Now we’re on track

I’ve been meticulously scanning over my past blog entries, some of which are irritably short and more like from a military logbook than a personal journal of thought.  I’ve also noticed that I’ve stopped mentioning any of my current writing projects or reads thanks to the very psychotic Goodreads.  This needs to be rectified immediately.  Now.  Here.  After all, I’m way overdue for an up-close and personal entry.  Let’s get up-to-date!

Brief Examiner.com update (we don’t want to give them more attention than they deserve, now do we?): More changes to the site have been implemented.  The Examiner seems to never get enough of changes.  My review quota is now 330 book reviews and 212 movie reviews in total.

According to Goodreads, I read approximately 30 books in 2011, all of varying length.  I finally finished the Twilight series, the Harry Potter series…I read many classics and young adult books…I also took adult fiction seriously for the first time.  Island by Jane Rogers was an ear-bleeding challenge that was worth it in the end.  I fell in love (or close to it) with Rebecca Cantrell’s Hannah Vogel series after reading the author’s dream casting of her main characters (especially Michael Fassbender as the enigmatic Lars), which in turn led me to reading volume #3 (A Game of Lies) right after volume #1 (A Trace of Smoke).  Now all I have to do is read volume #2 (A Night of Long Knives) and I’ll be prepared for volume #4 (A City of Broken Glass), which comes out this July.  However, now I’m set on reading some recommended books, one of which is Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle (thank you Bookshop Talk and Romola Garai!).  I have big plans for my reading list, because several new series are on it.  The order in which I will read them is, thanks again to Goodreads, the only unpredictable thing left.  Signing up for a delightful site called NetGalley is one of the few benefits of my book reviews for the Examiner.  For once, I just may be able to review e-book ARCs before the books are released to the public.  Hopefully.

Next.

My last blog entry outlined some of my troubles that have recurred in 2012 already.  Now I’m going to add to the list.  It seems that despite previous warnings, the Fresno Police Department and its Gestapo members will not desist in their constant harrassment of me and my mom.  They won’t leave us in peace.  Why, last Sunday (Jan. 29) at 11:30 p.m., we were bothered yet again by another swaggering and rude Nazi in uniform who tried to interrogate us out of turn and threaten us.  The same “procedure” repeated a few days later at night (Feb. 2 at 10:30 p.m.) and during broad daylight.  Yes, broad daylight.  This all makes me wonder if living in Europe during World War II was as terrifying and dangerous as living in Fresno now.  After all, during those times the world was in a state of war, but now we’re supposedly in a state of PEACE.  Yeah right.

Back to the drawing board from my reality check-list: what am I watching these days?  Well, I got to watch series 4 of the British TV show Merlin at the same time as the British, and since October 2011, I’ve been faithfully following season 1 of Once Upon a Time, an American TV show that is creative, original, and very appreciative of fairy tales.  I like them.  All too much.  Conclusion: I’m attached to Merlin, Once Upon a Time…and Colin Morgan.  Ahem.

Anyway…the horror of being in my shoes and the glaring lack of change for the better in my life is only adding more loads to my heavy bundle of pessimism.  Or couldn’t you tell?  Congratulations, loyal reader.  Together, we’re now on top of the events in my life so far in 2012.

Natalie Gorna

Review of “The Prophecy of the Stones”

Back in 2004, a small fantasy novel called The Prophecy of the Stones reached American bookshelves.  One of its main attractions for me was that the original French version, entitled La Prophétie des Pierres, was written by a fourteen year-old girl named Flavia Bujor.  The first part of the novel is the epic war in a magical, parallel dimension between good and evil forces and the just inhabitants’ physical as well as mental rebellion against a corrupted government.  However, the second part of that struggle is set in modern-day Paris and enacted in an actual patient’s desperate survival through her overwhelming illness.

I noticed right away that The Prophecy of the Stones is very profound and similar to The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series, the storyline complex enough to justify that the novel is for readers older than children.  Jade, Amber, and Opal share many traits with Joa’s character, a clear sign of the author’s efforts to demonstrate the parallelism of Joa’s narrative and the three Stones’ story.  Redemption, friendship, and the power of hope are the story’s prevalent themes.  For example, Elyador, the Chosen One, is a man who underwent evil trials in his life.  He has turned away from the Darkness and faced the Light again, but all his memories have been erased as a strange punishment for his desertion from evil.  This strange twist of fate helps Elyador reach his destiny—to be the temporary king of the Realm and the warrior-king who must lead the ultimate battle against the Darkness.  His character can be compared to Christ’s in some ways, although Elyador is scorned and despised for different reasons.  On one hand, Elyador’s past history makes him a hated figure throughout Fairytale (the land where “nothing is impossible”); on the other hand, it is his amnesia and lack of identity that have given him the chance to start anew and fight for the Light, earning Fairytale’s admiration and respect for his noble deeds.

The author’s innovative magical creatures, magical beings, and the settings themselves contribute to the mystery and depth of the prophecy, which is so crucial to the outcomes of the story and the main characters.  The three girls’ different personalities add life and color to the tale, just as the impending war, incomplete prophecy, and the uncertain futures of all characters create suspense and action.  The wisdom in The Prophecy of the Stones is very thought-provoking, while the romance between several of the main characters is not banal and concentrates on love and hatred, two opposite emotions that radiate from the novel.  Fear, anger, vengeance, and despair clash with hope and forgiveness, thoroughly describing human weakness, virtue, and the fact that every person must face his/her own dual nature of good and evil.  However, the author emphasizes throughout that human life and society will never exist without the presence of both good and evil, a resounding truth.  Reality and fantasy may intertwine in Bujor’s work of fiction, but she still encourages the reader to never give up hope like Joa.  I only know that I never gave up hope on The Prophecy of the Stones, because this is simply a splendid read worth making time for.

Natalie Gorna

The precious gems themselves (clockwise from top to bottom): amber, jade, and opal

May 15th

I’ll start by stating that my movie review quota is going to reach 200 movie reviews in total for the Examiner by the end of this new week.  The book review quota will reach a total of 218 book reviews.

I finally am finished with the Harry Potter series.  Just yesterday, I published the 2 parts of my review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  🙂  I have no regrets when it comes to reading the series from the first volume all the way to the last…it was worth it.

On the reading and writing front: I’m busy.  Extremely busy publishing reviews and news posts.  Enough said. 😉

Natalie Gorna