Sunday, June 18, 2017

I Think It's Time...

Life has been crazy. I have felt myself getting busier and busier (frankly, I'm convinced that time itself is shrinking. It's sneaky like that.), but I haven't really felt busy enough to do anything about it. Being an author has always been my goal in life, no matter what other careers I may need to take on to support myself. Books and writing is passion, and honestly, I could talk about it for hours (and I'm sure I have).
But:

As my To-Do list grows, my writing time shrinks. I have loved blogging, and it has helped me grow in my writing skills immensely. I've known that I wouldn't always be able to blog, but I didn't think it would be so soon.
The future of An Odd Blog: Until further notice, I will not be posting anymore. I might write the occasional post if I have time, but that will probably be few and far between. Depending on how this summer goes, I might change my mind and return in the fall.
It's not you, it's me. We can still be friends. 

I really have no definite answer on what's going to happen, but for now: I am taking a break (that could turn permanent, or maybe not???)

Have a great summer!
Toodlepip

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My Trip to Hawaii| Almost Dying and FOOD + the Ocean Slapped Me??

I like to think that the laws of the universe don't apply to me. I can get 2 days of work done in 2 hours (as well as 2 hours of work done in 2 days), I eat when I'm not hungry, and I run slower than the average turtle. Within the past week, the universe has clearly become upset that I am able to dodge its logic, and has decided to slap me upside the head with one law that I can't seem to outwit.
Time waits for no man (or woman. Or bookdragon.). 

 Despite the angry letters and numerous complaints filed, Time does not seem to be listening to me. In fact, it seems to be plugging its ears and doing a little dance, pretending to not hear me. Frankly, it's inconsiderate. Since Time has begun to laugh at me, I have fallen a tad behind: on editing, blogging, my school. Uhg. 

Though I suppose that Time can't be blamed for all of it. There was the matter of me leaving the world for a week at the end of May. 

"What trip?" you say. 

Why, thank you for asking. How unexpected. In my Favorites post, I mentioned that I had just returned from Hawaii, and y'all seemed to have a few questions. I am here to answer those questions.

Jerry came along, too.
      1. What island did I go to?
Obviously, I went to the best island of them all (yes I know I've only been to one, hush): Kauai, the garden island. I assumed that it would be more like the big island (which I have seen pictures of. It is much more developed), but FUN FACT: over half of the island isn't even accessible by car. Whenever we would drive to our next adventure, I would just be watching out the window, absolutely breathtaken (breathtooken?) by the scenery. I can't even describe it well enough to do it justice (and I'm a writer, for goodness sake). Another fun fact (that lowkey blew my mind): Mighty Joe Young was filmed on Kauai, and it's kind of my favorite movie, so I was for sure freAKING OUT. Yeah, I know a lot of other movies were filmed there, but whatevs, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG. On the first day that we got there (before I read that fact about Mighty Joe Young), I journaled:
"Every piece of scenery right out of Mighty Joe Young". 
What can I say, I know that movie like my favorite book (not that I have a favorite book. I love all of my children equally).

2. What did I do?
Ha, what didn't I do?

  • We went kayaking + a short hike to a waterfall.
  • Played at the beach a lot.
  • Explored the small town we were staying in.
  • Snorkeled 3 times (which was incredible. I saw in total: 3 turtles, I lost track of how many sea urchins, bright purple coral, and GIANT fish)
  • Went on a boat tour on the Napali coast. It was a small boat, therefore we were able to go into 3 caves (which were all stunning, though I was lowkey expecting the Kraken to rise up and eat us like a potato chip) and go under a waterfall (which was probably the coldest .8 seconds of my life).We saw the opening shot of Jurassic Park, where they filmed part of POTC4, and DOLPHINS!! Y'all, dolphins were literally under and beside our boat. 
  • Went to a few farmer's markets and bought all kinds of crazy fruit (like the mangosteen. NEW FAVORITE FRUIT)
Because of my family's peculiar diet restrictions, we were expecting to not be able to find a lot of places to eat, but surprisingly, it was easy! The food was incredible. We ate out once a day, and ohhhh, I died just about every time we ate (food is one of the main things I look forward to when vacationing).


3. What was my favorite part?
The landscape, handsdown. As much as I loved all the amazing activities that we did, they all centered around the landscape! Everywhere we went: lil chicks were rushing after their mommas, trees were blooming with the most beautiful flowers, palm trees were laden with coconuts about to fall, and the beach absolutely beautiful no matter where we were. EVEN THE RAIN WAS AMAZING.

Plus everyone was so sweet (except for one woman we met. She was horrible. Not going to name any names, but she knows who she is.).
The picture doesn't even do it justice.
4. What was my least favorite part?
I did not love the moment that I almOST DIED. True story. The third time we snorkeled was very frightening. My sister and I (shoutout to you, boo) went out onto part of the reef, and we were pretty far out before we realized that the water was much too shallow in that area. I could reach down and touch the reef, not to mention the coral that jutted up from it. She actually had the misfortune of hitting her knee on some of the coral, and it was swollen for a couple days.
Despite it probably not being that dangerous, I was having a lil panic attack under the waves (and I still had on my snorkel mask, so my panicking sounded like a seal choking on jello). I couldn't just stand because
  1. have you ever tried standing in flippers when the ground is less than a foot from your stomach?
  2. HAVE YOU TRIED STANDING IN FLIPPERS???
  3. I think it should be an Olympic sport, the true test of skill.
  4. Also, I didn't want to stand on the reef and ruin any tiny fishy homes. I mean, how do I know that I won't be harming Nemo??
Until I came along with my flippers...
My first instinct was to answer: sunburn, but even that gave me the illusion of some color for a short amount of time. I don't know if I have told y'all this, but I look like an albino vampire. 

Me to me.
Another blessing in disguise (read as: at the time I was almost in tears, but everything is okay now) was when the ocean straight up slapped me, and I lost my glasses. I was playing in the waves (and the water was only up to my waist, so I thought I was fine, but NO. Clearly nature hates me) and out of nowhere, a giant wave came crashing down on me, sweeping my glasses away. Thankfully we were able to get an appointment at Costco the very next day, and I got contacts. The blessing part is because I wouldn't have been able to snorkel or wear sunglasses if I had continued to wear glasses (my lil eyeballs would have fried). And the disguise part is because I wasn't wearing glasses anymore, so I looked different. 


5. Was it as great as I was imaging?
It was indescribably amazing. I journaled the whole trip in exhausting detail, and I have already reread it many times. I know it's just Hawaii, and it's very popular, but I gained a lot of new knowledge about the world (who knew leaving my cave could be so amazing?).

Though I gotta say, I do not love flying in the middle of the night. I cannot sleep on planes (which is something else I learned. It was a rough lesson), though the sunrise above the clouds was like something out of a Cotton Candy Monster's dream. 

BONUS QUESTION: Did I read any of the books that I brought, confident that I would catch up to my goal? 
That's a funny question. Of course I did. I wouldn't just bring books if I wasn't going to read them. That would be ridiculous. 


What's your favorite vacation that you've been on? Have you ever been to Hawaii (or more specifically: the best island of them all?)? What's your favorite fruit? Do you enjoy eating as much as I do? Jk, that would be impossible. 
Toodlepip

Saturday, June 10, 2017

My Fav Beauty and the Beast Retellings| Disney Hypnotized Me + The Phantom Needs Flirting Tips

Who doesn't love a good fairytale? Okay, maybe a few people, but anyone with a functioning brain and sense of decency can at least agree that fairytales are enjoyable to most of the population (why do you think Disney rules the world?).

One fairytale has seemed to stand the test of time, persevering through the ages. Beauty and the Beast has long been the favorite of the world (OR AT LEAST IN MY WORLD, OKAY?), and they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so many writers of books and screenplays and obscure, low budget movies have taken it upon themselves to rework the tale as old as time with some new, exciting twist (that usually isn't very twisty or exciting).

Too many Beauty and the Beast adaptations focus on the romantic aspect of things: whether that means making their relationship more innocent, more adult, or even cranking up the sexy-times all the way to 10. WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK? Do you not see the entire magical castle? Amazing gardens? There is plenty of opportunity to get up to all sorts of shenanigans other than romantic ones. Because goodness gracious, Belle, there is a library that you're ignoring as you stare into the Beast's eyes. This is unacceptable.
But, luckily, I am here for you with a few of my favorite adaptations (no, this post has nothing to do with the live-action Beauty and the Beast that came out earlier this year + I'm definitely not going to review said movie).

Books

Image result for sisters grimmImage result for as old as time book

The Phantom of the Opera (I chose this cover because I find it hilarious. Erik is trying to impress a girl, so he thinks "Ah yes, how better to win her heart than dress up as a creepy skeleton in a bright red suit and matching sombrero?"): I don't think this is technically a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (wow, what a great way to start things off), but I've never been able to separate it from the tale as old as time (even though *spoiler* everything is tragic and it doesn't end well for Erik). I mean, disfigured man trying to win the love of a fair maiden by showing her his awesome house?? Can you get any more Beauty and the Beast? I don't think so. Erik is a socially awkward ball of trauma trying to win someone's heart in the dorkiest and creepiest ways possible, because taking her to the dungeon on the first date doesn't scream psychopath. 

The Everafter War: This one focuses on Beauty and her Beast very briefly. The Sisters Grimm series is all about a bunch of fairytale characters stuck in a modern-day town (like Once Upon a Time but the Sisters Grimm did it first), and we see our beloved Beauty and the Beast cross their paths occasionally. In this adaptation, they are married and have a really great relationship. Everything has worked out, and they have a good life. The series itself is a fantastic adaptation of all our favorite fairytale characters (as well as quite a few that aren't usually considered fairytales, but they're goshdarn fantastic). You should definitely go read it right now. ASAP.

As Old As Time: Y'ALL, THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. Not the Raven Boys level of amazing (I don't know if anything can be), but still pretty great. It took the animated Disney movie and built upon it so much more, giving it backstory and a different ending (WHICH I WAS VERY PLEASED WITH. #unconventionalhappyending). I actually have had the theory that it was Belle's mother that enchanted the Beast, and it was very nice to see it unfold before my eyes. I won't say much more because I don't want to spoil anything (but I will link to my Goodreads review. You're welcome)
Image result for It's a good book gif
Me after finishing As Old As Time
Movies
Image result for disney beauty and the beastIt's not surprising that the Disney animated version made its way into my list (actually, I don't remember adding it. How did it get on here? Guys I think Disney hypnotized me). I am an intense Disney fan (at least, I think I am?? I don't know anything anymore). Beauty and the Beast is a cartoon that I can confidently say appeals to basically any generation. It is something that will never go out of style (kind of like me), and that I will always love (once again: ME). Anything with singing and dancing cutlery is good enough for me, even if I do think that Belle was very foolish to pay any attention to the Beast at all.
She could have spent all the time she danced with him reADING A BOOK. Then again, she couldn't have broken the curse by reading a book, so this is why I am not Belle. 

Image result for penelope moviePenelope was a movie that took me by surprise. It is really sweet (it's almost sickening, it's so adorable). It has lots of things going for it.
  • Curses (duh. It wouldn't be a proper story without a good curse)
  • A shaggy James Mcavoy that desperately needs a haircut (pshh, who cares about plot when the romantic interest won't get A SIMPLE HAIRCUT. Good glory, what kind of world do we live in these days)
  • Reese Witherspoon makes an appearance as a motorcycle riding chick who drags our main character out of her shell. 
  • MAGIC
  • Playing instruments very badly (I can relate)
Do prepare yourself for a lot of shameless flirting (I repeat, it's almost sickening. Then again, I do have the attitude of an 80 yr old man). I love the fact that it is definitely a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but it's not in your face about it at every turn. 


Totally Legit Survey: A lot of folks disliked the live action remake. A lot of folks loved it. A lot of folks didn't have an opinion and asked me to stop talking to them. 
No matter your opinion you have to admit that it's at the very least a little bit magical. I personally have adopted the belief that it was thoroughly enchanting, and Emma Watson was fantastic as Belle, and I could not be happier with this movie. I am very glad that they added to the story in little ways, wrapping up loose ends such as: 
  • Belle's mother.
  • Why everyone forgot about the giant castle within the mysterious forest. 
  • FRANCE FRANCE FRANCE. Y'all, I love the France in this movie. It's just some really good France. That wasn't even a question I had, I just thought I would let you know.
  • How are Belle and her father paying for their food?
  • Why is there a bookstore in a town where no one reads (except for that one special snowflake. You go special snowflake)?
I don't think it is nearly as magical as Cinderella (2015), but it was quite marvelous as adaptations go. But that's just one folk's opinion. 

What's your favorite fairytale adaptation? What's something you would want to see from a B&B story? Do you think that the Phantom of the Opera is close enough to be considered Beauty and the Beast-esque?? Is there an obscure fairytale you love? I love the fairytale where the bookdragon finds the giant library and spends the rest of her days curled up in an armchair with no interruption and a cup of tea. 

Toodlepip

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dystopian Mini-Reviews Pt 2| Among the Hidden, Blood Red Road, and City of Ember

Sup. It's 1:30 am, and I am dead tired but cannot fall asleep (still stuck on island time), so here I am, giving you my undivided, half-asleep attention.

You're welcome.

Who likes reading? Y'all better have raised your hands. And who likes reading well-written books that don't make you want to cause the apocalypse just to spite the world that was awful enough to contain such books? (I can only hope that all my dear readers raised their hands solemnly and said "Aye". If not, then I am upset that you do not see the situation with the same gravity that I do) 

Apparently some authors have decided to cheat the world of the threat of the apocalypse by making it about as fearful as a plushie unicorn in a cartoon.

Thankfully these are not those books. These are books that made me look at the Dystopian genre with a refreshed hope for the future of humanity (not that the dystopian futures were any less bleak, but they had more variety in their oppression, so that's something to look forward to). They all have something in common. Every single one of these I found by accident whilst perusing the magical isles of my local library (I once got lost in there for 3 years. In fact, I am half-way convinced that I am still lost).


Image result for among the hidden
Among the Hidden by Margaret Haddix
Luke has never been to school. He's never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend's house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend.
Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He's lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family's farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.
Then, one day Luke sees a girl's face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he's met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows -- does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? 

My favorite thing about this book is how un-Dystopian it felt. Yes, the big bad government is coming to get everyone, but the way it is told is through the eyes of a child -- simpler, relatable, and none of them have any special skills. In fact, I'm sure that if they were given half a chance, they would all be lying on the couch eating potato chips (honestly, same) and watching Tom and Jerry reruns (for those of you who don't know Tom and Jerry, it is about a psychotic cat desperately trying to murder an innocent mouse by any means possible).

Why y'all should read it (also known as a Pro):
  • This features children who act their age, but are also rational human beings.
  • THANK GOODNESS.
  • I would like to see more characters that act their age, and don't make reeeeally stupid decisions (because clearly I can't relate to making stupid decisions. I am perf)
  • Kids helping kids.
  • Boarding schools full of secrecy and betrayal.
  • I'm pretty sure there's a few secret entrances here and there.
  • A lavish party that is complete with a chandelier (The Phantom is thrilled)!
  • You might very well be preparing for the future as we know it. Could you imagine?
  • OMG WAIT
  • I'M A THIRD CHILD
  • OH NO
  • I need to prepare.
  • Ahem, excuse me. I need to pack some things and learn how to defend against threats besides a small toddler (and even then it's a little dodgy)
We must prepare.
Why y'all might not want to read it (also known as a Con):
  • Because while it is a great dystopian book, it isn't the greatest book of all time. You could be spending your time reading, say: Winnie-the-Pooh or Six of Crows! But we're here to talk dystopian, so...
  • It is middle-grade, so if you're looking for a book to stimulate your mind and present new topics to think over extensively with the greatest philosophers, then you should probs look elsewhere.
  • But if you want to read a fun book about children running for their lives, then this is it.
  • I can't remember anything really wrong with this book.
  • I hope that's a good sign. Who knows.
Image result for blood red road book
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba's world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the outside world, Saba discovers she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba's unrelenting search for Lugh stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

This was one of my first introductions to YA dystopia, and I could not be happier. I adore that it's not defined by the fact that it's dystopian. When I read it, I didn't even know it was technically dystopian until I saw it under that category on Goodreads.

Why y'all might want to read it (also known was a Pro):
  • There aren't any dialogue tags and everything is spelled exactly the way it is said. I AM PLEASED. During the first chapter I was extremely confused and unsure what book I had just opened, but then after I got in the groove of the style, I immediately sold my right hand to keep reading (yes, I am typing this one handed. It is extremely difficult and slow. This one post alone has taken me three years)
  • SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS THAT AREN'T FULL OF TEEN ANGST.
  • A girl gang called the Free Hawks that's about fighting things. SOAR HIGH, precious girl gang, soar high.
  • Cage-fighting and other fun ruthless things.
  • Btw, the heroine is tough as nails and pretty deadly (though not your typical "dystopian heroine dressed in black and emotional issues" tough)
  • It's so marvelously intricate, and every detail is important. The author didn't throw in a bunch of random, useless facts to confuse the reader (*glares at Les Miserables* We don't need the life history of a random candlemaker...)
  • The story builds on itself and unfolds like a gorgeous flaky pastry rising in the oven.
  • The characters are like icing on the already fantastic cake.
  • And the story didn't end perfectly tied up in a little bow like a box of macaroons (can you tell I'm hungry right now?). 
  • And it's apparently being made into a movie??? So you can read it before it's known by the masses. When you're standing in line to buy a ticket, you can scoff at everyone else and say: "I read it before it was cool."


Why y'all might not want to read this (also known as a Con):
  • Because the book was told in first person and slang, the imagery isn't exactly dazzling. I don't know about you, but I don't exactly go around describing everything I see in my head.
  • As much as I love the Classic Western influences, there are quite a few cliches that kind of stare you in the face.
  • I didn't think that the romance was well done. It kind of popped up with no real purpose (which is actually a big pet peeve of mine, but we'll ignore that)
It's a refreshing dystopian that isn't all about the big bad government and isn't in the usual setting either, so frankly, it's already winning.

Image result for The city of ember
The City of Ember by Jeanne DeProu
Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked…but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all—the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness…
But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them?


I was always a little in awe of this book. It takes a concept that sounds so simple and changes it into something that is fresh and engaging. This is how dystopian is done.

Why y'all might want to read it (also known as Pros):
  • CANNED PEACHES.
  • That is honestly the main thing I remember: being so incredibly hungry for canned peaches (in fact, just talking about it is making me a tad peckish).
  • I love the two main characters. They're both so sweet (and frankly, I used to have a bit of a thing for Doon. That boy was Little Me's 12 yr old dream).
  • The writing is very emotional. You can feel exactly what the atmosphere is like. Every time there is a blackout, that very same panic ripples through the reader.
  • GIANT RODENTS TERRORIZING TUNNELS. I always wanted to make friends with the giant rodents. If I lived in Ember, I would be dead in a hot minute.
  • Lina's lil sis is an adorable plot device. I am okay with her being a blatant plot device because she's just so gosh darn squishable.
  • This entire story is just one giant metaphor about society and the human spirit. 
  • I am told by a reliable source that there are more books that vaguely fit together to create a coherent series that continues to be delightful. 
Why y'all might not want to read it (also known as a Con):
  • It is written for a very specific target age, and the writing is definitely middle-grade. 
  • There were times where I did find myself stifling a yawn and beginning to nod off. There were a few sentences that should have been vetoed, and maybe a few paragraphs that could have been saved for the super special extended version ("limited edition version with three whole new pages. Yours for only $50 more than the original price!" I feel like they could really make some money off of that).
  • The characters can be kind of naive at times, which can be a tad annoying if you see the correct decision to make. Obviously they should listen to you, but for some reason, they dON'T. It's preposterous. 
City of Ember has earned a permanent place on my shelf. It is sweet, well-formed, and OMG, FULL OF CANNED PEACHES. Y'all, we need to start a petition for all books to contain at least 36% food appreciation. Maybe 50%. Aw, heck, why not just start reading cookbooks instead?? That's a better idea.

Have you read any of these? Are you going to be reading any cookbooks with me? Do you like canned peaches? Would you try to make friends with a giant rodent? (please tell me I am not the only one with questionable judgement)  Are you the third child in your family? Or would the goverment spare you from their wrath (you lucky duck)?
Toodlepip

Thursday, June 1, 2017

May Favorites 2017| I Am a Sea-Witch and How I Want To Die + IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

This has been a really full month. Lots happening. Can barely remember any of it.

Quick Overview
  • I started working out basically every day. At first it was because I wanted to get stronger, so I huffed and puffed through it, fighting the urge to lie on the floor and eat corn chips, but then after a couple days of it, I realized that I actually looked forward to working out! I know, I never thought that I would be one of those people. Yikes. 
  • My sister left to California for almost a week, and I had a bit of a crisis (as one does) about the fact that we're all getting so old! She's not old enough to be on a plane by herself, but she went anyway. Pshh, rebellious teenagers (just kidding, she's technically an adult now. WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN??)
  • I finished Algebra 1. I AM FREE. Now all I have to do is take a test that shows: Yes, I do know math well enough to function as a proper human being (haha, I have them all fooled)
  • My mother and I went on a mini-road trip. We stayed with family friends for three nights and then drove around the area, stopping in various chocolate shops (we have a problem) and bookstores. 
  • WE HAD A LIGHTNING STORM. Which is my favorite weather. It's right up there with snow. It poured sheets of rain, flashes of crisp white lightning cracking across the sky. I LOVE LIGHTNING.
Not that kind of "Lightning". 
  • I was able to hold the kittens again that I mentioned in my previous Favorites post. They were much more playful, and they loved the rips in my jeans. I have the scars to prove it.
Stay tuned 'til the end of this post for an exciting announcement! (or if you're a curious cat like me, you'll probably just skip to the end)  

book
Image result for red sister book

I only give this three stars, even though it is full of things that I love (deadly females, female friendships, deadly female friendships). I am left a confused puddle of conflicted feelings because I know that technically there were many things that I didn't like, but also I KIND OF LOVED IT! But I also know there were things that I yawned at, maybe it could have been a couple chapters shorter in the middle??

song
Reckless Love
OMG, I have cried so much listening to this song. It couldn't have come at a more perfect time (surprise, surprise). I have been lowkey obsessed with all of Steffany Gretzinger's music. She sings so effortlessly. Can I have a good singing voice? I'll do anything it takes (even if that means becoming a sea witch and stealing some lovesick mermaid's voice).


tea
You know, I thought that I would run out of tea to talk about, BUT NO. This month we got a lovely new flavor of tea that is perfect as an iced tea. Blueberry tea. I adore it very much.
  • Despite the name, it's a lovely shade of purple, which is a royal color (it knows me for the queen I am)
  • It tastes very much like its namesake. 
  • It quenches my thirst whilst I endure the blazing sun of a Northwest mid-spring.
  • You know, the 75 degrees that reduce me to a melted popsicle. 
  • OMG I CAN NEVER LEAVE WASHINGTON. There are temperatures higher than 75??
  • I would melt!!
As you all know, my preferred way to die would be: drown in a pool of tea, and I think that now I would choose blueberry as my prefered flavor.

blog post
The post.
I don't mean to be braggy, but I LOVE THIS POST. I had so much fun writing it, and I think it turned out great (if you agree, feel free to express your congratulations on a fab post by sending me nonperishable baked goods, like a twinkie. Those things last forever, right?). I have already read one of the books on that list, and it's not even summer yet (which means I have my life together and can add more books to my goal this year, right? That's not delusional at all.)!
movie

I didn't watch any movies this month! I know, I'm shocked, too. Though I have started rewatching Doctor Who cuz I'm a nerd, and I love that show. What's new? 

novel aka what I've been pouring my soul into
I've been editing Behind the Glass, and if you read my Beautiful People post, you know that I have been growing weary of the mess that is STILL my novel. I know it's getting better little by little, but it sure is taking a while. They say slow and steady wins the race, but I think the rabbit was onto something: over self-confidence and napping.


I've been trying to focus on making my fantasy world not a carbon copy of England during the middle-ages (because we all know there is nothing more boring).

faith
This month has been huge for me. I've known that God's love is perfect and that He doesn't give up on us, but only this month have I seen how overwhelming and wild God's love for us is. 

"He loves us now just as much as the moment He died on the cross for us."
It's been awesome to feel how passionate God is about us. I will never get over the fact that He knows us and still wants us.

Alright, y'all, now for the announcement:

I just got back from Hawaii!!

It was my first time going off of the mainland, and it was such an amazing trip. You can expect a post about it soon (notice how I am not giving a specific date?)

How was your month? What have you been reading/listening to/learning? Have you seen any good movies? Do you like tea? (if you say no, there is a 73% chance that I will show up at your house and help you see the truth) 

Toodlepip

Saturday, May 27, 2017

I've Been Tagged| Books I Hate, Giving Away Books???, and Books I Want To Eat

Y'all, I have the best bloggy frens. They tag me, and they comments the nicest things, and I just really appreciate them (you're probably one of them!!!!)

Olivia at Meanwhile, In Rivendell tagged me for a nameless tag. I can't find the name for it anywhere (I think it's a government conspiracy, though I don't know what they would be trying to accomplish. If you have any ideas, contact me by an untraceable messenger. We can't be too careful), but that won't stop me. Mainly because the tag is very bookish, and it is a truth universally acknowledged that I cannot resist bookish tags.



What book has been on your shelf the longest?
Image result for the pickle song book

The Pickle Song will always hold a special place in my heart as one of the first books to capture my undying love. Clearly, this is a fantastic book. There are only a few things that I remember about it.
  • Arlo Guthrie songs.
  • A strong female friendship that crosses prejudice. 
  • Overcoming fear.
  • Snoring grandmothers.
  • And ART!! There is much art.
What is your current read, your last read, and the book you'll read next?
Current Read: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. I AM FINALLY READING THIS. I think I started the second book a year ago and did not understand a word since I had unknowingly come in partway through (which I do not recommend. It's kind of like trying to ride a wheelless bicycle: pointless and frustrating for everyone involved)


I agree. Also I'm pretty sure that "rain" is actually all the tears I cried when trying to understand the sequel. 
Last Read: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. This was a lowkey impulse read. I have so many other books that are overdue, but of course I can't just be responsible, and I have to abandon all hope of returning things on time. Such is my curse. 

Next Read: Wildwood by Colin Meloy. There's something you should know about me: I NEVER buy books that I haven't read. I have to know that I like it enough to reread it before I spend my precious coins, until a couple months ago when I came across Wildwood. I don't know what drew me to it, but I immediately fell in love with the cover and concept. SO I BOUGHT IT. Then it sat on my shelf. I promise I am going to read it next. I promise (oh be quiet, Jerry. I know I said that before, but I mean it this time)


What book did everyone like, but you hated?
Oh boy. I didn't even have to think about this one (though there are many to choose from)



I have read two books in this whole series (there are so many books!!!), and it was difficult. I kept telling myself it would get better. I do not like the "brooding-lonely-assassin-who-is-also-super-pretty-and-attracts-all-the-guys-despite-her-dangerous-past" character. Maybe I was just being a stubborn hipster who was grumpy because everyone liked it so much, but I also feel like there are some major problems with the series. 

What book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?

Oh no, Honey, I haven't admitted to myself that I am not going to read every book in the universe. It is still my life plan to consume every bit of literature I can get my claws on. In fact, I'm sure my death will somehow be caused by my own love for books ("Hold up, Mr. Murderer, can you pause for a second? It's getting really good.")

What book are you saving for retirement?


Image result for remembrance of things past

The world said "Longest book ever written" and "1,267,069 words". I said: Challenge accepted.

Last page: read it first, or wait 'til the end?
Excuse me? Who are the monsters that read the last page first? THERE'S A REASON IT IS LAST (if you prefer to read the last page first, please do not be offended. I just like to shout at things). I used to read the very last sentence, but then after acquiring a few nasty spoilers, I stopped doing that (BECAUSE IT WAS RUINING MY LIFE AND CAUSING ME PAIN)

Which book character would you switch places with?
You know, there is a famous saying: "The grass is always greener on the other side." That being said, I would trade places with quite a few characters, such as: Wendy Darling (my love for Peter Pan knows no bounds), Lucy Pevensie (NARNIA WAS MADE FOR ME), and Blue Sargent (I would sell my kidney to chill with the Raven Boys). If someone offered me that chance...well.



That being said, I am very happy with my life right now (even if I can't hang out with the Raven Boys), and I adore my whole family. 

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?
Oh boy, the only time I have ever given away a book that I own was a MISTAKE (grandfather, if you are reading this, I apologize). I was a wee lass and had not yet realized the importance of acquiring a hoard of books. It was my grandfather's birthday, and I wanted to give him something so special. So I gave him the only book that I owned: An old copy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Evangeline (yes! It's my name!!! It was because of that fact that I thought it was so special)

I immediately regretted it (once again, sorry Grandpa), and I was so sad that I had given away the only book I owned. But it's okay, I've overcompensated for it with my current book-acquiring issues.  

Used or brand new?
Is this a trick question? Do you know how poor I am?? (Jerry, if you wrote this question trying to poke fun, you are so fired.)

If I could choose, of course I would choose brand new! But I can't even afford water at a Starbucks. And that's free.

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Pride and Prejudice. To be fair, I haven't read the book, but I am assuming that I will not have the patience for all of the sophisticated language and proper grammar (I have the attention span of a two year old)

Have you ever read a book that's made you hungry, cookbooks included?
Image result for winnie the pooh books

Winnie-the-Pooh is my fav. When I was rereading it, I felt myself chanting along with Winnie-the-Pooh, "I'm so rumbly, in my tumbly." I ate a spoonful of honey, and all was well.


Garfield is my spirit animal. I adore him. I also desperately want to try the "Cake-pie-cake". 

Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take?
Myself. 
I take recommendations from others. I am not picky about recommendations. Odds are I will read the book as long as it doesn't have anything obviously wrong with it and contains words. Words are a must.

Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving? 
Image result for red rising

I KNOW! I'm shocked, too. I didn't realize until I finished it just how out of my comfort zone it was. I like sci-fi, but I had never dipped my toe into the grander side of YA. I wasn't accustomed to space operas and grand wars that played out across the skies. ALSO THERE WAS A LOT TO REMEMBER. I am a confused goldfish and therefore have a hard time remembering which characters are important or just random second cousins, like, is that the main character or the lead singer of a Peruvian folk band???



Thanks so much to Olivia for tagging me!
I would tag someone, but I'm pretty sure I've already tagged all the bloggers (and vloggers) I know in my past tags. So I'm going to do that thing where I pretend that I want to be really inclusive with this tag, but in reality, I just don't know a lot of people:
If someone wants to do this, feel free! And be sure to link to your post in the comments!

What is a book that you hate/dislike more than others? Do you have any great book recommendations? Do part with your precious children (I mean books. Just me who calls them "children"?? Cool. cool.) easily? What is your favorite food to consume while you consume words?

Toodlepip

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Summer Reading List Pt. 2| I Am Psychic, Top 10 Tuesdays, and Fetching Stars

Would you look at that? I actually posted the second installment of my summer reading list within the same month! Who is this new me? Apparently this new me is psychic because I accidentally lined up with Top Ten Tuesdays category of "Summer Reads Freebie". Somebody buy me a crystal ball because I have found my calling.
You could gaze into the future...
Welcome to my impromptu Top 10 Tuesdays post. 


Image result for if birds fly back
"If Birds Fly Back"

Why It's Perfect For Summer
  • um
  • do you see that cover? 
  • This is obvious.
  • Also it's about a girl who is fascinated with disappearances (and what better time to disappear than the summer? Sure, it's the height of tourist season in most places, but you just have to have the right guide books)
  • A nerdy boy might make an appearance, and we all know that nerdy boys migrate during the summer, usually in flocks of 15 (or am I thinking about birds?? You know, I am definitely thinking of birds, and not even getting all my facts straight)
  • There are (hopefully) birds, which are summer-y because how else would we be exposed to nature in the summer (pshh, we can't just leave our book-forts. Let's not be silly)?
  • There's a constellation on the cover which suggests STARS. I don't even have a way to connect this to summer, I just really like stars. 

Image result for no turning back the history of feminism
Why It's Perfect For Summer
  • Because what better time to be filled with a feminist rage and start a revolution?
  • I don't know about you, but I don't want the revolution to get in the way of my schoolwork, so I can gather an army over the summer, and then do biology during the fall! 
  • Seriously though, I am very excited to read this, and excitement and summer go hand in hand. 
  • Also, the character on the front looks like a superhero (which was the intended effect, so congrats to whoever drew it), and superheros prefer to work in the summer so they aren't chilly. 
  • It talks about the history and future of feminism, so what I am hearing is that it will be like tIME TRAVEL??? I am 100% on board. 

Stardust
Why It's Perfect For Summer
  • There is a love struck young man who will do anything for his "one true love". Frankly he sounds a little delirious from the heat and should probably focus on something more important, like: school, or reading more books (the books will fix his delirium. Guaranteed)
  • He sets out on a journey (and we all know that journeys are best started in the summer) to fetch a star, which sounds marvelous. 
  • I mean, how does one go about fetching a star?? Is there some sort of guide book? If so, I would like to read it please.
  • OH OH OH, so apparently there is a place called Faerie (you know, like Fairy, but it's with a cool spelling so you know it's legit), and nothing is as it seems. You know, that sounds like an awful lot like a summer I had back when I was a wee lass.
  • There are unexplored lands and mysterious walls, which are most enjoyable when viewed under the blazing hot glare of the summer sun. 
  • Did I mention Neil Gaiman wrote it? So clearly it's going to be a masterpiece. And, Neil Gaiman is related to summer because...his birthday is in fall which is right next to summer (it works, okay? just don't think about it too much)

Image result for the elements of eloquence
Why It's Perfect For Summer
  • The cover is green. The general color of summer is green. #twins
  • also there is a leaf on the cover. 
  • It discusses what makes certain phrases or songs memorable (some of which, I am sure, are summer hits??)
  • Supposedly it's funny, but we'll see about that. I am doubtful when books claim to be funny. If you're so funny, then why do you need to advertise it? 
  • It's like if I was going around saying "I AM A LLAMA". If I am, then I don't need to say anything (if I was a llama, I doubt I could say anything, really), but if I'm not, then I just look ridiculous (then again, I would probably look ridiculous as a llama, so I have nothing to lose here)
  • I love learning new things about writing, and what better time to learn new things than summer?? Maybe fall, or spring, or winter...
Image result for peter pan book
Why It's Perfect For Summer
  • Lost boys.
  • Wendy-birds.
  • Vengeful, jealous fairies.
  • Boys who don't want to grow up.
  • Archery.
  • Nostalgia. 
  • It is perfect. I am so excited to reread it.
  • and then rewatch all of the movie adaptations.
  • Guys, I have a problem. I am lowkey obsessed with Peter Pan. 
  • This book is another "Summer in book form" read, and I, for one, am going to be gobbling it up. 
  • Much like the crocodile. Speaking of which, I want to know more about the crocodile. Such as:
  • where did it come from?
  • where did it go (where'd it come from, Cotton Eye Joe)?
I look forward to reading all of these books and telling everyone about them because we all know I can't keep my opinions to myself (yes, I know it's true, Jerry, but you don't have to nod along). Happy summer, y'all! And I hope your summer is full of the best books (if it isn't, let me know. I have THOUSANDS a few I can recommend)

What's your favorite kind of book to read during summer? Have you read any of these? Have you read Peter Pan? What do you think of it? I personally have an unhealthy obsession, and am doing nothing to change that fact. What's your favorite thing about summer?
Toodlepip

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Beautiful People May 2017| Murder and Soup (which should be the name of a 90's buddy cop comedy)

One of my new year's resolutions this year was to continue to focus on one book until it is completely finished. That means: rewritten, edited, criticised, and tired of. Yes, I said "tired of" (and I know that's not proper grammar, but I already paid the ticket from the grammar police, so...whatcha gonna do).  
I am officially tired of Behind the Glass. If you've been with us here at An Odd Blog for awhile, you by now know that Behind the Glass has been my baby for 4 years. I have written 5 other novels, but my main focus has always been Behind the Glass
I've heard: "oh by the time you've finished your book, you're going to be sick of it, trust me." But I always thought those authors were exaggerating. How could someone ever grow tired of their own masterpiece? 
  • very easily.
  • After the first 5 drafts, it becomes very clear what those authors were saying.
  • And I still have quite a ways to go before I can put it away for good.
  • And then I have the sequel and prequel to rewrite/edit???
  • It has me trapped.
"If you're so tired of it, then why did you choose to blog about it, you cracked walnut." That is a very intelligent question. One that I didn't anticipate at all. I am counting on this month's Beautiful People to solve all of my problems and respark my love for this story (okay, I still love it. It was my first novel, so of course it has a special place in my heart. I would just be willing for it to disappear in a hole and never come back).


Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents? 
Weeeell, not too fab. It's sad because their parents really try, but you know, lies and secrets don't really make for the most stable family environment. It's kind of like making a cookie, but instead of chocolate chips, you put raisins in it; it's a confusing and frustrating time for everyone involved (also someone might get murdered)
How did their parents meet?

Sprig's mother (Anna) was fresh off a pirate ship and sat down for dinner at the royal family's table (that is one of my favorite sentences I have ever written. Also, can that happen to me in real life??). Lo and behold, the heir to the throne was dreamy, as they tend to be in most fiction. Fast-forward to 16 years later and Sprig ended up on that same pirate ship. It's a small world (*resists urge to break into song*)


dangit.
How would they feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”? 
Let's just say that neither party would be thrilled. Sprig's mother has done some...questionable things (including straight up murder, so...) in her past. Clearly she does not want Sprig to follow suit.

What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?
Sprig's mother was teaching a bunch of runaway raggamuffins how to be proper pirates. She taught them how to do many useful things, such as (and yes, this is just a ploy to make another list).
  • Teaching them many useful pirate phrases, like "Avast, ye landlubbers!" and "Walk the plank!"
  • She taught them all how to sword-fight and climb up the rigging like human spider monkeys.
  • She stole them a cannon.
  • and she made them a proper pirate flag with crossbones and everything.
  • Basically everything she taught them, she learned from the Swiss Family Robinson pirates. 
  • bless.
Sprig's father was sitting in on boring "someone please rescue me...or shoot me" political meetings. Yippee.

Is there something they adamantly disagree on?

I doubt Sprig is too thrilled about being lied to for most of her childhood. When she found out her mother's crimes, I would also guess that she wasn't onboard with the whole murder thing. 


Image result for perry the platypus gifs they don't do much

What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?
Keeping secrets, lying, making up an entire history for Sprig's father (they couldn't exactly have told Sprig the truth now, could they? "Have a great day at school, sweetie! Your father is actually an alien who lives on earth now because he came through a mirror. And he is the crown prince. Don't forget your lunchbox!"), and knowing that they were keeping Sprig from her extended family through glass and betrayal (woah, that sounded really dramatic)

What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?
All the nights spent gathered around the kitchen table, Sprig's father reading aloud his stories (he's a writer, which is for sure why he's the best parent).

What was your character like as a baby/toddler?

She was like most toddlers. Curious, whiny, vicious and unforgiving with a memory like an elephant (a tiny, vengeful elephant), and adorable.



Why and how did the parents choose your character’s name?

Haha, there is no "parents" about this part. Sprig's mom chose her name in honor of an aunt who (whom? idk. WHAT IS GRAMMAR?) she adored. Sprig's dad wanted to name her "Clarence" after the scholar who invented soup in Alairia (I would have gone with the dad's choice, personally. What a conversation starter).

And that's it for this month's Beautiful People.

I do feel a bit more inspired to work on Behind the Glass, so my plan worked. I love it when it does that.

How did your parent(s) choose your name? Do you have any lil facts about your characters that you love? Do you like soup? (idk, I'm running out of questions) Uhh, have you ever murdered someone? That's all I got. 

Toodlepip