There have been some great tags going around this year and I plan to systematically steal them as a way to motivate myself to get back into...

Would You Rather...? Tag: Fandom Edition!!!

There have been some great tags going around this year and I plan to systematically steal them as a way to motivate myself to get back into blogging (why, yes, committing crime is one of the most powerful motivators, I find. 😉 ). This first one, I got from the splendid Victoria at Wanderer’s Pen. It’s such a genius set of questions, and I loved Victoria's answers, so even though many of mine are the same, I figured I’d do a version of my own.

Ze Rules:
1.      Include the graphic Madeline made.
2.      Answer the Questions 
3.      Tag some other people, if you want

Question 1: Would you rather train with demigods for the summer at Camp Half-Blood or attend Hogwarts to learn some spells for a semester?
Absolutely choosing Camp Half-Blood. Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus series are among my favorite fandoms of all time, containing some of my all-time loves in fictional people. Assuming I made it across the barrier, the Half-Bloods would probably have to label me with some kind of warning to keep anyone from giving me nectar or ambrosia… and another label to go easy on me in fight training, so I don’t die on my first day. But it would be totally worth it.

Question 2: Would you rather go on an epic quest through the lands of Middle Earth or be crowned a king or queen for your bravery in Narnia?
Okay, I love Middle Earth, I do. But NARNIA 100% ALL THE WAY. Especially if I’m going to be crowned a queen. Joining the ranks of the Pevensie kids and Prince Caspian? Yes, please!
Plus, finding Narnia has basically been my dream since I was about 8? So yeah. Have to go with Narnia.

Question 3: Fly with Peter and his Lost Boys in Neverland OR have a crazy tea party with the Mad Hatter?
Honestly, I enjoy Peter Pan, but I was never an enormous fan of the movies, nor have I ever read the book. However, I have read Alice in Wonderland and watched several film versions… and frankly the Mad Hatter is a little freaky. Amusing, true, maybe sometimes wise, but honestly, I don't know what he puts in that tea. So I’ll just take Neverland and see how it goes. Might be fun.

Question 4: Get trapped in Jumanji OR be forced to dress up and attend a party in Panem?
Absolutely Panem. If I go to Jumanji, I might never get back out. At least the Panem party will eventually end, and I might even enjoy the dressing up and the food while I’m there.

Question 5: Sample all the candy you want at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory OR have a nice stroll with Pooh and his friends in the Hundred-Acre Wood?
Okay, out of all the questions, this has to be the hardest for me, just because I’d really like to do both of these! On the one hand, I LOVE CHOCOLATE, and, by all reports, Willy Wonka makes the best and I really need to taste it. On the other, a stroll with Pooh and his friends would just be so fun and so lovely and the fulfillment of just about every childhood dream besides the aforementioned Narnia one. And Wonka’s candy has been known to have the occasional nasty side effect…

Still, I think I’ll have to risk it. Willy Wonka’s chocolate, HERE I COME!

Question 6: Head out on a gold-hunting expedition to El Dorado OR hop in a submarine and explore the Lost City of Atlantis?
I know I’ve seen El Dorado, but I literally don’t remember anything about it. I could watch it right now and have no idea what was going on. But Atlantis is another childhood favorite, so, as long as they take down the Leviathan so I can make it safely through, definitely going to Atlantis.

Question 7: Skip through the merry town of Oz OR have a nice walk through the kingdom of Camelot?
YOU HAVE TO ASK??!! I’M GOING TO MEET (BBC’S) ARTHUR AND MERLIN AND GWAINE AND BE FRIENDS WITH CERTAIN CHARACTERS SO I CAN CONVINCE THEM THAT THEY DON’T NEED TO BE EVIL. CAMELOT, HERE I COME!



Question 8: Get sucked into the world of Fantastia and go on an epic journey with Bastian OR get sucked into the Inkworld and travel the land with Meggie and her friends?
Granted, The Neverending Story was one of my favorite movies for at least the last year or two of elementary school… BUT INKHEART THOUGH. As deadly as actually living in the Inkworld might prove to be, I would get to meet Dustfinger and Farid if I entered at the right time and that would be worth it.
***
And that’s the tag! I’m going to tag Emily, Faith, and Skye, but if you’ve already done this or just plain don’t want to, feel absolutely free to ignore. 😉 Also, if anyone desires to follow me down my path of crime and steal the tag, please do so and leave a link below so I can see your answers!

To make it easy for you to snag, here’s a list of all the questions:
1.) Train with demigods for the summer at Camp Halfblood OR attend Hogwarts to learn some spells for a semester?
2.) Go on an epic quest through the lands of Middle Earth OR be crowned a king or queen for your bravery in Narnia?
3.) Fly with Peter and his Lost Boys in Neverland OR have a crazy tea party with the Mad Hatter in Wonderland?
4.) Get trapped in the world of Jumanji OR be forced to dress up and attend a party at the Capitol of Panem?
5.) Sample all of the candy you’d like at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory OR have a nice stroll with Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood?
6.) Head out on a gold-hunting expedition to El Dorado OR hop in a submarine and explore the lost city of Atlantis?
7.) Skip through the merry town of Oz OR have a nice walk through the kingdom of Camelot?
8.) Get sucked into the world of Fantastia and go on an epic journey with Bastian OR get sucked into the Inkworld and travel the land with Meggie and her friends?
What are some of your favorite tags that have been going around? How would you answer some of these questions? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I’ll see you in the comment section!


x

Wow. It seems absolutely insane for me to think that we’re heading into summer! To me, it doesn’t seem like we should be anywhere near that...

Spring 2019

Wow. It seems absolutely insane for me to think that we’re heading into summer! To me, it doesn’t seem like we should be anywhere near that yet (it’s literally still February, you guys). And yet… here we are. School is out for most people, the air is one of sweet vacations and changing weather, later nights and fuller days.

Speaking of, what has been filling my days?

I wish I could say something different than what I’ve said in every other life update since 2017, but I’m in a stage in life where you just keep doing the same thing over and over, because you know that what you’re doing isn’t repetitive, it is building, it will get you somewhere, and eventually you’ll look down and see that you’ve created an incredible skyscraper. But right now, it feels like you just pasted that same stupid brick into place two seconds ago, and why in all of Heaven and Earth am I doing it again? You can’t look down, because you know how far you’ve come isn’t as far as you’d like to be; and you can’t look up because there’s still so far to go.

But progress is happening, slowly but surely: I finished one semester and began another for the summer. For those who may not know, I go to college only part-time, so I’ve been trying to take a few classes in the summer to help make up the difference. I’m more than halfway through getting my Associate Degree (WHICH WAS INCREDIBLY EXCITING TO REALIZE) and could finish with that part within the next year to 18 months, depending on how many classes I take in upcoming semesters. It will be incredibly exciting to have my whole life back and determine whether or not I’m going to take this school thing further, and—if I am—where I go with it.

I’ve been working on developing an actual writing schedule, so I can write regularly again. I didn’t have one of those when I started writing seriously (there was always time back then), but writing has really fallen by the wayside since I started college and a regular working schedule, and I desperately need that to change. I’m still plugging away on the foster care story, Low Expectations, which I’ve been working on since I was 14, but it’s not my main main focus right now. I’ll definitely publish it one day—I have not given up on it!—but I’m letting it simmer for now. For a long time, I felt like there was something I was waiting for, something I needed before I could work on it again, but I wasn’t sure what it was (don’t I sound like a real artist. :p). I’m still not sure what it is I was waiting for, but I think I’m close, and once I’ve got it, this project will be ready. I just have to be patient. :p

In the meantime of being patient, I’ve started working on a new project. New projects haven’t been a consistent thing for me in years, so I’m very excited about it: it’s a retelling of Cinderella, and I recently had a breakthrough that means I’m almost finished with the first draft! I’m in love with these characters, and I’m not ashamed to say that I really think they’ll be something amazing.

Here’s a funny snippet with no context whatsoever, so as to avoid spoilers.

“This is an awful idea.”

Sirion threw a glance over his shoulder, eyeing his brother’s downcast gaze. “Gideon, the time to say that would have been two or three days ago.”

“I did say it then.”

“But you still came.”

“Only because I knew you would go without me.”

Sirion snorted. “I would not have, and you know it. You came because you are as curious as I, yet you want the privilege of being able to say, ‘I told you so!’ when this inevitably goes wrong.”

“So you admit that it will go wrong?”

Sirion shrugged, for the first time in what felt like years, readopting his little brother swagger. “I admit that it is very likely, considering our activities and their consequences if we are caught. But… we are not guaranteed to be caught.”

And a little later in the story:

Sirion wiped his sweaty palms on his doublet as he rounded the corner to his parents’ quarters. Gideon was already standing at the opening of the wide, white corridor, as though waiting for him.

In one hand, Gideon gripped his sword; the other, he reached out for Sirion. Sirion returned the gesture, gripping his brother’s forearm tightly. “Whatever we face,” Gideon said, “we do it together.”

Sirion swallowed the guilt in his throat and forced out a croaking. “Agreed.”

Gideon’s mouth twitched, but then the boys both turned to face the foreboding, velvet curtain that descended from the ceiling. It was meant to be intimidating, to curtain off the the king and the queen, to separate the royals from the rest of the public, from even their children.

Their left hands gripped the swords at their hilts, their right hands swept the curtains apart, and together they swept through.

They found their parents in full royal gear. King and Queen looked their sons up and down, nodded once. “Good,” their mother said. “You came prepared.”

Oh, these brothers! Gideon is the classic Cinderella prince; Sirion is the actual main character of my story. Or one of two. Everyone knows Cinderella and the prince’s story, so I’m not focusing so much on them. I’ve had this idea of some different perspectives simmering in my head for a few years now, so I’m glad to finally flesh them out and see what they’ll show me.

Despite Sirion’s freer attitude in the first snippet, this song is probably more descriptive of his generally mental state.



He’s a complex boy and he—and the other main character, Laelia—are set to learn a lot throughout the story. It’s going to be fun! For me anyway.


I’ve also started taking pictures of myself. I haven’t been able to keep up with it everyday, as I’d originally planned, but I’ve gotten at least one or two a week, since I started the challenge on May 16th. On May 26th, I got a picture that I actually liked, and it’s been fairly enjoyable since then. I’ve never particularly liked pictures of myself, but through this semi-challenge, I think I’m at least growing accustomed to me looking like me, lol. Eventually, I may even enjoy it. 😉 Here’s one I took earlier this week.


That's all for me lately! What have you all been up to? How's writing coming? Any big plans for the summer? Can't wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section!


Is it a Christmas film? It most assuredly is. Did I watch it in March? I most assuredly did. To be fair, when I watched it, it had ...

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: More Visual Spectacle than Story.

Is it a Christmas film? It most assuredly is. Did I watch it in March? I most assuredly did.


To be fair, when I watched it, it had actually just snowed where I live. So there were kind of Christmas vibes going on. Also, my library had just gotten it that week, I’d been waiting to see it since the first trailer came out months ago, and I just never got the chance to go see it in theaters. So was I going to wait until next Christmas to watch it? I most assuredly was not.

Overall, the movie did not disappoint. It was lovely to look at, sweet and entertaining, and I laughed at quite a few points. The thing that most got me in the trailer was just how beautiful the story looked; I knew the cinematography was going to be gorgeous and, especially lately, I've been into really detailed, really whimsical settings that just sweep you away into a whole new world. That was precisely what this was (the first few scenes in the Four Realms really reminded me of Narnia!), and the whole sequence in the Four Realms was just full of fantastical sets and scenes. There was always plenty to look at—some might say it was a little too much, but I thought the costumes and settings perfectly fit the people and the storyline.

Speaking of the storyline… that part I felt was a little lacking. It wasn't bad, just not particularly interesting. I was expecting something kind of exciting, with at least a few twists and turns and more than one solid action scene. But, excepting a single plot twist that launches the climax and a few moments of fighting during the climax, the story is pretty straightforward. It was enjoyable, definitely, but it wasn’t the adventure fantasy I was hoping for. To be fair, I’d never watched or read anything about the Nutcracker before, so my expectations were based entirely on the trailers and may have been slightly off as a result.

A few other things I wanted to mention: Clara was brilliant! She wasn’t one of those heroines who was forced into the role of being great at everything, but she was very smart, she was very observant, and she was very brave, which allowed her to be precisely the leader that the land needed. She was thoughtful and analytical, good at coming up with plans and ideas; really, she was just very clever and I love clever characters (as my bio mentions 😉 ). Plus, even though she wasn’t forced into the role of being great at everything, once it did come down to that fight scene, she gave it her all! She was clueless at combat—I could see it on her face—but she still managed to take a few of the baddies down, because she was brave, she was brilliant, and she was willing to give it her all and work with what she had! She was just different than a lot of heroines I’d seen onscreen recently, and I really liked that about her.

All-in all, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was a really fun, really pretty movie. Not a brilliant story, but entertaining and definitely worth the watch.

3.5 stars out of 5
Content: two or three minor curse words if memory serves

What’s been on your watchlist as of late? I’m kind of interested in watching A-X-L; is that one any good? Can’t wait to hear from you all, and I’ll see you in the comment section!


Because sometimes I just need to be reminded that, even when not everything is going my way (or even if most things aren’t), if I can post ...

Melodic Mondays: A Life That’s Good by Lennon and Maisy (cover by Haley Klinkhammer):

Because sometimes I just need to be reminded that, even when not everything is going my way (or even if most things aren’t), if I can post this and you can read it, I probably have a lot to be thankful for. 😊

I just love the simplicity of the song. While there are a lot of things to want or are just important to have; while there will always be days that don’t go the way I wanted and unexpected situations that seem to steal from my plans, it truly does not take much to have a life that’s good. And, as it happens, God has blessed me with every one of those things and for that I am extremely grateful.

What have you been listening to you lately? Had you heard this song before? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I’ll see you in the comment section!

Let Life Interrupt by Emily G . *heart-eyes to literally everything about this post* I seriously probably need to reread this at least onc...

Posts of the Month: February and March 2019:

Let Life Interrupt by Emily G. *heart-eyes to literally everything about this post* I seriously probably need to reread this at least once a week to remind myself!
A Book Review of Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross by Victoria. I’m so excited about this book! It’s been at my library and I have been eyeing it for almost a year now, but I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. Now it’s second-to-next on my list and Victoria’s review has me even more excited for reading it! It sounds absolutely perfect for me!

My Rant About Loki: Why I’m Morally Against What He’s Become in the Fandom by Victoria. Admittedly, I’m a really big Loki fan, but I too have started to feel disturbed when people excuse his actions or pretend he’s someone to be admired and emulated. Yes, he’s pretty. Yes, he’s a great villain. Yes, he has some of the best lines in the whole MCU. BUT HE’S STILL A VILLAIN, and that’s something that fangirls (myself included) need to remember.
(I still 100% root for Loki to have a reason for all the bad he did and to be redeemed in the end though. 100% hoping for that.)

Our Year of Maybe: Book Review by Shanti. The book doesn’t sound like my type, but Shanti’s review is fantastically written! Especially her last paragraph, tying up her thoughts on the book. On point.

Thoughts About Magic in YA by the Rebellious Writing Team. This is such a fascinating discussion! They’ve all given this a lot of thought, and it’s so interesting to read their views and then think on your own as you go through all of theirs.

The Imagination Between the Lies by Keturah. Fascinating and thought-provoking discussion! As writers, and especially Christian writers, we really do need to consider the stories we present and make sure to keep our imaginations pure, knowing the difference between lies that bring more darkness and our God-given creativity that sparks His light.


Harry Sue by Sue Stauffacher Titles link to goodreads This is one of those books that just takes you through every possible em...

Mini Reviews—January 2019

Titles link to goodreads

This is one of those books that just takes you through every possible emotion: an immediate love for this prickly, precious, compassionate little girl coupled with a desperate desire for her to make better life choices. Then, the glorious heart soaring as she begins to change and the terrible pain crashing as the climax strikes and a lot of things hit the fan. Then, there’s the overarching theme of renewal and redemption and possibility and hope, and these come through so powerfully at the end. The writing style spoke 100% to this individual, loving, sore and sad little girl, who desperately needed to know there was more to life than crime and injustice and horrible happenings suspended only by luck. One of my favorite things about the story, besides Harry’s personality, was her overwhelming resilience, the fact that even when Harry herself tried to snuff love out of her heart, something in that girl always managed to hope.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Content: mild language in some areas.


Honestly, I spent a lot of this book not knowing what to think. I was interested in discovering how it would all turn out and they hadn’t yet given me a reason to leave, but I didn’t really feel anything. Just a kind of “meh” curiosity, as I followed Alvie (the main character) following Stanley (the love interest), tried to figure out the backstory on the both of them, and wondered how they were going to work themselves and the story out.

Granted, there comes a point about midway through the book where the story just swept me away. I had been nibbling at it, a few chapters on Monday here, another few on Thursday there; but once this certain sequence begins and things started go downhill, I sat riveted for I-don’t-even-know-how-long, page after page after page, however long it took to finish; I had to see what would happen next to these poor charrries.

Even with that exciting time though, by the time I reached the end, the best feeling I could muster up was, “Eh, it was okay.” I understand the deep and emotional sentiment the author was going for and I’m sure others felt it while reading—but I didn’t quite experience the full dose. I liked the idea, the premise of the story, but at the end of the day the execution of the idea, and the characters themselves, just weren’t my favorite.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Content: language, repeated sexual references (not strictly vulgar, but definitely blunt), and probably a sex scene (I skipped a few pages when it looked like it was going in that direction).


This one, I read about a third of in little bits and pieces—and then devoured the rest in a single night. It... was.... magnificent. Deep and heartfelt, you feel SO HARD for these kids, watching them endure what was probably the hardest, most painful, most earthshattering week of their lives. They were both so brilliant, so adorable, so beautiful, so strong… and so much like kids, not knowing how to deal with something so big and not always taking the right path to get through getting through it. But, from the very first chapter, I wanted so badly for things to go well for them and, while I can’t give spoilers about how it all turns out, I will say that I loved it. It was beautiful, and the overall emotion at the end was just so dang encouraging. Middle school is HARD, and huge changes are even harder, but books like these, stories like these, friends like these, they can make it all the better.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

***
While that’s not everything I read in January, these three were among the most noteworthy and the easiest to write short reviews on. What have you been reading recently? Stepped outside of your normal genre at all? (both You Go First and Harry Sue were more towards middle grade instead of my normal YA). Can’t wait to hear from you all, and I will see you in the comment section!


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