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Young-Adult at heart! This week’s review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent

by Veronica Roth

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Apparently, I’m on a young adult book kick.  Really, it just seems like a lot of really great books are coming out of the YA section lately.  First, The Fault in Our Stars and now Divergent by Veronica Roth.  Although, C. S. Lewis once said:

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

I have found that to be incredibly true, haven’t you?  Of course, this is coming from the man who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, and I never get tired of reading those.  Those books are like The Hobbit, an old friend you just have to visit every now and again.  I went and grabbed a book off the shelf with nothing more than a recommendation off the internet…again. (It’s worked pretty well so far.  Confession, I’ll probably do it again.) This title, Divergent,  just kept showing up.  It was in posts on Tumblr, on Pinterest, and Twitter and it stuck in my head.    The word “divergent” is such a great word anyway, and I am such a vocabulary geek.  (Did you know there is a book called The Synonym Finder?  Oh yeah, baby, it is awesome.  It even includes slang. No, I don’t read the dictionary for fun…maybe, I’ve read The Synonym Finder.)  However the info below actually comes from Merriam-Webster.

di·ver·gent

1 a : diverging from each other <divergent paths>

b : differing from each other or from a standard <the divergent interests of capital and labor>

2: relating to or being an infinite sequence that does not have a limit or an infinite series whose partial sums do not have a limit

3: causing divergence of rays <a divergent lens>

— di·ver·gent·ly adverb

Origin of DIVERGENT

Latin divergent-, divergens, present participle of divergere

First Known Use: 1696

divergence

noun

1.  a movement in different directions away from a common point <a growing divergence of opinion about that U.S. president’s place in history>

Synonyms bifurcationdivaricationdivergencyseparation

Related Words differencedisagreementdiscrepancydisparateness,

disparitydissidencedissimilarity

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This week I flew to San Diego for a business trip and read this on the plane on the way there…let me repeat that.  I read Divergent on the plane ride from Tulsa to San Diego.  There weren’t even any measurable layovers.  Well, the plane stopped in Las Vegas, but I didn’t even get off the plane. (I did move to a better seat though.)  Not only did I finish this book in an afternoon, but I went searching for the sequel, Insurgent…right away, as in immediately.  However, it wasn’t in the bookstores in the airport. (Bummer!) Now, while I couldn’t find it in the airport, I know where to pick it up tonight, as in like two hours!  (Not that I’m counting down or anything…no really! There are some cravings that just have to be fed!)

This series is set in what used to be Chicago.  Everyone is divided into one of five factions, Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, Dauntless, and Amity. You choose your faction at sixteen after an aptitude test.  If you choose a faction outside of your family’s faction, you may never see them again.  Your loyalty to your faction comes before family.  This Choice is the biggest decision of your life.

My family might be able to help me make my choice, if I could talk about my aptitude test results.  But I can’t.  Tori’s warning whispers in my memory every time my resolve to keep my mouth shut falters.

Caleb and I climb the stairs and, at the top, when we divide to go to our separate bedrooms, he stops me with a hand on my shoulder.

“Beatrice,” he says, looking sternly into my eyes.  “We should think of our family.”  There is an edge to his voice.  “But.  But we must also th

ink of ourselves.”

For a moment I stare at him.  I have never seen him think of himself, never heard him insist on anything but selflessness.

I am so startled by his comment that I just say what I am supposed to say: “The tests don’t have to change our choices.”

He smiles a little. “Don’t they though?”

Once you choose your faction, the fun is just beginning. (Can you hear the sarcasm there?  When will we get a sarcasm font?  It should come in Italics, Bold, and Sarcasm.  It would make my life SO much easier! ) After you’ve chosen, you go through initiation.  Not everyone in every faction is initiated, and if you aren’t….you become factionless.  That means no home, no real source of income, and still no contact with your family.  In this world, faction equals home and community, and the emphasis is certainly that you cannot survive or at least cannot live well without a faction.
In this book I kept thinking of something that I heard the actor who plays John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the new film Star Trek: Into Darkness  say about his character.(if you haven’t seen this yet, finish reading this post and GO SEE THE MOVIE!  It is fantastic! At the very least, check out the trailer!)  I’m going to get the actual words wrong, I’m sure, and I’m sorry for it because it was very well said. Hopefully, I get his intent right, however.  Every terrorist is someone else’s freedom fighter, and that concept kept circling through my mind along with a question.  When do the ends no longer justify the means?  Isn’t that just a cheery whirlwind of thought.Can you imagine having to choose your future at sixteen? Doesn’t it feel that way when we choose a college or career path? This is so much more permanent, because we all have the option to change our minds about the university we attend . . . or not… the career path we take…or don’t, our future is not set in stone.  Our future is what we make of it…it’s a liberating and terrifying concept, to realize that you’re responsible for what happens next.  Isn’t it? Not the circumstances, but the path you take…

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I know, I know.  These are deep thoughts this week!  On bit of a lighter note, they are turning Divergent into a movie.  As I was checking out Veronica Roth’s website, I found stills from the movie.  There’s information about casting info on there too, not to mention BOOKS!  There is a third book too, Allegiant, that will be released October 22, 2013. (Why is October so far away?  To pre-order or not to pre-order, that is the question of the day.  Because I totally need to add something else to my reading list, right?)

First Lines:

“There is one mirror in my house.  It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.  Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.”

Next up…trip to Washington DC, and, trust me, I’ll have a couple of good books to keep me company on the plane.

Til next time,

Jessica

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Have Mercy!

Frost Burned

frostburned

Ahhhh! This post is so late, truthfully I totally forgot what day today was…is…wait, what’s today?  If I had to pay out a dollar for every time I had to ask someone that question today, I would have bought someone’s lunch today…maybe more than one, if they were cheap.  Well, better late than never…. enjoy!

Oh, Mercedes Thompson, you are my favorite little Walker. (If the word “Walker” didn’t give it away for you before, this is a paranormal book.) This latest installment in Mercy’s story by Patricia Briggs is pure awesomesauce, as are all the others. (Complete list below, in order.) If you are new to this series, start at the beginning. It isn’t completely necessary, but you’ll get to see how everything unfolds and be surprised by all the fun twists. (as opposed to not surprised, which isn’t fun at all!) Mercy is tough and (is there a word somewhere that combines sarcastic and sassy? There should be, but I don’t know what it is.) I also recommend reading this series in conjunction with Briggs Alpha & Omega Series. The plots aren’t exactly intertwined, but they do bounce off each other frequently, (Complete this of these books below also. Also in order, because otherwise it is annoying.)

For those of you who are already entrenched in the Tri-Cities with Mercy and the rest, you will not be disappointed. Lo and behold, there is trouble…lots of trouble. One of the things I love about this series is that Mercy has a very strong moral compass, and she doesn’t compromise her morals.  Her “family” always comes first, and she will do whatever’s best and anything necessary to protect them…whether they agree or not. As someone who runs a bit fast and loose with the definition of “family” myself, I definitely appreciate Mercy’s adoption of characters into that group of individuals she considers to be “hers”. Now does her compass always point due North, well, I suppose that all depends on how you define “North”. Mercy’s actions may not always be what society would consider lawful, but they always what she would consider to be right. Besides, society’s got a lot to learn when it comes to Mercy’s world. Hell, Mercedes has a lot to learn about her world! I think that’s part of the appeal. We get to learn with her.

Mercedes Thompson is a strong character…a strong woman, and that’s doesn’t mean physically the strongest or even supernaturally the strongest.  While Mercy may not be the strongest, the smartest, the biggest or even the least likely to die, she’s always there fighting for the ones she cares about (sometimes even people she doesn’t care about just those that can’t fight for themselves….no matter how much she may dislike them). It doesn’t matter what the cost to herself may be.  Mercy will make sure she’s doing what she believes is right.

First Line:

“You should have brought the van,” said my stepdaughter.”

Now my dear readers, I must wait until the next book is released for a little more Mercedes Thompson.  Patience is not something that I do well…oh, Ms. Briggs, can you write faster please?  We need more Mercy!

‘Til Next Time,

Jessica

Mercy Thompson Series                                                                                    

Moon Called

Blood Bound

Iron Kissed

Bone Crossed

Silver Borne

River Marked

Frost Burned

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frostburned

Alpha and Omega Series 

On The Prowl(anthology)

 Cry Wolf(after Moon Called)

Hunting Ground(after Iron Kissed)

Fair Game(after River Marked)

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Book Review: Finding no faults in….The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

TFiOS3

Recently, I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I didn’t even read the jacket, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into.   Do you ever do that? Truthfully, the cover is so eye catching I probably would have picked it up anyway though.  Don’t you just love that vibrant blue?  This was another internet find, see.  Pinterest or Tumblr…(I can’t remember which now) introduced me to this author.  He and his brother Hank Green have a YouTube channel, VlogBrothers and someone made a meme about “the Venn diagram of boys who are stupid and boys you don’t want to date is a circle”.  Here is the link to the whole video.

I loved it, and I completely agree! Down the rabbit hole I went trying to find out more about this guy.  Not only do they have the VlogBrothers, there’s the Nerdfighters and all this other stuff too.  Here’s a video explaining How to Be A Nerdfighter: A VlogBrothers FAQ.

Somewhere along the way I became distracted. (You know the dog in the movie Up? Some days my friends say I’m a bit….Squirrel!) There was a comment I read about this amazing book The Fault in Our Stars. Whoa, this guy’s a writer? Then I got distracted by something shiny.

firefly

I put the book on my to-buy list.  That was not the last mention of The Fault in Our Stars I would come across.  Everyone has a list of books to pick up next time they’re out, right?  Like a grocery list, but to feed the mind.  After a girls night dinner, I got conned into going to the book store.  Okay, fine, she didn’t so much con me as mention she was going to the book store and I may have begged to go along….just a little bit.  She picked up a book to read on her vacation and I got The Fault in Our Stars.  This did not sit in my to-read pile for long.  It was like the bright blue cover was calling to me, so  I took it with me to start while I visited my best friend for her birthday.

I owe my best friend a HUGE apology.  It should probably involve wine and possibly cake to convince her to forgive me.  See, here is the problem.  It was her birthday. (The problem was not her birthday, we are NOT that old!  The problem was me.) The book came with me when I visited for her birthday.  There may have been an entire evening…fine it was the whole night,  that I was engrossed with this story.  This was NOT THE PLAN.  It was very nearly physically impossible to put down.  Every time I tried, I got pulled back in again. (Just one more chapter…) The day began just fine.  I started reading just before breakfast, and I did manage to put the book down to cook the birthday breakfast of pancakes. (I make some killer pancakes!)  We ran around town, did fun things, and got some sushi for dinner.  Then after dinner, I picked it up to read a chapter or two while we watched a movie I’d already seen…and I finished it at 12:30 am.  No conversation, nothing, just reading, maybe a few exclamations or bits of laughter.  Fine, my eyes may have gotten a bit misty once or twice, definitely nothing interactive…with my best friend…for her birthday.  (She definitely deserves wine and cake.)

These characters….I mean, wow, they’re great, so well written, and REAL.  I just loved Hazel to pieces! Don’t even get me started on Augustus or Isaac.  They broke my heart and mended it all at once.  Hazel is so…. It is like trying to describe your best friend or your sister.  Every time I think of her, I get a clear picture of her as a person, but feel I lack the ability to accurately describe her.  Even if I tried, I couldn’t do her justice.  I would surely leave out a vital piece of her.  You simply must meet Hazel.    These are teenagers that are funny, sarcastic and irreverent.  They have the same tone that I hear when my 15-year-old niece speaks (the one that makes me want to laugh and roll my eyes all at once), and they are intelligent, fiercely intelligent.  It is all tempered with this maturity and an awareness of others that is far beyond their years, which is completely understandable due to the circumstances. Their stories are told with truth, humor and grace.

Although this is classified as a young adult book, don’t let that deter you from picking it up (or putting it on your book shopping list…like literary groceries!).  It tackles some tough subjects, and it meets them head-on. These heavy-hitters are all handled honestly and with care. Don’t let the tough subjects steer you away from this book either!  I’m really glad that I didn’t know anything about the book before I bought it.  Honestly, I might have delayed reading it, if I’d known in advance.  That would have been something I regretted.  I wouldn’t hesitate to hand over this book to my niece. (Convincing her to read more than her Twitter feed is something else though.)  She’d enjoy it and come out the other side changed…for the better.  I know I did.  That is the mark of a really good book, after all.  The Fault in Our Stars is definitely an amazing book, and I plan on reading it again  . . . soon.  There are some nooks, crannies and layers yet to explore here. (I did read it in less than 24 hours after all.)

First Line:

“Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”

‘Til next time!
Love,

Jessica


Allow Me To Introduce Myself…

Allow Me To Introduce Myself…

 

I just love the Rolling Stones.  Don’t you?  Every time I hear or even read that line, Mic Jagger’s voice slides through my mind and the Sympathy for the Devil plays in the background of my thoughts for a while.   So, moving right along, my name is Jessica and I have a book…addiction, we’ll say.  Well, it is really more stories than anything else.  My long standing love affair with stories began before I could even walk. (My Dad is a consummate storyteller.  So good, that it is hard to tell story from truth sometimes.) I was raised on fairy tale and myth with a splash of good old fashioned yarn thrown in for good measure.  The seductive power of a well told story is just….well, there’s nothing else quite like it, is there?  A well-constructed story that can convincingly draw me so deeply into fantasy that when I emerge the real world seems a bit dull or unreal by comparison is the ultimate prize. My quest for great stories has led me to find them in all sorts of places: books, history (it’s not JUST facts and dates, kids), letters, movies, television…. This love of discovering the worlds of others’ imaginations (often fantastical worlds at that) labeled me a “geek” long before it was cool, but I never really minded much.

 

So why “Geekology”?  The internet has made the world an amazing and amazingly weird place.  It has also opened up all kinds of doors to show me that there are A LOT of mediums for storytelling and even more stories that I really know absolutely nothing about.  Some of these stories are the ones that others have called “iconic” as a matter of fact.  Seriously, I’ve been missing out.  So, I’m learning here.  The 101 is because I’ve realized that I really am a novice.  There is so much that I know that I don’t know…right that sentence kind of got away from me. I’m at the freshman level here, so to speak.  Hopefully we can learn together.

 

So, what am I going to be doing with this whole blog thing?  That is a really excellent question, ladies and gentlemen, and I’m sure we’ll figure it out together.  To begin, I thought I’d share some of the awesome stuff I’m finding (because it is REALLY awesome!) Some of it’s new, some of it not so much. (I’ve missed out on a lot, I’m telling you!) Please, comment, send me emails you can follow me on twitter @ilovegeekology101, and that way you can see how I’m discovering some of this cool stuff.

 

Now you have to be asking yourself, what has she missed out on that started this? (Another excellent question!) Okay, ready? Neil Gaiman.

 

Taken from Mr. Gaiman's Facebook Page

Taken from Mr. Gaiman’s Facebook Page

 

 

 

I I found him on twitter because he replied to a tweet posted by a favorite author of mine, the amazing, Laurell K Hamilton.  It was funny.  I followed him, never heard of him before though.  Then there was this commencement speech that he did, here.  It has even been made into a book Make Good Art.

 

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Wow, I thought, I really like what he’s saying.  He’s a writer?  What has he written? (Seriously, if you smack your head like that every time I’ve missed out on something obvious, it is going to hurt…and maybe leave a mark.)  So I asked around, looked on the web and found out about The Sandman comic books.  This was my first comic book purchase ever. (I know, and I call myself a geek!) Boom!  Hooked!  Now I’m working my way through…well, pretty much everything else he’s ever written.  I am even going to be able to attend a book signing next month in Dallas for The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which will be released June 18, 2013.

 

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(Don’t even try to imagine that I’m NOT jumping up and down with glee here.)  Now I just have to choose ONE item for him to sign for me.  How can I pick?  Neverwhere, Good Omens, Sandman? What about Fragile ThingsI have until June 24th to choose.  (Last I checked there were still some tickets available, you can get them here.) Dear reader, help me choose!!!

 

 

Okay, so I got a bit distracted in my excitement. (it is easy to do Neil Gaiman, for crying out loud!) Since I’m finding all this amazing new/old stuff or rather new to me stuff or sometimes just plain new stuff, I want to share.  Kind of like a review.  Books, movies, shows, even games (Maybe games, I suck at games!) I like games, but I’m not very good at competitive events I know I won’t win…yeah, I know.  I just got a PS3 so I’m trying it out though.  Right now I’m playing Assassin’s Creed III and Call of Duty: Black Ops.  My 12 year old nephew kicks my butt at Black Ops… and laughs…every time.  Does he have to laugh?  He says yes, but he’ll try to laugh more quietly.  Then he asks what level I made it to before the zombies got me…zombies suck.   Any ideas on how to beat the 12 year old…or the zombies are helpful….it’s embarrassing!

 

‘Til next time!
Love,

 

Jessica