Link to Goodreads It took me forever to figure out what I wanted to say about this book. For a while, I honestly didn’t know whether ...

Heartless by Marissa Meyer: Heart-Wrenching and Thought-Provoking, the Origin Story of a Villain


It took me forever to figure out what I wanted to say about this book. For a while, I honestly didn’t know whether I loved it or not. I mean, it was good, amazing honestly, gripping and engaging with SO MANY PLOT TWISTS, drawing me in just the right amount to know that, every time real life made me leave, I absolutely needed to return ASAP. I know that even when I disagreed with the characters’ decisions, I felt for them; and in spite of the fact that it was doomed from the start, I still somehow hoped that things would turn out well. In fact, I almost stopped about midway through the book because Cath was so good and she deserved so much more and it hurt to think that she’d turn into the infamous Queen of Hearts sometime before the end. In a way, I did love her and Jest and Mary-Ann and even the King a little bit; the Cheshire Cat was my absolute favorite and the Duke was just awkward enough that I at least had to feel bad for him, if nothing else. I know that the writing was absolute gorgeousness and that Marissa Meyer needs to write a cookbook or something so I can just relish those incredible descriptions of food for forever (because I don't cook).

All of this to say that on all the technical story-telling elements, this book is just sublime. The only reason I’m not sure I love it is because of the way it ended. And obviously, it had to end the way it did in order for it to work as an actual origin story, so I’m not necessarily faulting it. But it just… it hurts, honestly. To know that someone as pure and passionate as Cath, with all the right turns and all the wrong choices, could become someone as selfish and heartless as the Queen of Hearts.

The part that I found the most interesting, though, apart from the heart-wrenching bit, was the thought-provoking questions the book subtly posed. These are kind of spoilery, so you can highlight to read if you want, but if you don’t, let’s just say it really made me think about whose fault it is when situations like this go awry and how a culture of inaction can suppress one’s ability to make certain decisions.

The people of Hearts were prone to looking the other way when something went wrong, to sweeping it under the rug so they could just swing on along with their pretty lives and not have to worry; no one actually knew how to deal with real problems. Because of this, Cath dilly-dallies over her decisions for ages, and then things happen and circumstances change and she’s left with far fewer options than she began with, causing her to have to make decisions that are basically gonna turn out badly either way. So, when she finally does make a decision, she pendulums in the opposite direction and not only acknowledges the problem but also takes... let’s say drastic measures to rectify the wrong done.

Springing off of that, another question arises based on one of the last scenes: whose fault is it that everything went awry? Her mother’s, since she stifled Cath’s every dream and verbally bullied her daughter about her weight? Her father’s, for simply standing by until the very last moment, only to step in in exactly the wrong way? The king, for being too spineless and childish to properly guard a kingdom? The Fates for twisting EVERYTHING such that they received exactly what they needed and no one else came close to what they had originally desired? Does the blame lay squarely with Cath herself? Perhaps the fault is the Hatter’s, simply for being a general jerk throughout the entire book (I honestly don’t remember how I felt about him when I read the original Wonderland tale, but he made me so mad in this one). Or is it a myriad of choices, winding into a myriad of outcomes, at which point Cath plucked out the only one she seemed to be able to choose?

I’ve actually got a few theories, and I’m planning a separate posts based on them, but suffice it to say for now, the book really got me thinking.

Overall, Heartless is a brilliant story and (up to the end) thoroughly enjoyable. It’s occasionally disturbing, but very exciting and brilliantly written, an original take on an older tale.
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

So have you read Heartless? What'd you think of it? What's a book you've read that really made you consider how it could apply to real life? Can't wait to hear from you, and I'll see you in the comment section!


So, unexplainably, I went on a nostalgia trip over the weekend: I found a bunch of songs I listened to in my early teens—and I actually sti...

Melodic Mondays: All I Need To Be by Fireflight

So, unexplainably, I went on a nostalgia trip over the weekend: I found a bunch of songs I listened to in my early teens—and I actually still love them because obviously I had impeccable tastes. 😉This is one of my favorites.


This song is performed from the perspective of a Christian to the Lord, a lovely reminder that He has already done the required work in us: He has already done the work to clean our souls when we’re filthy, to make us whole when we’re shattered. Everything that needs to be done in us, He paid for it on the Cross, and now we just have to accept it and perform the daily task of walking in it. And it is a daily task, but I just love how this song reminds us that in Him, we are strong, we are righteous, we are whole. It’s not about what we can or can’t do, or some extra act we have to perform to make it to this righteous state, it’s about what Jesus has already done: taken our punishment, made us right with God, and thereby, spiritually speaking, made us all we need to be. 😊

Interestingly though, I also love the idea of the chorus being from one character to another, particularly a hero to a secondary character. I have this picture in my head of a hero experiencing a situation that just… shatters him, and he’s just sitting in a room with a loved one, feeling like he can’t fight another second. And as the tears start falling, he leans his head against the loved one’s chest and his plaintive cry becomes, “Tell me again that I’m strong. That I won’t fall. That I can actually beat this.” I’m developing an idea for a scene where this will actually work into one of my stories, and I’m mildly in love with it. :p

So yeah. Nostalgia is fun.

Anyways, what’d you think of the song? Have anything that goes along with it? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I’ll see you in the comment section!

PS: I know I’ve only talked about current events a couple of times on the blog, but Hurricane Irma has also been on my mind this weekend because I’m from Florida. I live in Virginia now, but I still have a lot of friends there and, while most of them have reported that they and their homes are safe, I’d really appreciate it if you keep Florida, the Caribbean islands, and the rest of the affected area in prayer/your thoughts. And, if you can, donate to a known charitable organization. Even a couple of dollars can make a huge difference. 😊


EPIC NEWS: I HAVE ACTUALLY MANAGED TO MANAGE MY TBR. I AM SO PROUD OF ME. Ahem *clears throat* On to the posts! The Voices of YA Ta...

Posts of the Week: 9.9.17 Edition: Cookies, #RebelliousWriting, and Other World-Changing Experiences

EPIC NEWS: I HAVE ACTUALLY MANAGED TO MANAGE MY TBR. I AM SO PROUD OF ME.

Ahem *clears throat* On to the posts!

The Voices of YA Tag and the Cookie Book Tag by Victoria. Because one, these tags are cool, and two, her advice to other writers is on point. So helpful and encouraging.

When Answers Create More Questions by Keturah. I don’t even have words for this, but it’s absolutely beautiful. The sort of thing that I kinda already knew, but needed someone else to so eloquently put into words.

Why I Follow Your Blog by Shar. Because it’s a really interesting question, a really interesting post, and I love sharing those. Why do you follow blogs?

#Rebellious Writing: Why We Need Better Books by Faith. Very thought-provoking. I love that people are talking about this and taking the time to really think about what’s being put into YA books.

The One About Clyde by Talya. This one is actually by my high school small group leader. She’s on an 11-month missions trip called the World Race, and it's super cool! So proud of her going out and changing the world. 😊

9 Things Regular People Should Never Say to a Bookworm Unless You Have an Extreme Death Wish by May. Because can we ever have enough lists about things to not say to bookworms? No, no, we absolutely cannot.
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And that’s it for this week! Tell me, what’s your favorite kind of cookie? What do people say to you as a bookworm that just grates onto your skin? Haha, can’t wait to hear from you, hope you enjoy the posts, and I’ll see you in the comment section!


Happy Labor Day, everyone! So, I had grand plans (well, not grand, but you know, plans ) for POTW last weekend and for this week’s posts......

Music!

Happy Labor Day, everyone! So, I had grand plans (well, not grand, but you know, plans) for POTW last weekend and for this week’s posts... but then I got sick. :p So, for now, Happy Labor Day and please enjoy the music I’ve been listening to as I languished over the weekend, lol. I hope to return to my bi-weekly schedule at the end of this week. :)




EXCITING NEWS!!! So, as I said in my last POTW , I made a goal to finish edits on my book, Low Expectations , by the beginning of the F...

Beautiful People #27: Low Expectations

EXCITING NEWS!!!

So, as I said in my last POTW, I made a goal to finish edits on my book, Low Expectations, by the beginning of the Fall semester (the 21st), and I SLID IN TO FINISH TWO DAYS BEFORE MY DEADLINE!!


In honor of this, I am doing the latest Beautiful People (hosted by Cait and Sky) with 10 of the characters from this manuscript, using a different character for each question, so you can get to know them all a little bit better! Character names link to pins that are close to the look of the characters. None are exact, but they at least get you in the neighborhood of what I imagined as I wrote them. 😊


1. What Are They Addicted To/Can’t Live Without?
Clarisse (Elliot’s social worker): she is addicted to coffee. Sounds cliché, I know, but with her job, she needs it (Elliot and her other kids can be something of a handful). She has sampled every variety that Starbucks, Panera, and any local coffee shop has to offer, concluding that her favorite is anything with MUCH CHOCOLATE, MUCH COFFEE, and MUCH WHIP CREAM. According to her, the combination is “#heavenly.”

2. Name 3 Positive And 3 Negative Qualities Of Your Character.
Since Elliot is the MC, I decided to use him for this. He is:
  1. Shockingly loyal and self-sacrificial
  2. Surprisingly sweet, and
  3. Very observant.
He also:
  1. Has exactly negative ninety-seven billion self-worth
  2. Almost never shows how sweet he is (and when he does, he’s so subtle, he barely knows he’s doing it), and
  3. Suddenly loses all observation skills when others are showing they care about him.

3. Are They Holding Onto Something They Should Get Rid Of?
Rob (Elliot’s foster father): Mistakes he made in high school. He still struggles with guilt over certain mildly spoilery pieces of his past. But basically, he feels like he could’ve been a Christian and a stronger witness when he was younger, instead of being too afraid to speak out, and possibly saved the lives of some of his classmates.

Also, Bryce (one of the bullies of Elliot's story and banes of his existence): is holding onto literally his entire past. Bryce is a walking set of 100 classic therapy issues released in general nastiness and cruelty to anyone in his general radius.

4. If 10 Is Completely Organized And 1 Is Completely Messy, Where Do They Fall On The Scale?
Mary (Elliot’s foster mother): Naturally, she’s a solid 10. But since becoming a mom, she’s had to ease (AGONIZINGLY) back to a comfortable 7 or 8.

5. What most frustrates them about the world they live in?
Devon (Elliot’s best friend): EVERYTHING. He puts on a joking front, but EVERYTHING ABOUT THE WORLD WRECKS HIM. What bothers him most, though, is when people like Bryce get away with murder, and people like Elliot have no choice but to put their heads down and shuffle on. He hates ALL injustice with a passion, but especially that which hurts his friends (which he basically considers to be his family).

This kid’s set to be some kind of activist, I tell you.

6. How Would they dress for a night out? A night in?
Demi (Devon’s twin sister, another friend of Elliot): Demi’s a very loose-t-shirt-and-jeans kind of girl for a night-in, but for a night-out ALL THE MAKEUP and ALL THE HAIRDOs and ALL THE CUTE LITTLE DRESSES come out. Basically, her night-out style (for dresses, at least) is Gabriella from High School Musical.

7. How many shoes do they own? What kind?
Mileya (Elliot’s foster sister): Probably four or five pairs. There’s a pair of light-up sneakers mentioned at the beginning, an old white pair for her to get dirty in, and probably 2 or 3 Mary Janes and/or flats for church and other special occasions. But for the amount of money her family has, I don’t imagine her having that many shoes. Her parents wouldn’t get more than they thought she needed, though the ones she has are undoubtedly very nice.

8. Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had?
James (third member of Elliot’s friend group): James would have a goldfish (because low-maintenance and will listen whenever the shy baby needs to talk). Also, I imagine this goldfish will live for like 10 years, because James is super careful and precious like that.

9. Is there something or someone they resent? Why and what happened?
Lela (other bully of the story and bane of Elliot’s existence): Definitely her mom. As Lela sees it, her mom chose her husband over her daughter when her daughter needed her most. That’s not exactly what happened, but her mom wasn’t nearly as active in helping and protecting Lela as she should’ve been.

10. What’s usually in their fridge or pantry?
I’m gonna do Rob and Bryce again, since I couldn’t decide which one of them to do for question 3:

Rob keeps ALL MANNER (and I mean all manner) of chocolate and sweets for special milkshake nights.

Bryce keeps the blood of innocents.

***
And these are my Beautiful People for the month of August. Hope you enjoyed, and if you did a BP, comment yours below! I will check it out ASAP. :)


So I got the new Beauty and the Beast from the library, and my sister and I watched it last weekend. The movie itself was pretty enjoyable,...

Melodic Mondays: Evermore: performed by Josh Groban

So I got the new Beauty and the Beast from the library, and my sister and I watched it last weekend. The movie itself was pretty enjoyable, but my favorite parts were the costumes (THEY ARE SO BEAUTIFUL THOUGH) and the new songs. All of them are pretty wonderful, but this one... this one I just can’t get enough of.


Dan Stevens does a great job in the actual scene of the movie, but this is my favorite version of the song. Josh Groban’s voice is so smooth and the melody behind it is more pronounced, which I also love. And it just makes me feel all loverly inside... Yeah. Everything about it is just gorgeous. ❤

So what’d you think of the song? Also, unrelated sidenote, but the eclipse today. Were you able to watch it? My family and I stepped out for a few minutes, just as we came close to totality (about 90% where we live) and it was so cool to see. Anyways, hope you all enjoyed the song! See you in the comment section!


Quick writing update: I FINISHED EDITING MY BOOK !!! I’m super excited, because that was my one big summer goal for writing and I finished ...

Posts of the Week: 8.19.17 Edition: The Psalms, Mysterious Search Terms, And Awesome Star Trek People

Quick writing update: I FINISHED EDITING MY BOOK!!! I’m super excited, because that was my one big summer goal for writing and I finished just before school starts for me (Monday!). So, yeah. I'm lowkey thrilled about that. ;)

ANYWAYS!!

Mysterious Search Terms by Shar. She had some really awesome search terms, I gotta tell you. And her reactions are on point, lol. (Also, don’t forget to wish her and Shanti a happy blogoversary!!! Virtually Read is one of my favorite book blogs, so totally check it out if you haven’t yet. :) )

Why I Relate to the Psalms by Sofia. In which she shares the incredible truth and constantly needed reminder that God always hears our prayers, even when it feels like He’s silent.

My First Writing Conference by Keturah and Realm Makers 2017 Report by Victoria. In which they both make me wicked jealous, lol. This conference looks AMAZING, and I would love to be able to go someday.

Beautiful People #27 by Skye. This character though. This character.

In Praise of Uhura by Heather. Because Star Trek is awesome and Uhura is awesome, and you should totally read this post (and maybe rewatch Star Trek while you’re at it, which I may or may not have done. ;) )

Faithfulness by Faith Another beautiful post about the Fruit of the Spirit, and a perfect example of the One who does it best.
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Well, that’s it for this week! Have you gotten any weird search terms? Visited any writing conferences? Hope you enjoy the posts, and I’ll see you in the comment section!

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