school is out // summer things

^^ That picture was ridiculously hard to take and I have so many blooper photos ^^

I borrowed this idea from Katie Grace, who borrowed it from Aimee. ūüôā

Summer is short, and I don’t want to waste it.

Therefore, I am compiling a list. It is by no means an exhaustive list. There is no such thing as an exhaustive list. It’s a list of things I want to do this summer, and I will start…

Now.

I would like to:

1. Teach myself to play the ukulele.

I’ve already learned a few chords, but I’m hoping to get decent at it.

2. Chocolate.

I’m hoping to chocolate and ice cream a lot this summer. Chocolate and ice cream are totally verbs.

3. Play the piano more for fun.

The fun part of this must be emphasized, because with church/recitals/regular pieces I haven’t really been able to play around with the songs I actually enjoy playing.

4. Write.

I’m not going to set any specific goals, although it would be nice to finish Project Supernova.

5. Dance.

With my friends. English Country Dancing, preferably, though 50s dancing is acceptable.

6. Keep on walking daily?

This one’s kind of tentative, but now Gracie-dog has gotten into a routine. If I don’t walk her, she might be depressed. I don’t like depressed dogs. This has nothing to do with the fact that I like walking.

7. Read all of the books.

All of them. ALL OF THEM. To be honest, I have no planned summer reading list, but I have a ginormous pile of to-be-read books and three libraries at my disposal.

8. Start reading through the Bible.

The other day I just realized, Hey. I haven’t read the entire Bible. I mean, I’ve read most of it, but not all. I’ve heard there are some plans that help you read through the Bible in a year, so maybe I should check those out? *adds to mental to-do list* *promptly forgets* *writes on hand instead* Hey, maybe I should add “Remembering Things” to this list…

9. Blog.

This will probably happen sometime this summer.

10. Try to get to bed on time and not eat too much junk.

Which contradicts no. 2… But honestly, I’ve been feeling icky these past few days and it’s probably because I’ve been staying up late, not getting up early, and eating a ton of junk food. I’d kind of like to remedy that.

11. Work on my poor neglected German.

Neglected is the only word to describe it. I got out of the habit of doing Duolingo each night before bed and I really need to get back into it again.

12. Remember things better.

‘Nuff said.

13. Not spend too much time on the computer.

I’m going to try to stick to just blogging, research, writing, stuff like that…

Thus, I will end with an “unlucky” number thirteen. Hee hee. There are probably at least five more that I forgot.

What are y’all doing this summer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miniature Book Reviews // Cinderella, Animal Ark, and Return to Harmony

Hi guys! Today I’m just doing a few short reviews.

Cinderella, by Brittany Candau

 

 

I was super excited when I found this book version of the Disney movie Cinderella at the library, but I honestly expected a lot more. I was very disappointed in this one.

Things I liked:
  • The cover. Because Ella and Kit.
  • The overall quality of the book. The design was gorgeous, and it felt great.
  • “Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender’s green…”
Things I didn’t like:
  • The entire story paled in comparison to the movie. Without the movie, this book would be just another mediocre Cinderella story.
  • The author told, instead of showed, the entire book. I don’t want¬†you to tell me¬†that Cinderella is uncomfortable, I want you to show me she’s uncomfortable.
  • It read like an old fairy tale, with a few modern words interjected randomly (like “okay”) in a way that was somewhat jarring. Old fairy tales aren’t bad, but they were meant to be told, not read.
  • Obviously, it didn’t have any of the beautiful imagery that made me love the movie.
Favorite quote:

“You must always remember this: Have courage, and be kind.”

Overall, the movie was much better. If I hadn’t watched the movie first, the book probably would have gotten two stars, but since it did remind me of how beautiful the movie was, I’m giving it three stars.

Animal Ark, by Joel Sartore and Kwame Alexander

 

 

I won this book in a giveaway from Dogobooks. For some reason I was under the impression that Animal Ark was a longer, more scientific book, but it’s a children’s picture book. My siblings and I all read it and enjoyed the pictures.

Things I liked:
  • The photography was amazing!
  • I loved the way the book was formatted.
Things that I didn’t like:
  • Honestly, the poetry didn’t do much for me.
  • The book is very environmental-ish, ¬†listen-to-the-earth-ish, and glorifying “Nature” instead of God, which I really didn’t care for. A few quotes:

“Close your eyes tight. We are all made of light. Some of us even glow. We are secret siblings. Reflections of each other. Mysterious mirrors.”

a n d

“Nature is genius. This is our home.”

So yeah. Didn’t love that. At all. Three and a half stars, maybe?

On to the next book!

Return to Harmony, by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn

 

This was a birthday gift from a close friend. Return to Harmony was my first plunge into Janette Oke, and now I definitely want to read some of her other books.

Things I liked:
  • The relationships! The characters! They were just all so precious and… *tries not to reveal spoilers*
  • One of the plot twists surprised me, which is rare.
  • I know I already said this, but… THE CHARACTERS. Bethan was so sweet. I loved how it didn’t show Bethan and Jodie’s goals in life (to get married and have a family, to go to¬†college, not get married, and study science)¬† as being bad or good. They were just different, which I appreciated.
  • The Christian elements and the SPOILER happily ever after sort of ending. END OF SPOILER. Just the kind I like best!
Things I didn’t like:
  • Honestly, the only one I can think of is that Ms. Oke is occasionally a little wordy, which is just a preference thing.
  • And there would be a huge spoiler here if it were up to me, but I shall spare you… Hey wait, it is up to me! So…¬†MASSIVE SPOILER I really wanted Jodie and Dylan to get back together and they didn’t! ūüôĀ END OF MASSIVE SPOILER

All in all, a great read. Four and a half stars.

 

Have you read any of these books? Thoughts? Tell me anything and everything in the comments!

Beautiful People // Parental Edition

^This picture has nothing whatsoever to do with the post ^

This is a link-up/meme/thing hosted by Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In. I rephrased the questions so it was more of an interview format (I hope that’s okay?), but you can see the original questions here.

I’ll be doing it with two of my characters from my WIP Project Supernova.¬†The main characters are:

Ryker Kane. He’s fourteen years old, goes¬†a high school that I haven’t named yet, and has a mostly normal life. He’s an average size, with dark brown hair, probably blue eyes, and pale¬†skin.¬†The features that stand out the most are the scars on his left cheek from the surgery after a car accident. He¬†lives with his older brother Luke and has a fear of riding in cars.

Katie Bird. She’s fourteen and goes to the same school as Ryker. She’s smallish for her age, has long, golden-brown hair, brown eyes, and a prosthetic leg. Even though she’s¬†very extroverted and¬†loves people, she’s somewhat shunned by her classmates because of her leg and her standoffishness. She has a secret that I can’t tell you and lives with her foster parents Dirk and Chryse.

  1. Overall, how good is your relationship with your parents?

Ryker.

They were killed in a car accident when I was eight. They were the best. *looks away*

Katie.

My parents have fostered me for¬†over two years¬†now. They’re everything I’ve ever wanted, and they’re trying to adopt me.

2. Do you know both your biological parents? If not, how do you cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected your life?

Ryker.

Wow, nosy. I guess I have to answer it, so… after my parents…¬†died… in the car accident, I just kept going. I buried myself in schoolwork. My brother, Luke, took me in. He was barely eighteen and I figure it was pretty hard on him, but I didn’t notice. I was eight, and he always tried to look on the bright side, for me, I guess.

Katie.

I never met my dad. My mom kept me until I was five or six years old, and then she got arrested. I was put in foster care and was shuffled around through different homes until I was about twelve years old, and that’s when I met¬†Chryse and Dirk.

3. How did your parents meet?

Ryker.

They met in college, dated for a few years, and got married.

Katie.

Are we talking biological or¬†foster here? If we’re talking about biological, I don’t know, and honestly don’t want to. My foster parents¬†grew up together and fell in love when they were teenagers.

4. How did you feel if you were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?

Ryker.

My parents were good people. *scowls fiercely and refuses to elaborate*

Katie.

I didn’t know my biological dad, but it wouldn’t be a compliment if someone compared me to my mom.

5. What were your parents doing when they were your age?

Ryker.

Going to school?

Katie.

I don’t know and I don’t want to.

6. Is there something you adamantly disagree on?

Ryker.

We never disagreed, that I remember.

Katie.

*huffs* I haven’t seen her since I was five or six.

7. What did your parents find hardest about raising you?

Ryker.

Ummm… weird question. I was a pretty quiet kid. I never really caused any trouble.

Katie.

Ha ha! My biological mom never “raised” me. She was mostly… not there. I was kind of troublesome the first few years I was in foster care, so my foster parents probably didn’t find me easy to raise.

8. What’s your most vivid memory with your parental figure(s)?

Ryker.

Honestly the most vivid would have to be the car wreck. Everything before that is kind of a blur now. I do remember, when I was about four and Luke was fourteen, us all gathered around Dad, listening to him read The Horse and His Boy aloud.

Katie.

Something that she did a lot was leave me in a library and tell me to sit quietly and look at the books until she got back. I didn’t know how to read, so I just looked at the pictures. She always came back, until one day she didn’t. I sat and looked until it was time for the library to close. The librarians called the police and they couldn’t find my mom. I was put in a foster home after that.

9. What were you like as a baby/toddler?

Ryker.

Mom and Dad told me I was a good baby, that I was quiet and kept to myself. I was the same as a toddler, I guess.

Katie.

I don’t know, but probably trouble.

10. Why and how did your parents choose your name?

 Ryker.

My full name is Ryker Theodore Kane. Ryker was the one name my mom and dad could agree on, because it’s popular but not too popular. Theodore is because of my dad. His personal hero¬†was Teddy Roosevelt.

Katie.

My full name is Katherine Aline Bird, but I go by Katie. Katherine was a family name, I think. My birth mom probably just thought Aline sounded romantic.

Well, that was fun! Thanks for reading! If you have any questions please comment below : )

April // Recap

 

Life…

Various things that happened this month, not in any order because I am a scatterbrained person:

softball, softball, softball! (for my brother, not me ;D although I am Team Mom)

kept our friends’¬†cute kittens¬†ūüôā

I turned fifteen. Yikes…

got baby chicks!!! They are the most adorable things. We got six total and their names are Sally, Hazel Rose, Priscilla, Trixie, and Attila the Hen. In case you’re wondering about the sixth, her name was Hazel (the first) and she died on us unexpectedly. ūüôĀ

Sally (above) and Hazel Rose (below)

finished school!!!! Mostly, at least… we have a bit of catchup to do.

had a piano recital. I was terrified. But at least I did all right,¬†I think¬†ūüėČ Here are a few photos taken beforehand.

helped our grandparents move. I took this weird picture in a mirror that was propped up against my dad’s truck. It looks like a portal to Narnia or something.

Easter was lovely. Made Resurrection cookies with my family and also two rabbit cakes. They were delicious.

When my grandparents were moving, they gave us a box of jewelry. Hope put on a bunch of gold necklaces and said she was Mr. T/B.A. Baracus! ūüėÄ

probably lots of other things happened that I’m forgetting. But I can’t write them down because I forgot.

Reading…

 

Wow-ee, I managed to read 21 books this month. Most of them were: A. books that needed to be returned to the library, B. books to be read for little sister, C. both.

Favorites:

The Lunar Chronicles, of course! ALL OF THEM! They were just so good and I need the fourth one immediately. By far my favorites.

I am happy and proud to say that today I finished my very last library book. (Probably?) We won’t be going for a while, because last time we had massive overdue fees. Whoops.

Writing…

Congratulations to everyone who won Camp NaNo!!!

I had an irresistible plot bunny back at the end of March. I usually don’t have a problem taking a short break from my WIP if it’s just a short story, and that’s what this little rabbit¬†said¬†it was.

LIAR.

I said last month I was almost done. Well… I’m not. My so-called “short story” morphed into a monstrous beast. It’s going to be a middle grade/young adult novel. Somewhere in there.¬†I’m hoping to be done by the end of this month (ish). Its code name is Supernova. And that’s pretty much all I can say about it.

I just love these characters so much, y’all.

Listening…

I’ve practically had these songs on repeat while writing all month.

 Hero, by Family of the Year. if I had to pick a soundtrack to my WIP, this would be it.

I See Fire, by Ed Sheeran. This has practically nothing to do with my story but it gave me this really good feeling anyway? Oh well. My brain is not to be comprehended.

Anything by Lauren Daigle. She has such a¬†great voice…

Anything by the Piano Guys. I just love their renditions of songs! So cool.

Blogging…

This month I:

said goodbye to march

ranted about what I thought about Emma Woodhouse in Dr. Suess form

posted some opening lines of my stories through the years

told my writing story

wrote some book reviews here and here

and totally missed my deadline on Saturday, but who’s counting?

 

Elsewhere:

Olivia at Important Nothings did the Blogger Book Tag!

Go Teen Writers had a great post about when you have “no time to write”.

Jonathan at Fishing for Ideas wrote a fantastic post about merging fiction with faith.

Hannah Heath posted some thought-provoking ideas about mentor characters.

Abbiee wrote an extremely relatable post about ridiculous things we ponder as writers.

Kate at Once Upon an Ordinary had some great tips on beta-reading.

Loving…

These hairsticks. I have thick, heavy¬†hair that comes a bit past my hips, and hairsticks are my favorite way to put it up. I have other hairsticks but these are my favorites right now. They’re smooth and comfortable, sliding easily¬†into my hair.¬†Not to mention the¬†fact that they’re pretty. ūüėȬ†I’m thinking about buying another set – maybe these or these.

Eos lip balm. I didn’t think I’d like the round shape, but I love it! It’s super moisturizing and I use it all the time. I got the sweet mint scent.

This Month…

I’m planning to:

work on Project Supernova (I’m not setting a word count goal because I don’t really keep track of my word count anyway). I’m not sure I’ll finish but it sure would be nice if I did.

do #walk30days! I was inspired by Nadine Brandes to do this challenge. The rules are: take a walk every day. Take a picture every day. Post the picture every day. I walked this morning with Gracie-dog and it was pretty fun. ūüôā

write more blog posts, since we’re on summer break. I have an idea for a summer bucket list and that’ll probably be coming soon.

play the piano more for fun.

lots of other things that I had thought of and now I’ve forgotten. *smacks forehead…*

 

How was your April? Did you do Camp NaNo? How was Easter? I’d love to hear about your month in the comments!