Shirley Marr.

Shirley Marr

Shirley Marr.  That’s the name that popped into my head the other day after I wrote my inspirational authors’ page on Jim Butcher about a week ago.  I figured I was thinking along the lines of which Australian author out there, who is not Melina Marchetta, Jaclyn Moriarty and John Marsden has inspired me with their writing?  An author, also, who is not Isobelle Carmody,  writer of possibly one of the most amazing sci-fi dystopian series ever, or Marianne de Pierreswho also wrote a series dystopian series that I love, and who is not Rebecca Lim (author of the Mercy series) and Justine Larbalestier.  

Shirley Marr.  That was the name that popped into my head.  Now, Marr is a relatively new author with two books under her belt and is currently working on another.

I don’t know if you lovely, lovely readers out there remember, about a month ago I posted a suggestive read of one of her books – Fury.  Now I absolutely, positively, crazily love this weird and whacky, light and dark, sane and insane book about a murder.  I was literally blown off my feet by it, I was that surprised.

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But you know, Fury isn’t you’re everyday YA novel.  Rather, it’s like this:

  1. The story is about a girl murderer.
  2. Eliza Boans has a sense of humor.
  3. Eliza Boans is a murderer.
  4. Eliza Boans shouldn’t be likeable.
  5. The story is about a murder.
  6. This is insane!!!  Yet completely likeable, loveable (not in the cute, lovey-dovey way, but loveable in the omg-it’s-freaking-awesome-because-no-one-else-has-tried-to-do-it-before kind of way)

So, obviously it’s kinda a little bit special – if you get my meaning.  Shirley Marr has evidently got her own sweetly dark style to her works, that’s for sure.  It’s dark stuff, and light stuff, mixed in one.  While her second book was completely different to her first, the style was there — no, SHIRLEY MARR was there, written all over the cover, imprinting her words within its pages.  Yep.  Book two was darkness mixed with lightness, and a dislikeable likeable female protagonist.  It’s been described as (on goodreads under her profile) a paranormal love story for girls who don’t like paranormal love story.  And hell yeah!  It totally was!  It was freaky and kinda insane.  I loved – and sympathised – and hated the protagonist.  She was so whiny, so envious of her best friend, yet at the same time, everything she said was justified and she still loved her best friend just as much, which felt so realistic for me, I was like – omg, why are you so good Marr?  So it was kinda official at that point, that Marr is just as good as Richelle Mead, Sarah Dessen, Jim Butcher, and a whole bunch of other authors who can flawlessly create a different kind of main character per series.

13351300Preloved
by Shirley Marr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marr I envy you :). Again, you have captured me in another spellbinding story. While I loved Fury and was excessively enamored with its story and character, I realised how incredibly well developed Marr’s characters are. Amy Lee of Preloved is the same. She has her hates and loves, her intricacies and pet peeves. She was annoying and yet so very attractive as a sympathetic character. In the end, I really liked her character, even if I didn’t at first.

Preloved is not like Marr’s first novel. While yes, it was an emotional rollercoaster, Preloved is about a girl and her encounter with a ghost. It’s about her and her best friend, who she doesn’t always like. And it’s about her and her relationship with everyone else around her.

It might be a slow start, but it’s certainly not a boring start. It’s certainly a book worth reading. 🙂

Yeah, so that’s how I reviewed it when I first read Preloved.  It’s been a while then, but my opinion of Shirley Marr, Shirley Marr’s stories, and Shirley Marr’s writing has not changed.  It has a lasting impression and even if her characters are full of personality and can be a handful half the time, surely, surely that is a sign of an inspiring author?

Sample:

(From Fury)

“I was thinking that if it really was my fault, if every reaction could be traced to an action before, then at the very beginning would be me at the canteen queue with my twenty-dollar note instead of my packed lunch. In turn I could blame my mother for not caring enough and maybe I could blame my father for making my mum stop caring. Maybe all this was supposed to happen. It had been happening all along. It was too hard to try and stop it now. In a twisted way, there was cold comfort in that.” 

“You don’t give your mum enough credit for raising you, Elle. Look at you. Teenage sweetheart with a sugar shell and strychnine centre. We might as well finish speaking the truth now.” 

(And from Preloved)

“There is no ending to this story because, as I’ve realised, stories don’t have endings, only beginnings.” 

“If you’re hoping to party like it’s 1999 because Prince told you the world was going to end in 2000, then I’m sorry to disappoint you. We’re still here.” 

See?  Well, this is just a taste, but lol, totally, reading her books are like definitely worth it!  They’re short too, only about 300 pages long there abouts.  And I have to say, I’m looking forward to more works by Shirley Marr, afterall, she has become one of my favourite Australian authors, and I’m in total envy of her!  Oh and yes, if it’s something unusual within the YA sphere that is what you’re looking for, then Marr is it.  She’s certainly got a flair for the good, the dark and the fluffy – well maybe not fluffy per se, but something akin to it.

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Jim Butcher.

You know, I spent ages debating over which author who I should write next about under my “Authors Whose Writing I Adore” section, because really, while there were many stand outs, I find every author has something special about their writing.  For example: Jim Butcher and his Dresden Files series.  Now really, I wasn’t that engrossed with his books to begin with, not only was the main character a guy with your you know, every day guy thoughts, I was not used to the style of writing.  But really, it wasn’t bad, just different.  It didn’t have the poetry of Dessen, Oliver, and Condie’s writing, and it doesn’t have that distinct flair of Heyer’s works.  Also it’s not a manga, therefore there are no pictures.  So I had a hard time adjusting, particularly when I read my first Dresden novel two years ago.  WOW.  TWO YEARS.  I can hardly believe it’s been two years since I started the Dresden Files, and boy, has it grown on me.

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My Hometown. Yoko Ono.

The other day in class we were discussing “trans-languaging”.  That is, looking at one language, yet seeing the meanings and ideals translated across.  For example, one of the most widely used languages in the world today is English.  There are many reasons why people chose to learn English, be a speaker of English and there are the debates on the ownership of English now.  What’s fascinating about English being an internationally used language in many different contexts, is that people, all over the world, use it differently for different reasons.  Yoko Ono though, wrote poetry, poetry, that might not actually mean much at a first glance (if you’re not looking for it, or not a poetry fanatic, maybe) but on closer look, there is a deeper meaning to it.  As part of my class the other day, we looked at My Hometown by Yoko Ono.  The purpose was to look at “trans-languaging”.

Ono, writes about the notion of “hometown” and while reading it the first time round, I thought, it’s a nice poem, but it doesn’t quite relate to me.  Because to me, I don’t have a “hometown”.  I have a suburb where I go home to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I see it in the same way as Ono has illustrated her definition of “hometown” in her poem.  When I watched the video below, I actually understood better, her definition, watching the animation to fill in the spaces in my mind and knowledge of what “hometown” meant.  And believe or not, I felt strangely enlightened.  Not only was I enlightened, I read the poem again with different eyes, and this time, it was like a light that been switched on.  This time, it was as though in my eyes, it was glowing.  I was actually a bit stunned by this development.

So I would like to share this piece of “trans-languaging” with everyone, even if others have already read this, and I’m five hundred years too late (jokes!), I want to share what I have been inspired by!  I think it’s very touching, and I think I might be more interested in Yoko Ono’s works from now on!

Do you know where your hometown is?
Your hometown is a place you choose.

Get a map of the world.
Pin a little flag on a place on the map you’d like to go to.
The place you’ve put your flag is your hometown.

Let’s find a way to make this flag something you’ll be proud of.
Start by giving your hometown a name you want to call it by.
Find out some things about your hometown
Make a scrapbook of images and people from your hometown, and add your comments about them
Look after your hometown in your mind.
Send it lots of love.

In your mind help anyone there who needs help.
If there are any broken-down houses, mend them in your mind
If there are any people who are ill, make them better in your mind
If any of the streets need cleaning, clean it in your mind
If there are any children who are crying, wipe their tears away in your mind

Find out about the past and present of your hometown.
If anything terrible has ever happened there, think about it, and try to take away the pain that’s still there.
If there’s something terrible going on there now, focus your thoughts on it, and try to take away all the pain.

Quietly tell your best friends about the problems of your hometown, and ask them to solve them in their minds.
Put up some nice photos of your hometown in your room.
Write a diary about your hometown.
Keep sending your powerful energy to your hometown until more people start to smile and laugh and enjoy themselves.
Keep going until your efforts start to make things better in your hometown.
One day we’ll realize that all the towns in the world are someone’s hometown.

More HERE

 

Ally Condie.

Ally Condie

I’m not sure why, but I felt like writing about Ally Condie.  For those of you familiar with YA novels, Ally Condie wrote the dystopian series, Matched.  Now I was never a fan of her writing at first, because seriously, it was poetic and convolouted and generally slow to read.  Welllllll that’s what I thought for her first two books.  Sighhh I really hate writer’s when they do this to me.  Honestly, it isn’t fair.  I Just-I just wan’t explain it but I literally fell in love with Ally Condie’s final installment of the Matched series.

Now why am I writing about her as an Inspirational author of mine??  It’s easy enough.  Anything that stuns me, sucks me, takes away my willpower to read and decide is ultimately going to be an inspiration of mine.  Condie does that.  From the very beginning, I was always drawn back to this series, whether it was because I wanted to know what happened next, or because I wanted a little more  poetry in my life, I was drawn back into finishing the trilogy.  It was really hard not to.  Especially when I had such mixed reactions all the time.  I complained it was boring.  I complain it was slow to read.  I complained that the ending is such a tease.  I complained again and again until…I read the last one.  And then.  Then I looked back over all the books and suddenly I can’t remember why I had so much against them.  It’s ridiculous that one installment, the final at that, makes reading the other two worth reading.  But I have to hand it to Condie, she knows how to tie all the ties, and solves all of the problems.

That I have to say is quite inspirational.  There was not one moment in the final installment did I wish I was reading something else.  There was not one moment where I thought only the poetry of her writing was worth reading.  There was not one moment where I didn’t feel like I wasn’t enjoying myself.  And I think that’s important.  As an aspiring author, I want to have that magnetic pull that Condie had with me.

And so The Books.

Ally Condie began with Matched.  A simple story about a girl (Cassia) living in a world where Society makes the choices for her.  Who she marries, who she loves, where she works, the colour of her dress.   But it’s not so simple, not when she falls in love with someone she’s not supposed to fall in love with, someone who was put before her for a brief second by the Society.

My original review of Matched is HERE and below are some quotes.
 “His lips move silently, and I know what he says: the words of a poem that only two people in the world know.”

 

“Our time together feels like a storm, like a wild wind and rain, like something too big to handle but too powerful to escape.”

“I wonder if I will ever have the strength to hold onto something. Or if I will always be someone who destroys.”

“I am trapped in glass and I want to break out and breath deep but I´m too afraid that it will hurt.”

And then there was the sequel, Cassia has pulled away from Society to chase after Ky and to decide where she wants to go from there.  I was a little annoyed at the sequel, it didn’t have the gloss of the first book, yet the ending was cliff hangery!!! and boy, did it make me want to read Reached.

My original review for Crossed is HERE but LOL it’s shorter than I remembered! Haha.  Anyway below are some quotes!

“Everyone has something of beauty about them. But loving let’s you look, and look, and look again. You notice the back of a hand, the turn of a head, the way of a walk. When you first love, you look blind and you see it all as the glorious, beloved whole, or a beautiful sum of beautiful parts. But when you see the one you love as pieces, as why’s, you can love those parts too, and it’s a love at once more complicated and more complete.”

“Love changes what is probable and makes unlikely things possible.”

“Love has different shades. Like the way I loved Cassia when I thought she’d never love me. The way I loved her on the Hill. The way I love her now that she came into the canyon for me. It’s different. Deeper. I thought I loved her and wanted her before, but as we walk through the canyon together I realize this could be more than a new shade. A whole new color.”

“Forgetting lets you live without the pain for a moment but remembering hits hard.”

Finally, Reached and it’s beautiful, beautiful conclusion.  I think, I will always love this one the best.  It’ s the longest of the three, nearly twice as long as Matched and Crossed separately.  And it is the answer that that answers all the questions that are brought up in the first two.

HERE is my original review.  And Below are quotes!

 “If you let hope inside, it takes you over. It feeds on your insides and uses your bones to climb and grow. Eventually it becomes the thing that is your bones, that holds you together. Holds you up until you don’t know how to live without it anymore. To pull it out of you would kill you entirely.”

 

“In a story, you can turn to the front and begin again and everyone lives once more. That doesn’t work in real life.”

“I remember what Anna called the three of us.
The Pilot. The Poet. The Physic.
They are in all of us. I believe this. They every person might have a way to fly, a line of poetry to put down for others to see, a hand to heal.”

“There is ebb and flow. Leaving and coming. Flight and fall. Sing and silent. Reaching and reached.”

Yeah…there’s no doubt, Condie’s words are magical, her writing, beautiful, and her story, unbelievable.  She has become an inspiration for me and well, I have to say, I’m surprised myself.  So Thank You Ally Condie.

Lol I thought this was cute!!!

Mayu Shinjo.

Mayu Shinjo is amazing Lol.  Even though her mangas are mainly smutty, they’re also about love and romance, albeit a little overly dramatic and at times stressingly annoying.  Since my first Shinjo manga: Love Celeb, I found myself looking for the next one and the next one and the next one.  It’s funny, it’s not like I like them overly, so much that I’d praise it again again and again, but it’s the kind of series where I am so bloody engrossed, it’s already dawn before I realise I’ve read the whole night through.  It’s that good a manga.

Firstly, I don’t know much about Mayu Shinjo, but that’s not really what this post is about.  What this post is about, is the fact that her mangas are awesome, if you’re into smutty manga or romance manga.  I’m not much of a big fan, but any dramatic manga/drama tv show/romantic YA novel is great for learning how write your own conflicts in your own stories.  There are so many plot twists and conflicts you wonder when it’ll end.  Haha, learning that, I figured, there might actually be something good to watching and reading dramatic material.

So I’ve begun reading drama manga.  It’s mostly romance manga with some smutty ones, but I think, the best out of the lot are Mayu Shinjo’s works.

Now she has a lot of works, a lot of series, a lot of oneshots and short series.  My favourite is Love Celeb with Midnight Children coming in second, and Sensual Phrase and Haou Airen coming in third.

Love Celeb, Sensual Phrase and Haou Airen, have something that I love.  They all connect, well not really connects, but rather, you see characters from one manga featuring in the other however briefly.  I really love those kinds of stories, they remind of Sarah Dessen‘s works (which all connect having similiar locations and varying cameos of characters from other novels).

Sensual Phrase was the first of the three to be created.  It’s about a love between a musician and the band’s lyricist who happens to be a woman.  It’s sweet and charming, hot and sexy, and also rife with pain and tragedy at some moments.  I enjoyed the romance primarily because Sakuya loves and puts Aine above all else (even when she’s being silly, but I love how she grows towards the end, completely understanding Sakuya’s feelings).

The second of the three was Haou Airen.  I loved and hated this.  This was seriously dark and grimy and as a female, I seriously felt uncomfortable with the situations the characters go through.  Yet the ending is satisfactory if sad and unexpected.  I liked Hakuron’s character.  As the head of the Black Dragon Organisation in Hong Kong, he’s completely coldhearted and indifferent. Just as someone in his position of power should be.  But he falls in love with Kurumi, a girl who just happened to help him one day, only thing is (and this is purely my opinion) she’s too stupid to not choose him over the girl who pretended to be her friend.  This is a pretty intense manga, it’s not to be read lightly.

And finally, my favourite of all of Mayu Shinjo’s works is Love Celeb.  It’s the lightest and funniest of the three mangas.  Gin is such a child!  Yet masculine and grown up at times.  He doesn’t recognise his feelings as love, even though he hates Kirara’s manager even touching Kirara.   Kirara is a little stupid, yet she’s smarter than Kurumi from Haou Airen, so I don’t hate her as much.  Even if this one is smutty, it’s certainly the funniest.

Some select pages from the manga (when Gin is at his best – represented using Chibi artwork by Shinjo.  Hehe, one reason why he is the best Shinjo male character, he’s so childish and cute in this form!!)

love-celeb-ch 12 pg 29

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb, Chapter 12

love-celeb-ch 7 pg 11

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb, Chapter 7 (Isn’t Gin cute? He’s a rich boy making porridge for the first time haha)

love-celeb-ch 8 pg 4

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb Chapter 8 (oooh this one is with Sakuya, isn’t Gin’s expression sweet? (Gin is the one in the middle panel))

love-celeb-ch 8 pg 8

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb Chapter 8 (No one orders the most powerful man in the whole of Japan without incurring his wrath, well, everyone except Sakuya, that is ;P)

love-celeb-ch 8 pg 9

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb Chapter 8 (Gin making coffee for Sakuya)

love-celeb-ch 8 pg 30 - so cute!

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb Chapter 8 (A couple’s cute love!)

love-celeb-ch 9 pg 8

Source: mangareader, Love Celeb Chapter 9 (There’s nothing better than a grown up boy with shiny eyes)

Lauren Oliver.

Lauren Oliver

Dear Lauren Oliver I hate you.  Kidding!!!  But seriously, I envy your work.  As most readers of YA out there would know, Lauren Oliver is the lovely author behind Before I fall and Delirium.  

Before I Fall   Delirium (Delirium, #1)   Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)   Requiem (Delirium, #3)

With an extremely expressive turn of phrase, her novels are beautifully captivating and entrancing.  One moment, the first page is flipped, the next, you cannot believe it’s finished!

Matched (Matched, #1)I remember the first time I ever picked up one of her books.  I’ll tell you it was Delirium and after Matched by Ally Condie (Not that it was bad, but really, it was a slight bit of drag that felt really dense in the process, and the only bit of action occurred right at the end – But even so, Matched was still a worthy read! – once you get through the denseness of the first 2/3), and I was not really ready for another dystopian focused on ‘love’, because really in the end they’d all be the same.  Buuuuutttttt!

As always, the word to use when there is an additional condition to add; but, I prided myself as a reader (and writer – hopefully in the future – professional author – but that’ll be some time yet, I think) not to judge a book until I’ve read.    And with that kind of reading, and impulsive desire, I ended up reserving four hundred and eighty paged mass paperback at my local library.

And Bloody Hell!  I was seriously blown away.  I’ll I expected as much with the plot and the characters, they were, impressive and unimpressive at the same time.  I both loved and hated them.  But my biggest shock of all, and the reason why now I can say I absolutely, unbelievably adore her writing, was that Oliver completely caught me, hook, line and sinker, with that ‘voice’ of hers.  I was completely drawn in by her writing.  There was absolutely no holding back with her.  Absolutely none!

But you know–and I don’t know about anyone else, but I do about myself–when I find an author who can write so well and make such an impact on me, I have to go find out if he/she’s written anything else.  It would be a a shame if I didn’t!

Elsewhere     The Lovely Bones      The Five People You Meet in Heaven

So I looked Ms Lauren Oliver up and wha-la, yes, she had written one other book at that point in time.  And that book was Before I fall.  Now I love books about people dying and generally they go back on their life (such as Elsewhere by Gabrielle ZevinThe Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom), see if they could change something, or understand some aspect of themselves that they couldn’t understand before.  I don’t know why, but I do.  And so I picked it up with no qualms, unlike the ones I had for Delirium.  

And I loved it.  I didn’t know that I would, but I did.  Before I fall was even more emotive and earth-shaking than Delirium, and seriously, I really hate it when books make me cry.  I hate it because crying is messy and dramatic and really cliched, but Before I Fall was just too good.  I was absorbed by the protagonist’s voice, so much that I very nearly cried–I managed not to, since I’ve learned to hold my tears, but if I hadn’t that special skill, I would have been bawling!

Believe me when I say the protagonist of Before I fall was dislikable to the hilt!  She was bitchy and mean, and totally popular all over, and yet, Oliver portrayed such a dislikable character with such a likable and related voice that the reader, in the should not be able to resist falling in love with her!

Ms Oliver, you are amazing.  Seven hundred and fifty cheers for you for bringing to this world, and to me, your beautiful, beautiful worlds.  Thank you for amazing writing.  I look up to you with the same kinds of eyes my friends had when they teased me about being their nerdy hero (I was quite smart in highschool ;p).  So thank you.  I just love, love, love your writing.

Sincerely,

Nina at Wordsthatflowlikewater!

Sarah Dessen.

Sarah DessenOne of my all time favourite authors, Sarah Dessen, I suppose could be said to be my inspiration for wanting to write Young Adult.

I think I’ve mentioned this a million times, but back in year ten, it was thanks to Sarah Dessen that I got back into reading.  I always did call myself a reader, but until I picked up Sarah Dessen’s book The Truth About Forever, I guess I didn’t truly get the what ‘reading’ meant as a hobby.  I mean you can always say you read for a hobby, but unless you truly enjoy it, it’s not right?

Well when I read The Truth About Foreverthat was when I realised what it meant to succumb to another’s writing and to forget where I was and who I was.  I was so absorbed by her tale, I forgot myself.  When I finished, I realised it was way into the night and well, I had school the next day.  But staying up to read Dessen’s book made me realise how amazing it felt to be absorbed in this other word.  After that I had to know what else Dessen had written.  I had to know what else she could make me feel.

Picking up Just Listen, I felt the same kind of attraction that most would laugh at, since it seems so melodramatic and obsessive.  I felt that it was dangerous.  Why?  Because I was getting addicted to her characters, to their stories and to how Dessen could write to make me feel.  I just had to read both again.

Dessen is amazing!  After reading nearly all her books, I think I still have to read Dreamland, I can honestly say I really admire her work.  She’s one of my favourite authors, and I totally admire the way she writes.  I wish I could write like that and I hope in the future, that I could you know weave a tale so intricate and emotive.

I like to think of Dessen’s work as like the ultimate Young Adult Contemporary novel.  This though can be disputed since everyone has different tastes.  But I think in my head, this has already become the bar to which all others must be compared to.  Haha, I just really love her work!

Just Listen

Quotes from Just listen:

“All I’d ever wanted was to forget. but even when I thought I had, pieces had kept emerging, like bits of wood floating up to the surface that only hint at the shipwreck below.”

“No matter how much time has passed, these things still affect us and the world we live in. If you don’t pay attention to the past, you’ll never understand the future. It’s all linked together.”

“Silence is so freaking loud.”

“I wondered which was harder, in the end. The act of telling, or who you told it to. Or maybe if, when you finally got it out, the story was really all that mattered.”

The Truth About Forever

Quotes from The Truth About Forever:

“It’s just that…I just think that some things are meant to be broken. Imperfect. Chaotic. It’s the universe’s way of providing contrast, you know? There have to be a few holes in the road. It’s how life is.”

“It’s all in the view. That’s what I mean about forever, too. For any one of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You never know for sure, so you’d better make every second count.”

“That was the thing. You never got used to it, the idea of someone being gone. Just when you think it’s reconciled, accepted, someone points it out to you, and it just hits you all over again, that shocking.”

“Shoulda, coulda, woulda. It’s so easy in the past tense. ”

Dessen writes about aspects of life, especially those of young adults, in a way which really reflects and resembles reality.  Her books belong in the contemporary category, but it’s not just the characters problems which attract readers, but the little romances in them.  What I love is that Dessen never completely absorbs in the ‘love’ aspect of the novel too much – as many YA novels do, which really irritates me because while it begins strong with a character that can be related to, it quickly dips into that clichéd genre of obsessive-ness – instead she gives the character a beginning, a middle, and an end.  It follows a kind of ‘quest’ model, and the character goes on a personal journey of discovery.  That’s what I love.  I love seeing her characters grow, develop, and in the end, find closure in herself or find a satisfactory sense of victory.  Haha, I’ll even go as far as to say her books are like fairytales that are not fairytales at all.  Gosh, does that even make sense?

But Dessen is not the only one in this genre that’s worth reading, even if I think she’s the best! – but that’s my opinion!  Others worth reading include John Green, Elizabeth Scott, Melina Marchetta, Shirley Marr, Maureen Johnson, Jay Asher and Elizabeth Chandler (though her books are mysteries – the Dark Secret series).