Thursday, September 22, 2016

Happy Hobbit Day! (The Tolkien Tag 2016)


Would you look at that? I'm actually posting two days in a row. Because...

Today is Bilbo and Frodo's birthday!!!


YES. THIS CLEARLY CALLS FOR CELEBRATORY FIREWORKS.

In fact, the entire week is special because it's Tolkien Week! The lovely Hamlette has been hosting a blog party to celebrate. Of course, I had to join. How could I not?

So in honor of the most famousest of hobbits, I'm doing the Tolkien Tag! Stay tuned till the end for some extra LotR goodies. ;) (And spoilers will be rampant bunnies, just so you know.)


1.  How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read? 


Um...so I've only read one. *hides in disgrace* Ack, I feel like such a terrible person. D: The only book I've read so far is The Hobbit. But don't worry, I started on The Fellowship of the Ring and hope to finish it by the end of the month. *cough* maybe *cough, cough*

*crawls out of hiding place and moves on to the next question*


2.  Have you seen any movies based on them? 


Yes indeedy! I've seen all three of The Lord of the Rings movies and all three of The Hobbit films by Peter Jackson. I've seen all of LotR six times (minus The Return of the King; I didn't get the chance to rewatch that this summer) and The Hobbit movies...um...maybe four times? I'm not even sure. I watch LotR twice a year, but The Hobbit movies I kind of just...pick up. XD


3.  Are there any scenes/moments that make you cry?


Nah, not really. I make sure to use my feels-proof helmet every time I watch them so I never cry.

...

Hehe. NOT.

Basically, I sob during all of the movies. Multiple times. :P DO NOT ASK ME TO NAME SPECIFIC SCENES ELSE I WILL COMMENCE CRYING. 


Totally not crying over here.


Since you're asking for specifics, though, I guess I'll be nice and share some.


~ ALL THE DEATHS (especially Boromir's and Thorin's D':)


~ Alllll of these scenes.


~ This one, oddly enough. (And no, it's not because Smaug dies. ;D)


~ BASICALLY ALL OF BOTFA

There, that should give you a small taste of how emotional these movies make me. XD

4.  Are there any scenes/moments that make you laugh? 


Oh man, there are lots of those, too. I'm an emotional pendulum during these movies, I tell you.

A few I can think of off the top of my head are the po-ta-toes scene (I quote this whenever we eat potatoes--every. single. time.), the scene where Legolas takes down the Oliphaunt (HE'S THE BEST, I TELL YOU), the "don't tell the elf" scene, and the scene where Bilbo forgets his handkerchief.

Also any scene with Legolas and Gimli. They're the best. XD


5.  Have you ever chosen a Middle Earth name for yourself?  

Nope, but now I want to. *is curious* 


6.  Who would you want to party with/marry/fight to the death? (pick three characters) 


Lemme see here...I would probably party with Merry and Pippin, marry Legolas (obviously), and fight Saruman to the death. I honestly wouldn't stand a chance against any of the villains but...y'know, it would be pretty epic to battle a wizard. ^_^


Yes, this was necessary. XD


7.  When was the last time you visited Middle Earth, via books or movies? 



Either when I was reading The Fellowship of the Ring back in July (which I'm starting again this month) or when I saw The Two Towers, also in July.


8.  Do you consider Gollum to be a villain?  Why or why not? 



Very tricksy question, precious. He's a hard character to classify. Smeagol isn't evil at heart--there's still some good in him--but he ultimately does become consumed by his desire for the Ring. So like Hamlette said, I guess I consider him as more of an antagonist with a tragic fate. You feel sorry for Smeagol, but in the end, he chooses darkness instead of light. By creating the character of Gollum, Tolkien really shows his penetrating knowledge of human nature.

So yeah. I don't consider him a villain, per se. More of a tragic character.


9.  How would you sum up what Tolkien's stories mean to you in one word? 


Probably home. It feels like my heart belongs in Middle Earth. <3





10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies.



YES. Pull up a chair, people. XD 

I'll be copying Meredith and only doing quotes from the movies because I haven't read the LotR books yet.

(In no particular order. I tried to pick mostly different ones than what Meredith put just for the sake of variety.)


 "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future." 

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 "Some believe it is only great power that can keep evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."

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 "I would rather share one lifetime with you than spend all the ages of this world alone."

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 "Anyway, you need people of intelligence of this sort of mission...quest...thing."

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"There's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for."

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 "You look terrible."

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 "Go back to your books, your fireplace. Plant your trees, watch them grow. If more of us valued home above gold, it would be a merrier world."

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 "A wizard is never late, Frodo. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to." 

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 "Not all those who wander are lost."

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 "You left out one of the chief characters--Samwise the Brave. I want to hear more about Sam. Frodo wouldn't have gotten far without Sam."

"Now, Mr. Frodo, you shouldn't make fun. I was being serious."

"So was I."

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You don't even know how hard it was to limit myself to just ten quotes. I wanted to list sooo many others, but I feared you guys might come at me with pitchforks if I did more than that. XD

This was so much fun, Hamlette! Thanks so much for hosting this grand celebration! ^_^ If you guys are big LotR fans, then you'll want to check out her blog party. There are giveaways and trivia games and tags and just general awesomeness. GO. NOW. Before I have to make the Eagles fly you over there. ;)

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Now...onto the goodies I promised.

While I was *ahem* wasting time doing research for this post, I stumbled across a few fun LotR things which I wanted to share.

First off, there's this hilarious video about the Ringwraiths.



Then, because I love behind the scenes things, here's this.


Lastly, I found this "Let It Go" parody involving Lord of the Rings. I personally still love Frozen so when I saw this video that combined it with LotR, I about died of happiness. 




Happy birthday, Frodo and Bilbo!

Okay, my fellow hobbits and elves. What are some of YOUR favorite quotes? Who would you marry? (Sorry, I've already claimed Legolas. ;D) And which is your favorite movie from LotR? I know, I'm so evil.






Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Review: A Time to Die {Nadine Brandes}



We are gathered here today to announce the startling fact that Mary Horton hasn't done a book review in five months. *cue strangled gasps*

YES, IT'S TRUE. It's been an embarrassing amount of time since I last reviewed a book. *hides in shame* I know you guys all love when I review books, right? (Hint: the answer is "absolutely yes, master bookdragon.") Well, thankfully, I'm a benevolent ruler and will bestow another one upon my subjects.  ;D

Here's the summary so you actually know what I'm going to be reviewing.

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How would you live if you knew the day you'd die?

Parvin Blackwater has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. 

In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the crooked justice system. But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence. 


What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out. (source)




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Intriguing, am I right? O_o I know it sucked me in.

Now...on to the review!


Review


This is a rather tricky book to review. See, I really liked some aspects of the book, but...I didn't totally love it. 

I've come to the conclusion that dystopian is not my genre. It's just not. I've tried several different dystopians, but interestingly enough, they all earn about the same rating. I guess I just can never get into it? Maybe it's too depressing for me, I dunno. :P Though I will say that for a dystopian book, A Time to Die was much less dismal than others. In fact, I would argue that it actually focuses a LOT on hope. Which is awesome! Props to the author for that!

ANYWHOZENS. I'm already rambling. *forces train of thought back onto the tracks*

// Things I Liked //

The premise of this book is extremely inventive. Oh, and it's FULL of all kinds of creative things! I don't want to spoil anything but there's a certain person named Wilbur who makes suits...suffice to say, the suits are pretty awesome, and I need them in my life. There are tightropes and cool futuristic technological things (I'm so descriptive :P) and just LOTS OF CREATIVITY. *thumbs up*

Another thing I liked about this book was the raw emotion. I absolutely love it when the author makes you feel what the characters feel. It's a sign of an amazing writer. Whenever Parvin was struggling emotionally, physically, or spiritually, I ached for her. This book made me feel. (It also crushed my heart like FIFTY GAZILLION TIMES BUT WHO'S COUNTING </3) And on the topic of characters...

I REALLY LIKED THE MAIN CHARACTER. That's always a good thing. Now, she's not my favorite character, per se, but I loved the realism that she has. Honestly, she reminded me a lot of myself in many ways. Physically unable to pull herself up a rope--check. Uses tildes--check. (We're very much alike. XD) 

I loved following along with Parvin's journey. Seeing how she matured in her faith and gained more purpose was so beautiful. Really, the themes of this book are all great. The importance of using our time wisely, surrendering our life to God, and fighting for what we believe really cuts to the heart, challenging each and every reader who picks up this book. It's always refreshing to see books that stimulate our brains and make us think about important truths.

Also...I. NEED. MORE. HAWKE. <3 He is honestly the best. End of story.

Okay, now on to my dislikes. :/

// Things I Didn't Like //

This book was written in first person present tense. This is in NO way the fault of the writer--I'm sure there are lots of people who like present tense. However, I am not one of them. I had no idea it was written in that tense before I picked it up. So that was a bit of a bummer. (Although I will admit that I kind of got used to it after a while. It just wasn't my favorite.) I know this may sound like a shallow reason, but I honestly just can't get into a book as much when it's written in a tense I feel is awkward.

I also never really liked a lot of the characters. YES, I KNOW I JUST SAID I LIKED PARVIN AND HAWKE. But I reallllllllly didn't like a lot of characters in this book. I waver between loathing/loving Jude. He actually made me kind of want to throw my tablet across the room more than once. XD Honestly, the only two characters I liked a lot were Parvin and Hawke. *shrugs*

The action also tended to be...well, nonexistent. They seemed to spend the majority of the book wandering around or arguing. :P I kept waiting for exciting things to happen--and yes, they did sometimes--but I felt like every time the action would get going, it would quickly be squashed by some huge setback. Thankfully, I was invested enough in the plot and main character (and Hawke <3) that I wanted to keep reading. ^_^

There was also a certain romance I DID NOT APPROVE OF AT ALL. Nooo thank you.

Content wise, this book contains a little bit of violence and such. I maaaay have cringed during some of the scenes. ;) There is also some romance, though the author keeps it all clean. So I would probably recommend this to teens around the age of 13, just for some of the violence. 

Overall, I did like this book! There just were quite a few things I didn't care for. :/ Hopefully this didn't come off as too scathing a review at the end...eheh. :P I just wanted to be honest about the book since Miss Brandes herself was generous enough to give me a free review copy! (Thanks loads, Nadine! :D) 

Final Consensus: 3 Stars


So did I enjoy this book? Yes, I did. Will I be picking up the second book? ABSOLUTELY YES. I'm kind of emotionally invested now. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT ELSE HAPPENS. *grabby hands*

// The Author //



I am an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. I never received my Hogwarts letter, but rest assured I’m no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family-size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. I write about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. My dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged me to pursue shalom, which is now my favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When I’m not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, me and my knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.

// Linklings //

~ Order book one, two, or pre-order book three (which comes out October 14).

~ Get book swag when you pre-order A Time to Rise! (The swag looks pretty cool, just sayin.')

~ Those of you who have Facebook can party it up with Miss Brandes herself! Woohoo! 

~ Finally, you can catch up with Nadine at her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She's an awesome peep. :D

What say you, dragonlings? Have you read this book? Are you interested in reading it? (C'mon, you really should. Everyone and their neighbor loves it so I'm really just the odd cookie here. XD) GIMME ALL YOUR THOUGHTS.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Three Writing Lessons from Lord of the Rings

I am beyond ecstatic right now. OBVIOUSLY. BECAUSE IT'S SAVANNAH. *squeals* Yup, the lovely Savannah Grace has graced us with her presence today. *claps for bad pun* Ahem. 

Before I get booed off the stage, I'll hand you guys over to her. ;)


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*straps Mary onto a ferris wheel*

*happily takes over her blog*

WELL now that THAT is out of the way.

Hi guys, I’m Savannah! As you can see, I have taken over Mary’s blog today *cackles*.

Yeah, anyways. You’re probably wanting me to get to the real reason I’m here, so let’s get right to it.

Three writing lessons from Lord Of The Rings.



I’m a Lord Of The Rings geek (not geek enough to thoroughly read the Silmarillion, but still. If you’ve ever done that, I applaud you.). If you haven’t read Lord Of The Rings … you’re insane. If you say that you don’t like Lord Of The Rings … I’ll pretend you never said that.

So for today EVERYONE LOVES LORD OF THE RINGS. (also, don’t read the post if you hate Lord Of The Rings. You’ll probably go mad XD)

We can learn a lot from one of the founders of fantasy, can’t we? J.R.R. Tolkien crafted an incredible world with WONDERFUL characters and an amazing plot. But do you want to know the coolest bit?

Lord Of The Rings survived the test of time.

Now, I’m no expert (HA understatement), but I love thinking about what makes Lord Of The Rings so epic and how I can incorporate all of that into my own writing. And you want to know what I know, don’t you (JUST PRETEND, YOU GUYS)?


1. Worldbuilding


If anyone tells me that J.R.R. Tolkien is terrible at world building, I’ll be pretty sure that said person is going mental. Because REALLY?!

J.R.R. Tolkien is a master when it comes to world building. End of story.

Guys. Have you ever looked at a map of Middle Earth?


Okay, there. Now you’ve seen one. Incredible, no? Not only did he think of names for every. Single. Place (come on you guys, that’s a lot of places), but he fleshed most of them out too. 

If you’re writing epic fantasy (or high fantasy, whatever strikes your fancy), or any story that has a
map, you don’t want all your different places to become one big chunk of land. I’ve read stories where it’s like that – all the places seem … well, just the same. Even if they’re technically supposed to be different.

Lord Of The Rings certainly isn’t like that. Do Mirkwood and the Shire seem alike to you?

… didn’t think so.


2. High Stakes + No Cheating



The whole stinkin’ WORLD was going to fall to bits if the Ring wasn’t destroyed in Mordor.

I would say those are pretty high stakes.

And J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t cheat. He didn’t randomly pop some magical wand into Frodo’s hands during the middle of the story that could make all his troubles go poof! He didn’t give Aragorn invincible powers (well, okay, so Aragorn is ALMOST invincible. But not all the way XD).

He didn’t let the characters have an easy way out.

And we were rooting for the characters every step of the way as they fought their battles. Which actually leads us to the next point …


3. Likeable Characters



Yeah yeah, I know you’re all thinking ‘pfft, duh’, but SERIOUSLY. This is important.

I can’t be the only one who has ever read a story and gone ‘WHY am I even reading this? I WANT TO HIT ALL THE CHARACTERS OVER THE HEAD WITH A FRYING PAN’ (not that I can remember exactly which books were like that, but I know I’ve read books like that).

Who wouldn’t be able to root for Frodo as he climbs Mount Doom, or cheer when Legolas does all his fancy elf-tricks? We like J.R.R. Tolkien's characters, and we want to be right beside them as they fight to save Middle Earth. They’re relatable. They’ve got their flaws, but they fight through them just like we fight through our own. They’re likeable, and guess what? We like them. Which means we like the story they’re in.




You need people to like your characters too. And another thing about characters – don’t make them entirely perfect. IT’S JUST REALLY ANNOYING. Also, don’t make them too flawed to even be realistic. Sure, I like having a tragic character or two in a story, but it sure can be overdone.

Just sayin’.


SO hopefully you learned a thing or three (and if not, hopefully the post was amusing in one form or another).

Now, I must be off to get Mary down, and then it’s back to Middle Earth for this elf.

*takes a bow*


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*stumbles off the ferris wheel* Phew, it's good to be back on stable ground again. *stares pointedly at Savannah* Thanks. :P

Wasn't this post great? ACK. Thanks oodles for agreeing to guest post, Savannah! It was even worth being strapped to a ferris wheel. XD Ooh, and now I can actually link to her blog! The fairies who used to protect it have run out of pixie dust. ;D SO GO. CHECK OUT HER BLOG. IT IS AWESOME. (Totally not because it has the word "scribblings" in it...)

HA. Look, another educational post. You got to learn about writing lessons from Lord of the Rings! Count yourself lucky. ;D (And no, my guest posts aren't the only educational ones on my blog. Where would you ever get an idea like that? *cough*) What's YOUR favorite thing about LotR? LET'S FLAIL TOGETHER.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Book Haul (in Vlog Form!)




I have a special announcement to make...

I made a vlog.

I KID YOU NOT. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I randomly decided to plop down in front of my computer's webcam and record a video. Watching it over, I can't help but cringe. ACK. I'm so awkward. XP The video quality is bad, I didn't edit it at all, and my computer kept making noises-- but hey, I MADE A VIDEO. That should satisfy you. *crosses arms defiantly*

Just recently, I showed you what I looked like...and now I'm doing a video. I always hesitate to put stuff like this up because of all those creepers out there on the internet. BUT YES. I obviously decided to take the plunge anyway.

In case you couldn't tell from the title, it's a book haul. There were a few...*cough* mishaps during recording (including nearly being squashed by my tower of books) and it went waaaay longer than I thought it would. Oops. :P

Without further ado, I present my book haul! Ignore my random breathless squeals. XD



It was slightly terrifying at first, but I have to admit, I actually had a ton of fun doing it. In fact, I recorded another vlog on the same day! If you enjoyed this one, maaaaybe I'll post the other soon? It's a little shorter, don't worry. XD

I would LOVE it if some of you guys decided to do a vlog! It would be especially fun if it were a book haul or something bookish-related. ;) If you do end up doing one, I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT. I will stalk your blog like a pro. *nods*

(And before you ask, I have no idea why my left eyebrow is perpetually higher than the other one or why I kept saying "for the win." :P)

So what about you, my accomplices? Have YOU ever done a vlog? WOULD YOU DO ONE? (Hey, if I can muster the courage to do it, so can you. ;D) Which book that I got looks the most interesting? 


Saturday, September 10, 2016

My Minor Mushroom Mania ~ Guest Post by Abi Ellison

TODAY IS A FRABJOUS DAY. You want to know why? Well, if you looked at the title of the post, you may have noticed something very interesting. *drumroll* IT'S MY FIRST GUEST POST!!! Not only that, but it's by my lovely friend Abi Ellison. ^_^ Because I'm sure you guys are all dying to read her post, I'll just stop rambling and hand you over to Abi!

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Hello! I'm Abi from The Left-Handed Typist! I have followed the lovely Mary for almost as long as I've been on the blogosphere (a whopping 6 months). While my blog is strictly devoted to writing, reading, and book-related posts, I love that Mary has left herself the freedom to do whatever! I am exploiting that today and presenting what is a fairly random post for me: my craze for mushrooms!! (Actually, the entire fungi kingdom, but I had to narrow it down. ;) )


In case you missed my intro, this post's image, and the title, I love mushrooms! I can hear you now: ewwwww, to eat? Well, no. I mean they're okay especially if they're on pizza or something. But I really love mushrooms in nature. And this post is all about making you converts to my shroom fandom. Suuuuurely you will appreciate some kind of mushroom I share ;)

My love for these overlooked creatures of nature began when I studied Biology in high school. I loved learning about all the fungi! But mushrooms in particular. Let's face it: decomposers. are. cool. I guess I'd overlooked them, too, because living in Texas, we didn't see many. I now faithfully hunt them in our neighborhood wood every time it rains for more than 10 minutes. It's been such a rainy year for us I actually found some in my backyard the other day! In AUGUST!!!!! I was so happy ^.^ I just think they are so delicate, complex, and unique. God made them that way for us to appreciate (and sometimes to eat). So join the mushroom appreciation bandwagon already! *glares*

For those of you who think everything fungus-related is icky, I understand. But please check out how cool these mushroom varieties I'm about to share with you are! I promise I'm not going to feed you any or even make you touch them guilty.  These are in no particular order xD

1.) Chanterelle


IS THAT NOT A BEAUTIFUL WORD?! *ahem* I just learned it a few weeks ago and it still makes me happy ^.^ Check out this definition: "an edible woodland mushroom with a yellow funnel-shaped cap and a faint smell of apricots, found in both Eurasia and North America." If you're a yellow fan, these should make you smile. Look at the awesome ridging underneath!


2.) Hen of the Woods


Before you laugh at the name, check out that picture!! These are super curly and lacy and they just make me smile. They're out the sides of trees a lot and grow in shelves sometimes. I think this one's edible, too, but please don't quote me on that!! I have yet to eat a mushroom from the wild ;)

 
 
 

3.) Fly Agaric

Don't ask what's up with the name. This is the most commonly depicted sort of mushroom in the fantasy world. Super cute, fun, and classy if you ask me. I love how the white spots can look like snowflakes or feathers. And the sort that flatten out or even form a bowl shape on the top like this are super interesting. The fact that Mario Bros caught on to their awesomeness has helped their popularity ;)



 

4.) Death Cap

A little foreboding, no? Guessing they're highly poisonous ;) This one looks like it should be a cement bird bath or something!





 

 

 

5.) Pixie's Parasol

 
 
Excuse me, how could you not love anything with that name? It should tug at your fantasy heartstrings. Aren't they adorable?! (The answer is yes.) So dainty and delicate. :)




 

 

 

 

 

6.) Oyster


 
This one almost looks like a flower, huh? Look, all the cool faerie outfits in Tinker Bell and Epic had to be based on something in the real world, okay. Why not a mushroom? :)




 

 

 

 

7.) Shaggy Ink Cap

 
These are among my favorite EVER. Ink caps are cool enough on their own, with their funky little shape. Add shag? Ten times better! They look fluffy like down, don't you think?




 

 

 

 

 

8.) Indigo Milk Cap

 
Hehe, this one's so cute. I love that you can see the underneath so well, where the spores are stored. (Mushrooms actually feel like velvet if you pet underneath their cap.) I think this one resembles a fan at a ball :)


 

 

 

9.) Morel

First, that color! I'm seeing greyish purple which happens to be my favorite color ^.^ I think its more cavernous cap looks like coral reef material.





 

 

 

10.) Pinwheel


Purple again. It amazes me the variety of colors mushrooms come in! I'm seeing umbrellas with these but the striping is almost circus tent. You wouldn't believe how sturdy these are even with a teeny little stem. *happy sigh* I love them.





 
 

And believe me, I only scratched the surface! If you aren't sold yet, I'm not sure there's much I can do for you. So I hand you over to the power of Pinterest. Just type in "mushroom photography." Trust me, you'll want a board. Or two. Or three.

In case you're wondering how many of these actually exist, here's the August bloomers I discovered:

And if you can't agree with me on anything else in this post, at least you can agree that this post was definitely, beyond a doubt, random.

 
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Thanks so much for dropping in, Abi! It was so much fun having you enlighten us about the fabulousness of fungi. ;)
 
If you haven't already checked out Abi's blog, DO IT. I don't want to have to threaten you guys with my cat. (She's fierce. ;D)
 

Well, there you have it. An educational post. Don't say you never learn anything on my blog. XD What was your favorite shroom? And do you actually like to eat mushrooms? (I don't. *cough*)

 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Frabjous Finalities {August 2016} + Mini Birthday Haul


Well, hello there, September. Fancy meeting you here.

August just flew past, like all of the other months this year have. It's been a month full of changes and surprises, some good and some...*cough* not as good.

Here we go. *cracks knuckles*

Life


Just three days into the month, I had to take a test to make it into college classes. I was terrified (and only started studying like two days before it *cough*), but it was actually not too hard. AND I PASSED. I was shaking like a leaf by the end of it, but I did do much better than I thought. So all that terror was worth it. XD

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/458663543282194133/


After that, I had to actually enroll in my class. It took them an eternity at admissions, but I at last got my ID and signed up for speech. Not gonna lie, I felt really weird being at a college. Thankfully, the class is online so I won't have to actually go up to the college unless it's the mid-term exam.

We didn't realize until the second day of school that we had actually signed up for the twelve-week class instead of the sixteen-week. That means I haven't even started my class yet. It starts Monday (eep!), and I will only have three months of speech. Less time in the course...and also less time between tests and assignments. O.o HELP.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/458663543282743545/


By far one of the best parts about August for me was the Olympics! I love the Olympics, despite being allergic to most sports. (Totally a thing. :P) I just love the gymnastics, equestrian, archery, fencing, water polo, swimming...basically everything. XD There are still some sports I don't like, but I enjoy the fact that the Olympics consist of a lot of unique sports that you usually don't get to see. In fact, I love the games so much that I wrote a whole post about it. *hurrah for self-promos*

Over the last week before school, I had a sleepover with my bestie, played violin in a special music program at our church, and watched more of the Olympics than I care to admit. But, unfortunately, school did start back on the 15th. It hasn't been that stressful yet, but that could very well change when my college class begins. *hides* I had a veeeery stressful summer, though, so maybe it will actually be better than that? *has false hope*

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/458663543282743302/
(It actually won't. XD)


The month wrapped up with the end of the Olympics, a dentist appointment, and my birthday (!!!). I had such a fun birthday, thanks to all your sweet comments on my post, and racked up on a lot of books and fandom merchandise. I went out to eat at Cracker Barrel, devoured strawberry cake, and enjoyed a bit of a break from school. It was a blast! ^_^

Books


Ah, yes. My favorite category! I only read three books because of fun things like school interfering. >.< Fortunately, I enjoyed them all immensely.

~ Rook ~

This book was SO good! ACK. It takes place in a future world that resembles the time of the French Revolution. There's a lot of uncertainty going on because you can never tell who's on whose side. BUT THAT JUST MAKES IT MARVELOUS. Plus there's an awesome French vibe, FABULOUS characters (as per Sharon Cameron's norm), and a huge dose of wit. AND THE HEROINE HAS A PET FOX. I mean, c'mon, who can resist a fox?! Mind you, I have my complaints about the book. There's a confusing conclusion, TRAGIC BLOW TO MY HEART, and a romance that maaaay not be favorite? But I couldn't bring myself to rate it any lower than I did since the rest of the book was glorious.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23399192-rook


Eep, I loved this! It's such a fun, whimsical read chock full of humor. The world-building is incredible, and I quite adored all the fantastical creatures Peterson created. I didn't love it quite as much as a lot of my friends did, though. I found the characters to be kind of flat (except for Peet--I LOVED HIM), and the story seemed to drag. Those things aside, I adored diving into the world of Aerwiar! ^_^

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1611657.On_the_Edge_of_the_Dark_Sea_of_Darkness

 
Such a delightful story! It felt very fairytale-ish to me, which obviously means it's a winner. The only other retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses I've read is Entwined so it was fun to try another one. It did feel very close to the original tale, in many respects. But there was enough of a difference that I think the author could pull it off. The characters were all wonderful! (Galen especially. Who doesn't love a knitting gardener?) I thought the setting was interesting, and the writing style, simplistic as it was, seemed to work well for this type of book. The only thing I really didn't like was the pacing. It seemed like it dragged for the majority of the book before the author realized her mistake and sped it up too quickly at the end. I dunno. The conflict seemed very easily resolved at the end. But overall, I did really like it!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3697927-princess-of-the-midnight-ball?ac=1&from_search=true
 
 
 

Movies

 

Literally just one movie. XD (That is, unless I watched another one and forgot to write it down in my journal where I keep track of them. #probably) Most of my time was spent watching the Olympics so I didn't really watch any additional TV.
 
~ Soul Surfer (2011): I've seen this before, but it seemed an appropriate movie with which to end the summer. It's such an inspirational film, and I honestly cry every time. #notevensorry I leave the movie feeling inspired each time I watch it. ^_^
 
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/234890936785024444/
 

Music

 
~ I just recently discovered Urban Rescue. And let me tell you, their music is INCREDIBLE. There's a lot of meaning behind the words, and I genuinely cannot think of a single song of theirs that I don't love. They're actually associated with Rend Collective (another favorite Christian group of mine) so you know they're going to pour a lot of thought into what they create. I got their album Wild Heart for my birthday and have been listening to it incessantly. Two of my favorites are this one and this one, though it's difficult to limit myself to just two.
 
~ It made my Middle-earth loving heart sooo happy to receive two Hobbit soundtracks for my birthday! So naturally, I had to listen to this track on repeat. <333 IT JUST MAKES ME FEEL SO WARM AND COZY. It also makes me want to rewatch the movie for the thousandth time. XP
 
 
~ This may sound odd to you guys, but I actually love listening to music in French. I found a great Christian radio station from France online where they play a lot of contemporary Christian music. I've done two years of French and am currently doing my third, so fortunately this counts as studying. XD I especially love it when they play music by Hillsong. Like this one, for instance. Even if you don't know any French, it's still lovely to listen to. (And you can look up the lyrics to the English version because that's great, too.)
 
~ SO BEAUTIFUL. Just...watch this. Evynne and Peter Hollens always produce the most beautiful covers.
 
 

Randomosities

 
(Mostly just snapshots from the month because that's how I roll.)
 
 
 
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Bonus pictures that didn't make it into my post. ;)
I just took (as in fifteen minutes ago) a bunch of photos of my birthday gifts. I was in a time crunch so I didn't stage a nice photo shoot or edit the photos or anything. You've been warned. ;) If you want a full birthday haul, let me know and I'll see what I can do.
 
I got a Sting letter opener! I'm sooo obsessed with it right now. XD

All my Tsum Tsums! The two on top are my new ones.
My R2-D2 backpack! IT'S SO CUTE.
I got a Jane Austen quote mug, and yes, it's droolworthy.
I still haven't found a proper use for it because
I don't really want to drink out of it. XD
 
I also got an annotated copy of Northanger Abbey. It's one
of my favorite books so I can't wait to read all
the bonus material. :D
Alllll the books. ^_^
 
Finally, my Alice in Wonderland watch! EEP, IT'S
SO COOL.
Well, there it is. My month of August in full. SORRY THIS POST IS SO LATE. D:

 

Now then. Here come the questions. *cue groans* How was your August? Are you looking forward to fall like I am? Also, what is your opinion on coffee? (This is pertinent because I got a mug for my birthday. *nods emphatically*)


P.S. I've just been informed that it's National Buy a Book Day! SO GO. BUY A BOOK.