Welcome! I'm Riv Re, teenager and aspiring author. I post Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Tuesdays are for book reviews; Thursdays are for a weekly meme called "Character Dolls," which showcases character depictions I made online; and on Sundays I just wing it.
This blog is for my writing misadventures, my reviews, ramblings, and rants. My favorite genre is fantasy, so expect a lot of the unusual.

Warning: I've got an awful sense of humor. Don't blame me if you keel up and die from reading the jokes I crack.
Notice: I hold no responsibility for any deaths caused by previously mentioned jokes.

Enjoy and happy reading!

Current Book Showcase-Starling by Lesley Livingston Trailer!
(What's Book Showcase? Click HERE!)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Possession Review

This post was scheduled in advance. Unless the robotic monkeys snuck in and messed with everything, the post should run smoothly.
Hey Blogger Buds,
Today, I have a review of Possession by Elana Johnson. Warning: Rant Ahead.

Possession (Possession, #1)
Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even thinkabout kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.
This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

tl;dr version: There are many better things I could have been doing. Like reading Fullmetal Alchemist. Or stabbing myself with needles.

Full version: This book was terrible. I don't even know what to say. It manages to be both formulaic and uniquely weird at the same time. You're about to find out why.

Violet. She's really bland. The most interesting part about her is that she supposedly has cool hair, which she obsesses over. And it's not even particularly intriguing. The characteristic that sticks out most is her stupidity. In the beginning of the book, Vi is locked up with a possibly-dangerous criminal with little-to-no security if he were to, say, try to rape or kill her. All "V" can think about is the way he says the word "nice" and shrugs his shoulders. Never mind that the boy she's been Matched* with--and loves--is waiting for her at home, she's got this hot criminal here who will lend her some hair gel so she can impress people! (Who exactly she hopes to impress when she's locked up with a maybe-rapist is beyond me.)
What else? Jag--the bad boy in our stereotypical love triangle--is hot. And that's pretty much it. Redeemable qualities? Well...he lies a lot. Wait. You're saying that's not a redeemable quality? But Violet does it all the time! And whenever Jag lies to her, she forgives him after approximately 5.3 seconds, so she must not care that much.
The only semi-likable character is Zenn. He's weak and vulnerable, though he's repeatedly called Violet's "sweet, wonderful Zenn." And he wasn't really. This guy has potential, but it's very very minimal.

Real "tech" (source)
The world-building is bland and unoriginal, except for this weird bit about character that have mind-control capabilities. What's with that? Is this Doctor Who, where humans have evolved and and interbred with other species to give them new powers? Because the book never mentioned anything like that. It's a futuristic world so...Did radiation alter everyone and magically give them superpowers?
Which leads to my next bit on world-building. They don't have technology and gadgets. There's "tech," also called "techtricity." And Violet can sense and control this "tech" with her mind. In fact, she takes little initiation unless she's sure that her powers are there to save her. Her strength of will and determination only takes her as far as her powers do.

There is, of course, a Resistance. Or Rebellion. Or something. And I learnt absolutely nothing about them in this book. I don't even care to remember their name**.
Violet keeps on mentioned "Vi Speak" and "Jag Speak." As though whenever they say certain things, they mean other things, and they can "understand" each other's double-meaning. Violet, honey, this is what we call subtext. Understanding subtext is part of what makes you a normal, social person.

*Yeah, I linked to that book on purpose. It's nearly identical to this one.
**I used to have a Resistance in my WIP. And then I realized that that is a completely boring name. So I thought up something better.

Rating: 0* No. Just no.
Song that Connects to the Book: I was going to say Me Against the World by Simple Plan, but none of the characters in this book have even close to as much determination and strength shown in the song.

So. That was a bit long.
If you read Possession what did you think? Do you agree with me, or like it for some reason?


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Rules of Survival Review and a Sort Of Hiatus

Hey Blogger Buds,
Those who have been following me for a long time know that I go away every August, to the middle of nowhere without internet. I've considered putting a sibling in charge of the blog, but the Blobfish (AKA: the sister) is super-busy. I try to schedule posts for you, even though I can't put together as many as usual. (I know my blogging has already been pretty...erratic...lately, but that's besides the point.)
I have 2 reviews going up next Tuesday and the one after. I hope to put up another review, though I'm super busy today and I'm leaving tomorrow. I do plan on putting together another few posts, to go up every Sunday (I can't do Sunday and Thursday), but I can't promise. (Seriously--CRAZY busy today.)
I will be back Tuesday, August 21 and I'll put up another post then, if I'm not completely exhausted.

I'm going to have brief internet access, hopefully, on Sunday, August 5th. If you would like to contact me about the blog, I can be reached at RivReads AT gmail DOT com. If you have a more personal, less-official message to send me (I'm going to regret sharing this, aren't I?), I can also be reached at RivReWrites AT gmail DOT com. Blog-related emails WILL NOT BE RESPONDED TO if sent to the second address*.

*Unless you're J K Rowling personally emailing me to offer up a signed ARC of The Casual Vacancy. In which case, maybe.

And, since it's Tuesday, I have a sort-of-mini review for you, as well, of The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin. (Recommended by the aforementioned Blobfish.)

The Rules of Survival
For Matt and his sisters, life with their cruel, vicious mother is a day-to-day struggle for survival. But then Matt witnesses Murdoch coming to a child's rescue in a convenience store, and for the first time, he feels a glimmer of hope.
When, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt's mother, life is suddenly almost good. But the relief lasts only a short time. When Murdoch inevitably breaks up with their mother, Matt knows he needs to take action. But can he call upon his hero? Or will he have to take measures into his own hands?
A heart-wrenching portrait of a family in crisis, this is Nancy Werlin's most compulsively readable novel yet.

The Rules of Survival was pretty intense, I guess, but I wasn't overwhelmed by it. I do love the style. It was written as a letter (similar to Stolen: A Letter to My Captor) to Matt's younger sister, who was just a child when the book took place. You also, weirdly, know how the book ends before it does. Matt keeps saying how his sister is reading this "after," and she knows XYZ happened. But you still don't know exactly how it's going to go down (I'm reverting to the 80s) until it does, and I was definitely thrown for a few loops. There are multiple climaxes, and they are intense.
One small problem I had was that there was a "big reveal" about Murdoch in the end, something I was able to guess early on. But there was more to it, at least, which I didn't expect.
The Rules of Survival gives you a lot of great insights. Matt's mother wasn't exactly abusive on a regular basis. But that almost makes it worse, because she was unstable. You get inside of Matt's head, and you can understand and sympathize with him, living in a constant state of absolute terror.

I liked the characters well enough, though it's not really my type of book. It was okay, and that's pretty much it. A bit forgettable for my fantasy-centered mind. (I find it harder to care about individual characters when the fate of entire worlds hangs in the balance. And yeah, I'm completely aware that this book is realistic, and, sadly, very commmonplace.)

Rating: 3 stars. It was okay.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Thoughts on Books I'm Reading

Hey Blogger Buds,
I went to the library twice in the passed few weeks (yay! the library!), and picked up a nice collection of books. I'm in middle of two, and I started (ie: read the beginning chapter-ish because I was curious) another two. I thought I'd share with y'all a few thoughts on them. I'll tell you how far in I am, too, before you get mad at me for judging a book without finishing it.

Drink, Slay, Love
Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Read: 10 pages (one chapter)
Definitely unique. I love that we finally have a vampire who, so far, doesn't have much of a conscience. Yes, she steals cars. Yes, she eats from people. No, she doesn't look back, except when she finds a nice, steady source of blood. She's nonchalant and a little bit jaded. The voice isn't necessarily funny, but I am still pretty entertained.

I Am the MessengerI am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Read: 14 pages (one chapter)
Although I am the Messenger isn't anywhere near as good as The Book Thief in the pretty writing category, it's still great. 19-year-old Ed Kennedy is very normal, as are all of his friends, who are all entertaining and distinct characters. Ed reminds me a bit of Sam LaCroix from Hold Me Closer, Necromancer in the way that they're both completely normal, unextraordinary (that's not a word, is it?) characters. I also love the formatting of this book. It has four parts, for the card suits, and each part has thirteen chapters, Ace through King.

Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Read: 18 pages (prologue + 1 chapter)
I kept on meaning to read this, and I was super happy to find it sitting on my library shelf. I haven't read much, but it's one of the two books I've started and plan to continue. Even though I haven't gotten far yet. It's so intriguing, and the plot is actually pretty complex already while still being easy to follow. There are a handful of characters mentioned that only pop up briefly, but I'm still interested. I love high fantasy like this. :)

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson
Read: 116 pages (18 chapters)
This book is amazing. I flew through it. Sage is an amazing character, very entertaining and likable. The plot is really intriguing, and even the side characters, who Sage isn't exactly friends with, are likable. Words cannot describe my enjoyment of this book. Sage is one of the most brilliant, resourceful, relaxed characters I've seen in a while. And no matter how much he pretends not to care, no matter how sharp he keeps his tongue, he feels deeply about everything, including a pretty servant girl.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

More Angelfire Linkage!

Hey Blogger Buds,
We'll be back to your regularly scheduled programming next Sunday. But today I will [once again] direct you to The Little Reapers. A post of mine went up yesterday, and another today, and there's even more of me tomorrow, if you haven't had enough by then! (And then, on Sunday, there's a super super epic giveaway, too.) I spent hours, and swooned a bit, too, to bring you these two posts. I haven't spent this long on a blog post since my tFiOS review. (I know that was pretty recent, and the last time I can think of before that was probably my Iron Queen review back in January...of 2011.)


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Angelfire Review (Linkage)

The Little ReapersHey Blogger Buds,
Sorry for the late post! I'm halfway through Doctor Who (I've officially become a Whovian) and I realize: Hey! Today's Tuesday! I stopped my episode in middle to come here. That's how devoted I am. I put y'all before David Tennant. (This is saying something.)
I don't have a review right here, BUT I've been guest blogging over at The Little Reapers! Yesterday, I reviewed Angelfire and Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton, and today was my favorites list! I use the word epic a lot. Go check it out!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Idea Fodder

A small selection off my Pinterest board, Idea Fodder. It's a random collection of pictures that give me ideas, spark my imagination.
I put them in a specific order. Try to make a story out of it. Tell me what you end up with.

And there's this girl...
This secret is safe with me. *Super* safe.
Alchemy Kit, Magic
Lookin' good
Oooh, pretty dragons!

I've got my story. It's one of forbidden magic and fear. What's yours?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Books In Your Pants

Hey Blogger Buds,
I've been watching some old Brotherhood 2.0 vlogs lately, and there were a couple on the infamous phrase "In Your Pants." Both Hank and John pulled out some books that would sound great in your pants (see what I did there? eh?) so I figured, as part of my eternal fangirling, I would give it a shot. I didn't go hunting on Goodreads, I just pulled some titles off my bookshelf and narrowed the list down to 16.
(I probably don't need to say this, but the post might be a little NSFW for those of you who have superbly talented four-year-olds who know how to read my blog.)

YA in Your Pants.
(Wow, that sounds bad...)

A Need So Beautiful
Beautiful Creatures
Too Far
Happy Families
Shatter Me
Lola and the Boy Next Door
The Scorch Trials

I'm going to leave it up to you to fill in the "In Your Pants" in your mind.
I just chose Trance because it rhymes. :)

I hope I was able to brighten your day a bit!
What do you think is the perfect book in your pants?


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer Classics

Hey Blogger Buds,
This summer I'm tackling a few classics, so I figured that today I'd share with you the pre-2000 books I'm reading. I don't usually read classics, so I'm also going to mention my reason for picking these books.

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I'm reading this one for the Nerdfighter book club. John and Hank Green chose it because E. L. James sold more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey in a month than Ray Bradbury sold of F451 in his entire lifetime.
Right now, I'm 70 pages in, and it's amazing. Mr. Bradbury has an astounding command of the English language, and a way of just weaving words together to paint these astonishing pictures for you. The only author I've recently read who I could say the same thing about is Markus Zusak.
I'm not finished yet, but I still highly recommend.

To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To be honest, I don't really know what this is about. It seems that when a book reaches a certain status as a classic, it doesn't need a summary anymore, just stuff about how it's "compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving" and "takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos." (nabbed from Goodreads) I don't even know what "pathos" means*.
But it's a book that everyone just must read, supposedly. Also, it was one of my summer reading choices for school, so let's kill two birds with one stone, eh? (Pun intended.)

Johnny Tremain
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
This is my other school book. I read it a few years back, for a different school summer assignment, so hopefully I'll remember some of it, and just have to give it a quick skim. I don't know how to explain it, so I'll leave it up to Goodreads to provide a semi-ambiguous summary:

"Johnny Tremain, a young apprentice silversmith, is caught up in the danger and excitement of 1775 Boston, just before the Revolutionary War. But even more gripping than living through the drama of Revolutionary Boston is the important discovery Johnny makes in his own life."

Fire and Hemlock
Fire and Hemlock by Dianna Wynne Jones
Probably at least one or two of you are loading your guns and/or wands and preparing to come after me for including this book on a list of classics. But I said that I would be including pre-2000 books, and this one was published in 1985.

I'm reading it because my knowledge of DWJ's works is embarrassingly limited to Howl's Moving Castle and some other half-hearted attempts, so when I saw Fire and Hemlock on the library shelf I scooped it up without even reading the summary. For this reason, I don't really know what it's about, and I refuse to find out, because then I might change my mind. If I'm going read it anyway, is there even a point to knowing what it's about? No.

That's the plan for my summer classics! Wish me luck!

What kind of classics are you planning on reading this summer?


*pathos: "a quality that evokes pity or sadness" -Thanks, Google!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Character Dolls: Edward Elric

Hey Blogger Buds,

It's weird, I haven't done a Character Doll in a while. Today's was kind of a cheat. But I'll mention why in a minute.

"Character Dolls" is a weekly feature here at Riv Reads every Thursday. Doll-making websites, like elouai, are my guilty pleasure, and I figured that while I'm on them, I might as well fan-girl a bit! And while I'm doing that, why not share some of my creations on the blog?
Please don't use this feature without express permission from myself first.
Unless otherwise stated, all dolls are made with elouai.
And, of course, I ask that you don't alter my dolls, or claim them as your own. If you like one of the dolls, and want to spread the love, please don't post the picture on your own blog, but instead link back here! And you're welcome to give it a go, of course, and create your own dolls. If you do, let me know so I can check it out!
My character comes from a manga today. I don't usually talk about the Japanese style on my blog much, and I'm not such a manga fanatic, but sometimes I'll find one and fall in love with it. And I'm definitely in love with this one.

This week's character is Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

(Drumroll please)

My favorite part is probably the pants. Other than that, he ended up way too girly.
1) Ed's hair is always in his signature braid, but I couldn't find one, so I figured I'd mimic what it looks like loose. I originally had a different style picked, much longer and girly-er. I'm quite glad I went back and found this one instead. I was scared he'd look like a girl. (He still does, but not as much.)
2) I did the pants before the shirt, and picked out about five hundred black pairs. I'm happy with this one because Ed, as a state alchemist, has a pocket watch. The chain hangs down (though not nearly this far).
3) The shirt was a lot more complicated, seeing as one of Ed's arms is fake, so I had to give him long sleeves and put his hands in pockets or gloves. This was the most normal one I could find.
4) The boots and face were pretty. He's kind of got a poker-face thing, which I like. And Ed's got these beautiful yellow eyes. (Who? Me? Crush on a fictional character? Psh. Never.)

Overall: I like the outfit for the most part, not so much the hair.

What do you think? If you've read FMA, are there any distinct changes you would make? If you haven't, WHY NOT?


PS: In case you're wondering my stance on Mr. Cullen:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars Review

Hey Blogger Buds,
After an extended [extended] hiatus, I'm back! I just finished The Fault in Our Stars by John Green this weekend, so I have a review (if, you know, you couldn't tell from the title of this blog post). I haven't posted a review in...2 months. Wow. For a book blogger, that's pretty sad. I'm also working on my reviewing layout, because I have a tendency to ramble, and I like to keep things clear. I try to get down everything I feel ,but I can talk a lot.
Let's get on with it, shall we?

(Just a disclaimer: My blog is usually completely clean, language-wise, but there is an instance or two of me not being my entirely angelic self.)

Blurby: (Goodreads)
The Fault in Our Stars
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs... for now. 
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Right off the bat, I did not cry. Everyone cried, and I'm probably cold and heartless, but I did not. Maybe it's because I was stupid enough to read some Youtube comments, and one of the three comments I read just said the ending. Straight out. I hate those people.
But anyway.
If I were to describe this book in one word, discounting the completely true words like "emotional" and "beautiful," I would call tFiOS "existential." Because it is. And its existentialism is both its strongest and its weakest points. Hazel and Augustus are all about how everything will fade into oblivion and humans will not last forever.

Hazel Lancaster: Hazel was an amazing character. She's brilliant, and a bit existential without going overboard. She's thoughtful. She's strong and she's weak. She refuses to accept and she accepts. Hazel is real.
Augustus Waters: He was definitely swoon-worthy, even with "1.4" legs. He calls Hazel her full name--Hazel Grace. He owns a pack of cigarettes so he can put the killing thing between his lips and not give it the power to kill. But. His existentialism was too much. Sure, all of his quotes about needing to be remembered and the universe just wanting to be noticed made me think, but in the end, it all turned meta. (My thought process: "Oh, the pain! Wait. Why am I being existential? Darn it, I'm so meta...) And the way Augustus went looking for metaphors were there weren't any just bothered me. A lot. Yet still, he's just such a spirited character, so full of life.
Peter Van Houten: I want to avoid spoilers, so I'll say that I reacted to him exactly how I was expected to. And I was satisfied with his character, for the most part.
Side Characters: There was Isaac, who I absolutely adored from page one. (Or two. Or where ever he showed up.) And Kaitlyn managed to be fabulous, even with her tiny part. My issue was with Hazel's parents. Sure, her dad was the emo crier, but they were still a major cliche. Hazel's mother was a helicopter mom, always there. She surprised me in the end, but I didn't like either of them throughout.

An Imperial Affliction: AIA is the imaginary book that Hazel is obsessed with. And John Green presented it as existential, which could have been a major flop. If I had said, "this 'book' is garbage, what is Hazel's deal?" at all the quotes, tFiOS would have been terrible. But An Imperial Affliction was a well-written "book." John Green gambled, and he won.
Prose: The Fault in Our Stars was absolutely beautiful. I could probably pluck at least one quotable quote from each page. I just opened up to a random page. Here's one from page 116: "Most of the time I could forget about it, but the inexorable truth is this: They might be glad to have me around, but I was the alpha and the omega of my parents' suffering."
Cancer: I can't very well talk about tFiOS without discussing cancer. I don't have such a connection to cancer, or even know much about it. But John Green helped me feel all the things anyway. I understood what was going on. And, although I didn't like how the grief was written, Mr. Green cut away all of the crap of having cancer, of how "strong" the survivors are. This book is many things. It's existential, yes, but it's also emotional, it's also beautiful, and, when you put those all together, you get what it truly is: real.

RATING: 8 stars (out of 5)
RELATED SONG: There are a million fan songs I just listened to, my favorite being the eponymous (always wanted to use that word) song by SuperCoolFunnyVideos. (Seriously. The only real instrument is a guitar that two of them play at once. Other than that, they use copies of tFiOS!)