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...

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 ...

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 ...

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...

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...

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!

In my “ W here is She Now ” post, I mentioned that I had been doing some reading in my absence—and not all of them were picture books. ju...

In my “Where is She Now” post, I mentioned that I had been doing some reading in my absence—and not all of them were picture books. just most of them. I probably will post only Goodreads reviews for quite a few of them, but here are two that I really wanted to talk about on the blog.
Titles link to goodreads
I read—and reread—this at a time when I desperately needed to be reminded that I could (and must!) fight for my dream. Reading it was like he’d pulled the need to write right out of my heart and showed me my dreams in stark detail: everything that I hoped for, everything I feared to achieve, everything I knew I could never reach.

And then, he reminded me to take the jump and go for it anyway.

It was just beautiful and I got chills and I loved it so much, especially the last two sections. Seriously, if you’re having trouble believing in your dream right now, find this book. At your library, a bookstore, somewhere, anywhere. Sit down and just read it, cover to cover, all at once. Remember your biggest dream. And then reach for it again.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Amber, the main character, her voice cracked me up! She had such a vibrant, guileless, honest personality; really, there was like no filter, but her character was crafted so perfectly that I didn’t mind some of the things, content-wise, I normally would have. Also, I adored her completely frank conversations with God, the way she saw Jesus as so close to her, ready to lean on, there to walk with and talk with at any moment. It made the book a really special experience, because it wasn’t that the story was necessarily “Christian,” just that Jesus was such an integral part of her life, that she couldn't not show Him openly, both in her thoughts and her interactions with others. So even with the terrible circumstances in her life and her lack of conversational filter, the open honesty of her character and her relationship with Christ kept me invested and hopeful about the turnout.

And what a turnout it was! This book does a fantastic job of taking you through all the emotions: daring to hope, losing yet again, struggling to hope, losing it all, falling into depression and anger and pain… and then finding that glimmering spark in what seems like utter darkness. Sorta Like a Rockstar is nothing if not honest, and despite the words and the references, I adored it for that. The ending was 100% expected and 1,000% beautiful; truly, it was beyond words. I got chills reading the climax, and the last couple of chapters, my mind was just blown at the magical way that everything came together. All-in-all, this book was fantastic, I would love to have a copy of my own, and it was exactly what I needed to read at the time to get me back into YA books again.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Content Warnings: cursing, intense circumstances (including reference to rape and murder), and sexual references.


So, what have you been reading lately? Have a favorite book from 2018? Have you ever read something that just showed you the heart and the power of hope right when you needed it most? Can't wait to hear from you all, and I'll see you in the comment section!

I gotta say, as pure worship songs go, this has got to be one of my favorites. This song, it just reminds me of all the wonderful, ...

I gotta say, as pure worship songs go, this has got to be one of my favorites.

This song, it just reminds me of all the wonderful, incredible, magnificent, beautiful, indescribable things about God’s love. It’s a light, a fire, a powerful force for my redemption--and so much more than I know how to write.

His love is serious; it’s real. It hangs on every Word He says, and when He speaks a word, you can bet everything that it’s 100% true. When He says He’ll restore you (1 Peter 5:10), He means it. When He says that He’s with you (Joshua 1:9), He means it. When He says He died for your salvation, He means it (1 Peter 2:24, 3:18). When He says you’re forgiven, He means it (Psalm 103:12, Romans 8:1).

When He says that He loves you (Ephesians 2:4-7), He means it.

Because this Jesus God, He doesn’t give His heart in pieces. His love is one hundred and nothing less, the fullness of everlasting, covering every broken part, every anxious heart, every depressed thought, every aching disappointment. His love, His great, incredible, and complete love, it is always more than enough.

Had you ever heard this version of “Pieces”? How about the original song? Have a favorite worship song you’d like to share with me? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section!

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