 
OF POSEIDON by Anna Banks 

*PS: This, as you can (hopefully) tell, was written in class right after I finished reading it. I can’t be the only one that has trouble holding back that kind of emotion caused by fictional worlds while stuck in a classroom.

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Katie.com by Katherine Tarbox

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WARNING:  This is a blog post about a true story. The content of this story is sometimes hard to talk about.

In a world where the internet is a new thing (aka the 90s) and teenage girls are under way more pressure than society chooses to believe (aka now), one message in a chat room leads to years of pain and confusion for thirteen year old Katie Tarbox.

(Okay, so the science fiction sounding opening was not really necessary. But it did get your attention.)

Katie lived a perfectly normal life in her Connecticut town. She lived with her sisters, mom, and step-dad. She was on the swim team. She had a best friend. All was well until one day she logged onto an AOL chat room and started talking to a man that called himself Mark. Their relationship exploded. The two of them would spend hours talking online and on the phone. Then, a few months after they first logged on, they met for the first time when Katie was at a swim meet in Texas.

And Mark is not who he said he was.  As you likely guessed, “Mark” is really a 42 year old man named Frank… and a pedophile.

I’m not going to go any more into the details about this. It’s a true story, Google it yourself. What I will talk about is the message that this book has.

In today’s society, the internet is everywhere. Heck, I’m on it right now writing this blog post. I have Facebook open in another tab and will likely be sharing this on Twitter later…. And I’m just one person. Now wake up and realize that there are billions of people online at any given time. Think about how- like it or not- there are some seriously messed up people in the world. Take a moment and wonder what goes through the minds of innocent teenagers that don’t feel like they are loved enough. See how easy it is for those exact same teenagers to connect with anyone else in the world.

The events in Katie.com took place eighteen years ago. Since then, the internet has grown and become such a major part of a modern lifestyle.

The threat is still there.

I speak as a teenager to everyone else on this. Please be careful what you do online. Katherine’s story is a heartbreaking one and I can only hope that you all never have to go through that.

As for those of you that it’s too late- it is not your fault at this point. Katherine managed to turn her life around (I even found her Twitter page. She’s doing great.) but it took so much work.

With that, I leave you with this: Take the time to read this book and share it with someone you love. The web is an amazing place if you know how to use it safely.

Randoms Tips on This Random Post

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One of my New Years Resolutions was the blog more, so here I am, typing away from my freezing cold English classroom. There is only one other person in here with me and there’s 20 minutes ’till the bell rings. 

{I don’t know why I put that last part. Maybe to justify blogging during school?}

I am human (as far as I know). And being human, it’s natural to learn things on my own…

… so please enjoy this not-entirely-book-related of Bex’s Life Hacks

*Feel like you’re about to cough but can’t because people are sleeping/ you’re in a crowded place? Breathe slowly through your mouth, much like you’re told to do to calm down. It won’t stop it forever, but it should quiet the tickle for a few minutes.

*Like listening to music when reading but get distracted by lyrics (If you can read while having words blasted into your ears at the same time you are a wizard)? Add the word “karaoke” or “instrumental” when searching for your favorite tunes.

*If you know/think a book is going to have a sequel, write the author’s name down to look up in coming months. If you keep the list of names in a safe place you’ll never forget to continue a good series again.

*A  short list of things to do when you forgot your book in class and have finished your work: See how many words you can make using the letters in your name, make tiny cootie catchers, people watch (if you can see the window to the hallway), imagine what would happen if an alien landed on the school roof, stare at people across the room and see how long it takes them to notice, count how many people you see on their phones (you are keeping yours in your backpack because you follow the rules).

*Keep a few pieces of chocolate hidden in your room for emotional emergencies.

 

 

Bex’s Best Winter Books

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I’m sitting here huddled between my warm laptop battery and a giant bathrobe (fun fact: if you put the fuzzy hood up and sit in the dark it can really freak out your family) to try and stay warm. The weather has been even more bipolar than normal- this is Missouri, what else would you expect?- and a winter storm watch keeps popping up every time I try and turn on a mushy Christmas movie.

Winter has settled upon us. Whether you’re sitting by the pool in Miami, trying to find your driveway under the snow in Wisconsin, or hovering slightly above the ground in the middle of nowhere, it’s here…

… and it brought along the perfect time to read (or reread) some of my favorite novels.

(WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK OR GUILTY PLEASURE)

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Home for The Holidays (The Mother Daughter Book Club) by Heather Vogel Frederick- If you have read any other of the MDBC books, this one is a must. A great series to read while you’re snowed in with your mom.

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Frostbite by Richelle Mead- It’s no secret that I’m a total VA addict. Frostbite is the 2nd book in the series and it packs even more drama and danger than the first one. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you are in need of some tissues and a hug at the end of this one.

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The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson- It has been several months since Ginny went on the life changing trip around Europe (in 13 Little Blue Envelopes) and lost her aunt’s final words to her. Now, a mysterious email sends her back to England over Christmas break. If you were left feeling like you had puppies licking your soul (figuratively… if literal please see a doctor. Now.) by the end of 13 Little Blue Envelopes, the sequel will not disappoint.

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Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater- Werewolves, mystery, hot guy… (I’m being honest here that it’s too awesome to try and be poetic about…). Let’s keep this one away from your mom, okay?

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens- We have all seen one movie version or another countless times, but what about the original text? Follow Ebenezer Scrooge through his mystical trip with the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future with the story that has been combining ghost stories and holiday magic since 1843. There is a reason that it’s a classic!

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Winter’s Child by Cameron Dokey- On a personal note, I’m a total sucker for different takes on fairy-tales and The Snow Queen has always been one of my favorites. On a less personal note, Winter’s Child is a beautiful take on the age old story about a boy, a girl, and a broken mirror.

Merry Christmas everyone!

*Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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A man and his monster; a tale that has been terrifying generation after generation… but who are Frankenstein and his monster, and why are they such a big deal?
Despite what pop-culture has made the famous being seem like, the creature is neither stupid nor named Frankenstein. The title of the novel actually comes from Victor Frankenstein, the man that figured out how to make life in a lab at a university. After creating the creature- that, for the record, is called that more than it is referred to as a monster- Victor is so horrified at what he created that he runs off and leaves the newly formed life by itself. That is only the beginning of the being’s problems, and those problems would quickly grow into a drab life of hiding and eventually resorting to homicide.
Beware, as Frankenstein requires readers to actually pay attention. The point of view changes often between Victor, the creature, and an adventurous man by the name of Walton, so don’t go thinking that this can be skimmed through. However, it would not be the same without these constant changes. There are chapters where the creature is telling about his time away that would be impossible to be told without switching over to his point of view. The same goes for when Walton is on his boat and when Victor is learning about the death of loved ones. There is also an added hint of mystery as readers do not know the exact moment that it is first brought up that the creature was the murderer of the Frankenstein family (this, of course, would be quite less interesting as well as fairly more gruesome if the lonely beast had been telling this portion of the tale).
In all honesty I didn’t think I would enjoy this book. I rarely find myself reading anything that even remotely resembles classic novels, let alone the classics themselves. Nonetheless, I quickly found myself wrapped up in Shelley’s frightening story. From the very first page I was intrigued by the mystery on why there was a man named Walton (as, for all I knew, the only characters were Frankenstein and his creature) and how he tied in. The murders caught me by surprise. The creature’s life by himself was an unexpected treat.
Overall, Frankenstein is a good book for people that want to read a classic but don’t want it to be centered on romance. There is more than enough death to satisfy even the most extreme Sadist but not so much that a high school student’s mother would call and complain about the assigned reading. There is a pleasant mix of mystery, death, death, more death, and the age old question of what it really means to be human.

 

*I had to write a review for a school paper a few weeks ago over Frankenstein. I got an A on it, so I figured that if my teachers liked it you might enjoy it as well.

DIVERGENT Factions: Outfits and Explanations

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For those of you that have been living under a rock, DIVERGENT is the best-selling YA series by Veronica Roth (yes, it is being turned into a movie that will come out this March… and yes, I am so many levels of excited). In this series, people must chose which faction they will be a part of in their city of post-apocalyptic Chicago. They must live by that faction’s unique rules and have unending loyalty to other members of the same faction. Each faction dresses differently to identify themselves…. 

Let’s start with my faction of choice.

Amity: The peaceful. Members of this faction are known for being kind, helpful, and strong willed in their belief that violence is never EVER the answer. They enjoy wearing bright and sunny colors, mainly red and yellow.
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Dauntless: The brave. Dauntless are the protectors of the city. Their hobbies include jumping off of moving trains, knife throwing, and eating too much chocolate cake. Most of them have at least one tattoo and/or piercing. 
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Abnegation: The selfless. Members of Abnegation spend their lives giving to others instead of worrying about themselves. They wear simple gray clothing to show their lack of vanity and rarely look in mirrors- that would be self indulgent. 

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Candor: The honest. These people never lie and base their beliefs on the idea of “honesty is the best policy.” Truth is as simple as black and white, so that is what they wear. Others faction members often see them as rude as they say what is on their minds even when it’s hurtful.
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Erudite: The intelligent. This faction is the brains of DIVERGENT. They are overall calm people (wearing blue does that to them) but can be even more rude than the Candor due to their generally snobby know-it-all attitude.
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Let’s not forget….

Factionless: Didn’t make it through your initiation into one of the factions? Well, sucks to be you. The factionless live in the poorest parts of the city and live their lives as outcasts. They can sometimes find jobs cleaning up after members of the factions. They wear whatever they can get their hands on, so there is normally a mix of factions seen in their clothing. 
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Asylum by Madeleine Roux

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16-year-old Dan Crawford was ready for the perfect summer at a College Prep program. Two exciting months of as many history classes as he wanted (even better: no grades!) in a beautiful New England town. Never mind the little detail that his dorm room is in a former nuthouse…

You all see where this is going, don’t you?

Dan quickly befriends Abby, an energetic girl with a passion for art; and Jordan, a math genius using the program as an escape from his judgmental parents. The three of them find themselves venturing into the abandoned asylum in the basement… and their discoveries are the workings of a nightmare. Throw in some mysterious deaths and amnesia spells, and you won’t be able to put this one down.

If you are looking for something to send your heart racing around Halloween, this is it. It starts out as a fairly cliche horror story but goes from Scooby Doo to Supernatural faster than you can say “what was that sound.”

There is no overusing the Major Plot Twist. Let’s face it: there are too many scary stories that make 90 degree changes based on squat. There are plenty of OH MY GOSH I DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING moments here, but they aren’t based on one sentence in the first chapter. See what I’m saying?

Asylum sent my heart racing and my paranoia skyrocketing. The “creepy adventures at school” trend you see in thrillers isn’t tacky, it’s classic. I loved it!

If you liked Asylum, you might also enjoy…
Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender
Variant by Robison Wells

PS- Asylum leaves you with a cliffhanger. It isn’t a smack-your-head-on-the-desk type, but it’s a cliffhanger nevertheless. No news on if there will be a sequel.