Posted in reviews, Teen

My thoughts on “Insurgent”

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Book Review. I’ve read the second book in the Divergent Series titled, “Insurgent.”

 

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful.

Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this second book as much as the first one. Although my first love is not the dystopian genre, I liked Tris and her companion Tobias. I enjoyed how their relationship bloomed while they battled for their freedom from oppression.

It seems the Erudite want control of all the factions and they’re using the Dauntless soldiers to do this. They use a special serum to do this, but because Tris and Tobias are divergent, they can fight the control of the serum. The leader of the Erudite knows this and that’s why it’s so dangerous to be divergent, because as soon as they’re discovered the divergent are executed.

This story shows the creativity of the author. I’m very impressed by her world building and the imagination it took to create the Faction system and the characters in it.

In the second book of the “Divergent” series the author delves into more detail about what it means to be divergent and it’s interesting to learn why being divergent is such a danger.

There’s a lot of action in this second book and I liked it enough to pick up the third book in the series. That being said, however, I’m a contemporary girl at heart.

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Let me know how you feel about the series by leaving a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

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Thinking about my Dad on Memorial Day

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s Memorial Day today and I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day!

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to take today and remember my dad. He passed away about fifteen years ago and even though he’s gone, I think about him every day. I see his personality in my brothers whenever I get together with them, especially my youngest brother. He has the same mannerisms as my father and that same tone whenever he’s being cynical. I laugh whenever I hear my dad’s signature sigh. My brother isn’t even aware that he does this, but I see it.

This photo courtesy of Creative Commons Flickr.com. Photographer Senor Condo
This photo courtesy of Creative Commons Flickr.com. Photographer Senor Condo

It’s funny the things I remember about my dad. Like the way he used to say my nickname, or when he used to get irritated with me for being late for dinner, but then he’d feel bad afterward and ask me to play catch. 😉 He could never stay mad at me for very long. Now that I’m a parent, I understand how irritating being late can be! I just loved being outside and I didn’t want to come in. I was just a kid after all.

Just being with him had a calming effect on me, like everything was going to be all right. I’m kind of a worrier, so it was a relief to feel that way whenever I could. 🙂

So, here’s to my dad! (Raising a glass of wine to the sky) I miss him and wish he were still here. I wish he had been around to meet my kids. He would’ve loved being with them. I also would’ve loved to see his expression when I became a published author. He would’ve been so proud. Sniff.

Speaking of publishing, I do have some other news that I’m excited about. My fourth book has been accepted for publication and it’ll be coming out in November. Squeeee….I’m so excited! In fact, my publisher wants to break up my story into three books. Gulp! At first, I wasn’t sure about that, but after thinking about it, I’m on board with the idea. So, instead of one book titled, “Gideon Lee,” there’s going to be three books. I’m so excited about this series!

That’s all I can say for now, but I’ll keep you posted!

 

I hope you all have a Happy Memorial Day. I’m going to take a few minutes and remember my dad, hoping he knows about my kids and my accomplishments. I hope he’s proud. 🙂

We need Diverse Books!

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today with some exciting news. My website/blog is getting a new look. You can already see some of the changes, but there are more to come, so please bear with me as the construction commences!

I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to what’s going on in the Twitter World, but this last week the #weneeddiversebooks hashtag trended. I even tweeted and retweeted some of the messages because I think it’s true.

Although, the trend was mainly bringing to the attention of Tweeties everywhere that most books are of Caucasian construction, I think we need to look at all kinds of diversity and not just skin color.

There’s diversity of religion, diversity of sexual orientation, as well as racial diversity. In my humble opinion, if there were more books on these subjects then people would become more knowledgeable and with that knowledge, they’d become more tolerant of these different groups. Maybe this would help the bullying issues we seem to be facing in our schools and workplaces. Wouldn’t that be great?

A few books out there deal with racial diversity. Not the subject so to speak, but one of the main characters is of a different racial group than Caucasian. These books are a start in the cry for diversity. Below are a couple of them that I’ve come across.

 

Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.

 

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

I’m wondering if there were more diverse books available, would there be less anxiety in our teens. When you think about it, the teen years are full of angst because everyone’s trying to fit in. What if they learned through reading that we’re all different and that’s okay? There’d be less teen angst that’s for sure. Wouldn’t it be great if teens spent their time investing in themselves as opposed to trying to fit some unrealistic ideal? More books that are diverse could accomplish this, wouldn’t you agree?

So not only do we need more of these types of books in our bookstores, but we also need to have our kids read them. 🙂 So make sure when you come across a book where the hero is other than a Caucasian or may be of a different sexual orientation, give it a shot. You might be surprised by what you learn. Remember, reading fiction is a great way to learn too.

Thanks for reading my post today and if you know of a great book that deals with diversity leave a comment. I’d like to read it! 🙂

 

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Could the Heavy Pollen Season this Spring help the Bees?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a hectic couple of weeks. I’ve had classroom visits and I finished editing my fourth novel. I have news on that, but I’ll share that at a later date. 🙂

I’m in Michigan and as I’m sure many of you have heard we’ve had an extremely rough winter. In fact, I sent my kids to school today with their winter coats again because we just can’t seem to get the temperature above sixty degrees. Boo!

Anyway, I’ve heard because the winter has been so horrible that our spring is going to be the worst for allergy sufferers. According to the rumors, everything is going to pop at the same time this year and the pollen is going to be at very high levels.

Well, this got me thinking. 🙂 If the pollen is going to be at high levels this year, it would make it a great year to help the bees! That’s right! We need bees to keep the earth healthy. I’m sure you remember my post on saving the bees. Click here to read it: https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/lets-save-the-bees/

Photo compliments of Creative Commons on Flicker. Photographer Mike Baird

These tiny insects are one of the things that keeps our earth in balance and they do this when they cross-pollinate flowers. Unfortunately, the bee population has dwindled and experts aren’t sure why.

In order to keep our earth strong and vibrant we need to help our little friends. How can we help you ask? Well for one thing, plant flowers this spring. Let’s give our bee friends some food and while you’re at it, leave a basin of water near your flowerbeds, a birdbath isn’t just for birds, you know. 🙂 Bees get thirsty so let’s help keep them hydrated. To find out more ways to help our bee friends go to this link: http://www.queenofthesun.com/get-involved/10-things-you-can-do-to-help-bees/

My twitter friend, Dave the Bee shared it with me yesterday and it inspired this post.  Let’s take advantage of this heavy pollen season and help the bees help us! Plant some flowers this spring! 🙂

 

 

 

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Research is Critical to your Work In Progress

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This photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/51114580@N00/1597765466/in/photolist-3rbY1s-eMNJJD-8HEreg-5mnDfb-4ngZSY-8JxuUt-6Qn57B-ggsKho-b9pe34-apx2oh-dpRAoH-4VwMdz-7pqmAL-6bSeXR-dnSFz6

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after taking a blogcation. I needed one because I had a whole week of Classroom Visits to do and I wanted to concentrate on those. I have to say, I enjoy getting in front of my readers and talking about writing and what inspires my stories.

I’ve just finished my coming of age story, “Gideon Lee.” I can’t release details yet, but I’m excited about it. I did speak about it during my visits last week and there were sparks of interest in the story. That certainly did my heart good!

In writing my novels, I’ve found that research is critical. I’ve found that my readers, even though they know they’re reading fiction, want the stories they’re reading to be authentic. They want them to have the ring of truth echoing throughout them.

That’s why research is so important. Whether I’m writing a mystery where I must research police procedure, or a story that has musical inclinations and I’ve got to research different types of music it has to resonate authenticity.

I enjoy research immensely because I love to learn something new. I’m a firm believer in the concept that we never stop learning and I try to learn something new every day.

I do a lot of research on the internet. There’s an incredible amount of information at your fingertips, all you have to do is search for it. However, occasionally, I like to talk to a real person. When I was researching police procedure for my first Super Spies novel, “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer,” I spoke to a sergeant at my local police post. I received invaluable information and made a new friend. You never know when knowing a police sergeant will come in handy! 😉

When I first called down to the post, the officer that answered the phone wanted to make sure that my request was legitimate. Here’s how the conversation went.

“Hello, I’m Lisa Orchard and I’m writing a story about three young girls finding a dead body and I need to know about the procedure police follow at a crime scene.”

I heard some fumbling around and I imagined he was turning on a recorder, the officer said, “This is fiction, right?”

“Yes. This is definitely fiction.” I laughed, because he was being cautious. However, he needed to be, you just never know when you get a phone call like that.

After he felt confident that I wasn’t planning anything dangerous or illegal, he transferred me to the sergeant and she answered my questions. I’ve established a great relationship with her and she has been my source for most of my mystery stories. She has answered questions ranging from police procedure at a crime scene, to bombing questions, to inquiries regarding pings of cell phones. I must say it has been quite an education.

Research gives your story authenticity and that’s incredibly important in today’s book market, wouldn’t you agree?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today and thanks for your patience during my blogcation. If you have any humorous stories you’d like to share regarding your research antics, please leave a comment! I’d love to read them!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Teen

Is the Instalove in YA books setting our teens up for Disappointment?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a three day Writer’s Conference that I thoroughly enjoyed. It gave me the extra incentive I needed to tackle a couple of projects that I’ve been thinking about and I’m going to start on those soon.

I’ve finally finished my personal editing process for my fourth novel and I’m excited about it. It’s a coming of age novel and it’s grittier than my past work. I’ve branched out into new territory and that’s exhilarating for me.

I’ve also been reading more too. I’ve just finished Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl.”

 

It was a great story; however, I didn’t like it as much as “Eleanor and Park.”

The main thing that I enjoyed about “Fangirl” is the fact that the love story between Cath and Levi wasn’t instalove like you find in other young adult books. This is important, in my opinion, because it gives a more realistic view of what love is supposed to be like for our young people.

Instalove or love at first sight is unrealistic and if the stories that portray it are the first glimpse of what love is like for our young girls, I think it sets them up for disappointment. They’re looking for something that doesn’t exist.

In my opinion, love at first sight should actually be called attraction at first sight. I agree we can become attracted to someone just by his or her physical presence, but this should never be mistaken for love.

As parents and educators, we need to teach this to our girls. Boys need to learn it too, but many of them don’t read the instalove books that young girls do, so they don’t receive the same misconstrued message.

In my opinion, we need to teach our teens communication skills that will help them negotiate the turbulent emotions they’ll feel when they embark on that treacherous trail of love. Especially that first love. Nothing will burn as deep as this first one.

Both of Rainbow Rowell’s books do this. Another book that shows us that love starts out as friendship is “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green. Real love always starts out that way.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are your thoughts on instalove in our books for teens? I’d love to read them, so leave a comment!

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Teen

Distracted Driving

 

Hello everyone! I’m in the editing cave today so I thought I’d repost a blog that I wrote a year or so ago. It’s on distracted driving and since this month is Distracted Driving Awareness month, I thought I’d share it again! Thanks for stopping by!

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you!

Today I’m discussing the issue of distracted driving. It seems that this has become a major problem especially for the younger crowd. J You know who you are!  Read on and check out some pretty scary statistics.

Distracted drivers cause about 6,000 deaths and a half a million injuries every year. Now, for the teenager, that means texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.

Did you know that while young drivers are texting, they spend 10% of their time outside the driving lane that they’re supposed to be in? Pretty scary!

Did you know that talking on a cell phone while driving could make a younger driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a seventy-year-old?

Did you know that answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds? That’s enough time to travel the length of…

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