I love asking people where they’re from, whether it’s what school, what suburb, what state, what country, I’m just always curious!
For me it’s a sense of connection, and just awe that (don’t laugh at me) there are ACTUALLY other people in this world! Really! WE get so caught up in our routines, and stress and other things that we don’t stop and go, whoa, there’s like, 7 billion people out there…?
Seven billion stories… And counting ~ catchphrase of SBS
So I guess I should tell you where I’m from…
I’m from NSW, Australia! It’s on okay place to live, I guess, actually where I live we have a lot of bush fires in the summer (like now, worst bush fire in 50 yeaars people!), but I like it. Winter’s cold, for me (it’s actually not that cold according to my french teacher who’s Irish), but I love snuggling up in a jumper, and heating warm foods, so life’s good! Haha.
FA (cliched) Qs:
Q: Do you have pet kangaroos/koalas/wombats/emus/cockatoos/platypuses/other native Australian fauna?
Q: Do you have a heavy accent?
A: Nope. I don’t have any accent.
Q: Did you find Nemo?
A: You do realise Nemo is the captain of the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?
Q: Do you drink beer/have a beer belly/wear hats with corks/wear thongs (like flip-flops, but we call them thongs)?
A: Yes to the beer, it’s actually very much a cultural thing (but I don’t haha). Sometimes with the beer belly. No to the corks, so don’t come to Australia wearing one. And yep, usually in summer, for thongs.
Q: Oh you’re Australian, eh? Do you live near the beach then?
A: Um actually… Heh, no. I live near the Blue Mountains. >.<
So yeah! That’s about all for tonight!
Tell me whereabouts you live in the comments, and stay safe!
So this post is going to be kinda long. Soz. Buuut, it’s everyone’s favourite: the meaning of life.
So I’m just going to get stuck into it. I think instead of asking what is the meaning of life, ask what is the meaning of joy?
I don’t mean happiness, because that is so fleeting and rather insignificant. Happiness can be a simple, ice cream (as I am having now) or taking drugs illegally (which I vehemently protest against). But the ice cream is gonna melt (which mine is doing as I type) and with drugs, you’re going to have to come down from that high, or worse still, face charges, and face reality. Or if you’re like me, happiness is having a good laugh with friends.
But right now, I’m not going to remember my ice cream, 10 years from now, heck I’m not going to remember it 4 hours from now. Or my funny conversation with my friends.
Joy is an ongoing process, I think. It’s funny in the sense that; you bring joy to others, you bring joy to yourself (personally speaking anyways). It comes from understanding your situation, appreciating what you have (or don’t have, like poverty) and GIVING SOMETHING BACK to the people or community that surrounds you. I think what I’m getting at is, joy comes from being connected to others, SERVING OTHERS.
If you’re Christian like me, you might have heard of “JOY: Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last”. I think that’s so true. Anything you do for yourself is going to be… well, self-centered. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing!! In fact, I would rather someone did nothing in their teens to help the community, graduate, go to uni, get a degree and HELP THEN, than helping the community and failing school. You have to help yourself, then help others.
BUT! If the school (because I’m still in school) is organising a charity fundraiser, or a chance to participate in national projects like Clean Up Australia, or The Red Shield Appeal, then PLEASE, go! SERVE others, think about other people, rather than yourself! I mean, there are 7 billion people in this world, not just you.
Also, make the most of the time here! If your school offers these kind of things, well, time is limited! If you’re a teen, go join the jazz band or something! You have ONE year in each year. Do something while you’re there. And; YOU’RE GROWING UP OR GROWING OLD, FAST. [I’d much rather you grow up.]
Which brings me to my next point. TIME. Or the lack of it. There’s one thing we can’t cheat, steal, or buy, and that’s time. What has time got to do with the meaning of life? Well, you know how at the end of every sentence there’s a full-stop? Yeah, the end of time for us, or death, is our full-stop. Some people like to whine about how what we do is all going to become worthless because we’re all gonna die, and it’s inevitable so what’s the use. But other people accept it (maybe not embrace it, haha) and say, well if I’m going to live this life, only once on this planet, I am going to live it *insert description of life here*. I think this generation has understood the inevitability of death. BUT then they take it the wrong way and use #YOLO as an excuse to party and get drunk and take drugs and have sex. The FINAL group of people go: I only live once, okay, but I am going to GO and bring JOY to others, and I am going to GIVE BACK to this world which has so many problems and needs me. But there’s only so much time, before that full-stop, so make the most of every day, and don’t look back to regret what you’ve done. Look back and say, “My life was more than parties, drinks and fun, it had a purpose, and a meaning.”
Okay so we’ve kind of come to the conclusion, the meaning of life is: bring joy to yourself, through serving others and bringing joy to them. But a huge part of life is going to be about you, seeing as, you’re the one living it. Ultimately, make the most of your time here. Don’t be afraid to stand out! And don’t be afraid to be kind to others. And you must remember: YOU’RE THE ONE LIVING YOU LIFE, not your parents, or your siblings. You’re responsible for yourself. So whatever you do, every decision you make, is your own choice, and you’ll take responsibility, which also means, you’re the only one who can make yourself get up in the mornings, or write that essay.
I don’t actually know if that’s a conclusion on “what is the meaning of life?”… But whatever you choose to do with it, don’t look back and regret it. And remember, today only comes about once. THIS day, TODAY, once happens ONCE IN FORVEVER.
And now I leave you with three quotes.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, that is why it is called PRESENT.”
~ Mast Shifu (from Kungfu Panda)
“38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
~ Luke 6:38 – New International Version (NIV)
“3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
~ Philippians 2:3-4 – New International Version (NIV)
So this one goes out to all the Campers and Romans!!
I simply love Rick and his writing style, it’s hilarious, witty, deep, and it flows ever so nicely. So of course I had to do a review on his latest book: The House Of Hades. For those of you who haven’t had the fortune to read it, or simply haven’t gotten it yet, don’t worry: NO SPOILERS, I promise.
Title: The House of Hades
Authour: Rick Riordan
At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?
They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.
The House of Hades is the fourth book in the bestselling Heroes of Olympus series, set in the action-packed world of Percy Jackson.
The stakes have never been higher. If Percy Jackson and Annabeth fail in their quest, there’ll be hell on Earth. Literally.
Wandering the deadly realm of Tartarus, every step leads them further into danger. And, if by some miracle they do make it to the Doors of Death, there’s a legion of bloodthirsty monsters waiting for them.
Meanwhile, Hazel and the crew of the Argo II have a choice: to stop a war or save their friends. Whichever road they take one thing is certain – in the Underworld, evil is inescapable.
Okay, my first thought on finishing The House of Hades is: OMG ASDFGHJKL :DD RICK YOU ABSOLUTE GENIUS. YOU’VE REALLY TAKEN IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL.
(If you’ve read The House of Hades, you’ll agree. Heck if you’ve read Percy Jackson, The Kane Chronicles, 39 Clues, and the other books of Heroes of Olympus you’ll agree.)
So I thought I really can’t think of any flaws in this book. Seriously let’s do a checklist of the awesome features of The House of Hades
- Action: CHECK. You’ve got Percy and Annabeth fighting in Tartarus. And the rest of the crew fighting above land… Plus the whole book’s a journey (well 2 journeys) and there’s bound to be monsters blocking the way to the final destination, so action’s kind of a given.
- Character development: YESYESYES. Okay, here’s the thing. Character development isn’t something that happens in A book. Note the singular pronoun. Character development is something that happens over a period of time, and the reader GROWS with and CONNECTS with the hero. And heck, even if I didn’t read the Percy Jackson series before and have that connection to Percy and Annabeth, even with the first 3 books of The Heroes Of Olympus, I’d still have seen character development. I cannot stress enough of how much of a great awesome authour Rick is. He puts the characters in situations where they HAVE to grow. And it’s just 😀
- THE CHARACTERS THEMSELVES!!!!: The JEWEL of the plot! Okay, so there are 7 of the them in this series, Percy, Annabeth, Leo, Piper, Jason, Hazel, Frank. Plus a couple other minor, but still significant others; Reyna, Octavian, Bob, NICO 😉 etc. What can I say… Rick writes them in a way to make them alive… they have a way of thinking, they have a way of talking, they have a way of BEING THEMSELVES. Each of them has a DISTINCT PERSONALITY. Like you could NEVER EVER confuse Percy for Jason, while both have leadership qualities. THEY ARE JUST SO DIFFERENT!!! Even the minor characters have UNIQUE personalities, and their own stories, such as Nico. Just because they don’t have much action in the story, DOESN’T MEAN THEY ARE INSIGNIFICANT. Overall, Rick just writes really REALLY well-rounded, 3D, REAL, unique characters, with their own conflicts. More on that a bit later.
- HUMOUR: AHH HELL YES!! Seriously, I love how he writes, the characters each have a unique sense of humour. And as always, if you’ve grown with the characters (as in if you’ve read the other books), you can almost guess at which moments, Percy for example, will make a witty comment. And some characters are created specifically for comic relief, e.g. Bob, and sticking with Bob, I might as well eat my own words from earlier on, because you grow with him, and he grows on you, IN ONE BOOK.
- Many POVs!: YES!! Oh I loved it!! You got ALL of the character’s POVs in The House of Hades. Not only do you get to see how each character thinks, what they think about, you get not only “the other side of the story” but all 7 sides of the story. I think it’s every reader’s dream come true to get so many POVs.
- PLOT: Uh. YES. (I think I’ve taken to write each feature in caps, haha). I loved how, it seemed, they 7 characters were set an almost impossible task. In fact, with EACH of Rick’s work, you get an almost impossible task, but SOMEHOW, they manage to pull through. It’s excruciating to read, and experience the things your characters are experiencing, but the relief that comes at the end when they pull through… THAT’S the quality of Rick’s work. Speaking technically: there was no grammatical or spelling errors, a definite relief for a grammar-nazi like myself. And speaking just overall: it flowed like water flows over rocks. Sure there were conflicts, but the actual plotline never stayed still for a moment, and I was completely enraptured in the story when I was reading it.
- Conflict!!: YEP. Well I guess this should’ve gone under characters, but the thing is, the whole series is about conflict. Which makes for a very interesting influence on the characters and their development. When you’re faced with unending conflict and monsters, wouldn’t you grow weary, and wouldn’t your resolve waver. Over time, you ask yourself what this is all for, and why me, that kind of thing. And for each of the characters, they fight with monsters, yes, but also with themselves, wondering when this will all end, wondering to what ends would they go to survive and fight? Like when do lines blur between someone you call an enemy? (As Percy and Annabeth, well more for Annabeth, discover)
This is certainly the BEST book by Rick so far, and I LOVE IT.
I await the final installment: The Blood Of Olympus, coming out in a year’s time.
In a sentence: OMG GO READ IT, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE MISSING OUT ON!! (But only read it if you’ve finished the other 3 books: The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, and preferably the Percy Jackson series)
Judgment: The only excuse you have not to read it, is if you’re blind. And then, listen to the audiobook. Seriously though, read it, Rick is SUCH a good authour.
Next book: The Blood of Olympus (2014) -_-
Also, as a last question: What are your favourite quotes from The House of Hades, or just from the series?
I am so sorry I haven’t been posting in ages; I’ve been so caught up in other stuff, which I’ll be talking about in my other post…
Anyways, I HAVE got a review for you. Enjoy!
Also if there are things you’d like me to put into my reviews, or suggestions on how to improve my reviews, please leave a comment!
Authour: A.G. Howard
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
Taken from Goodreads
Splintered was a refreshing break from the outbreak of books centered on angels, demons, vampires and the like. Not that I have a problem with books with these, but it does get repetitive after a while.
Splintered basically is about Alyssa, who has to journey into Wonderland to break a curse to free her mother from madness. Or so she thinks.
I loved the plot twists in this book, it kept the action from lagging and it added to the complexity and depth of each character, well, the three main ones, Alyssa, Jeb, and Morpheus.
While we’re still on the plot twists, the love triangle is certainly interesting for this one. Authours have to be careful with love triangles, because there’s always a chance of readers favouring one over the other, and right now I’m favouring the bad boy, Morpheus.
Morpheus, is mysterious, dark, a free spirit and a bit crazy, to be honest. But then again, aren’t we all? He’s the “guide” on this journey, and Alyssa’s childhood friend. But of course he’s not really what he seems to be. Yep, he’s messed up, and I can honestly say I love him. Definitely the tortured hero. Though I did question his decisions (like, was that REALLY necessary?), I can’t really find a fault in the depiction of this character, so much that I’d like to see more of him in the next book.
Jeb. Okay he’s the guy, Alyssa wants but can’t have (yet. Lol.) because he’s with the “popular girl”. Also one of her longtime friends, she’s been there for him all along. Alyssa bonds with him, to the extent that they admit to each other their feelings. He’s a nice guy, brave, chivalrous, protective, loving. He has a dark past, but it isn’t really stressed in the book. Final judgment: hmm, I like him, but after reading the conclusion, I can’t help thinking that Alyssa’s decision, while it saved him, will put a wrench in their relationship.
Alyssa is your everyday girl. A bit of a social outcast; she can talk to insects and flowers. To be honest, she is a bit weird. Her mom is in asylum, and family life is fractured without her, which is something everyone can relate to. When she comes into Wonderland, it really reveals her true self, amongst the madness. One part of book which elevated her from me thinking “just another girl” to “hey she’s like me” was me thinking that Alyssa’s fights were a bit too easily solved, and she too realises this (and the reason why) and I think that brought out an awareness of her that, she’s not a puppet blindly following instructions but someone who thinks and CAN think. Overall, though, I think she’s a well-constructed character, a REAL character, with human responses and human struggles, which sets her apart from the rest of the characters of Wonderland.
However, while the characters explored were limited, the setting and action were brilliant. The plotline flowed really well, and the twists were well fitted. There was definitely a lot of action, with unexpected fights, or discoveries made every chapter.
It was a very imaginative interpretation of the original Alice in Wonderland, and I appreciated the many references to the classical story, in Alyssa’s journey, especially since I’ve read the original book.
In conclusion, you could say, a story about madness is always interesting to read.
In a sentence: One of the most interesting books I’ve read, and I’ve read a lot.
Judgment: Go read it. It’s worth your time.
Next book: Unhinged (comes out 7th of Jan. 2014)