Tuesday, 21 January 2014

GINS Task #6: Global Charter

Today I have a post relating to my Global Issues Novel Study. As to explore further into our current study of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, along with a few others, we created a charter to apply to our entire globe. Because we all read different novels, we were all able to contribute our different ideas spurred by the issues happening in the country we were reading about. Below you can see our document that we came up with.

My novel, War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay, takes place in Uganda. Many of the laws in our charter were inspired by the situations that have occurred there. In the Canadian charter, we also have equality rights, which state that we are all equal. However, they say that we will not be discriminated based on age, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or mental/physical disability, but they don't mention discrimination based on sexuality. In Uganda, they passed an Anti-Homosexuality Act, and to prevent this type of behaviour, we included sexuality in our equality rights. Another specification we made that is not in the Canadian charter is the fact that you have the right to peacefully challenge the laws in the charter without being accused of treason, unlike that of the Ugandan constitution. Though we were inspired by several things in the Canadian charter, because we felt like they were fundamental rights that are critical to a fair and just country, we also added our own rights, particularly in the Government Obligation Rights. We created this section because we found that in many of the countries from our novels, the government was not upholding their end of the bargain. Even if certain laws are in place, the government does not always follow them. One major law we included in this section was the fact that the government cannot turn a blind eye to it's citizens, and also the fact that the government cannot use violence against the citizen's. We also included mandatory health care, because though that is usually a government choice, so many people in Uganda have died of AIDS that we thought it prudent to include it.

Along the way, my group and I had little to no disagreements. We all agreed on the rights that should be included, except for one misunderstanding. We were discussing collective rights, language education rights in particular, and we misinterpreted something Brianna said as to mean every country should have a school with every language someone's first language is. However, this was a miscommunication and in truth she meant a school in which a large group of people in the province, state, or region needed schooling in that language.

After doing this activity, I also consulted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a global document created by the UN. There were several things listed we had considered, but there were also some things I had never even thought about. For example, marriage. Below is the exact Article 16 from the Universal Declaration:  "(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality, or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at it's dissolution. 
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. 
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State."

Thanks for reading this post! Have a lovely day. 

Friday, 10 January 2014

Burn for Burn Post One!

Hey! For Brianna and I's Burn for Burn Read-a-Long, we decided we'd do a joint-post for each segment we read. For the first section (page 80 / Chapter 7), to have been completed yesterday, we chose to explore characters. From our first impressions of the characters, we have used a creator on dolldivine (the Lord of the Rings one) to express how we think their physical appearance looks like, and from that you can infer things about their personality. The character creator we are using is very in-depth for facial expressions, which is why we chose it, but is very limited in the sense of modern clothing. For this reason, I'll provide some things I might've added if I could. The only rule we have is don't use the cover! To see Brianna's post, you can click here so you can compare and contrast our two ideas of the characters.

Mary. Unknowingly like Brianna, I also created Mary in the moment she saw Reese. This moment really stood out to me because it is the first time we really see and understand how Mary feels and see her in our minds. I tried to create the look of discomfort and uncertainty, and that moment when you're just about to cry but haven't yet. I actually really liked the way her hair turned out, the colour was spot-on and I loved the wind-blown, curly look to her hair. It seemed to fit the way the book described and also the image I had in my head.

What I would add/change:
  • Cardigan: I always just picture Mary wearing a white cardigan *shrugs*
  • Pants: If it were summertime (which it is in the book), I would change the white jeans to white jean short-shorts instead.
  • Shoes: Change the shoes, they look kind of old fashioned. I would personally picture her in those strappy sandals or flats. 

Lillia. I had a vision in my head for how I wanted Lillia to look, and I wasn't sure I could achieve that with this creator. However, I think I did alright. I really love the way her hair turned out because I picture it being straight, but her always having to curl it and wave it and style it because she's friends with Rennie and therefore expected to look excellent 24/7. With her outfit, I tried to create her white cashmere sweater. I was also happy with the expression I achieved for her face, I can't put a finger on it, but it seemed so her.

What I would add/change:
  • Eyeliner: In the book, she talks about putting winged eyeliner on asian eyes. I think it would be so cool if I could add that.
  • Pants: I picture her much more with a short black or white skirt, but it didn't have that option, so I chose basic jeans instead.
  • Shoes: Though the high heels also seem to fit for her, I would rather choose espadrilles because in the book it mentions she wears them. I always espadrilles as red, black, or white, so it would be one of those colours. 

Kat. I love Kat!! She's easily my favourite character so far. For her, I really wanted a kind of tough look to her, because she's not afraid of getting right in there and stating her mind. I created her face with harder lines than either Mary or Lillia (like her eyebrows and eyes). Her hardened expression shows that she's not exactly forgiving, but she also has an air of mischievousness in her expression which reminds me of her fire when she stood up to Rennie. Again for Kat, I really like the hair! I picture it dark brown and relaxed: not exactly wavy, not exactly straight. I see her as a person who honestly doesn't really care.

What I would add/change:
  • Pants: Frayed and faded denim cut-offs are what I picture for Kat. If I could do that, I definitely would.
  • Shoes: I picture her in either unlaced, folded-over cuffed combat boots, or a casual pair of black flip-flops.

That's all for now! On Sunday you can expect another joint-post from the two of us. I am absolutely loving this book so far, I definitely recommend it. Hope you enjoyed this, have a lovely day!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Burn for Burn Read-a-Long

Hello! Today Brianna @ For the Love of Books and I started our Burn for Burn read-a-long. We are both reading this book from January 8 (yesterday) to January 16. To compensate for our differing schedules, we have allowed two days to read the assigned amount of pages. If we have more time and want to read more, we can read our other books we're planning on reading. Feel free to join us! Without further ado... our schedule.

Jan 8 - 9: page 80 / Chapter 7
Jan 10 - 11: page 177 / Chapter 18
Jan 12 - 13: page 252 / Chapter 28 
Jan 14 - 15: page 348 / Chapter 40
Jan 16: page 356 / The End 

We will also be posting after every section that we read. We will be doing joint-posts that you can take part in if you like. It'll be loads of fun!

Thanks for reading, have a lovely day!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

GINS: Task #5

Hello! Today I am going to be making a post for our Global Issues Novel Study (GINS) which began back in October. I am posting today about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in connection to the events in my novel, War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay, and the country it takes place in. My novel takes place in Uganda, so that's how I will be phrasing the questions.

Credits to this website for this image. 
Is there a similar document to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Uganda?
The Ugandan government has a constitution which lays out the basis of their government. I found it very interesting that there was a large focus on not speaking against the constitution, because that would be considered treason.

What rights and freedoms are guaranteed in the document?
In the Chapter 4 - Human Rights section of the Ugandan Constitution, it is clear that Ugandan's have very detailed and similar rights to those that we do. They have several sections similar to our equality rights which give rights to women, children, those with disabilities, as well as the section titled "equality and freedom from discrimination". There was also a section that said the citizens are able to vote in elections, but it doesn't say how often. They also included the fact that people's property and homes cannot be searched without consent, and each person has right to a public hearing after arrest. I didn't see anything resembling our mobility rights. The Constitution also says that "no person shall be subjected to any form of torture, cruel or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." What I found particularly interesting is that this document was last revised in 1982, yet many of the rights given to the citizens are not being followed by the government. Just this December, the government passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which prevents the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender) from being what they are. Furthermore, the police forces and government treats them unfairly and they are even subjected to physical abuse from their own government! As for the section I quote earlier about not being subjected to torture, well, according to the Amnesty International survey in 2011, this is not the case. Directly from the site...

"Dozens of people in the north-eastern Karamoja region were reported to have been killed during the year in disputed circumstances by government soldiers engaged in security and disarmament operations. Army personnel were also accused of committing torture and other ill-treatment in the course of these operations. The government did not institute credible investigations into alleged human rights violations and no one was brought to justice. In October, the Uganda Human Rights Commission reported that torture and ill-treatment by the police, other law-enforcement officials and the military remained widespread."

How might the issue in your novel be different if the Canadian Charter were applied?
The major issue at hand in my novel is Joseph Kony's LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). It is established throughout the novel that Kony is the "bad guy" (for lack of a better term), and the government are the "good guys" who are trying to catch Kony. This is right in a sense, but there are many crimes that go against their charter which the police force or government of Uganda has committed. The thing is, Uganda has a constitution which outlines almost all the rights we have in Canada, and more, and when I read it I found it to be very fair and respectful to the citizens. However, if the government doesn't follow it than what use is it? Therefore, I feel that if the Canadian Charter were applied, it would be the same situation as what is going on now. The problem is, even though rights and freedoms are in place in the Ugandan Constitution, the government does not respect or follow them, so why would the Canadian Charter be any different? Both the Canadian and Ugandan charter's prohibit the kind of behaviour the LRA is showing, so I don't think the difference would affect it. The one thing I noticed is that because the Ugandan constitution does not have mobility rights, people who are afraid and in danger would not be able to leave the country. As it says in the Mobility Rights of the Canadian charter, 6. (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in, and leave Canada. I couldn't find anything that expressed that Ugandan citizen could do the same. Therefore, more children and women could be held kidnapped by the LRA, more causalities would occur, and more people would be traumatized because they may not be able to leave the country when the LRA was at large.

Resources Consulted
Amnesty International
CNN News Article (Anti-Homosexuality Bill)
Ugandan Constitution (Chapter 4, Human Rights and Freedoms)
Ugandan International Crimes Division

Sunday, 5 January 2014

December Wrap-Up and January TBR + Epic Recs

Hello! Now that December has come to a close, it's time to do my December wrap-up and January TBR in my new format (check out this post for more information). Where did December go??? My favourite month of the year... gone... anyway, on with the post.

December Wrap-Up
December was a great month for me! The beginning of the month didn't look to good, as I was really busy and tired, but over the Christmas break I was able to relax and catch up on my reading! Not only was this month great because I read over my usual read count, but also because I read some fantastic books and had the chance to re-read three of my favourite books! I am going to list each of the books I read along with a description of my thoughts in only three words, a rating, and a link to my review if I wrote one.
  1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins*: ***** (five stars) - I can't even.
  2. The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson: *** (three stars) - A bit disappointing.
  3. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: **** (four stars) - Adorable and fun.
  4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling*: ***** (five stars) - Ahh these books.
  5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: *** (three stars) - Heartwarming but underwhelming.
  6. Partials by Dan Wells: **** (four stars) - Slow, then awesome!
  7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling*: ***** (five stars) - So much love.
  8. The Giver by Lois Lowry: **** (four stars) - Powerful and provocative.

January TBR + Epic Recs
Yay! My first time trying out my new method of TBR's! My goal this month is to read at least 7 books. These books are arranged slightly by priority, but will most likely not be read in this exact order. I already know that I'll be reading some of these far more ahead than they appear on here. My Epic Rec for this month is Taken by Erin Bowman, and Brianna's is Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris. I will definitely be reading Winterling and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (because I'm currently reading them), Taken (my epic rec), and Burn for Burn because I'm doing a read-along with Brianna. 
I'm gonna try this out... Out of these 18 books, vote for your top 5 I should read in January in the comments down below. And let me know what you think of my new system! 

Thanks for reading, have a lovely day! 

Friday, 3 January 2014

Top 13 of 2013

Now that 2014 is upon us, I wanted to showcase my favourite books I read in 2013. Lucky that it's 2013 - that way I can list 13 favourite books rather than just 10! *Please Note: Re-reads do NOT count*

In order of most recently read to read earliest.

What were your top 13 book of 2013? Let me know in the comments, or share a link to your own blog post. Have a lovely day and wonderful year of 2014!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

2013 Wrap-Up and 2014 Looking Forward

Now that 2013 has drawn to a close and 2014 is upon us, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on the books I read last year and what I'm planning for in 2014. The formatting of this post was inspired by this post at For the Love of Books.

2013 Wrap-Up
I read 71 books, which was one book above my goal of 70 books. I was a little surprised, because at the beginning and middle of the year I was certain would be reading quite above my goal. Near the end I knew I was struggling to meet my goal, but I did it, with one extra book!

17 of these books were 5 stars
     4 of these 17 books were re-reads
28 of these books were 4 stars
22 of these were 3 stars
3 of these books were 2 stars
1 of these books was 1 star

My average star rating with re-reads was 3.80.
My average star rating without re-reads was 3.25.

The longest book I read was Gone by Michael Grant at 558 pages.
The shortest book I read was Glitches by Marissa Meyer at 32 pages.
In total, I read 24 128 pages total in 2013.

4 of these books were re-reads
3 of these books were graphic novels
10 of these books that were not re-reads made it onto my favourites shelf
2 books were short stories or novellas
2 books were anthologies

This is the TBR I made last January, a year ago, for the books I wanted to read in 2014. Let's see how I did...
  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. Divergent #3 by Veronica Roth
  3. Study series by Maria V. Snyder (I read the first two, Poison Study and Magic Study, so close enough)
  4. Gone by Michael Grant
  5. Legend and Prodigy by Marie Lu
  6. Angelfall by Susan Ee
  7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  8. Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
  9. Eon duology by Alison Goodman
  10. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  11. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
  12. Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi
  13. Demonglass and Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins
  14. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  15. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  16. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
  17. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  18. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  19. The Program by Suzanne Young
  20. Mind Games by Kiersten White
  21. Any John Green book
  22. Any Sarah Dessen book
Fourteen out of twenty-two! That's not too bad! I still want to read all these books on this list, though some are less of a priority now than they were a year ago. Still though. I did fairly good!

2014 Looking Forward
I've pretty much given up making lists of what books I want to read in a year. However, I do have a few goals for 2014. I am going to include those goals in my resolutions post in a few days. For now, I'm going to be mentioning some must-reads and also introducing you to my new way of operating my blog! (:

If you regularly check my blog, you'll know that I never stick my TBR's (except, miraculously, I'm on an eight-book, sticking-to-the-tbr streak - who knew?). Anyways, it just wasn't working. I kept promising to read things and I either never received the book from the library in time or I just didn't get around to reading it. Well guess what? Problem solved! In replace of a TBR, I'm going to be taking a screenshot at the beginning of each month showing what my top-priority shelf on goodreads looks like. Each month there will be 18 books on that shelf. This is a great way of solving my problem, because it shows a large variety of books that are all possibilities that I may read, but leaves room for my reading "moods" or book-acquiring complications.
Here's an example of what my TBR will look like. This one is from December 24, 2013.
I will share one of my goals with you right now: Finishing series! Here is a list of series I want to finish this year.
  1. The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Legend trilogy by Marie Lu
  3. Dustlands trilogy by Moira Young
  4. Partials Sequence series by Dan Wells
  5. Fairytale Retellings series by Jackson Pearce
  6. Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver
  7. Unwind Dystology series by Neil Shusterman
Here is also a very short list of books and series I am definitely going to start this year.
  1. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  4. Breathe by Sarah Crossan
  5. Across the Universe by Beth Revis 
  6. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  7. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Thanks for reading! Stay updated for more posts. Happy New Year!!

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

Apparently I was on a Lauren Oliver kick! First Delirium, then this. And sorry for taking a two-day break from my four days of book reviews. I have so many posts planned!

Title: Liesl and Po
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal
Pg #: 307
Reading Span: October 17 to 21
Rating: **** (four stars)

The story begins with Liesl, our main character, a quiet girl locked in her tower bedroom for the rest of eternity by her stepmother. Then we have Po, the genderless ghost who comes from the Other Side, and his loyal cat-dog companion, Bundle. Together, the three form a close friendship through (at first) shy encounters that bloom into a heartwarming story. If that on it's own isn't enough to make you say "awww", well, that's where we differ. Then of course there's our other charming characters and subplots, featuring Will as the Alchemists apprentice.

I read this what feels like so long ago that it's very difficult for me to write a review at this point. However, I will try my best.

I loved the characters and the dialogue between them. Liesl was so naive and innocent to start, and after her journey and interactions, you can see her growing up. The other characters like Augusta, Will and the guard were fun characters which made the story much more entertaining. However, I found the stepmother (Augusta) and her daughter to be very stereotypical. The stepmother always has to be evil and ugly. *sighs*

The plot was fun because you could see the confusion unfolding from various perspectives. It was very well-written that way. Sometimes I did find the plot to be a little repetitive or slow, though.

Overall I found it to be a very moving novel. Lauren Oliver wrote this story from her emotions about a close friend's death, and it really shone through in the story. You could tell the emotions were from the heart, and were very real and raw. This story is ultimately one of hope, growing up, and moving on. Because this message was very prevalent throughout the book, I found it to be quite memorable. I would recommend this beautiful coming-of-age tale to everyone.

That's the best I can do! Hope you liked it. Have a wonderful day!