Story Rules Over the Rules

On the heel’s of last week’s post on My Journey Into Anime, I’d like to brush upon this topic.

The reason I fell so in love with The Devil is a Part-Timer and Life is Still Beautiful was because the stories reached out to me beyond my at first dislike of the animation style, the getting used to reading subtitles, and the general rut of stubborn dislike I was in, and gripped me with stories that I related to, laughed at, and cried with.

In The One Year Adventure Novel community, the saying “What makes a story a story?” is rather legendary for us. It’s a question we continue to ask ourselves every time we sit down to write.  We are always striving to capture the perfect prose, the deepest emotions, the most well crafted characters.  And while the nuts and bolts of grammar and sentence structure and even the science of story are extremely important, I learned something a few years ago that put a lot of things into perspective for me.

Author, artist, editor, and speaker, Jeff Gerke, once gave a talk at an OYAN Summer Workshop in which he taught the principle of “Story trumps every rule”. And it is so true.  If you are able to hook your readers into the story, and for the sake of that story and that immersive experience you need to break a rule, then guess what? That is okay.

While it isn’t exactly the same principle in my anime life, I still see it. The story overcame my self-imposed obstacle course and won my heart, immersing me in their worlds and the lives of the characters.

That is what I am looking for when I pick up a book or watch a movie.

And that is what I hope to bring to the table with my writing.

 

What is most important to you when you pick up a book? What is it you are looking for? 

My Journey into Anime

If you had told me two years ago that I would enjoy Anime, I would have either laughed in your face, been appalled, or ignored you because I was watching a superior live action film.

I hated Anime. I hated the animation style. I thought it was weird. I was never fond of Asian culture.

Enter David, my now husband.

David loves Anime. David loves all things Asian. David wanted to go and live in Japan at one point.

For a long time, he tried to coax me into watching Anime. And I did watch part of Sword Art Online and liked it. But everything else he had me sample I was appalled at.

But, this past year I have changed. In part because I wanted to try to enjoy the things David enjoys, in part because I have a friend who really opened my heart up to other cultures besides Europe. I also had a bit of help from my sister and Avatar the Last Airbender for it’s Asian influences.

When we went to Disney World in November, the Japan section was our favorite spot in Epcot.

And it wasn’t just David’s favorite. It was also my favorite. (Tied with England, though, freely admitting, because England <3)

Between David’s love, my sister’s new found love, and friends love of Anime, I was honestly doomed from the beginning. It just took a while.

Enter two Anime series that pushed me over into the “I love Anime” camp

The Devil is a Part Timer and Life is Still Beautiful

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I rang in the new year while watching The Devil is a Part Timer with my husband and my sister (10/10 recommend above parties or fireworks) This is my kind of story! It’s quirky, it’s funny, it has sweet moments, epic battles, and fast food rivalries.  This is the Anime that really did it for me, that proved that I could actually love this genre, maybe even as much as David.

Life is Still Beautiful I had actually started watching back in April of 2016. David and I watched the first two or three episodes while I was visiting him in Kansas. We stopped there, intending to pick it up when he moved to Kentucky a month later. But we didn’t pick it back up until the day after we finished The Devil is a Part Timer. And I’m glad of that, because I was able to love and appreciate it all the more.

This story is about love in a more interesting form than is usually found in media today. And it handles it in such a beautiful way. This is a story that moved me deeply, in the places of my heart I don’t really have words for.

I never expected all of this.

But I’m quite pleased.

What is something you thought you could never enjoy, but now do? 

Do you have any Anime recommendations for me?

My 2016 in Books

Looking back on 2016 I can truly say it was a great year. Crazy, hard, and at times unexpected, but still
great. I mean, I got married after all 😉 And went to Disney World. So. Kind of a big deal.img_2291

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But this post isn’t about my life events, it is about looking back at the 15 books I managed to read amidst the chaos of life. Sure, it’s not a hugely impressive number, but if you saw me in my stressed out emotional breakdown states throughout the year, trust me. You’d be impressed.

2016 In Books:

  1. The Curse of the Seer by Daniel Schwabauer
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (technically started in December of 2015 but I didn’t finish this one until May of 2016 so it counts.)
  3. Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell
  4. The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
  5. Leaper by Geoffrey Wood
  6. Mariah’s Prologues 1-4 by Grace Bridges
  7. The Progeny by Tosca Lee
  8. Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
  9. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
  10. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
  11. The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
  12. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
  13. First Meetings in the Enderverse by Orson Scott Card
  14. The Baron’s Gloves by Louisa May Alcott
  15. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Let’s talk about these volumes, shall we?

The Curse of the Seer:

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade to YA Fantasy

My Thoughts: I have waited for this book for a very long time. It is the third book in the Tira-Nor series written by my teacher, mentor, and friend, Daniel Schwabauer.

I am very happy to say it did not disappoint. It lived up to every expectation I had and then some. I was hooked at page one, and stayed engaged all the way through until the last page. Mr. Schwabauer knows how to craft a novel, folks.

Do you recommend this novel? Yes! Go get it right now!

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade to YA Fantasy

My Thoughts: The World of Harry Potter is a masterpiece, as is agreed by most of the Wizarding World. It’s been a while, honestly, so my thoughts on this specific volume are rather hazy. I didn’t like it as much as the first three, but it wasn’t too far from them. I enjoyed it.

Do you recommend this novel? Yes.

 

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms:

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade to YA fiction

My Thoughts: See in part this post I did after reading it last year.

Further thoughts: This is one of my favorite books ever. Rundell’s attention to details and the way she describes those details is maddeningly brilliant, breathtaking, and imaginative. She catapults you right into her story worlds and doesn’t let you go until the last bit of ink on the end page.

Do you recommend this novel? YES GO BUY IT NOW.

 

The Name of this Book is Secret:

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade Fiction

My Thoughts:

While this novel was entertaining and fast paced and did hold my interest, I was not interested enough to continue with the series. I was rather disappointed with how they handled children going behind parent and guardian’s backs, and the way parents were portrayed as, well, second rate? That was a large factor in making me dislike this more than I liked it.  However, the book was admittedly extremely clever, and I did enjoy the adventure. I also appreciated the quirky sides of the book – not enough books are quirky nowadays.

Do you recommend this novel? I would say so, but more to mid grade readers.

 

Leaper:

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Adult Christian Fiction

My Thoughts:

This novel is perplexing to me. Because it was well written, had great, three dimensional characters who never felt fake, and had some really hilarious moments. But. It left me… let down and confused. It wasn’t what I was hoping for. The back cover boasts of a barista who discovers he has the super power of leaping from one location to another. And the concept was awesome. But the storyline is what disappointed me in the end. That, and the vagueish way it was written (which was actually well done considering it was how the character was thinking and he was in a fog of caffeine the entire time.)

I have friends who absolutely love this book. But I just couldn’t find love for it. It gets points, however, for creativity and humor.

Do you recommend this novel? Maybe. Depending on the person who asked me. I know people who would enjoy it.

 

Mariah’s Prologues 1-4

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Adult Dystopian

My Thoughts:

I got this collection of novella prologues at the 2015 Realm Maker’s conference. I was blown away at how well written, immersive, and pleasurable they were. What especially stuck out to me was how beautiful her story world is. Like I said, it is quite immersive, and everything just… fit.  I really want to read the rest of the prologues now (something for 2017!) as well as the book they set the stage for.

Do you recommend this book? Yes, quite so, go read them.

 

The Progeny:

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Adult Thriller

My Thoughts:

Oh. My. Word. This book.

I read it in three days (because I had to life in between reading sessions) and was obsessed the entire time. Tosca is a master at the art of storytelling, and The Progeny did not disappoint me. I was enthralled. I laughed. I cried. I cried some more. I silently screamed. I stood staring at the page with eyes bugged out and mouth wide open in shock. This book had it all for me. It was a roller coaster ride of the best possible type.

Do you recommend this novel? YES. GO BUY IT NOW.

 

Rooftoppers:

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade to YA fiction

My Thoughts:

Read my thoughts on the post I wrote about it here.

Aditional thoughts: I just want to read this again it’s a warm happy place of happiness.

Do you recommend this novel? YES. GO BUY IT NOW.

 

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride:

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Memoir/Entertainment

My Thoughts:

I never expected to be so deeply enthralled, so deeply moved as I was when reading this book. If you know me, then you know that The Princess Bride is my favorite book, and one of my favorite movies. I had a Princess Bride themed bridal shower, the main theme was played at my wedding ceremony, I had a Princess Bride themed table at the wedding reception.  There has never been a book that ever stood out above all the rest and secured the “Favorite Book” spot in my heart, until I read The Princess Bride.

So naturally, I was very excited to get a behind the scenes look at the making of the film and the lives of the actors who brought to life some of my favorite characters ever.

This book stirred up emotions in me I thought were possibly gone. It had long been a dearly clung to dream for me to be an actor or a filmmaker, or at least to be involved in the production of films in some way shape or form. That longing isn’t really gone, I found out while reading. Furthermore, I didn’t know I could become so attached to the real people behind the characters, and their personal lives. But I did. This book brought out a lot of emotions from the deep places of my heart.  And I wouldn’t have changed that for anything.

Do you recommend this book? Yes. All the yes. Go read it.

 

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight:

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: YA Romance

My Thoughts:

I picked this book up at Half Price Books for several reasons. 1. It was on clearance. 2. The cover was pretty and I loved the aesthetic. 3. It takes place in an airport and on a plane and I’m in love with airports so obviously love in an airport is going to be great. 4. There were two stickers from Hot Topic stuck inside.

I was very pleased with this book at first. But it left me on a very sour note. The glorification of divorce upset me. The way things were portrayed was just… off to me. And it was too quick a turnaround of emotions that the MC had. I, by a new rule, am only keeping books on my shelves that meet a certain level of stars, and this one just barely makes it. It’s staying because the cover is pretty and the airport parts make me happy.

Do you recommend this book? Eh, maybe.

 

The Wolf Wilder:

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade to YA fiction

My Thoughts:

Katherine Rundell does it again by immersing you into a world so real you can feel the sting of freezing snow on your skin and smell the fur of the wolves surrounding you.

Oh, this book. this book swept me away into frozen Russia, routing for a precious, tough little girl and her new friend Illya (as soon as he said his name I fell in love with him. Because Illya. <3) and the wolves they are protecting. Oh, please, if you love stories that are rich and glorious and beautiful and full of wonder, go and read this book. Now. Right now. Please.

Do you recommend this novel? YES. FOREVER. GO READ IT.

 

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between:

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: YA Romance

My Thoughts:

This book hurt me.

I do not like it.

I hated the way the couple treated their relationship. I hated the way long distance was painted as negative and impossible. I hated the parting scene at the end in her driveway because darsh gone it, I’ve lived through that too many times and it brought back so much pain in so many degrees.

The characters were great. The pacing was excellent. The format of it happening over a 24 hour period was fantastic. But in the end, it was just… empty and sad to me.

Do you recommend this novel? No.

 

First Meetings in the Enderverse:

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Adult Sci-fi Novella collection

My Thoughts:

Orson Scott Card is a total genius and can hook me in less than half a page and have me glued to book until the end.  This work is genius, and if you’ve read Ender’s Game then go read this.

Do you recommend this Book? Yes.

 

The Baron’s Gloves

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Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Classic Romance Novella

My Thoughts:

I love Louisa May Alcott’s works. Always have. And I was enjoying this story highly before the ending made it all crash down around me.

Without spoiling anything, I was appalled by the conduct of two of the young men, the blatant manipulation, and the degrading of women. I promptly put the book in my get rid of pile.

Do you recommend this book? No.

 

Shiver:

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: YA fiction

My Thoughts:

This one is a bit hard for me. Because wow. Maggie is an amazing writer, no doubt about it. The characters are endearing and I was swept away by the story. The negative aspects of teens sleeping together and then some really tainted it for me. Especially when they had set one of the characters up to being very cautions against doing things of that nature. The romance itself outside of passion in the bedroom, was very real and well portrayed. And honestly… I liked the book. I liked it a lot. I wish that the language and sex had been omitted and I could love it.

Do you recommend this Book? Only to mature audiences.

 

Wow. If you’ve stuck with me this far, congratulations. Now, share with me the books you read in 2016. What were your favorites? What were your least favorites?

Read on, peeps, read on!

~Adrienne

And… We’re Back!

By this time, you probably don’t believe me. But it’s true! 2017 is here, my wedding is over, and I am now free to –

Okay not totally free. I’ve got to run a household now. And I’m starting a business. And getting back into my own writing.

Yes, you say, she never will really come back to this blog.

Well, I can’t confirm or deny that entirely, because I have no idea what the future holds. But it is my plan to post weekly, and possibly have a monthly recap of my life post.

I’m still trying to find my sea legs with this blog, trying to figure out what I really truly want to do with it. So if you’re okay with sticking around my wobbly restart, well. Make yourself at home!

Stay tuned for a post looking back on 2016 and the stories that impacted it for good or ill. Despite my busy season of life, I did manage to read a fair amount of volumes!

~Adrienne

What is a goal you hope to achieve in 2017? Let me know in the comments!