Book Review- Alice in Tumblr-land

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Alice in Tumblr-Land and Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation by Tim Manley
Published by Penguin Books on November 5, 2013
Genres: Humor, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Fiction, Retellings, Short Stories
Pages: 265
Amazon
Goodreads

The Ugly Duckling still feels gross compared to everyone else, but now she’s got Instagram, and there’s this one filter that makes her look awesome. Cinderella swaps her glass slippers for Crocs. The Tortoise and the Hare Facebook stalk each other. Goldilocks goes gluten free. And Peter Pan finally has to grow up and get a job, or at least start paying rent.

Here are more than one hundred fairy tales, illustrated and re-imagined for today. Instead of fairy godmothers, there’s Siri. And rather than big bad wolves, there are creepy dudes on OkCupid. In our brave new world of social networking, YouTube, and texting, fairy tales can once again lead us to “happily ever after” — and have us laughing all the way.

Alice in Tumblr-land took classic children’s book characters and put them in the modern world, creating some pretty interesting situations. A lot of these situations, as I’m sure you can figure out by the title, have to do with social media and the internet.

This book was definitely written for adults. It had its fair amount of R rated content, and though some of it was entertaining, most of it just felt unnecessary and forced. The stories were split up into small paragraphs that rotated, so each of the individual stories ended up feeling disconnected. The stories, besides being set in modern times, really had no connection to each other.

The characters were very one dimensional and not engaging. It felt like each story took the most stereotypical view of each character that was possible and created these unrealistic situations around them.

Alice in Tumblr-land is a very short book, and took less than an hour to read (which tbh is probably the only reason that I finished it). If you are looking to kill an hour, reading this book isn’t the worst way to do it. That being said, I’m not any better off for having read it, so I guess it just comes down to if you enjoy this type of book or not (which, as it turns out, I do not).

I am going to give Alice in Tumblr-land two out of five hearts.

Book Review- Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates
Published October 1966
Genres: Literature, Contemporary, Horror
Pages: 20
Amazon
Goodreads

Her name was Connie. She was fifteen and she had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right. Her mother, who noticed everything and knew everything…

It took a couple re-reads of the short story to understand what was going on. Connie is an interesting character, battling with her boundaries and where she stands in the world. When she is left home alone and a man named Arnold Friend dives up to her house, she begins to see a darker side of the world.

This story was intriguing, and definitely worth the read. It is short enough to read in one sitting, although it is packed full of events. I loved the complexity of the story, and how more and more about the characters was revealed through their actions rather than through being told.

The ending of the story was a bit vague, so it is hard to know exactly what happens. It is left more open ended, which just adds to the mystery and intrigue of the story.

I would recommend this story to lovers of horror, who are looking for something a little more classic than what they are used to. This is also a great story for people who love when books get them thinking. This one will definitely stay in the back of your mind for quite a while.

I am going to give Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Stetson
Published January 1892
Genres: Classics, Short Story, Fiction, Horror, Gothic, Feminism
Pages: 16
Goodreads
Amazon

First published in 1892, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper–a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment. Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, “The Yellow Wallpaper” stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.

The more I think about this book the deeper my mind wanders. This book has such a powerful message and a shocking execution. The book is written like a diary by a woman (who is unnamed, but I suspect her name might be Jane because of something she says near the end) who goes to stay in a state house. She says from the beginning that she is ill, and she hopes to get better, but does not say how she is sick. She does say however that her husband is a physician who is taking care of her.

From the first page the short story is dark and gripping. It spirals down into insanity as it goes on, and it becomes hard to differentiate between what is happening and what the woman believes is happening. She keeps talking about the yellow wallpaper in her room, and as the story progresses she begins to see it differently, which I found extremely interesting.

This story touches on many types of imprisonment: that of the mind, of the physical world, of society, of her husband, etc. As the story progresses and the woman begins to loose her mind, the story gets a bit confusing, although it is still very interesting. The only part I had a problem with was the ending, considering it’s not quite clear what happened. However, I do highly recommend this book. It is a short read and definitely worth the time.

I am going to give The Yellow Wallpaper four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Using Wattpad- Get Your Story Noticed

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Wattpad is a great place to read and write stories. It is a website that allows you to create “projects” and periodically update them, all while gaining followers and “votes”. You are basically generating a following while writing your book!

I created a Wattpad account back in November of 2015, when I was looking for some new books to read. And read I did. Wattpad lets you add books to your library and access them offline. This way, I was able to read anywhere I wanted. The only downside to it was actually finding a good book. There are countless Wattpad users, and most of them write; so you need to weed out the bad stories and find the one you will actually enjoy.

When I decided to start writing on my Wattpad account, I thought that getting people to notice my story would be easy. The truth is, when you start writing on Wattpad, your stories go down to the bottom of the search feed. That means that when people search tags you used or the name of your book, yours will show up at the bottom, which means at about page 15.

I talked with some Wattpad experts (Oliva Rose was very helpful) about how to get your story noticed. First of all, Wattpad fame does not happen overnight. Many people have the misconception that if your story is good, you will get thousands of views and votes within no time. However, this is not true. It takes time and dedication to grow your Wattpad following.

One of the biggest challenges with Wattpad is the fact that they allow anyone to create a free account and start writing. That means that people can start stories and abandon them. For this reason, most people looking for something to read on Wattpad only search the completed books. So, in order to start growing your following, you need to actually complete something (whether it is a short story, novelette, or full length book).

Once you have done this, you will start popping up in more searches, especially when uses check the “search completed only” box. But why wait until you finish something to grow your following? You can start right away.

Another great feature of Wattpad is the community. You can join several groups and interact with other users. You are not allowed to promote any of your writing, but chances are that people will view your profile and read your story if you do the same.

You can also follow other users. That means that you will receive an update any time they post something new. The more people you follow on Wattpad, the more people likely to follow you back.

Many people also like to reach out to other members and request a “read for read”. This basically means that you read their story, and they read yours. The more people that read and vote on your story, the higher it will be in the search results, and the more fans you will get.

Wattpad also holds many contests. Users are allowed to host them as well. You can see the one I am hosting here. Contests are a great way to get your name into the community, and have some of your work viewed by other members. If they like what you write for the contest, then they are likely to look at some of your other work.

Wattpad is not just good for getting you name out there. There are other benefits as well. When you become “Wattpad famous” you are allowed to apply to be a Wattpad Star. This opens up endless possibilities for expanding your writing career. They give you jobs such as promoting major productions and products, and having a chance to get your name up there with the “big guns”. How’s that for motivation?

In the end, Wattpad is a great was to practice writing and see what audiences respond too. You can interact with the people reading your stories and see what they like and what they don’t. Even if you just want to write for fun, Wattpad is the place to go.

 

 

The Boy- Flash Fiction

It was only a few weeks ago that I discovered flash fiction. I was scrolling though a writing forum (http://www.writingforums.org/) and came across a flash fiction contest. Upon doing some quick research, I discovered that flash fiction is basically a story told in around 100 words. It was pretty tricky for me, considering I tend to be on the wordier side, but I decided to give it a shot. Here it is!

Cold winds swirled though the empty streets of Aberlon. Winter had come suddenly; taking many by surprise. Farmers and cattle froze in the fields. Wives and children cuddled under blankets, tears turning to ice on their frigid faces.

A lone boy could stand in the cold. He was bundled with coat after coat; until he doubled in size. He was small, but he was their only hope.

“Go,” urged the people. “Save us.”

The boy was terrified. Surely he would freeze. But he had to go. He walked the frozen roads for days and days. He found scraps, anything that could be rolled in his ever growing ball. He pushed and shoved until it grew far beyond his bundled body. He struggled and shouted as his shivering bones ached to move the mound.

He made it. He came home chilled to the bone with his big ball of yarn. He rushed door to door; banging and screaming. “I’m home,” he called.

There was no answer. The town of Aberlon was silent but for his cries. He ran for his mother, cradling her icy bones; her crystal skin. He wept for her, his tears creating an icy cocoon, morphing him to stone.

 

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