Monday, August 31, 2015

Patriot Games Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge

18. Patriot Games by Tom Clancy
      Theme/Topic: book that came out the year you were born

From England to Ireland to America, an explosive wave of violence sweeps a CIA analyst and his family into the deadliest game of our time: international terrorism. An ultra-left-wing faction of the IRA has targeted the CIA man for his act of salvation in an assassination attempt. And now he must pay ... with his life.

My Review:
It took me a little bit of time before I could get into this book. Once I did, though, I was hooked. What I really liked about this was getting a glimpse into the lives of terrorist groups, as well as the CIA - for instance, (for terrorists) how they plan their attacks and ways to avoid getting caught and (for the CIA) how they try to figure out how to stay one step ahead of terrorists and possibly stop the attacks planned or how they plan to fight back if an attack were to occur.

What makes a hero? To me, heroes are anyone who save/help the lives of others or try their hardest to do whatever they can to make that happen. Obviously, I'm talking about firefighters, police officers, members of the armed services and doctors and nurses, etc. There are everyday heroes as well who may not wear an uniform, but perform heroic acts, just like Jack Ryan. He relied on his former training as a Marine to save the lives of members of a royal family.

My favorite characters other than the obvious (Jack of course) were Robby and Sally. Robby was just a great supporting character and Sally, Jack's daughter, may not have been a main character, but she was an integral part for Jack to keep going.

My only complaint would be this. I didn't understand why Jack's character was referred to as Jack and Ryan at the same time. It was confusing at first until I got used to seeing it.

While I was reading this book, a similar type of incident took place in Europe. I believe three American men thwarted a possible terrorist attack on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris by taking the suspect down. With that being said, terrorist attacks have been quite common all over the world, including one of the deadliest on US soil 14 years ago - 9/11. To me, I don't understand why anyone would want to attack and kill innocent people of all walks of life anywhere.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Funday: Back to School

Sunday Funday
It's that time of year again - back to school time. So I thought I would tell you some of my school memories since I'm personally not going back to school.
The first day of school. When I first started school as a kindergartner, I remember being so excited. My mom had been the kindergarten aide for the two years prior to mine (started with my brother's class) and I used to hang out there and I already knew the teacher. I was actually upset on my first day of kindergarten because I didn't start at the same time my brother did. He was in 2nd grade then and he started at 8, but that day, I didn't have to start until 9 or 10.
Subjects. In elementary school, I had liked math for several years, well up until 7th grade. In high school, my favorite classes were: English, French, Accounting and US History.
Teachers. Elementary school - Mrs. Zerumsky, my kindergarten teacher. High school - Ms. Kady, my French teacher and Ms. Boland, my English teacher for my freshman and junior years.
Sports/Activities. I wasn't allowed to play sports because of my heart condition, so that was out of the question. I did stage crew for all four years of high school for theatre shows and yes, I had to be there for every rehearsal. I also was co-copy editor and writer for my school's newspaper for two years, as well as being active all four years with CSC (Community Service Corps).


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Author Spotlight: Tom Clancy

Author Spotlight

Tom Clancy

Getting to know Tom Clancy:
  1. American novelist who died in 2013
  2. Known for espionage and military science storylines set during & after the Cold War
  3. Seventeen bestsellers
  4. More than 100 million copies in print
  5. Four books that were made into movies: The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears.
Fun Fact:
     ~He was a part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Writing Tuesday: 40 Rules for Writing Good

Writing Tuesday

40 Rules for Writing Good

  1. Each pronoun should agree with their antecedent.
  2. Between you and I, case is important.
  3. A writer must be sure to avoid using sexist pronouns in his writing.
  4. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  5. Don't be a person whom people realize confuses who and whom.
  6. Never use no double negatives.
  7. Never use a preposition to end a sentence with. That is something up with which your readers will not put.
  8. When writing, participles must not be dangled.
  9. Be careful to never, under any circumstances, split infinitives.
  10. Hopefully, you won't float your adverbs.
  11. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  12. Lay down and die before using a transitive verb without an object.
  13. Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
  14. The passive voice should be avoided.
  15. About sentence fragments.
  16. Don't verb nouns.
  17. In letters themes reports and ad use commas to separate items in a series.
  18. Don't use commas, that aren't necessary.
  19. "Don't overuse 'quotation marks.'"
  20. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (if the truth be told) superfluous.
  21. Contractions won't, don't and can't help your writing voice.
  22. Don't write run-on sentences they are hard to read.
  23. Don't forget to use end punctuation
  24. Its important to use apostrophe's in the right places.
  25. Don't abbrev.
  26. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!!
  27. Resist Unnecessary Capitalization.
  28. Avoid mispellings.
  29. Check to see if you any words out.
  30. One word sentences? Eliminate.
  31. Avoid annoying, affected, and awkward alliterations, always.
  32. Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  33. The bottom line is to bag trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  34. By observing the distinctions between adjectives and adverbs, you will treat your readers real good.
  35. Parallel structure will help you in writing more effective sentences and to express yourself more gracefully.
  36. In my own personal opinion at this point of time, I think that authors, when they are writing, should not get into the habit of making use of too many unnecessary words that they don't really need.
  37. Foreign words and phrases are the reader's bete noire and are not apropos.
  38. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  39. Always go in search for the correct idiom.
  40. Do not cast statements in the negative form.
Keep in mind that a few of these have grammatical errors to prove the point.

Credit: Writing Good

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Friday, August 21, 2015

The Great Gatsby Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge
17. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
      Theme/Topic: a book you had to read in school but didn't (like)
Note: I changed this one by doing didn't like rather than didn't read because I read the books that I had to for school.

Synopsis: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

My Review:
First, I'm going to explain why I didn't really like this book the first time around. It was a summer reading book that I had to read for freshman English, if I remember correctly. And I think that was exactly why I didn't enjoy the story - knowing that I was going to be tested on this when I went back to school that September. 

I can say that I liked it much better than I did back in high school. Classics are good to read in high school, but they're easier to understand when you read them in your 20s and 30s in my opinion. Nick Carroway's character reminds me of being the third wheel in a way=as a supporting character so to say. Obviously, I liked Jay and Daisy's love for one another, which had an unfortunate ending. I really didn't care for Daisy's husband - I found it odd that it was okay for him to have a mistress, but didn't like that Daisy fell for Jay. 

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!



Thursday, August 20, 2015

Paper Towns Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge

16. Paper Towns by John Green
       I don't have a certain reading challenge theme/topic for this one because I didn't plan to read this for that reason.

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life--dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge--he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues--and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.

My Review:
Yet another love story from John Green. Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska seem to have something in common: the main character (Miles and Q) realizing how much someone meant to them after they're gone and then chasing/searching for them to discover who they are. In Looking for Alaska, Miles goes on a search for answers after losing Alaska in a car accident and in Paper Towns, Q goes on a search for Margo after she runs away. What I really liked about this book was the clues that were left by Margo, making it a bit like a scavenger/treasure hunt. Those kind of things have always interested me, not to mention it's fun to figure out clues and see where they lead. 

I think a good thing to take out of this story is that sometimes you have to take a risk in life to go after something you want to achieve, accomplish, etc. Q took a risk on his mission to find Margo, not really knowing what he was going to find along the way. Without giving the ending away, keep in mind that you may not always get the outcome that you want, but you'll never know if you don't try.

No risk = No reward

Announcement: My regular blog schedule will resume next week.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Writing Tuesday: Commonly Misused Words

Writing Tuesday

Let's be honest. At one point or another, we have all gotten the above words confused or messed up. As writers, we probably know them well enough and know the difference. However, a gentle reminder now and then never hurts.
Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Author Spotlight: Suzanne Collins

Author Spotlight

Suzanne Collins

Getting to Know Suzanne Collins:
  1. American novelist and television writer
  2. Best known for The Hunger Games trilogy
  3. Also known for The Underland Chronicles series
  4. More than 87 million copies sold of her books
  5. The Hunger Games trilogy has been made into best-selling movies
  6. Was named the bestselling Kindle author of all time
I have only read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire (the first two books in The Hunger Games trilogy. I haven't had the chance to get Mockingjay (I usually wait for books to come out into paperbacks first), but I will definitely read it in the future.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!

♥Meg Herbert♥

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Grammar Nazis

Writing Tuesday

The Battle of a Grammar Nazi

We all know people out there who are grammar Nazis - you know what I'm talking about, those who have to correct others on their grammar/misspellings. I admit that I can be a bit of a grammar Nazi myself at times. It doesn't help that I was copy editor on my high school newspaper for two years. I notice mistakes easily and can be the first one to point out if something is spelled incorrectly.

The problem is this. When it comes to social media, I have seen people correct each other a lot recently (mostly on Facebook) when someone has made a grammatical error. It's driving me a little crazy. Having correct grammar is important, but does it really matter when it comes to social media and texts? I don't think so. To be honest, all of us have probably made some grammatical errors in our life. The social media platform is the one place(s) where it shouldn't matter if we make that mistake or not. And here's why: you never know why they made that mistake in the first place. Maybe they were in a hurry to say something or, pardon my language, damn autocorrect got in the way - I think all of us has been a victim of an autocorrect mishap and we can laugh about it later. To me, correcting someone on social media about a grammatical error is rude. It can embarrass the person if they didn't mean to make the mistake in the first place. It's just something that happens and at times, is out of their control. Maybe some people have trouble differentiating different words (like any commonly misspelled words - for example, their, they're and there) and some words are just plain tricky.

Since I mentioned that social media is the one platform that grammatical errors can be looked at as slip-ups, now let's talk about where having correct grammar is important. The following list includes just a few examples:
  1. business letters
  2. school papers (whether elementary, high school or college)
  3. correspondence of any kind (e-mail, business, etc)
  4. books/stories/articles (if you're a writer or want to be a writer)
There's nothing wrong with being a grammar Nazi. However, just like in everything else, there are times when it would be considered appropriate to correct someone on a grammatical error and times when its inappropriate or doesn't have to be made into a big thing when it shouldn't be.  By the way, it can drive me crazy if I see something said wrong, either grammatically or spelling wise, but I let it slide (especially on social media) because mistakes happen.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Looking for Alaska Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge

15. Looking for Alaska by John Green
       Theme/Topic: book written by someone under 30

Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Prepatory School (boarding school) in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.

My Review:
This is about life before and after a tragic event of losing a friend in a car crash. We tend to take our family and friends for granted and don't always realize how much they mean to us. Oftentimes by the time we do, it's too late. I liked how John Green showed Miles, aka Pudge, and his friends/c!assmates go through the grieving process just like anybody else, but more importantly, that they each went through it differently. 

Losing someone close to us, whether suddenly or not, is heartbreaking. Just like Pudge, I think all of us question life and death after someone dies. I related to what Pudge went through because I felt a lot of the same things when I lost an uncle in 2001 and my grandmom in 2010. One died suddenly and the other died unexpectedly, but I kind of knew it was coming. With both, I found myself asking what if I had done this or that (they're both extremely personal stories), would it have made a difference. And I'm sure a lot of people feel the same way. 

Suicide. Although we never find out if Alaska dies by accident or crashed as a way to commit suicide, suicide is an importaƱt issue not to be taken lightly. I've known two people who did take their life and although I wasn't that close to either of them, I still found myself questioning why someone would want to do that.  The answer is that you just don't know. There's no way of knowing what that person is thinking right before that moment or even what led up to that moment. If you or someone you know is considering suicide as a way out, please get help. 

This book is good for young adults and adults in their 20s and 30s because it's during those times when we question life and death and discover what we want to become and where we want to be in life. 

I'm going to end this with the most thought defining quote from this book: 

"How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?" - Alaska Young

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Author Spotlight: John Green

Author Spotlight

John Green

Get to Know John Green
     ~ American author
     ~ Creator of VidCon - a conference for the online video community
     ~ Developed a Youtube channel with his brother - VlogBrothers
     ~ Best known for The Fault in Our Stars
     ~ Paper Towns is the second book to become a movie
     ~ Made it into Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world
Books by John Green
     ~ Looking for Alaska
     ~ Paper Towns
     ~ The Fault in Our Stars
     ~ An Abundance of Katherines
     ~ Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with author David Levithan)
     ~ Let It Snow (with authors Lauren Myracle and Maureen Johnson)

I have read The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska. I can say this: John Green has natural writing talent. What I like about him is that his books are suited for young adults and adults alike and you can't go wrong there. I just finished reading Looking for Alaska and the review will be posted tomorrow. I am currently reading Paper Towns so a review should be posted in a couple days.

For more information on John Green, click here.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!