Dream Treaders by Wayne Thomas Batson – Book Review

Wayne Thomas Batson is my favorite YA author. He weaves Christian virtues into his books so well, one would really have to look for them to find them. Not to mention he wrote a pirate book, and that right there had me hooked, but he also talks with his readers. When I first read his books, I stalked his blog and e-mailed him, and he always replied back to me. To this day there is an interview on his blog that I conducted with him for a school project. Anyway, that’s my spiel on the author. Now time for this book.

At first I had a difficult time getting into it, mainly because I didn’t have the time to dedicate to it. Once I did though, I fell in love. The story is about Aiden who can, as the title denotes, tread dreams. He is one of three Dream Treaders and his job is too make sure the dream scape doesn’t mold with reality. If that happened, no one would be able to separate the two from the other. In short, the world would go insane. So here is Aiden, an appointed Dream Treader from basically God himself, and then there is a group of other kids who have some how (through a sciency way) learned how to walk in their dreams. This is bad. This creates bad things. Now, not only is Aiden trying to prevent dreams from becoming reality, but now he has to try and convince these other students to leave as well. Should we add more to his plate? Probably not, but Batson did. The other two Dream Treaders have been kidnapped by our main antagonist: The Nightmare Lord. (He’s evil. Stay away.) No one has ever been able to get close to the Nightmare Lord, but Aiden did, and Aiden cut off his horn. But now, Aiden has to take down the Nightmare Lord for good to save his allies. He might just have to do it alone, or he might just have to ally himself with the same students he’s trying to get out of the dream world, and it all has to be done before the clock strikes twelve.

Honestly, there is so much good character development. Like I said, once I began making time to read the book, I couldn’t put it down. The plot line moves along nicely, and I never felt bored with the development. I recommend this for any age to read. Probably not younger than eight, but upwards of that is good. It really brought me to think about dreams: how to work them and what they mean. Trust me when I say, this is a book you need to pick up.

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It’s Killing Me

I feel like Alice falling down the rabbit’s hole, and it is a long way to the bottom.

The lady in front of me is tall. Her hair is white from both age and stress. Clearly, at this moment, she is the rabbit. Although, these halls are so familiar, I feel that this is my hole. Everything from the waiting room to the computer in the small alcove are all mine. I have them all precariously placed on the ledges of my hole, distant memories begging to be reviewed. Everything is about to crumble.

I see me, about seven, twisting and turning in the green and gray patterned chair, stalling on the next math equation my uncle is begging me to finish. I’ve been doing school in the waiting room for so long; I’m tired of playing with all the toys set out for kids ages two to five. Aside from my sister who is too young to care, I am the only one who hasn’t been allowed to see Grandma. I have been told what she looks like, but I can’t imagine her with tubes hooked up inside of her.

I want to drink the elixir that makes me shrink. If I could disappear I would, but I turn right, following the rabbit’s quick paced steps. To the left is that computer and straight ahead is the nurse’s station. To the left of the desk are two halls I’ve been down a hundred times. I close my eyes and remind myself to breathe. I don’t remember drinking any shrinking potion, but now it feels like my lungs can’t or won’t expand to their full capacity. Now I want to eat the cake and grow. Right now I would give anything to grow to climb out from this place.

We are at the nurses station. Please, turn right.

We turn left.

Please don’t take the right hall.

We take the left.

I am led into the ICU. There is no secret key I have to retrieve or keyhole I have to climb through. The rabbit steps right up, and the doors open at her presence. The place smells heavily of antiseptic. I want to tuck tail and run.

“Here we are,” says the rabbit.

I wish we were late.

I see me in my black turtle neck. (I hated that shirt.) I pause in the doorway, not sure if it is safe to walk in. There’s the tube in her throat, and she is barely aware of what is going on around her. None of the descriptions mom gave me before could have prepared me for this moment. The moment my lungs stop and my heart can decide whether to speed up or to slow down. I’ve skipped to the end of the book, and before me is the jabberwocky.

“Hello, Grandma,” I say. She turns her head toward me, and she moves her mouth, and a frog croaks instead. I grab her hand, and rub my thumb in circles. Her skin is wrinkled, bruised, and feels like velvet. I look up and smile. “I love you too.”

“She was t-boned,” the rabbit says. “This is her second time being in a coma, and she doesn’t want to be revived. She doesn’t want to fight to live.” I muster my strength and respond back in a controlled voice. The conversation is short. It is clear I am eager to leave. The trauma of being in the hospital for eight years struggles to resurface. The memories try to cave in and burry me alive.

I am relieved once I leave the rabbit hole, this not-so-wonderful land

Character Profiles!

My favorite thing whenever it comes to writing is sketching out the character until it comes to life and can finish creating itself. Have you ever had that happen? You’re happily writing along until a character makes you backspace a few words and gives you a few new verbs so that they can act according to their personality, or maybe they pack in a few more adjectives so that you can describe them the way they would prefer to be described. Even in dialogue, sometimes you can see your female character pop a hip out to the side, cross her arms in front of her chest, and ask you, “Would I really say that?” Sometimes as writers we raise our characters, argue with our characters, and fall in love them. Before all that happens, though, we must first give birth to them.

I imagine the process of us giving birth to characters is very similar to how Athena actually gave birth to her children. We think them up, design them in a very specific way, and soon enough there it is going on adventures and fighting dragons, and it isn’t long until they’re doing that without our assistance. One day we’ll wake up from a long coffee induced night of writing and find a complete manuscript staring at us from whatever word processor we’re using. So where does this imagining process start? How does it begin?

For me, it starts here:

Name:

Every character must start with a name. And so this list continues until sketched out before me is a person about ready to step off the page. All that’s left is teaching this new character how to walk. Here is what a complete character profile looks like for me:

Earth Name: Beatrice Glasser

Other Name: Averice Glasser

Nickname: B and Ave (probably Rice when she’s being teased.)

Eye color: Stormy blue-gray (sapphire blue eyes)

Hair color/style: Strawberry blonde hair cut in a neat bob, with permed curls that rest neatly along her neck and around her ears. (Long, curly white hair, with lowlights so that it is not completely bleach blonde.)

Age: 22

Height: 5’ 7”

Build: She is tall and lithe from running. She is not overly muscular since she prefers cardio more than weightlifting. Her shoulders are rounded forward slightly from sitting hunched over her computer or sitting on the floor reading. She has the most spectacular legs with curves to die for and small ankles and feet. (Still tall, but a more narrow than straight waist, and more of a muscular build than just being lithe.)

Clothes: Imagine every K-Pop artist. She mixes and matches various styles. Probably one of her favorite outfits is her ripped, boyfriend jeans paired with blacks heels. She will wear either her green or red and black plaid flowing tank top with either a short sleeved, long jacket or a colorful kimono over the top. (Black lace up boots, that go to the knee, black and white striped leggings, and a lacy, high-low, black skirt. To literally pull everything together is a full torso, black corset clasped in the front. As a separate piece, she has flowing, lacy, black sleeves that tie in front of her neck.)

Profession: She is currently a student attending ________ going for a degree in Creative Writing, and possibly thinking about getting a masters or doctorate in linguistics.

Characteristics: Averice is bubbly and witty with a dry sense of humour. She smiles a lot and loves people. Although, behind all of that she struggles a lot with self confidence and pride.

Residence: Xi Nu Theta (At school) Her house is in Michigan.

Extrovert or Introvert: Ambivert. She loves people, but she definitely gets her fill of them. She recharges from being alone, and honestly loves curling up with a book than with a person.

Hobby: Reading; watching T.V.; updating her blog on the rare occasion she remembers; learning languages in her rare spare time.

Favorite activity: Running. She could run for days, but classes and social situations normally demand her attention.

Favorite Meal: French Toast or any Asian meal, but normally French Toast.

Favorite Season: That middle moment in between Winter and Spring when the snow is melting and everything is muddy, and there is that slight smell of rain water and slushy snow in the Meijer parking lot, but there are also shoots of grass popping up, and Robins start appearing everywhere.

Darkest thought: Maybe if I took like eight of these Benadryl I wouldn’t have to wake up for a few days. No more people.

Deepest secret: HELLA GAY. Nah, not really. She loved a man once, but things got ugly, and now she hates love. Unless it’s on other people.

Friends: Taryn (Tarence) and a bunch of other useless acquaintances.

Mortal enemies: That stupid cat.

Achilles heel: She wears her heart on her sleeves and trusts everyone she meets.

Goal: Find the cat and graduate with a degree. Possibly survive.

The profile is always different depending on the project. Sometimes I take away some of the questions and sometimes I add more. It depends on how detailed or how basic I want my character to be. For example, all my characters don’t have two names. This character does because she goes between two different worlds.

An empty character sheet looks like this:

Name:

Nickname:

Eye color:

Hair color/style:

Age:

Height:

Build:

Clothes:

Profession:

Characteristics:

Residence:

Extrovert or Introvert:

Hobby:

Favorite activity:

Favorite Meal:

Favorite Season:

Darkest thought:

Deepest secret:

Friends:

Mortal enemies:.

Achilles heel:

Goal:

Please feel free to copy it, or go to this google doc. I want to share this with as many people as possible.

Creating characters is one of my favorite things and this is how I do it.

Are there any other methods that you use? I would love to hear them! I would also love to see what types of character you’ve created! Comment below or shoot me an e-mail, and let’s get some dialogue going.

Keep writing! You can complete the story inside of you. 加油!

What To Expect

Believe it or not, I actually have a couple book reviews that I will be posting next week. Yay, yay, yay. The books I finished are The Celebration Of Discipline by Richard J. Foster and Dreamtreaders by Wayne Thomas Batson. Both of those books are fabulous and I can’t wait to talk to you about them.

Currently, I am reading The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima. It’s a Japanese book translated into English. The book is fabulously written. I am finding the descriptions incredibly sexy. (Not sexy as in naked and steamy scenes, but if you took an adjective and put it in lingerie, then yes. Like how guys look at a car and call it sexy, that is how I feel reading Mishima’s descriptions.) I will try to finish it quickly and tell you all.

I will update you on school and just life probably Friday night or shortly after I take my exam Friday morning.

Tomorrow, for all of my writing friends, I am going to share the template I use to create characters and flesh them out. I don’t talk about writing much, and I want to do that a bit more.

Here and there I’ll also share more poetry. I also have a lot of God to talk about. The rest of my ideas are written in my bullet journal. All in all, just stay tuned for what’s to come. Who really knows what I’ll post next. Haha.

I love you all! 么么哒!Bye!!

Fairy Houses

Little houses sitting on church windowsills

Housing little dreams

Kept clean by little fairies

Hanging little wishes in the coat closet

Nailing little prayers above the fireplace like its Christmas

This is where I live

Hoping someone hears me whispering my dreams down the chimney

Wearing my wishes like dresses from the met gala

And listening to my prayers on tape cassettes while drinking Huā Chá by the fire

This is where I live

Dropped between reality and imagination

Impossible

That Twinkle in Your Eye

This is a poem I wrote on Christmas Eve. I originally wrote it with one person in mind, but as I prayed over it, God had someone else in mind. I was just sitting in the living room with my mom and a friend, and in the middle of the conversation, God said, “Her. Quick. Give it to her.” I already had the poem under the tree, attached to a letter addressed to someone completely different. At first I was like, “Nah. You’re wrong,” but the longer I sat there the more of an urgency I felt to give it to her, so I got up and went to get it. When I brought it back to the living room, my friend said, “You have something for me.” She could just tell by the way I was standing there, that I had something to give. I said, “Yes. I wrote a poem for you.” Her reaction was, “YOU WROTE A POEM FOR ME. OH MY GOSH. I’VE NEVER BEEN GIVEN A POEM.” It was a better reaction than what I could have expected. There are many times when I feel I have nothing to give except my words, and I think sometimes that’s all God asks, is to give what I have.

Before I go, I want to ask, what do you have? Whatever talent you have been given, give it to others in return. The joy on their faces is the greatest reward and income you could receive.

Without further ado, here is the poem.

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The Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn – Book Review

I am so in love with this book right now. I just finished it yesterday on the way back home. I started it in the car, and I finished it in the car. Haha. Reading like a beast. (Is ‘Lolz’ appropriate in a book review? Asking for a friend.)

Emperor of the Eight Islands was so well written. I think the only thing I didn’t like about it was the character development was slow and almost non-existent. I get that it is one book in a series, but I expected more. Another thing about this book, was each chapter switched between point of views among the characters. It made it semi hard to keep track of everything, but I did it.

The Emperor of the Eight Islands is about Shikanoko and basically the abuse he went through to become what he does in the end of the book. This poor kid is basically left for dead in the mountains by his uncle, is then found by a sorcerer who binds him in one place by a spell to make him “Shikanoko,” and allows the kid to basically be raped multiple times for the spell to work. (Let me tell you, this woman who “rapes” him is horrifying. Whatever you do, don’t trust her.) Then he ends up working for the King of the Mountain. Then he ends up working for Kiyoyori (He’s cool) and then he ends up with the Prince Abbot who he leaves in the end. There is so much that happens all against Shikanoko’s will, and he just goes with it. He’s just like, “Whatever. As long as I can kill my uncle, I don’t mind being forced to become the most freaking powerful sorcerer ever.” And in the end, he’s still as immature as if he never learned anything the past year and a half or however much time passes in the book. But, despite the immaturity, he’s still cool, and I seriously love the kid.

Look, if you don’t read this to get to know Shikanoko, at least read it for the beautiful cover. That’s honestly why I bought it in the first place, and I’m happy I did buy it. The book was good, and so well written I was taking notes in my head on what I can learn from the writing style. I really recommend you read it. Please do so. Let’s all talk about this book together. I would love to hear what you think about it.

Whispers of the Fallen by J. D. Netto – Book Review

Pat me on the back! I finally finished The Whispers of the Fallen by J. D. Netto. Okay, I’ll be honest, I finished it over Thanksgiving break. What can I say? I was busy and honestly just ignored the blog for a while to focus on myself. But I’m back, and I’m back with a book review!

The Whispers of the Fallen was good, but there were so may grammar issues and character inconsistencies that it was hard for me to fully enjoy the plot. However, what the author did do well was gradually reveal information and move the plot along. The character development was sometimes overwhelming, but it wasn’t horrible. Honestly though, with all of the little things, I would reread the book. There were a couple of really good sentences I highlighted, and I feel there was something I didn’t catch my first read through because I was too busy looking at errors.

The book is about the two characters Isaac and Demetre. This first book, however, mostly focuses on Isaac. In the book the two characters are in the middle of a war between what can be classified as angels and demons. Why are they in the middle of this war? Isaac and Demetre have special journals locked away in boxes which can only be opened by their blood. Depending on who has the journals and if they have been unlocked, could determine the course of the world. Through trying to avoid giving his blood to open these journals, Isaac loses Demetre (He comes back much later on in the book), gains and loses several allies, discovers he has wings in the process (which is really cool), and ultimately Isaac escapes evil. Well, as far as we’re aware. This is a first book in a series, so it leaves us with hope that Isaac and Demetre survive and win, but it also leaves us with the knowledge that the bad guys have a back up plan for a comeback.

The plot moves along really well, which is what kept me reading this time. There were times I lost track of characters simply because too many were involved in one scene. At other times I was left pondering a sentence for several minutes. This book, premise wise, plot wise, was really good. I think if the grammar was dusted up a little bit, then this could be great.

It was a good book. I highly recommend it for young adults somewhere in middle school and high school. At the same time, I am in neither of those age ranges and I really enjoyed it. I feel like this is a book all ages can enjoy, but I especially think this book could benefit young adults.

She Sits *Edited*

She sits in her pocket of the world unperturbed by toxic kisses

With her eyes closed she carves designs into her skin—

Swirls and lines—

With her fingernails on her thighs

 

She sits in the quiet atmosphere half asleep

Tired from sleazy men and their slimy words

She rubs her hands along the fabric of her skirt

Trying to remove the remains of the cheesy pick-up lines

Texted to her

 

She sits and she breathes

Trying to forget the reality prying at her dreams

All too aware of the blisters on her heels from her heels