Glistering: B's Blog - The Glister Journals, outsights, and infrequent flashes of brilliance

Reading,Recommendations

April 10, 2014

Review: The Hunger Games

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Hunger Games

Yes, I’m extremely late to the party, I know, but I’m going to weigh in on this series anyway. I’ll just go ahead and credit this book with fueling my new interest in young adult literature and I don’t mean that in a genre sense. I’ve tried reading some of the traditionally published ‘genre,’ and have been severely underwhelmed to the point that I can’t bear to waste time finishing them. Nothing had really impressed me since Harry Potter. But this book–indeed, as I’m finished with the final book I can say the whole series–is so well written, well paced, and with such strong characters, I want to read anything Suzanne Collins has written no matter the genre or target age group. It is also the first book I’ve read in first-person present tense that I thoroughly enjoyed. I generally don’t care for it as it’s seldom well-done, but as I said, the writing is so strong, it could be in any voice and I’d love it. I also need to say that I have since found other authors/books in this category well worth reading, but I’ll review them later.

I doubt if many people are ignorant of the premise for the story, but if you’re here seeking out a review at this point, perhaps you are: In a brutal future United States where the privileged few live extravagantly and wastefully in the “Capitol,” the average citizen lives in one of twelve districts. Each district has it’s specialty–mining, cattle, agriculture, etc.–but most barely scratch out an existence while the best of everything is sent to the Capitol. Why don’t they rebel? Well, once upon a time there were thirteen districts. 13 rebelled and 13 no longer exists–at least as far as anyone knows. To commemorate the occasion and remind the districts of what can happen again, each district gives up one boy and one girl each year to the Hunger Games, a brutal arena free-for-all where only one winner can survive. Katniss Everdeen, something of a tough loner who would do anything for her sister, becomes the girl for District 12.

The Hunger Games is certainly brutal and violent but not over the top. Some parts were unpleasant but never so graphic as to make me want to skip parts (I have my limits for blood and guts). The violence is a part of the story and propels it forward. Yes, there is certainly a love story, but it never becomes too sentimental or steamy. It’s a very clean read in that perspective which I liked. The motives for everything, including the love interest, is what I found the most appealing.

And I’m glad that I read the book first, but the movie is truly excellent. Considering I had read it recently, I wasn’t aware of anything important missing and felt myself right back in the story. That’s pretty amazing. It sets just the right tone at the beginning, the rural and impoverished District 12 looking like something out of 1940s Appalachia. In contrast, the Capitol is all high tech, high fashion, and wanton wastefulness. Presiding over all, though not conspicuous is the president of Panem, Snow, well played by Donald Sutherland. I don’t like Donald Sutherland, never have, but kudos to the casting directors. He’s perfect. Actually that’s one of the best things about the movie–its cast. They nailed it. Even Lenny Kravitz as Cinna is perfect. No, really! If they ever make a movie/movies out of my series, I want them to cast it. (I can dream!)

Verdict: Go see the movie, but read the book first!



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Buu and other critters,The Glister Journals,The Glister Journals Soundtracks,Writing

April 2, 2014

Happy Birthday Buu (and April Soundtrack Clue)

Just a short post . . .

Almost five years ago (we think…time goes by so fast) we adopted a little white ball of fluff and named him Buu. We weren’t sure of his actual birthday so decided April 1st was probably close enough. He’s part Siamese part American shorthair, otherwise known as Colorpoint or Flame point. He’s a real goof ball, very talkative, and a snuggle bunny…er, kitty. He gives kisses and high fives, plays dead, and lets us dress him up. Our lives have been so enriched by him. I promise not to post too much about him, but he might turn up now and then. Fair warning.

So, on to the April soundtrack clue. To narrow the possibilities down a little more:

    10. Eight of the songs were released before 2000. The oldest song is from 1976.
    Most of these are fairly well-known I think. Some are definitely classics.

How are you doing so far? I’m not trying to make this too hard, but I’m not completely giving it away either. Let me know if there’s a certain kind of clue you’d like. I’ll try to oblige!

Full soundtrack clues (so far) can be found on the Glister Journals soundtrack page

In case you missed the previous post, the Fool for Books giveaway is on until April 7.

Currently writing: TGJ Book 2–Chapter 1 and 25

Listening to: Tired Ponies


Reading: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Watching: Gilmore Girls Season Five; The 13th Warrior

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Contests/Giveaways,Reading,The Glister Journals

March 31, 2014

Fool for Books Giveaway Hop

Fool-for-Books

Entries and the hop Linky list are on my Blogspot site.



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Contests/Giveaways,Music,The Glister Journals,Writing

March 6, 2014

March update…

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Apologies for being late with this month’s soundtrack clue. I’m having severe computer issues and unable to access the internet at the moment through my own computer. This makes online life pretty difficult! It looks like I’ll have to buy a new one which I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to do yet, but if it shuts down completely, I’m sunk! I haven’t been online much anyway as I really am writing, transcribing, and revising like crazy! (Plus working, of course.) I’ve already gone past my original (self-imposed) deadline so am working extra hard to get everything done as quickly as possible. With lots of help from my most severe critic, of course….

Buu offering literary advice

The good news is, I am moving into beta-reader stage and will be sending first chapters out soon. Book cover should be coming along soon too. Yay!

So, on to this month’s clue. Since the past couple have been a bit vague, I’ll give you something more concrete this month.

    CLUE #9 Some of the artists represented in the soundtrack can be found on my Pinterest “Music” board.
    Not all the artists are there, but the board represents some of my favorite artists and the kinds of music I listen to most.

I hope that helps! Updates will be a bit slow until my computer issues are solved, but I still have book and music reviews to do so I’ll try to post again soon!

*EDIT* Oops! I forgot to leave you with some music! I really like this from Lucius. :)

Listening to:

Writing: The Glister Journals, Book 2: Chapter 24
Reading: Mockingjay
Watching: Gilmore Girls Season 4



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Horses,Media

February 15, 2014

Rodeo Girls and Reality

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Barrel Racer

I took this picture at a high school rodeo several years ago. Unfortunately I don’t know the name of the girl or the horse, but I love this photo; the giving on both sides of this partnership: the rider’s touch, the horse’s responsive attention and obvious effort yet calm expression.

I don’t watch television anymore. I watch movies and series that I’ve bought or borrowed, but only what I really want. When we moved to our present location I decided to not hook up the cable even though we do actually pay for it. It was (and still is) a question of time management. It was too easy to just flip the thing on and veg. Now I have to consciously do it and decide what to watch. No more flipping. It was cheaper to pay for both TV and internet than internet alone (which is annoying). Most of the time the TV stays off and I get a lot more done! Most of my knowledge about what is current on the boob-tube comes from sources on the internet, so I was surprised (and then revolted) to hear about a show called Rodeo Girls.

Now you’d think, considering the themes of my novel series and the interests of the main characters, that I would have been overjoyed. A show highlighting rodeo, equestrian sport, barrel racing in particular? But A&E apparently thought (for some demented reason) that a show with Real Housewives type ‘reality’ on a rodeo circuit would be a good idea.

Gag.

I found out about it through an online horse magazine, Horse Nation, and you can read their article here.

It’s so maddening. It bears no relation to the average horsewoman, barrel racer or otherwise, nor what the sport is really like and about. Barrel racing (like other equine sports) is about the connection and communication between horse and rider; it’s about the partnership. And yes, it’s also about competition. It’s about courage and hard work. And, usually, it’s about good horsemanship AND sportsmanship.

This is a show created by (and apparently specifically for) a woman with more money, hair, and botox than wit. I wouldn’t bother posting about it at all except it struck a chord too close to my heart. If you are not rodeo, equestrian sport, or even just horse savvy, please ignore this show. It is NOT representative of anything realistic. At least, nothing I’ve seen, and I’ve lived quite a long time.

Much better (with no big hair and botox and MUCH more actual horse) is this adorable video created in response. So in case you don’t know better, THIS is what it’s really all about.

He he . . . this was this fastest post I’ve ever written. :)

Writing: The Glister Journals, Book 2: Chapter 23
Reading: The Iron King
Listening to:

Watching: Buffy



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Contests/Giveaways,The Glister Journals,Writing

February 8, 2014

Romance Is In the Air Giveaway Hop

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Romance Is In the Air

Welcome to my post and giveaway for the Romance Is In the Air Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Rachael Anderson

I am featuring my series The Glister Journals which, to be honest, is more about relationships in general and more on the literature side than strictly YA or romance. But for me it is a romance first and foremost, though there are only hints and glimpses of it in the first novel Bronze. Bronze’s birthday (first published) is Valentines Day, so this seemed very appropriate! And yes, there is real (clean) romance in the remaining books in the series. The second book will be released this year.

The Glister Journals: Bronze

Summary

    “We all make assumptions every day. Some more important than others. Some more damaging than others. And things, very often, are not at all what they seem.”

    Allison Anderson is a normal but not exactly average fourteen year old girl. She knows she’s a little different, but it hadn’t bothered her too much—until now. Moving away from everything she has ever known to a new house, new neighborhood, and new school is bad enough, but it’s her first year of high school too. She’s more aware of her social and physical limitations than ever before. And then there are the new people she meets: the tough-looking girl in her home room; the cute but dangerous-looking boy she first saw before school even started; the quiet, older girl who keeps to herself; the sullen-looking, seemingly isolated junior that doesn’t seem to trust or like her at all. Can they be friends? She’s been the victim of bullying in the past; can she trust them? While her peaceful new home only amplifies her doubts, she begins to learn that things are not always what they seem. Her world is turned upside-down by these and other new friends, two-legged and otherwise. Life soon becomes more complicated, and much more interesting!

If you would like to investigate the series further, you will find more information and both media and independent reviews at the series website theglisterjournals.com. There is a soundtrack contest too. You can also find the book on Goodreads. Follow me there or here for updates on the series.

For this giveaway I’m giving a $15 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of Bronze.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Contests/Giveaways,The Glister Journals,The Glister Journals Soundtracks,Writing

February 3, 2014

February update…

Well, here’s me falling down on the job again. I had meant to get a couple of posts out before the end of January, but I have been writing. In fact, besides actually working, all I’ve been doing is writing. I want to get this book (the second Glister Journals book) out as soon as I can. So, sorry I haven’t been around much. I hope to still get some book and music reviews out soon and I’ve got a Retro Thursday lined up when I can get to it.

In the mean time, here’s the Bronze Soundtrack clue for February:

    CLUE #8 There are no jazz, hip-hop, or rap songs.

Not a big clue, I know, but it might narrow it down for you. And I hope that doesn’t disappoint too many people!

Next week I’ll be posting a giveaway for Valentine’s Day which happens to be the birthday, the first publication date, of Bronze and The Glister Journals series. I had originally hoped to have the second book published on Valentine’s Day too, but that’s obviously not going to happen and I don’t want to wait until next year! I still can’t give a firm date for release, but I’m hoping I can still get it out in the first half of this year. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I’m working hard!

The Glister Journals #2: Chapter 22. Word count: imposing.

Reading Scarlet

Listening to Bastille.



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Music,Reading,The Glister Journals,The Glister Journals Soundtracks,Writing

January 4, 2014

Hello 2014!

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This is just a quick post to look ahead to some of the things I hope to accomplish this year. But first things first – the January soundtrack clue! Let’s see . . . we’re on number seven:

    CLUE #7 Songs/bands/genres mentioned in chapters do not necessarily reflect that chapter’s song.
    For instance, in one chapter The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, and The Beatles are all mentioned. The chapter title is not by any of these bands, though there are two clues right there – one having to do with the chapter title and one for something else.

I realize the clues so far are a little vague, but if you’ve read the book, they’ll make sense. I’ll give more specific clues as we get closer to the contest opening.

As far as what is coming up:

My main focus as always is to write, write, write. With limited time and living with frequent interruptions, this is a continuing challenge. However, I finally feel like I’m on the downward slope. With Bronze, the first two-thirds of the book took much longer to write than the last and I’m quite sure it will be true with Book #2 as well. This is the most fun part for me to actually write (you’ll have to wait to find out why) and I expect things to go relatively quickly. So, as much for myself as for anyone potentially interested, I’ll let you know what stage I’m in at the end of my posts. This will also serve as a progress report toward the new cover/title release and soundtrack countdown. :D

I will be needing a couple of new beta-readers soon. I’m also seeking more reviews for Bronze. More about that in future posts. More excerpts of Bronze will be available at The Glister Journals website, and excerpts of Book 2 as soon as the cover’s released.

I’ll be posting as part of a giveaway hop (hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer) this month. I’ll be trying to participate on a somewhat regular basis in these.

There will be more music – of course! – and I will be getting some book features of the books I do manage to get read posted and organized, though I don’t plan on reviewing per se. My features will consist of book information and brief thoughts on the books, and will only be on books I can recommend. I also plan to do some indie features this year. I’m definitely going to have to get an e-reader of some sort though, as most of the indie books I have are digital and it’s almost impossible to find the time to read on my computer.

New and upcoming music I’m excited about:

Toad the Wet Sprocket (first album in sixteen years!), Foster the People, Switchfoot, Broken Bells, The Fray, Elbow, Tycho. There are many others I’m interested in and I’m sure there will be plenty more!

Books on deck . . .

Shadow and BoneThe Iron KingThe Moon Dwellers

. . . and not necessarily new but highly anticipated (as soon as I get my hands on a copy!)

MockingjayShadowsCressThe CrossingLingerFloating Worlds

The Glister Journals #2: halfway through Chapter 19. Word count: impressive. LOL.

Reading Shadow and Bone

Listening to Malmsteen.



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

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Reading,The Glister Journals,Writing

January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013 . . .

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Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone has a great 2014. Looking back, it was a difficult year in a lot ways from a personal perspective, but a wonderful one too. And many of you are the reason! Thank you so much for your encouragement, friendship, and support. And I’m so pumped up about it being the Year of the Horse! I hope this is a good omen for my series and especially for The Glister Journals #2 which will be released this year.

A quick look back–I had a lot of things happen this year but here’s a few highlights:

The most exciting event was winning the literary category for the 2013 IndieReader Discovery Awards. The winners were announced by Hugh Howey at BEA, but unfortunately I couldn’t be there. It was very exciting anyway!

Bronze had a great Book Blast and Tour with great giveaways for the Kindle edition release in October. I enjoyed it immensely and made some truly wonderful new friends. I can’t wait to do it again for the release of The Glister Journals #2! Highlights of the tour, including reviews, author and character interviews, and guest posts can be found on The Glister Journals website.

To kick off the tour, I announced the Bronze Soundtrack puzzle. There is a song that accompanies every chapter of Bronze. The songs will be revealed in the countdown to TGJ #2′s release. The Bronze Soundtrack Contest will be open to entries in 2014 before the release of Volume 2.

There were a lot of interviews: with Goodreads’ The Young Adult Book Club, with Aside From Writing, and several during the Bronze tour.

I featured a few albums: Strangeland by Keane, El Camino by The Black Keys, the Haunt EP from Bastille, In A Tidal Wave of Mystery by Capital Cities, and Last of the Great Pretenders by Matt Nathanson.

And read quite a few books, though not as many as I would have like and far less than most of you, I’m sure. There were a few I didn’t finish, for one reason or another, but the ones I did finish and enjoy were:

The Hunger GamesCatching FireThe Raven BoysThe Dream ThievesShiverCinderLegendProdigyAmberPegasusThe RoadOn a Foreign FieldAll the Pretty HorsesStardust

I’ll be posting features/reviews for most if not all these in the coming year and working at getting all reviews and features organized. :)

Coming next: A look ahead for 2014 and January soundtrack clue (by the weekend…promise!)

Coming soon: A “No Strings Attached” January blog hop and giveaway!



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

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Media,Music,Retro Thursday

December 12, 2013

Retro Thursday: April 2005

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By request: April 2005

(A week late due to gremlins!)

George W. Bush was president of the United States
Paul Martin was prime minister of Canada
John Howard was prime minister of Australia
Elizabeth was queen of England (in case you were wondering.)

 

Singles from a few of the album releases:

Rob Thomas: “This Is How A Heart Breaks” from …Something to Be

 

Better than Ezra: “Juicy” from Before the Robots

Hahaha…this video’s so goofy. :)

 

Mariah Carey: “We Belong Together” from The Emancipation of Mimi

I’m not a huge Mariah fan – though I acknowledge her incredible voice – and I’m not at all a fan of these kinds of videos but oh my goodness…Wentworth Miller!

 

The New York Times Best Seller List–Fiction

April 17, 2005

1. THE DA VINCI CODE, by Dan Brown.

2. REVENGE OF THE SITH, by Matthew Stover.

3. YA-YAS IN BLOOM, by Rebecca Wells.

4. HONEYMOON, by James Patterson and Howard Roughan.

5. SATURDAY, by Ian McEwan.

6. THE RISING, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

7. THE BROKER, by John Grisham.

8. WITH NO ONE AS WITNESS, by Elizabeth George.

9. IMPOSSIBLE, by Danielle Steel.

10. THE SERPENT ON THE CROWN, by Elizabeth Peters.

 

Video Games

Lego Star Wars

 

Jade Empire

I never did finish this game. I should do that….

 

Movies

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Love this movie.

 

Kung Fu Hustle



Also a favorite. :)

 

The average price of gas:

California–$2.47
New York–$2.23
Hawaii–$2.47
Texas–$2.07
Nebraska–$2.21
UK–£1.32-1.42 litre

 

On the Charts

Apparently Elvis Presley broke the record for the most UK number one singles in 2005. Elvis had 4 songs in the top ten in the UK in April alone. How did he do that exactly? More to the point, who got all the money?

 

#3 in the UK the week of April 17th, Ciara featuring Missy Elliot. This one’s for Jo.

 

#7 in the UK the week of April 24th, Nine Inch Nails (a family favorite). This one’s for Mae.


 

Backstreet Boys released the single Incomplete which debuted at #1 in Australia (their first #1 hit there.)

 

Would you like to suggest a date for Retro Thursday? Just leave me a comment here or on Facebook or Twitter



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

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