Thursday, April 27, 2017

This Adventure Ends| Favorite Quote + It Actually Changed My Life

As a Professional Bookdragon (I'm still figuring out how I can get paid for it), I come across all kinds of books and all kinds of stories. It's a grand ol' time. Since I have read many books ("many" is a word which here means "enough to occupy a small moon"), I have become very selective about which books I deem my favorites (I'm also very selective about which books I read. Hehe, shameless promotion of previous post). There a few ways to become a contender for the coveted title of Favorite.

How to Become a Favorite
  • Basically, I have to have an emotional connection with the book that is like:
  • WOAH
  • MY HEART
  • emotion.
  • Almost all of my favorite books are fantasy. 
  • Ooo, I like witty dialogue and shippable characters.
  • I adore Hexad Pertaining To Birds.
  • ehehe, did you see what I did there?
  • Six of Crows?
  • Nevermind, I'm hilarious.
OR
  • Books that challenge or change the way I think about something. 
Which brings me to subject of today's post. Yes, I know, flawless transition (*highfive*).

Image result for this adventure endsThis Adventure Ends changed me. I honestly can't say that about a lot of books. For the most part, I don't like change. I prefer dollar bills (bwaHAHA. That's a knee-slapper). In fact, the entire book itself didn't change me, just one or two sentences that came out of nowhere. I was sitting in my living room, drinking my tea all alone in the dark, and then BAM, life outlook changed. 

What is this oh-so-important, life-altering quote? you ask. 

"We should all find something to weirdly passionate about, don't you think?"  - Her dad, who is the reincarnation of a teenage girl (but, like, in a good way)
That may seem like an oddly inconsequential quote to some, but to me, I kind of just stopped reading and thought "Woah. What wisdom. Such smart." I am not an insecure person (at least I don't think I am. I don't know, what do you think? Do you think I'm too insecure?). I don't apologize for liking things because I know that no matter what I do, someone is going to find something to gripe about.


But: I do find myself trying to tone down my excitement or pretend that I don't love something as much as I do. When I've watched cheesy TV shows or read books that are not loved by all, I've toned down my love for it. 

Storytime: I was watching a TV show that is very dear to my heart, and a relative of mine walked into the room. "Is this Doctor Who?" They asked, wondering if this was indeed the show that I had raved about on many occasions. "Yup." I answered, snuggling deeper into my blanket and grinning as the Doctor grasped his companion's hand and ran to save someone. "Oh. It's a lot different than I was imagining." I sat up, my excitement starting to melt away. "Yeah? What were you expecting?" "I don't know," They shrugged. "Something a bit...better." They began to leave the room, and under their breath I heard them say: "It's stupid!" 

After that, I was careful to let people know how much I loved things. I would search for things wrong with it because that was what was expected of me. What's with that? That's not how things are supposed to be.
I love to love things. I get excited about things, but also I become a deluded pancake and tone down my love for things.

"We should all find something to be weirdly passionate about."

Why can't we be weirdly passionate about things? Why can't we tell others about our love for *something* and not be embarrassed or ashamed that we love it as much as we do? 

As Vincent Van Gogh once said (and yes, I did Google this. I don't just have Vincent Van Gogh quotes memorized. I'm not that smart): The best way to know life is to love many things. My goal for the future is that I will keep the This Adventure Ends quote in my mind because I don't want to pretend that I don't love something.

There are many things that I am weirdly passionate about and after reading This Adventure Ends, I was reminded that I can be as weirdly passionate about anything as I want. I'm glad that I read it because it definately changed me. It has earned itself a spot on the very exclusive list of Favorite.

What's something you're weirdly passionate about? Have you read This Adventure Ends? What is a book that has changed you? Okay, that's all I got. 

Toodlepip

Sunday, April 23, 2017

10 Truths, Two Lies + I REARRANGED MY BOOKSHELF (yes, again. I have no life)

This is kind of a random post, but it's in the middle of Camp NaNo, and I'm a tad braindead. I switched projects, so it is easier, though still not idea. "Ideal" would be lounging on a bed of pillows, eating chocolate, and writing all the first drafts I wanted, but the world is not perfect and the chocolate store blocked my calls.

Not a whole lot of crazy things have happened to me in my life, and I'm pretty sure y'all will be able to figure this out pretty quickly, but let's have a go at it, okay?

10 Truths, 2 Lies
  1. I have a birthmark on my face.
  2. I have never broken a bone.
  3. I have held a tarantula.
  4. I once had an injury that almost blinded me.
  5. I was once mistaken for a boy.
  6. I stole impulsively as a child.
  7. I used to pet bees.
  8. I hit my head and passed out when I was home alone.
  9. I ate a jalapeno on a dare.
  10. I have published something.
  11. I have ziplined over a field of horses.
  12. I have been punched in the mouth. 
Guess in the comments below. Also, fun fact: I used to lie impulsively. Storytime: I told my BFF at the time that I had a previous BFF that had died of cancer. It was really insensitive and mean of me because I actually cried (dang, I sold that story), and she completely believed me.

OH OH OH!! Hold up. I rearranged my bookshelf again and it was super fun. Let's take a look, shall we?
Sry for the pic quality. 
Random Things I Have On My Shelf
First Shelf: (Left to Right) I have two little blocks from when I was a toddler, and the weird stone dorito with an eye and a top hat is Bill from Gravity Falls. And then on the side (you can't really see it), is a Tyranny of Petticoats poster signed by Marissa Meyers (everyone freak out with me!!)

Second Shelf: (Left to Right) A dreamcatcher that I made on the way back from an awesome trip (so it has memories attached instead of dreams). That greenish blob at the base of the yellow section is a fake succulent plant that I named Plantie. #originality And then you see that hedgehog at the top of the stack of books?? well, guess who that is. IT'S JERRY!! Yes, this is my assistant. He is reliable for the most part. I should probably give him a raise (I hope he doesn't read this). The plant that is real is named Edmund (yes, after Edmund Pevensie. Yes, I'm a nerd.).

Third Shelf: (Left to Right) The square of paper that looks like heaven's light is shining through it is a square of paper that V. E. Schwab signed for me (as well as signing two library books. If the police read this, I am going to jail.). And then the triangle paper hat that I made was when I was at a Rick Riordan event for my birthday. The blue pot is full of paper stars because someone (not naming any names here, but it was me) got addicted to making them (Origami is supposed to be a relaxing past time, but how come I get so stressed when I squish one, which is 70% of the time??? If anything, the paper stars are giving me the need for anger management classes)

Fourth Shelf: Just books. Imagine that. What a time to be alive. 

Which two do you think are lies? What is an outrageous lie you've told? What's your favorite way to organize your shelf? Isn't Jerry adorable? I think he's pretty great, though sometimes he's a little prickly (hehe, get it? Cuz he's a hedgehog? Nvm).   Have you met any authors? 

Toodlepip 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Top 10 Tuesday:Things That Will Make Me Want To Read A Book (I know ya'll were dying to know)

As a literary connoisseur, I find myself choosing to read only the finest books (oh stop laughing, Jerry. Go stand in the corner until you can be professional). I am a very busy human with important things to do (I mean it, Jerry). My precious time cannot be wasted on a book that does not meet my high standards.
What are these high standards, you ask? What a coincidence, Top 10 Tuesdays was wondering the same thing (also this is my first Top 10 Tuesday thingie, so go me). I have a list of my standards. This list has been refined over years of consuming the highest quality literature.


1. "You're pretty. I like you." aka I am a shallow bookdragon. 
I like to think of myself as a kind, understanding person who knows that there are more important things than looks, but put me in a bookstore and BOOM, beauty is all that matters. I'll find a book that is universally hated by all, and a classic that is beloved by many, but I am a delusional hamster who has no sense, so which do I choose? The one with the prettier cover.

Me: Okay, Brain, which do we choose?
Brain: Obviously the one with a compelling story, developed characters, and breathtaking world-building.
Me: That's a good plan. We will-- wait. Do you see this?
Brain: Not again.
Me: The other book has stars on the cover. And sparkles.
Brain: Do not do this.
Me: I like stars and sparkles.
Brain: Stop.
Me: *pulls out wallet*

Duh. How else would I choose?
Me in a bookstore 100%
2. Description aka everyone should read Furthermore.
You have found me out. This entire post was just a ruse to get you to read Furthermore. I'm still speechless about the beauty of that book. It is smooth and soft and--what was the point of this? Oh yeah. If a book is like Furthermore in any way, there is a 100% chance that I will read it. I adore books that are beautiful to read.


3. Independent-women-who-don't-need-a-man aka my feminist agenda.
Literally, any book that features a strong heroine (who is actually strong!! The definition of strong is not "looks good in all black and is super sarcastic") is the greatest. I love seeing females (and for that matter, males too) who are emotionally strong and have their own interests and personalities. One of my favorite quotes is "Be who you're going to be and own it." When I see a character that embodies that quote, the book becomes 37% better.
Image result for own it gif
Raven has all the answers. 
4. Dragons aka my brethren. 
I feel like I don't even need to expand on this point. Any dragons. At all. If I see a dragon on the cover, in the description, or as the main character, I will read it. I would read it even if it was a Twilight retelling but with a dragon instead of a vampire (now that I think about it, I would totally read that. Someone write that please)
Let's replace everything with dragons!!!
  • Librarians would be so much better as scaled beasts that have a book-hoard, and do not part with it lightly. There are no overdue fees, only the threat of being barbecued. A+ system.
  • Gas attendants would rock if they drank gas and breathed fire. 
  • All grandmothers would be 100% cooler (sorry grandma, I still love you) if they were secretly old, wise dragons who crushed thousands of pompous knights.
  • Tortured dragon artists that painted their sorrows in the blood of those who crossed them.
  • In fact, even writers would be better as dragons (I know we're already powerful, magical beings, but dragons breathe fire)

5. Romance aka I will ship all the things. I have no chill. If it breathes, I ships. 
I have a problem. The first step is admitting it. The second step is finding books that satisfy my shipper heart. BUT IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE: I am a cantankerous old man who is very picky. It has to have enough romance to satisfy me, but not to the point where it overpowers the plot or is annoying. The characters should ideally find each other annoying at first, but IT CAN'T BE CLICHE. But I also want all the cliche. Do you see my problem? Maybe I like fictional relationships to make up for the lack of relationships in my life (it just got real)Bonus: Fictional relationships take much less work.
Image result for gravity falls gif we don't do much

6. BOOKS aka bookception.
You know what's better than reading books? Reading a book about a book. Or even better, reading a book about a book about a book (it's confusing I know, but try to keep up). Books that take place in libraries are MY DREAM. Inkheart is my ideal premise: A book about books that come to life, and then another book about going into books. Could it get any better?? I think not.

7. A New Twist On An Old Tale aka classics, but with dragons or space or space dragons. 
I love reading stories of beloved characters, but with a twist of some sort, like Romeo and Juliet but in a dystopian setting (which is coincidentally where one of my favorite book ideas started from). Fairytale retellings are basically the literary equivalent to candy. Give me an activist Cinderella that is speaking out against child abuse, or college student Sleeping Beauty who is having a hard time paying off her student loans and would rather just lay in bed (#relatable). ALL THE RETELLINGS.

8. Characters aka the star of the whole thing. 
If the story sports a cast of fab characters, then no matter how bad the plot is, or how weak the writing is, I will probably read it. Characters spark emotion more than anything else. If a good character takes up arms against something, you better believe I, too, am preparing for war. I have the black clothes and a baseball bat, and I will march at dawn. And, let's be honest, it makes it a lot easier to ship when there's some good options. Also FIGHTING MORTAL ENEMIES is a lot more fun when you're rooting for the main character instead of hoping they die a horrible death.

Image result for you should die gif
To all the horrible characters out there. Sincerely, Me.
9. But Mainly Emotional Connection aka the "F" in INFP stands for FEELING.
I am not a good book reviewer mainly because I judge books based on my emotional connection with them. A book can quite literally be flawless, not a single mistake, but if it doesn't capture my heart, then I throw it into the fire (or maybe just to the side?? I don't want to burn a book. I'm not a monster) and move on to the next book. With every piece of media or entertainment I consume, I want to be able to experience a range of emotion. With a good book, I should go from "Aww"ing to *gasp*ing to sobbing on the floor among my broken dreams.
My best books of 2015
I know I've used this before, but I LOVE IT.
10. I just like stories aka if you shove a book in my direction, odds are I will read it.
I just really love stories. There are books that I have despised, but for the most part, I like most books, and I am excited to read something new. GUYS, I JUST LOVE READING SO MUCH. It's the best. I don't appreciate enough the fact that I get to read so much. Though I should go outside more. Maybe. We'll see. No promises.

Now you, too, can be a connoisseur of fine novels. You're welcome.

What is something that will make you want to read a book? Do you agree with any of my points? Especially the dragon one. I'm starting a petition for every character to be replaced with a dragon. Pls sign. What's your favorite thing about reading? 
Toodlepip

Friday, April 14, 2017

War Games| Camp NaNo Hit Me Over The Head With A Bat + My Book Is The Worst Book Of All The Books

Am I insane? I think I am.

Why else would I enter a word goal into that innocent looking bar on Camp NaNo? Why else would I agree to read and review ARCs? Why else would I sign up to write something for a book that's due the first of May? 

On top of my regular schoolwork -- learning two languages (which might be a little dangerous, learning both at the same time. I could accidentally combine them and then create my own super-language where no one understands me. Then again, *dramatic sigh* no one understands me anyway), trying to get on top of TBR, figure out my career and how to get there, and pursue a photography hobby -- I am trying to journal daily, stay consistent with my Bible studies, and further my skills in piano. 

Image result for can i go back to bed now gif
Me.
But I didn't come here to whine (though, tbh, whining on the internet isn't so bad. I can see why so many people do it. In fact, I'm hungry right now. And cold. And I want to read on my deserted island). I came here to talk about what most of y'all are going through right now (solidarity, sister!): Camp NaNo. 

For Camp NaNo this year, I am rewriting my NaNoWriMo 2015 novel. The only problem is: IT IS A HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE MESS. And I don't mean this in that cute writer way of "My novel is so messy, but also secretly beautiful poetry. Hehe." No, nothing as nice as that. 


Reasons why my novel is just...the worst:
(This post has really evolved. I got on here to tell you the premise of my novel and maybe do a Q&A with my characters, but I guess we're going with the whole theme of whining. Cool.)
  • It exists.
  • Just kidding, I love the idea, but the execution is...(for lack of a better word) blech.
  • I did no world-building which is an absolute no-no for a story that relies so heavily ON THE WORLD. 
  • The story is supposed to be very political and all about the inner workings of this kingdom, but what are politics?? What even is the kingdom? Pshh, I have no idea. 
  • The characters are all over the place. With Behind the Glass (a book that I had been working on for 2 years before I finished the first draft), I got to know my peeps, I lived with them, thought about exactly what they would do in situations. I KNEW THEM LIKE THE THEME SONG OF MY FAVORITE TV SHOW (which I am more than happy to sing on cue. Just ask.). Yet for some reason, with War Games, I insisted on plunging headfirst into a world I knew nothing about. 
  • Speaking of which, the MC lives in a palace (#royallife) which she likes to walk around quite a bit in, but I don't even have the layout of the palace. In one scene she's on the west side of the palace, and then in the next she is in the library, which we all know is located on the north side of the palace (does this mean that teleportation is possible? Maybe. I'm not saying no.)
  • ALSO THE TITLE: War Games, which is definitely the name of a popular movie from the 80s (90s? Whatever, it exists.) that I had not heard of until after I came up with the title for my book (which I thought was the best title of all the titles)
I am keeping up with my word count, and I can see that War Games (I still need a new title for it) is improving, but oh so slowly (and I have very little patience). After Camp NaNo, I think I'm going to give War Games a little space, maybe a few galaxies.It used to be one of my favorite ideas ever, but now I'm itching to write Strange Sights (which is actually amazing and magical and CAN I JUST WRITE IT ALREADY?)

I love challenges and being busy, and I feel like that's really where I am right now: in a season of busyness and challenges, but hey, no one ever got any better when everything was easy. I'm excited to see how I juggle everything, but tbh, I mainly want to read and go back to bed. 

Are you doing Camp NaNo? How's it going? What are some of your tips for balancing everything on your To-Do list (or are you not balancing it? Is it like a cruel teeter-totter?)? What's your favorite way to procrastinate? One of my favorite ways is blogging. 
Toodlepip

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunshine Blogger Tag| Being Healthy (which is the worst), My Favorite Cartoons + THE GREATEST GIF YOU WILL EVER SEE

Camp NaNo has been taking over my life because for every word that I enter into the progress bar, I've written two (I've had to replot each scene as I go), so I'm lucky to find a quick moment to blog. 
Oh my goodness, I feel so popular. I've gotten SO many tags recently (like, three, but shh. Let me have my moment). Florid Sword was a darling and tagged me for the Sunshine Blogger tag. Thanks so much! As I have said a million times (and if you can guess what I'm about to say, you get a cookie), I love being tagged. 

Yes, I reused the picture from the last Sunshine tag. Sue me.

what is your favorite fast food place?
My favorite fast food in the whole wide world is Panda Express. While my sister would ask to go to fancy restaurants for her birthday, I wanted Panda Express for mine. Nothing can beat the cheap, Americanized Chinese food. Bethany (my sister. Also shameless promotion because LOOK AT WHAT SHE DOES. I'm so proud of her). has taken me to Panda Express for my birthday present multiple times, and it has been the best present ever. 
But guess what? I am gluten free, dairy free, sugar free (mostly), and soy free (ish). That means no more favorite food for me. Also, I'm pretty sure Panda Express knows that I've stopped going. The panda mafia is on to me. 
Image result for panda express is life gif
See? They're mean.
if you could learn any foreign language, which would it be?
Right now I am learning Spanish, I'm learning ASL (which I doubt is technically foreign, but whatevs. It's a different language. Or lack thereoff), and I know a little Gaelic. My goal is to be fluent in:
- Spanish
- ASL
- French
- Arabic
I love languages, but I'm also lazy, so you can see my problem. Also I'm learning all of this on my own?? So I have no obligation and can drop any language at any moment. A recipe for success. 

what is your personal favorite animated film of all time?
Why would you ask this? I can't decide. I think I can narrow it down to my two favorites (a word which here means "in about 5 seconds I'm going to think of another favorite, but if I thought through things, we'd be here all day")
Treasure Planet
BEAUTY. 
Treasure Planet has captured my heart in a way that no other cartoon can. LITERALLY, I HAVE NO WORDS (and we all know that doesn't happen often).
Image result for treasure planet gifs captain amelia
I wanted to be her (still do, tbh).
The animation, the characters, the fresh take on Treasure Island: all flawless. It's like the writers sat down and said "Okay, so we're remaking Treasure Island. You know the book with the pirates? So that, but in space." and then the rest of the team is like "Woah, that was revolutionary, Bob. Let's do it." Honestly, I'm fine with that. I would love it if they could take every classic and just add space. 

The Prince of Egypt
Image result for the prince of egypt gifs
LOOK. LOOK HOW AMAZING.
This is the best Bible adaptation I've ever seen (So many get it all wrong. Goodness knows there ain't no sentient rock beings in the Bible. Lookin' right at you Noah. Staring right at you.). Can we just appreciate how amazing Moses' wife is? 
Image result for the prince of egypt gifs
Look at her fighting the patriarchy. Go her. She ain't no one's desert flower. Nu'uh.
would you rather be stranded on a deserted island, Antarctica (with supplies to stay warm), or a rugged mountain?
Do I have to pick? Couldn't I just take my private jet to any of them whenever I feel like it (yes, I own a private jet. It's actually a lot like Wonder Woman's jet. Invisible.)?
Deserted island pros and cons:
  • I'm all alone with my thoughts.
  • I can catch up on my TBR (Though tbh, it might continue to grow. I'm pretty sure it grows on it's own now, guys).
  • If it's a deserted island, I would want it to be sunny and have a beach
  • but that also means really hot, and I melt in anything higher than 70 degrees (fahrenheit, to those who live outside the US. Can you imagine if I was able to survive 70 Celsius? I would be awesome.)
  • (And probably on fire)
Image result for I am on fire gif
Except it would be less superhero-y, and more "I'm dead"

Antarctica pros and cons:

  • OMG SNOW EVERYWHERE. 
  • also ice, but shh, I won't tell if you won't.
  • I would live in an igloo and make friends with the penguins. Yes, that sounds very good.
  • but I might get cold because...you know, ice everywhere. 
  • As long as I have soup and tea, I'm good.
Rugged mountain pros and cons:

  • The rugged mountain is probably closest to the terrain of where I live now, and I would love to have a change of scenery (as long as that change is not deathly cold or blindingly hot), I would love to see a whole new world, shining, shimmering, splendid (dangit, I'm doing Aladdin again, aren't I?). 
  • And if I have the mountain all to myself, then I could build a treehouse in every tree and connect them all by bridges!! 
  • yes.
  • this is a good plan.
In Conclusion: I DON'T KNOW!! I shouldn't be allowed to make decisions, but either the island or Antarctica (because of the penguins, guys, the penguins). 


what is your favorite episode of Star Wars?
Guess.
Image result for the force awakens gifs

Image result for the force awakens gifs
It's just so beautiful...
what is your favorite school subject?
Heh, not math.

Is reading a subject? Or is watching the Office a subject? Because I excel in both. 

if you could spend the rest of your life doing any career you want, what would it be and why?
I would be a writer. That's what I've always wanted to be, and that's what I always will want to do (but how to make money off of it...that's the question)

Writing is my life. In fact, I'm even writing right now, so clearly I am made to be a writer. 

Image result for new girl ummmm gif
This is one of my favorite gifs ever. 
what is your favorite book that no one has ever heard of?
How about one of mine? Or possibly Summer of the Gypsy Moths

Image result for summer of the gypsy moths
This book has a special place in my heart as being COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY BIZARRE. The premise does not prepare you for what is inside. It says that "tragedy strikes", and that phrase combined with the cover tells me that one of them had a boy break up with them or something burns down, but no. TRAGEDY STRIKES. (Caution: spoiler ahead. Highlight the blank space if you would like to see said spoiler) And now they're burying someone beneath the pumpkin patch.  

which do you prefer: spaghetti or Chinese food?
I mean, there's a reason the panda mafia is after me. I was a hardcore Chinese food (excuse me, Americanized Chinese food) fan, but now all I can eat is...kale, and a few carrots. I feel like a rabbit. 

Image result for being healthy gifs

Thanks again Florid Sword for tagging me! Since it's Camp NaNo and most of my brain power has deserted me, I'm going to tag others with these same questions. 

I tag: Hamlette@The Edge of the Precipice
Chloe Linn@Rustling Thoughts
Kate@Story and Dark Chocolate

What's a book you love that no one has heard of? Will anyone move with me to Antarctica? And can you bring a healthy supply of blankets and hot cocoa. Cool, thanks. Is there a language you wish you could learn (or do you know a language)? Not to brag or anything, but I know English really well, so....yeah.

Toodlepip 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Dystopian Mini-Reviews Pt 1.| MY CHILDHOOD + I Kind Of Maybe Abandoned a Book

Something that annoys me to no end (this is how you know it'll be a good post, if it's about something that annoys me. You're welcome) is when the dystopian genre is an actual loaf of white bread: bland, all the same, and (you guessed it) all white. I have found that I like dystopian novels that don't focus on the evil government (okay fine, basically every dystopian novel has an evil government in some form or another BUT THE BOOKS I LIKE ARE UNIQUE, OKAY?). I am here to give you a solution to the "loaf-of-white-bread" problem.
Image result for i have all the answers gif

Fun Fact: I found out, while writing this post, that my brain is an uneducated pancake and did not know the actual definition of Dystopia.

Me: How about this one?
Brain: Um, sorry to break it to you, hon, but this is not dystopian.
Me: *ahem* Dystopia: An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant. 
Brain: But what about the female heroine who can do anything (even take down a whole government) on her own?
Me: No.
Brain: What about the super attractive guys that are vying for her attention?
Me: You need more variety.
Brain: What about the main character being the world's only hope? The fate of the universe has to rest on the shoulders of a teenager. It just has to.

If you have had similar conversations with yourself, then this list is for you.


Note: For the sake of simplicity, we are going to restrict the "Dystopian" criteria to Earth-only. I know, all of those sci-fi dystopians that I am discriminating against... I'm a monster. 

Image result for the unwanteds
The Unwanteds by Lisa Mcmann
When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill. Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination. 

It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called Artimé. There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation. 
But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artim that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate magical battle.


I don't mean to force this series down everyone's throats (just kidding, of course I do. Why wouldn't I? IT'S THE BEST.), but this was the first thing that popped into my brain when I thought of dystopian novels that are NOT formula, and boring, and blech. You should know that I am hugely biased. Please take every word from my mouth as an unabashed promotion of this beautiful series.

Why y'all should read it (also known as a Pro)
  • Let's take a look at the cover. Stone cheetah. 
  • STONE CHEETAH (who happens to be a huge grouch but also will protect children at all costs)
  • While other children were running around reading about scarred wizards and giant animals that should not be giant (exhibit a. spider. exhibit b. SPIDER), I devoured the marvelous world of Artime that is SO MUCH BETTER THAN HARRY POTTER (fight me)
  • Seriously though, The Unwanteds was ma jam. Harry Potter seemed so colorless (and tbh, it still kinda is, but I do love it), and Artime was a world of color and creativity and someone take me there ASAP okay thanks.
  • This series does everything right (I'm sure we could find flaws if we looked in that little shadowed corner there, but NO ONE LOOK THERE). 
  • It's so unique, though I don't know if it's technically dystopian but shhh, I make the rules here. 
  • Character development is A+. And don't even get me started on the beauty of the secondary characters. 
  • The romance is subtle, drawn out, and actually realistic (despite the, you know, magic and stuff). 

Why y'all might not want to read it (also known as a Con):
  • Because you're a silly person?
  • Or, you know, the fact that it is a commitment because there are SEVEN books in the series...
  • There is a lot of different genres mashed up together, so if you get confused easily, then you should approach with caution. 
  • I'm not sure if it's middle-grade or YA, but the writing definitely isn't a perfect unicorn of universal brilliance. It's geared towards a younger audience, and the writing does show that a bit. 
  • The magic isn't as heavily featured as I would like, but I don't know if this is a dealbreaker for you. In an ideal world, the book would be stuffed with magic and wonder and awesome tiny paper dragons!!!



Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry 
Image result for gathering blueIt is a society ruled by savagery and deceit that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for truth, discovering things that will change her life forever.

Image result for ooohh that sounds good gif

This book is odd. I love it, yet I feel really detached from it. If I love something, you better believe that I have a strong emotional connection to it, but in this case, I am a robot (and I am never ever a robot. I am usually a hyperactive five year old who can not formulate a coherent thought, and doesn't know how to use the word "coherent"). I can evaluate what I love about it, determine exactly my feelings on the subject, and state it clearly, when usually my thoughts on books are "I don't know. There was that part in the middle... And then that other part I started crying at. The cover is kinda pretty."

Why y'all should read it:
  • It's nice. 
  • It's not crazy amazing or breathtaking or heart wrenching. It's just really nice.
  • Apparently it's a Giver companion novel? Who knew? When I first read it, I had never heard of the Giver (in fact, if anyone had mentioned the Giver to me, I would have wondered who this Giver is, what is he giving, and can I have some?). 
  • So my recommendation is to go back, unread the Giver, and read Gathering Blue completely uninfluenced by anything (it can be done. All you need is a little faith, trust, and pixie dust)
  • It's funny, and there's a nice dog for a while. 
  • Also I don't remember how it ends so we can read it together! Yay for friendship.
  • I think my hipster side is wanting me to say that Gathering Blue is better than the Giver just because it is less known, BUT I WON'T. I won't give in to my hipster side. Y'all can still trust me. 
  • There is some GORGEOUS description here and there. It's a good time.

Why y'all might not want to read it:
  • It isn't as life-consumingly amazing as other books I could mention (please. Ask me. I have the list of "books that will take over your life"), therefore, some might turn their nose up at it and scoff. Well it scoffs right back, so ha!
  • Because the characters can tend to be a tad whiny, though that's understandable for the main character because she does have a disability. I think I would be whining too if my leg was kind of useless. I whine when I run out of food on my plate.
  • We don't get to see very much of this world, and it's easy to be disconnected from it. 
  • A lot of the characters, even the ones that are supposed to matter, kind of blend into the background.   

Image result for the hermit thrush sings book
The Hermit Thrush Sings by Susan Butler 
Leora has a gift, and a secret. She can see things no one else can, but can only draw them with her one webbed hand.
Several generations have passed since North America was struck by a meteor that changed life forever. Now, Leora lives safely locked inside the walls of Village Three. Only the guards and croptenders are allowed out, where the world is said to be undeveloped and dangerous. Leora's heard stories of the ferocious birmbas -- half bear, half gorilla -- that resulted from the meteor. Mutants cannot be trusted.
But Leora herself is considered a "defective" with her hidden hand and gift. When she risks her life to free a baby birmba, she finds the courage to escape beyond the tyrannical walls without knowing what she may find.


First of all, I love how many reviews on Goodreads were saying how this book changed their life. I'm so proud. Also can we just take a moment to appreciate how nostalgic this is for me? I'm getting some major flashbacks here. Some are not so great.

Storytime: One day, when I was a wee lass, my mother had taken me to the park. I was sitting on a bench, reading The Hermit Thrush Sings, enjoying the sunshine. She excused herself to go talk to someone, and I was left all alone reading my book. Then, out of nowhere, a boy my age showed up. I had no idea who he was, and frankly, he looked like a hooligan (then again, I thought every male was a hooligan). He sat down beside me and started talking. So what did I do? Little Awkward Me panicked. I threw the book down on the bench and ran. When I ran up to my mother, she assumed that I was ready to go. So she took me back to the car, and we drove home. Without the book. The library book. I owed a lot of money.
Image result for ooohh that sounds good gif

Why y'all should read it:
  • Because I say so most adimately, and if that isn't a valid reason then I don't know what's going to convince you and your high standards. 
  • Also it's REEEALLY GOOD. 
  • A little part of my love for this book might be because it was my first dystopian, and I loved it with all my heart? nah. No bias here. 
  • Leora has a webbed hand that is super cool, but of course, no one understands her and thinks she's freaky. 
  • Adorable animals that need protecting show up. 
  • HELLO I WOULD LIKE AN ADORABLE ANIMAL PLEASE
  • Anyone? Can I have a birmba? 
  • There's an all-girl revolution that is #fierce. 
  • They don't mess around.
  • I think there's an explosion at some point??? so you can look forward to that. 
  • PLOT TWISTS that may or may not be twisty.
  • I don't remember. 
  • I really should have reread this more recently. 
  • THERE'S A BIRD, right? Something about a bird? 
  • It's really good. You just have to believe me. 
Why y'all might not want to read it:
  • It is a lot like Gathering Blue in some ways (but I think it's better. It can do no wrong. Proud mother over here.)
  • I actually can't think of a whole lot that is wrong with it.
  • I got bored a little bit towards the end, but not too bored. Just where I yawned a few times. It's fine.
  • That's it.
  • OMG THIS BOOK IS BASICALLY PERFECT. 
These three books are very dear to my heart, and I'm sure there is something more wrong with them, but I clearly can't see it. 
Part 2 will probs be up soon. No promises. 
I'm forgetful. 


Have you read any of these books? What is your favorite Dystopian novel? If you could live in a book, what book would you pick? I would not pick anything in the Dystopian genre. That would be scary and I don't do well with scary. I'M SMOL. I NEED PROTECTION.

Toodlepip

Saturday, April 1, 2017

March Favorites| New Categories, Beauty and the Beast, and I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M WRITING ANYMORE (I am smol and have a very big fever. Send help.)

March has ended. *scuttles back into my cave* Nope.

Quick Overview
  • my brother is moving out. Like, what? He's the first to leave the nest, and frankly, I would prefer it if we could all just stay in the nest forever (we'll just expand the nest a little. Add some twigs here, a few branches there)
  • I've had waaaay too much chocolate and unhealthy things this month (which is a sentence I never thought I'd say, but here we are, feeling like a 5 yr old hyped up on sugar). I've had milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate mints, mint chocolate, chocolate covered strawberries, and strawberry chocolate to name a few.
  • I decided to add a few new categories to Favorites. 
  • For the first time in my life, I have actually been putting things above reading. *collective gasp* 
  • I gained a few new followers which is exciting for me and my tiny blog.
  • I have caught a cold, and so I will be writing this half delirious and sick and just UHGGG. 
  • I am almost done with math for good! That makes me very happy. I honestly have tried so hard to look at math with a good attitude, but I still just don't understand it! 
Image result for math is the worst gif
Me trying to understand math.
book
I actually don't have a book that I really liked this month. Maybe I'm getting crotchety in my old age, but I didn't find something that captured my heart and soul. The closest thing would be Vicious. It was well-written, and there was nothing technically wrong with it, but it didn't have an emotional connection that would have made it perf. And I feel awful for saying that because I MET VICTORIA SCHWAB (author of the book and overall amazing human), but I felt distanced from the story.
Still, great book. Full of science, superpowers, and sarcasm. #perfectformula
song
Image result for divide ed sheeran album

So I am officially obsessed with Ed Sheeran's new album. This whole album is fabulous and amazing, and I've listened to it at least a million times (this is fact. I have counted.). I know this isn't just one song, but I DO WHAT I WANT. *resists urge to add gif*
Note: Please do your own research/listening with caution because there is content that might be offensive to some. Good talk.

tea
Storytime: This month, we got a Stash tea (hey, Stash, wanna sponsor me? No? Fine.) pamphlet/magazine-the-size-of-a-paper-clip/informational-papers-of-some-unidentified-sort in the mail, and I glanced through it, admiring the many types of tea that I did not possess. I decided that I was bored with the normal tea that I drink i.e. green tea, blueberry, earl grey, and raspberry, but instead of buying new tea (pshh, I can't just buy things. I'm not made of money.), I rummaged in the back of our tea cupboard (when I say "rummaged", I mean "went on a full expedition". Our tea cabinet is deceptively large. Narnia ain't got nothing on it.) for the long forgotten loose tea. Lo and behold, I discovered one of my past favorites: licorice root tea. I'm pretty sure that the 60% water in my body is now 60% tea. And I am okay with that.

Image result for best tea ever gif

"Was the story really necessary?" You ask. "Couldn't you have just said that Licorice Root was your favorite?" No. No I could not have. 

blog post
Why I Write 
This post was so much fun to write! It's been pestering me to be written, and I finally -- after almost a year of it being a couple lines of draft -- wrote it. And this is how you know I am on top of blogging. Definite pro right here.

movie
Image result for beauty and the beast live action poster Image result for moana movie poster

Beauty and the Beast: Well that was fantastic. I saw it on opening day, and it was enchanting. I adore the cartoon with every fiber of my being. I will fight anyone who says it is less than perfect (just kidding, everyone is entitled to their own opinions.....even if it's wrong. #fightme). It was so very different, but still the same story that we know and love. (If you have not seen the cartoon/don't know the story, please turn back now. I am not liable for any spoilers) SPEAKING OF WHICH: You know that super fun scene where Beast is all sad that his Beauty is gone, and Angry Mob and Co. break into the castle, and Gaston gets all stabby-stabby? Well, even though I know the ending, I was on the edge of my seat because IF YOU TOUCH ONE HAIR ON BEAST'S HEAD, JERKFACE (from here on, Gaston shall be referred to as Jerkface.) I WILL PERSONALLY DROPKICK YOU OFF THE NEAREST TOWER (in case you can't tell, Beast is my fav). 

Image result for beauty and the beast gifs

Beauty and the Beast was magical and I would gladly see it again.

Moana: Fun story, the day we went to the theater to see Moana, it was all sold out and we had to see Doctor Strange instead (I mean, I'm not complaining). I don't have a lot of distinct thoughts that can be eloquently arranged to paint the picture of why I love it (give me a break, I have a fever!). I knew I was going to love it even before I saw it.
  • It's Disney.
  • The animation is gorgeous. Did you see the water?? #werk
  • Moana herself was definitely fab.
  • And Auli'i' (I spelled that right the first time with no help. You may applaud now.) Cravalho is darling. I would love to just have a Disney marathon with her. Can someone get on that? 
  • There's a really cool chicken that is super important. 
  • like,
  • this chicken is everything.
  • And of course, Lin Manuel Miranda is part of the whole thing which makes it 43% more awesome. 
  • real math
Seriously though, I've been listening to the soundtrack nonstop, and may I just say, IT IS FLAWLESS. Everything about it. Trust me. 

novel AKA what I've been pouring my soul into.
You know how I have no self control when it comes to developing novel ideas and plotting books I have no business plotting? Well, this month, I thought it would be fun if I took my lack of self-control to a whole new level. I took a baby idea that I've been mulling over in my brain and did everything but write it. What is wrong with me? I have five novels I need to edit, but I'm just going to pretend they aren't there (instead, I will be skipping hand in hand across a field of wildflowers with my perfectly plotted novel, ignoring everyone else).

Image result for i am ignoring you gif
This is my theory.
I'm lowkey debating whether or not to write it for Camp NaNo instead of editing a different book. I know that I should be "responsible" and "make wise choices" but I want to write about magical realism and Ireland, as well as mysterious aunts that aren't as simple as they seem and so much magic. Magic everywhere. Everything is solved by magic. Broken leg? Fixed by magic. Bloody nose? Magic to the rescue. Ran out of fishy crackers? HAVE MAGICAL FISHY CRACKERS.

faith
The big thing that has been rockin' my world is my NEW BIBLE (I'm a nerd. Whatchu going to do about it?). My last Bible was marked up by an 8 yr old (aka 8 yr old me), had super thin pages that had zero tolerance for even pen (if I so much as touched a pen to the page, BOOM, ink everywhere.), and was technically stolen (vaguely stolen. Don't ask). I finally got a new one with thicker pages, space on the side for notes, and a colorable cover. #perfect

Image result for it's incredible gif

I've already written so many notes, water-colored so many things, and had so much fun. I'm that person that's in the corner, and if anyone asks me to do something with them, I'll be like "But the Bible, guys!" 
Image result for the bible is awesome gif

This month has been surprisingly slow what-with me being SICK AND FEVERISH AND OVERALL VERY GRUMPY, though the first part of this month was stressful and fun and really out of the ordinary. My life is good. I'm tired. No further questions.

Toodlepip

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beautiful People: March 2017| Pizza and Ballet + RAINBOWS!!!

What time is it (no, Jerry, it's not summertime or showtime)? It's time for another episode of "LOOK AT THESE CHARACTERS. LOOK AT HOW I LOVE THEM" aka Beautiful People. 

I'm going to be ranting about the most precious darling I've ever created. 


 :
This is Melanie Marie Abeita (but imagine her with bright red streaks in her hair).

She's part of my novel: We Are (you know, the one that has literally no plot, but I adore the characters so much that I am determined to make it work). I've done a Beautiful People thingie for Lua. She and Mel are besties.

Quick Backstory: Melanie is a 17 yr old reincarnation of pure goodness. She lives with her Abuela because her parents died when she was very young. Her wardrobe is all ripped jeans and leather jackets and grungy flannels. She wears her eyeliner thick and sharp enough to kill someone, but she loves going to church with her Abuela and listening to the hymns. 

what’s their favorite book/movie/play/etc.?

Favorite book: Winnie-the-Pooh. Hands down. That was the first book she read after her parents died, and it calmed her down. She's had the same copy for 14 years.
Favorite movie: The Wizard of Oz or something Disney.
Favorite play: Romeo and Juliet. She laughs at it because she thinks the accidental death and drastically dysfunctional romance is hilarious. 

is there anything they regret doing?
She would regret not eating that piece of pizza last week...
 :

if they were sick or wounded, who would take care of them and how?
She would immediately go to her Abuela who would make her a huge bowl of soup, and force feed her gross ginger and spinach drinks. And Russo (her bae, but like, she doesn't know it yet) would bring her chocolate or something sugary (he's an idiot, but an adorable idiot, so it's okay)

is there an object they can’t bear to part with and why?
Nope. For the most part, she's pretty non-sentimental. She used to collect everything from books (a noble pursuit) to almost every grocery list her Abuela had written (a less noble pursuit, but hey, I'm not judging), but then she woke up one morning and realized that she quite literally couldn't get to her bedroom door, so she decided to purge hardcore.

what are 5 ways to win their heart (or friendship)?
  • pizza
  • if someone is pretending like she actually is hardcore
  • speaking Spanish. She gets so excited if someone knows Spanish.
  • if they own an animal of any kind
  • being kind 
Image result for i could care less about my beauty i just want pizza gif
A direct quote from Mel (probably).
describe a typical outfit for them from top to bottom.
Black. She always looks like she could be going to a funeral or a gang meeting (honestly #goals)

what’s their favorite type of weather?
RAINBOWS AND SUNSHINE! If she sees a rainbow, nothing else matters (I mean, I understand. Rainbows are important).

 :

what’s the worst fight they’ve ever been in?
She doesn't like fighting others. She'll threaten the socks off of you, but she won't throw a punch. She's too smol (literally. She's 5' 2")!!  Naw, if she wanted someone beat up, she would ask Belle (Belle is the boxing friend full of intelligence and bad feelings).

what names or nicknames have they been called throughout their life?

Mel, mija, and a smattering of other pet names her Abuela insists on calling her despite her "rep" (she's accepted the nicknames, but if you ask her, she doesn't like 'em. Not one bit). 

what makes their heart feel alive?

M:  
Dancing. She loves ballet, and will chew out anyone who says that it's not punk rock. Because ballet is totally punk rock (her only complaint is the color of the tutus that they sometimes wear. She has been on the hunt for a while for a black tutu, preferably with skulls.). 

Ballet gives her peace and and a sense of structure and discipline amongst her Abuela's chaotic way of living. 
This is so M:

And that's a wrap on Mel! I love her to pieces.

What do you think of her? Isn't she great folks? Let's give her a big round of applause. Would you ever try ballet? Do you know any Spanish (I know taco, burrito, and nacho)
Toodlepip

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hamilton Tag| My Favorite Song + I Just Love Hamilton SO Much

I love Hamilton. 

I love blogging.

Hamilton + blogging = a perfect world. 

I was tagged by Kayla Marie to do the Hamilton tag! The blogging gods have smiled upon me this day. Let's go. 

How did you discover Hamilton?
I saw a couple mentions of it here and there in the blogosphere, and I was kind of curious, but also I am very picky about musicals. I proceeded to ignore it until finally, a friend was like "YOU HAVE TO LISTEN." and I was like "WHY ARE YOU YELLING ABOUT IT?" Then I listened to it and my life was changed. At first, I literally had no idea what was happening, and I was bored, but then I listened to it again just because, and I WAS HOOKED. 
Who is your favorite character?
Well that's a simple question. - said no one ever.

I LOVE ALL THE CHARACTERS IN DIFFERENT WAYS. 


- Alexander - 
Image result for alexander hamilton musical

*deep breath* Boi... He is his own worst enemy, and that fascinates me (in the way that watching a bird fly into a window repeatedly would fascinate me. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES, you foolish fowl). He was his own downfall. 

- Eliza - 
Image result for hamilton musical eliza

Eliza is simply the most pure, precious human in the world, and I wish that I could protect her from all the bad things in the world. I wish I could give her a hug (I know she's from the 1800s and technically "not alive", but I would still like to wrap her in a blanket and possibly some bubble-wrap...). 

- Angelica - 
Image result for angelica schuyler hamilton

Giiiirl, you keep being amazing. Angelica is so sacrificial for Eliza, and she's my fav big sis (sorry, Bethany).  The line "I love my sister more than anything in this life, I will choose her happiness over mine every time" GETS ME EVERY TIME. 

Image result for why am I so emotional gif
What’s your absolute favorite song?
Oh good, I'm glad that you're asking questions like this. It kind of reminds me of that question: "What's your favorite book?" or "Who is your favorite child?"

I've been listening to The Schuyler Sisters, Non-Stop, and The World Was Wide Enough.
I honestly can't pick a favorite (I know, I'm one of those people) because every time I re-listen to the music, I find something new about each song that I love.

How I Listen To Music:
  1. Find a song that catches my fancy (because the standards are sooo high).
  2. Listen to said song.
  3. Listen again.
  4. again.
  5. AGAIN
  6. Listen to it until I've heard it enough times that it has started playing in my dreams.
  7. aaand maybe one more time for good measure.
  8. That's enough times because now I can't stand it.
  9. Ooo, new song. 
  10. Repeat steps 1-8
So as you can see, finding an absolute favorite is difficult for me. 
Music wise, which is better, Act I or Act II?
Pshh, I don't know. 

I like Act I because I know every word to it, and it's happy!
I like Act II because FAST RAPPING and also heartbreaking stuff is fun, too. Lots of death. Betrayal. Sadness. You know, the good stuff. 

Okay, I have officially decided that Act II is my favorite. There's always something going on because we can count on good ol' Alex to mess something up. 


Image result for emotional rollercoaster gif
What’s your dream role?
Image result for king george gifs
Obvi King George... Who else?
What’s your favorite quote?

 "There's a million things I haven't done, but just you wait."
This line inspires me to write all the things and be super productive and never give up on my dreams!! 
Describe what Hamilton means to you using only 3 words.
Inspiring cautionary tale.
or
Idiot with pen.

Image result for truth gif
Who do you consider your “Hamilton Buddy” (someone who you can ramble, fangirl, or sing Hamilton with)? 
I don't think I really have one specific buddy. I have quite a few friends who have all been dragged down into the musical addiction listened to Hamilton, and we talk about it at times. Shoutout to Lilly though. Without her I would never have listened to this great musical. I would have thrown away my shot.
How has Hamilton impacted your life?
I mean, every day I rap about our founding fathers... So that's a pretty big impact.

Now to get all serious (I know it's not as fun, but shh, it's a part of life): Hamilton constantly reminds me of how little time we have to make a difference and to do all that we can. Death doesn't discriminate (YES I'M USING A DIRECT QUOTE. WHATCHA GONNA DO 'BOUT IT). Hamilton never fails to remind me of how much potential people have, but how easy it is to get sidetracked and waste that potential. Listen up, kids, this is applicable to your life (there's gonna be some major wisdom here, right about....now): DON'T WASTE YOUR GOSH-DARN POTENTIAL! #wiseadviceiswise

Image result for wisdom gif
What is the best thing about Hamilton?
Um, how about all of it? Yeah, definitely all of it. 

(I'm not quite sure of the rules, but I'm assuming I'm supposed to tag people for this thing, right?) 

Well this is awkward because I actually don't really know bloggers who love Hamilton. But I will try my hardest. 
and YOU!! (because I can't think of anyone else) If you have a blog, love Hamilton, and are dying to be tagged for something, here is the solution. Go forth, Do the thing. 


Have you listened to Hamilton? If you have: what's your favorite song? If you haven't: what's wrong with you?? (kidding, you live your life any way you want to) What have you been listening to recently?

Toodlepip