reviews

Sky-Daughter (NaNoWriMo) – Support a Fellow Young Writer

Hey, guys, and thanks for reading Tween Fiction Girl! Today’s post is going to be a unique one, because I’ve never done a book review/human interest combo post. It’s going to be a book review, sort of, but you’ll also need a bit of backstory.

Remember last year, when I did NaNoWriMo? I wrote a book called The Juniper Tree that will never be published because I didn’t like it, but I also came across my fellow young writer Lily Sowell. I read the excerpt of her story on her NaNoWriMo account page, and we got to talking.
It turns out that her book went a lot further than mine. While mine remained an unfinished idea, she went on to publish hers on CreateSpace. I own a copy of it, and I have to say, for a twelve-year-old author, this was a stellar read.

And now for the review bit of the book review.

The book’s title, as you may have surmised from both the headline and URL of this page, is Sky-Daughter. (It sounds a bit ambiguous out of context, but it makes more sense once you read the story.) To give a simple summary, it’s a fantasy story, centered around three young women by the names of Ayanna, Gwynn, and Oriel, set in a place called Ajeda in a time during a long, hard war. (Actually, the e in Ajeda has an accent mark over it, but I can’t figure out how to make it on my computer.)

It’s not an adult book, but that’s understandable. It was written by a 12-year-old for a 12-year-old reading level. I’d recommend the story itself for an age group of about 8 to 14; it’s not too complex and not at all inappropriate, but it’s compelling enough to attract the attention of an older reader, too. I mean, even my mom enjoyed it, and, when it comes to books, she’s hard to interest.

The author’s writing style is brisk and dialogue-oriented, which leaves a lot about the details of the setting to the imagination. I like descriptions, frankly, but even more, I dislike lengthy and tedious descriptions, so I didn’t find this much of a setback. The writing flows, with understandable characters (which is definitely a plus, especially in stories written by younger individuals) and easy, casual dialogue. I made note of the fact that a good portion of the main characters are female. As it was written by a girl, it’s written for girls, even if that particular facet was unintentional; as I myself am an almost-teen girl, this didn’t bother me, but, despite the fact that this book is set in a war, I don’t recommend it for boys looking for a nitty-gritty action story.

A heads-up for anyone looking to purchase the book: it’s NOT flawless. No book is. It has as many flukes as anything I’ve ever written, I’ll admit, such as an accidental g tacked onto the word tightly in the last chapter in the book, or an extra “that night” in a sentence on the first page. As a whole, though, I’d recommend this to young readers who’d like to try out something a little different from the rest of the young adult fiction stories.

For a fun and fast-paced plot, memorable characters, and an interesting origin (how many 12-year-olds do you ever see publishing books?), but taking points off for a couple of grammatical errors and other small flukes, I give Sky-Daughter four stars out of five.

I don’t usually do this with my reviews, but since this book can currently only be bought in two places in the known world, here are the links to Sowell’s outlets.
Sky-Daughter at Amazon.com
Sky-Daughter at CreateSpace.com (by Amazon)

UPDATE:  Sowell released another edition of the book; she fixed the aforementioned typos.  (The webpage still says 1st Edition, but the interior of the book says 2nd).

Anyway, thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful to you.

~ Summer

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Movie Reviews: Inside Out

I went to see this movie with Celestia, aka this nerd.  We nearly went to see the new Terminator movie instead, but we changed our minds last minute.  (I’m glad we did, because neither of us have ever seen any of the original Terminator movies.)  I sat myself down with a large bag of Lifesavers and an even larger bag of Skittles and got ready.

I don’t know what I was expecting; I hadn’t seen many trailers other than the teaser one that they started showing really early on. I didn’t know much about the story other than the general setting: five emotions – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust – that existed inside the mind of a girl named Riley.

I have to say, I thought (for a Disney animated movie) this was a very mature and thought-provoking story. It was a very visually attracting movie, with excellent detail in animation and graphics; if you’re looking to see it in theater, definitely go with the 3D showing, because it’s well worth it. The story itself was good, too – Joy and Sadness almost lose Riley’s core memories, the memories that shape her personality, in the vast library of her long-term memory storage, and they go on a (very metaphorical) journey through her mind in order to take the memories back to headquarters. I won’t offer any more spoilers, although I’d like to.

This, as has become Disney’s custom, was, in my opinion, a great family movie, because while kids may be less inclined to get a lot out of the story and climax than, say, a fourteen-year-old, it was nice just to watch. (Especially with a large bag of Skittles and Lifesavers on hand.) If any Disney animator or someone who knows one stumbles across this post, I’d like to say thank you for spending your valuable time making a movie as graphically lovely as Inside Out. Animating isn’t easy (I’ve tried it and couldn’t make more than a very glossy sphere), and this movie looked like it took a whole lot more than a free Blender trial on a ca. 2010 home laptop.

I have to agree partially with a friend of mine that said she felt the story dragged on for too long. It’s true, maybe they could have condensed it a little further, but I didn’t find it difficult to watch at all, especially with a mouth full of candy. Even if portions of it seemed to take too long, it was interesting in and of itself to wonder how Disney would portray another section of Riley’s mind. It was such an abstract thing to put into pictures, and I just love the creativity involved in this.

For outstanding graphics and a really sweet plot, I give Disney’s Inside Out a total of four stars. (I decided to just quit with the decimals. They did nothing but confuse everyone.)

As always, feedback and ratings are appreciated, as well as your thoughts on the article or topic. Remember, if you want to see a post about a specific topic, feel free to suggest one at the Suggest A Post bar at the top of your page.

Thanks for reading – I hope this was helpful to you!

~ Summer

Rift: Exploring the Wardrobe Patch

Hey, guys! As you may have read in my earlier post, I’ve dropped Diablo 3 as my main RPG and started playing Rift instead. For the few of you reading my blog that may also play Rift, you’ve probably been keen on the new game patch: the wardrobe update.

When I first heard about this patch, it didn’t seem like much. Some new clothing looks, another menu for clothes. [I’ll admit, I didn’t go too far into the research.] Sure, I thought it would be cool, but I didn’t expect it would be anything big.

When the patch came out and I got to play it for the first time, I thought it was stupid. The dye merchants in Sanctum and Meridian were gone, replaced by an in-game dye menu. You had to pay credits to get the nice colors. I learned, slowly, that apothecary dyes still worked, and the colors in the menu were nice, anyway. It still seemed pretty pointless. Now you could have two sets of clothing. It didn’t make much sense to have two wardrobe options; why not just wear the best armor you owned at all times? I put all my normal clothes in my wardrobe slot. It felt pretty much the same, albeit with nicer colors.

Then I realized that wasn’t what the update was, and I started to like it more. Now, easy as pie, you could make your character look like he or she was wearing whatever you wanted him or her to. You could even wear something that your class couldn’t normally use – while still retaining the stats of the armor you were really wearing. This worked better than ever at the time, right after I’d picked up a piece of chest armor that had good stats but was ridiculously immodest. [Yeah, sorry, my rant about inappropriate/impractical womens’ RPG outfits will come later.]

In my opinion, this is especially useful for mages and warriors, whose clothing options aren’t exactly pleasing [to me, anyway.] Mages’ robes usually look like they’re wearing bathrobes, especially the lower-level ones; the warriors sometimes look like they’re wearing metal swimsuits. Not exactly advisable if you’re going into battle. Even the weapons are customizable – if you’re tired of your boring dagger or dull staff, exchange it for a swaggy sword that you’d never be able to use anyway!

The wardrobes can be accessed via the character page [press C]. Click on the wardrobe tab on the left side and tinker with your appearance to your heart’s content!

Maybe later I’ll post a picture of my character’s wardrobe, if anyone wants to see it.

Thanks for reading! I hope my review of the patch was useful to you!

– Summer 🙂

Book Reviews: The Maze Runner

Hey, guys! I FINALLY found this book at the library after four weeks of looking, so, needless to say, I checked it out immediately. I expected it to be more of a Hunger-Games-ish sort of story, but, honestly, the book it reminded me most of was Ender’s Game. I mean, seriously. Check it out.

Anyway, I started reading this book, and I noticed the beginning was a little slow. Yeah, they DID have to do an awful lot of setup, but I don’t recommend this if you’re more of an action reader. The book has enough action in it, but it takes a while to get to it. Also, there wasn’t really much character background, even for the characters who’d been in the maze for two years, which really bugged me, but I’ve noticed that James Dashner’s style doesn’t really include too many details.

Also, the scenes involving the only girl in the Glade – Teresa – took maddeningly long to appear at all. She was in a coma for half the book, and when she does appear you’re just sort of thrown into believing that she and Thomas had history before the Maze. The ending, too, was a bit late in the story; you have to read the next book in the trilogy for it to make any sense at all. But there were definitely good aspects about the story as well: the action, once it appeared, was suspenseful and well-written, and everyone acted within character – no one took some crazy leap of faith leaving you wondering why it had to happen at all.

For an awesome backstory, great action scenes, but taking points off for an annoyingly vague style and other various story flaws, I give The Maze Runner 3.7 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for reading! I hope this helped you!!

Summer 🙂

Last Day of Summer Break FUN POST!!

Hey, guys. Today’s my last day of summer vacation, which means that tomorrow is the first day of school. I’m not too excited about this, as you can probably guess. So today, I decided to do a SUPER COOL post about… everything I put on this blog!!
Yup. I’m going to do gaming, a review, a picture, and a story ALL IN ONE POST. Everything’s going to be a little short, since it has to fit in one blog post, but it’ll be great!!

~Movie Reviews: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes~
I think this is still showing in theaters. I saw it a while ago but never got around to reviewing it!! Anyway, here it is.
This movie is a modern prequel to the 1960’s Planet of the Apes series and a sequel to the 2012 Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I went with Flora and my dad, since my mom was convinced that it is the cheesiest movie series on earth and that, even though this had 2014 animation, it was going to be just as stupid as the 60’s version. True, the costumes in the old movies looked like they came out of a Halloween costume store, but this movie was nothing like its predecessors.
First of all, the animation was ten times better. The characters actually looked like apes and not people in ape suits. The music was also a whole lot less dramatic, if there was any at all. Overall, it was much better done than the old ones.
It wasn’t quite as action-packed as I expected. Sure, there was lots of fighting and war and destruction and stuff, but the dialogue was slow in places and it was more of a drama than a real thriller movie.
Sorry this review is a little short, but I have to make it all fit in one post without it being ten times as long as a normal post. For cool animation, good actors, but a slightly weird story, I give Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 3.9 stars. If you didn’t like the other ones, don’t see it, but it’s really much better than the other ones. I recommend this for kids 10 and up. The reason is best stated by my little sister: she didn’t go see it because “I don’t want to watch that creepy ape movie”.

~Fiction: Among the Clouds, Part 3~
Alright, this one, finally!! A bunch of people said that they like this story, but it wasn’t catching my attention as much as my other stories. I figured it would be good for a short story feature, though, so here it is!!

Mallory’s eyes widened. Invaded?! She’d only lived there for about a month and the land was already in danger. She wished she could have a normal life for at least six months! She decided that she would try to fight back. She’d give whatever she had to to save her new home, even if it meant fighting her old people.
But how? She wasn’t even supposed to know. She’d been eavesdropping on the Queen, and how was she going to help if she couldn’t admit it? It would be kind of stupid to walk up to the ruler of Skyland and say, “Hey, Your Highness, I was kind of listening in on your private conversation, but it’s all cool now, and now you ought to let me help you with whatever you’re doing?” It wasn’t going to be that easy. She would have to take a more unconventional approach.
Quietly, she walked toward the door, humming casually as if she hadn’t been paying any attention to the regal conversation at the table. Once she was outside, she took off as fast as she could to the edge of Skyland. She had to find a plane.
She was halfway to her destination when she heard the quiet whuff-whuff-whuff of wings. Turning around to see who – or what – it was, she was met by the glare of another winged person.
“Just what do you think you’re doing?” she said angrily. “I saw you listening to the queen, and I am this close to turning you in right now.”
It was Breeze.

~Gaming: How To Make The Most Efficient Minecraft Farm~
Lots of people – including me, at one point – don’t use the best farming technique. You might put your wheat next to a lake, river, or ocean. You might build strips of water and dirt like in a village. You might do some crazy wacko thing that I’ve never even seen before.
But there’s one farm that gives you TONS of dirt space, plus only uses 1 water for every 9×9 square. It’s super simple to make, and I don’t want to clog this post up with a bunch of pictures, so I’ll put it in text. It’ll still be easy to make.
Step 1: Make a 3×3 square of dirt with the center block empty. It should look like a square donut.
Step 2: Put water in the hole.
Step 3: Put 2 blocks coming out from the center of each side of the donut. There should be 3 blocks coming from the water.
Step 4: Connect each line around the corner, making a 9×9 square with the water at the center.
Step 5: Hoe all the dirt, and you’re finished!!
It really works and only uses that much water. If you stick a bunch of them together, you can get TONS of farmland with only a few buckets of water!!

~Picture: My Beautiful Fingernails!!~
I did them myself!! I actually never used the brush: my tools were a bobby pin, a pinhead, a straw, and a toothpick. Unfortunately, I only did my left hand, since if I did my right I’d have to paint with my left hand and I’m right-handed.

nailsforblog

Thanks for reading! Also, a small update on my posting schedule: I’ll try to post at least five times a week, but I can’t post anything on Tuesday, so don’t expect anything then.

Summer 😀