Whirlwind of Events

You may have noticed I did not blog last week. I almost wasn’t going to this week, but I figured I would give a quick life update and explanation as to the absence of posts.

Last weekend I traveled to Cincinnati to The Great Homeschool Conventions Midwest where I proudly represented The One Year Adventure Novel in the vendor hall. I’ll be posting about that over at Rollicking Through Life later on this or next week. For now, here’s a low quality picture:

3

 

After that incredible weekend I was prepared to really get back into the swing of normal life things. But my Monday had other plans…

I got an email from Splickety Magazine and it turns out one of my short stories has been accepted for publication in their May issue (YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!).

And then I got a text asking if I’d work another convention down in ORLANDO next month on my birthday weekend at a convention center that is FIFTEEN MINUTES FROM DISNEY WORLD.

So now my week is filled with meticulous planning, plotting, and editing, much to the woe of my messy apartment.

Looks like my husband is going to win the bet that I will not have it all clean by Friday….

Adventures in Short Stories

I’ve never been very good at writing short stories. My attempts always stretched into something more along the lines of a novella. But this year I’ve made it a goal to get better at the art of short stories.

So far I’ve penned and edited two such tales. But I’ve also discovered a lovely resource that has me writing short bits and pieces every day.

Enter 642 Things to Write About

img_1950

Photo Credit: Charlotte Anderson, Spectral Star Photography

This book has looked so amazing for a very long time. But I never bought it because I didn’t want to spend $15 on it unjustifiably. But then, I had the brilliant idea of buying it for my wedding guestbook! And then in the spots left over David and I could have some fun.

Well not many people wrote in it at the wedding, leaving plenty of space for my creative ideas. Note I said mine…. I kind of took the book over and David hasn’t used it at all…. Oops.

Here’s what I’ve discovered through my daily use of this book.

  1. It’s completely worth the $15.
  2. I wish I’d bought it sooner.
  3. It is really beneficial for a writer. Every day I’m forced to think creatively, choose words wisely, and keep my word count at a minimum. It’s helping me to write short, and also has given birth to a lot of great ideas I’m going to be using for other longer projects.

I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to enhance their writing life, or anyone looking for a really fun activity. (And it does make a pretty unique wedding guest book.)

Do you have any writing resources that you’ve been using this year? Let me know in the comments!

Books of the Month

Well the first month of 2017 has come to a close, and with it several books were closed in my snug little apartment as well. Yes, I’m back to making time for reading and it has filled me with intense joy. Nothing like turning the pages of a book being completely absorbed in the words.

This month I finished 8 books!

  1. Linger by Maggie Steifvater
  2. Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee
  3. Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee
  4. The Girl’s Still Got It by Liz Curtis Higgs
  5. How America Lost Her Innocence: A History of the Sexual Revolution by Steve Gallagher
  6. The Quest of the Fair Unknown by Gerald Morris
  7. The Adventures of TinTin Volume 1 by Herge
  8. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

img_8239

Favorite Book of the Month: The Quest of the Fair Unknown

Why?  I love the Squires Tale series more than any other book series I’ve ever read. It is beautiful, whimsical, charming, and full of characters that breathe life into every volume. The Quest of the Fair Unknown is the only book in this series that I hadn’t read yet (I had started to when I was reading through the series for the first time, but I was wary of it dealing with children being born out of wedlock  so I decided to put it down. I am very sorry now that I did.) I fell in love all over again with the world of King Arthur and his knights. Especially Gawain. Always Gawain. ❤

Least Favorite Book: Linger

Why? After reading Shiver and chomping at the bit to delve into the next book in Maggie Stiefvater’s series, I was met with great disappointment.  While it was still amazingly written with characters you cared about deeply, I was unhappy with how my emotions were manipulated. Grace’s parents were the bad guys. Even though what she and Sam were doing was horribly wrong, I hated her parents for saying so, for doing what they did (granted they weren’t totally in the right either).  For me, there was too much struggling against my since of morality, justifying too much for the sake of True Love, even if there were super bad circumstances.

A Quick Look at the Books:

Linger

 

  • Rating: 2.5 Stars
  • Thoughts: See above
  • Favorite moment: Admittedly… it was when Cole stopped Grace’s dad from punching Sam in the face again and then yelled at him saying Sam had more right to be in the room than he did.  That’s the moment I loved Cole completely as a character. *sigh* See, it was very upsetting for me to have feelings this way. *harrumphs*

 

Demon

  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Thoughts: I’d been waiting quite a while to immerse myself into Tosca Lee’s first novel. I’m a huge fan of her work, and as usual, she didn’t disappoint. Demon is a strong, powerful, creepy (at least for me) book that, though it started a little slow, actually had me up until midnight reading with a flashlight so I could make it to the end.  Also, she took an element from my childhood and incorporated it in the most terrifying way. I have never been so scared while reading a book to be honest.
  • Favorite Moment: Other than the mention of my old favorite book There’s a Monster at the End of This Book, it would probably be the ways Lucian keeps popping up. I know that isn’t one specific moment, but the details Tosca weaves into each person he appears as is amazing, and he fits each one and yet they are so different. I loved that.

Havah

  • Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Thoughts: Havah was immersive, emotional, deep, and breathtaking. Tosca twists such an incredible story, that sucks you in completely.  I expected a great book. I got even more than I expected.  Following Havah through her entire life was a roller coaster of emotions for me. The details Tosca sets up put me firmly in the beginning of the world, longing for the perfection that was Eden, devastated when it all came to ruin. I mourned for the anger and tension between Adam and Havah, rejoiced at the triumphs of their children. Dreaded so hard the dark moments I knew would come. It is an incredible book. Second favorite read of January.
  • Favorite Moment: When Adam rejoiced over having one of his own kind.

 

The Girl’s Still Got It

  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Thoughts: Since this is a devotional I’m not looking at this the same as my fiction reads. But this book was a breath of fresh air. Liz takes you on an in depth journey verse by verse to get to know the women of the book of Ruth. With her big heart and engaging humor, Liz makes the journey a truly memorable one. Definitely recommend.

 

How America Lost Her Innocence

  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Thoughts: This book was sad and hard to read through. I ache for America and the horrible things done in her, especially to children.

 

The Quest of the Fair Unknown

  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Thoughts: See above
  • Favorite Moment: Either when Terrence shows up (because Terrence ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ) or when Gawain and Terrence and Beaufils are traveling back to the world of men.

 

The Adventures of TinTin Vol.1

  • Rating:3 stars
  • Thoughts: Not as good as later volumes I’ve read before. A little too many convenient escapes there, TinTin.
  • Favorite Moment: When TinTin says goodbye to his new found friends in China. Even though it’s really sad 😥

 

Gregor the Overlander

  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Thoughts: I was really impressed with this book. I didn’t expect much from it to be honest, but I found myself swept into a world and a story that kept me hooked until the last page. I thouroughly enjoyed my experience, even if there were spiders *shudder* (I just skimmed spider parts.)
  • Favorite Moment: Boots screaming for a cookie and being a secret weapon.  Also her recognizing the roaches. That was precious.

 

What books did you read this month? Which was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

My Journey into Anime

If you had told me two years ago that I would enjoy Anime, I would have either laughed in your face, been appalled, or ignored you because I was watching a superior live action film.

I hated Anime. I hated the animation style. I thought it was weird. I was never fond of Asian culture.

Enter David, my now husband.

David loves Anime. David loves all things Asian. David wanted to go and live in Japan at one point.

For a long time, he tried to coax me into watching Anime. And I did watch part of Sword Art Online and liked it. But everything else he had me sample I was appalled at.

But, this past year I have changed. In part because I wanted to try to enjoy the things David enjoys, in part because I have a friend who really opened my heart up to other cultures besides Europe. I also had a bit of help from my sister and Avatar the Last Airbender for it’s Asian influences.

When we went to Disney World in November, the Japan section was our favorite spot in Epcot.

And it wasn’t just David’s favorite. It was also my favorite. (Tied with England, though, freely admitting, because England <3)

Between David’s love, my sister’s new found love, and friends love of Anime, I was honestly doomed from the beginning. It just took a while.

Enter two Anime series that pushed me over into the “I love Anime” camp

The Devil is a Part Timer and Life is Still Beautiful

Image Source

Image Source

I rang in the new year while watching The Devil is a Part Timer with my husband and my sister (10/10 recommend above parties or fireworks) This is my kind of story! It’s quirky, it’s funny, it has sweet moments, epic battles, and fast food rivalries.  This is the Anime that really did it for me, that proved that I could actually love this genre, maybe even as much as David.

Life is Still Beautiful I had actually started watching back in April of 2016. David and I watched the first two or three episodes while I was visiting him in Kansas. We stopped there, intending to pick it up when he moved to Kentucky a month later. But we didn’t pick it back up until the day after we finished The Devil is a Part Timer. And I’m glad of that, because I was able to love and appreciate it all the more.

This story is about love in a more interesting form than is usually found in media today. And it handles it in such a beautiful way. This is a story that moved me deeply, in the places of my heart I don’t really have words for.

I never expected all of this.

But I’m quite pleased.

What is something you thought you could never enjoy, but now do? 

Do you have any Anime recommendations for me?

My 2016 in Books

Looking back on 2016 I can truly say it was a great year. Crazy, hard, and at times unexpected, but still
great. I mean, I got married after all 😉 And went to Disney World. So. Kind of a big deal.img_2291

mk_partright_20161118_7866934485

But this post isn’t about my life events, it is about looking back at the 15 books I managed to read amidst the chaos of life. Sure, it’s not a hugely impressive number, but if you saw me in my stressed out emotional breakdown states throughout the year, trust me. You’d be impressed.

2016 In Books:

  1. The Curse of the Seer by Daniel Schwabauer
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (technically started in December of 2015 but I didn’t finish this one until May of 2016 so it counts.)
  3. Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell
  4. The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
  5. Leaper by Geoffrey Wood
  6. Mariah’s Prologues 1-4 by Grace Bridges
  7. The Progeny by Tosca Lee
  8. Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
  9. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
  10. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
  11. The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
  12. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
  13. First Meetings in the Enderverse by Orson Scott Card
  14. The Baron’s Gloves by Louisa May Alcott
  15. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Let’s talk about these volumes, shall we?

The Curse of the Seer:

Image source

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade to YA Fantasy

My Thoughts: I have waited for this book for a very long time. It is the third book in the Tira-Nor series written by my teacher, mentor, and friend, Daniel Schwabauer.

I am very happy to say it did not disappoint. It lived up to every expectation I had and then some. I was hooked at page one, and stayed engaged all the way through until the last page. Mr. Schwabauer knows how to craft a novel, folks.

Do you recommend this novel? Yes! Go get it right now!

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:

Image Source

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade to YA Fantasy

My Thoughts: The World of Harry Potter is a masterpiece, as is agreed by most of the Wizarding World. It’s been a while, honestly, so my thoughts on this specific volume are rather hazy. I didn’t like it as much as the first three, but it wasn’t too far from them. I enjoyed it.

Do you recommend this novel? Yes.

 

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms:

Image Source

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade to YA fiction

My Thoughts: See in part this post I did after reading it last year.

Further thoughts: This is one of my favorite books ever. Rundell’s attention to details and the way she describes those details is maddeningly brilliant, breathtaking, and imaginative. She catapults you right into her story worlds and doesn’t let you go until the last bit of ink on the end page.

Do you recommend this novel? YES GO BUY IT NOW.

 

The Name of this Book is Secret:

Image Source

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade Fiction

My Thoughts:

While this novel was entertaining and fast paced and did hold my interest, I was not interested enough to continue with the series. I was rather disappointed with how they handled children going behind parent and guardian’s backs, and the way parents were portrayed as, well, second rate? That was a large factor in making me dislike this more than I liked it.  However, the book was admittedly extremely clever, and I did enjoy the adventure. I also appreciated the quirky sides of the book – not enough books are quirky nowadays.

Do you recommend this novel? I would say so, but more to mid grade readers.

 

Leaper:

Image Source

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Adult Christian Fiction

My Thoughts:

This novel is perplexing to me. Because it was well written, had great, three dimensional characters who never felt fake, and had some really hilarious moments. But. It left me… let down and confused. It wasn’t what I was hoping for. The back cover boasts of a barista who discovers he has the super power of leaping from one location to another. And the concept was awesome. But the storyline is what disappointed me in the end. That, and the vagueish way it was written (which was actually well done considering it was how the character was thinking and he was in a fog of caffeine the entire time.)

I have friends who absolutely love this book. But I just couldn’t find love for it. It gets points, however, for creativity and humor.

Do you recommend this novel? Maybe. Depending on the person who asked me. I know people who would enjoy it.

 

Mariah’s Prologues 1-4

Image Source

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Adult Dystopian

My Thoughts:

I got this collection of novella prologues at the 2015 Realm Maker’s conference. I was blown away at how well written, immersive, and pleasurable they were. What especially stuck out to me was how beautiful her story world is. Like I said, it is quite immersive, and everything just… fit.  I really want to read the rest of the prologues now (something for 2017!) as well as the book they set the stage for.

Do you recommend this book? Yes, quite so, go read them.

 

The Progeny:

Image Source

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Adult Thriller

My Thoughts:

Oh. My. Word. This book.

I read it in three days (because I had to life in between reading sessions) and was obsessed the entire time. Tosca is a master at the art of storytelling, and The Progeny did not disappoint me. I was enthralled. I laughed. I cried. I cried some more. I silently screamed. I stood staring at the page with eyes bugged out and mouth wide open in shock. This book had it all for me. It was a roller coaster ride of the best possible type.

Do you recommend this novel? YES. GO BUY IT NOW.

 

Rooftoppers:

Image Source

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade to YA fiction

My Thoughts:

Read my thoughts on the post I wrote about it here.

Aditional thoughts: I just want to read this again it’s a warm happy place of happiness.

Do you recommend this novel? YES. GO BUY IT NOW.

 

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride:

Image Source

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Memoir/Entertainment

My Thoughts:

I never expected to be so deeply enthralled, so deeply moved as I was when reading this book. If you know me, then you know that The Princess Bride is my favorite book, and one of my favorite movies. I had a Princess Bride themed bridal shower, the main theme was played at my wedding ceremony, I had a Princess Bride themed table at the wedding reception.  There has never been a book that ever stood out above all the rest and secured the “Favorite Book” spot in my heart, until I read The Princess Bride.

So naturally, I was very excited to get a behind the scenes look at the making of the film and the lives of the actors who brought to life some of my favorite characters ever.

This book stirred up emotions in me I thought were possibly gone. It had long been a dearly clung to dream for me to be an actor or a filmmaker, or at least to be involved in the production of films in some way shape or form. That longing isn’t really gone, I found out while reading. Furthermore, I didn’t know I could become so attached to the real people behind the characters, and their personal lives. But I did. This book brought out a lot of emotions from the deep places of my heart.  And I wouldn’t have changed that for anything.

Do you recommend this book? Yes. All the yes. Go read it.

 

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight:

Image Source

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: YA Romance

My Thoughts:

I picked this book up at Half Price Books for several reasons. 1. It was on clearance. 2. The cover was pretty and I loved the aesthetic. 3. It takes place in an airport and on a plane and I’m in love with airports so obviously love in an airport is going to be great. 4. There were two stickers from Hot Topic stuck inside.

I was very pleased with this book at first. But it left me on a very sour note. The glorification of divorce upset me. The way things were portrayed was just… off to me. And it was too quick a turnaround of emotions that the MC had. I, by a new rule, am only keeping books on my shelves that meet a certain level of stars, and this one just barely makes it. It’s staying because the cover is pretty and the airport parts make me happy.

Do you recommend this book? Eh, maybe.

 

The Wolf Wilder:

the-wolf-wilder-9781481419437_hr

Image Source

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Mid Grade to YA fiction

My Thoughts:

Katherine Rundell does it again by immersing you into a world so real you can feel the sting of freezing snow on your skin and smell the fur of the wolves surrounding you.

Oh, this book. this book swept me away into frozen Russia, routing for a precious, tough little girl and her new friend Illya (as soon as he said his name I fell in love with him. Because Illya. <3) and the wolves they are protecting. Oh, please, if you love stories that are rich and glorious and beautiful and full of wonder, go and read this book. Now. Right now. Please.

Do you recommend this novel? YES. FOREVER. GO READ IT.

 

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between:

Image Source

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: YA Romance

My Thoughts:

This book hurt me.

I do not like it.

I hated the way the couple treated their relationship. I hated the way long distance was painted as negative and impossible. I hated the parting scene at the end in her driveway because darsh gone it, I’ve lived through that too many times and it brought back so much pain in so many degrees.

The characters were great. The pacing was excellent. The format of it happening over a 24 hour period was fantastic. But in the end, it was just… empty and sad to me.

Do you recommend this novel? No.

 

First Meetings in the Enderverse:

Image Source

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Adult Sci-fi Novella collection

My Thoughts:

Orson Scott Card is a total genius and can hook me in less than half a page and have me glued to book until the end.  This work is genius, and if you’ve read Ender’s Game then go read this.

Do you recommend this Book? Yes.

 

The Baron’s Gloves

Image Source

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: Classic Romance Novella

My Thoughts:

I love Louisa May Alcott’s works. Always have. And I was enjoying this story highly before the ending made it all crash down around me.

Without spoiling anything, I was appalled by the conduct of two of the young men, the blatant manipulation, and the degrading of women. I promptly put the book in my get rid of pile.

Do you recommend this book? No.

 

Shiver:

Image source

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Type of Book: YA fiction

My Thoughts:

This one is a bit hard for me. Because wow. Maggie is an amazing writer, no doubt about it. The characters are endearing and I was swept away by the story. The negative aspects of teens sleeping together and then some really tainted it for me. Especially when they had set one of the characters up to being very cautions against doing things of that nature. The romance itself outside of passion in the bedroom, was very real and well portrayed. And honestly… I liked the book. I liked it a lot. I wish that the language and sex had been omitted and I could love it.

Do you recommend this Book? Only to mature audiences.

 

Wow. If you’ve stuck with me this far, congratulations. Now, share with me the books you read in 2016. What were your favorites? What were your least favorites?

Read on, peeps, read on!

~Adrienne

And… We’re Back!

By this time, you probably don’t believe me. But it’s true! 2017 is here, my wedding is over, and I am now free to –

Okay not totally free. I’ve got to run a household now. And I’m starting a business. And getting back into my own writing.

Yes, you say, she never will really come back to this blog.

Well, I can’t confirm or deny that entirely, because I have no idea what the future holds. But it is my plan to post weekly, and possibly have a monthly recap of my life post.

I’m still trying to find my sea legs with this blog, trying to figure out what I really truly want to do with it. So if you’re okay with sticking around my wobbly restart, well. Make yourself at home!

Stay tuned for a post looking back on 2016 and the stories that impacted it for good or ill. Despite my busy season of life, I did manage to read a fair amount of volumes!

~Adrienne

What is a goal you hope to achieve in 2017? Let me know in the comments! 

True Gems: Rooftoppers

There are times when the world needs a story that is simple, rich, wonderous, and happy. A book that takes you into the mind of a child, and shares the world with you in a whole new light.

Enter, Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell.

17334271

Image Source

After falling head over heels for Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, I sought out Rundell’s other works. And I was not disappointed.

Rooftoppers offers a story that is full of love, charm, adventure, and the kind of feeling you get when eating a warm, sweet, sticky cinnamon roll. And that is honestly the best way to describe this book, I believe.  I love it. No, I adore it. This story is one that I cannot wait to share with my future children, because it encapsulates in it all that is beautiful and good and wonderful about not just childhood but the world.

Imagine yourself an orphan, but living with the most loving scholarly man in the world, who gives you the best out of life, and teaches you what is really genuinely important. Imagine all of that about to be stripped away from you, when, out of sheer luck, you get a lead to the long lost mother you’ve been dreaming of your whole life. And then you’re on the run, on a desperate search for the mother lost so long ago, trying to find her before your time runs out.

That is the mere outer layer of Rooftoppers. There is such beauty in this book. Go read it.

Have you found any True Gems lately? Tell me about them in the comments!