A Survey… For Me, Not You

Nobody panic! You do not have to fill out anything.

Actually, I’m joining the linkup hosted by Perpetual Page-Turner to answer all-the -questions-ever-thought about the books I read this year. If you enjoy such nerdiness as well, I suggest you head on over there and join the fray.


Number Of Books You Read:

93. Ta-daa!

Number of Re-Reads:

Uh… all of them?

Okay, okay. You got me. They weren’t all rereads.

Genre You Read The Most From:

Fantasy, Christian, or Classic.

I don’t track these things too well?

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

The Great Gatsby.

It was assigned for school and… and I liked it? Strange.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic. I feel bad even saying that because I’m positive that this man’s story has inspired thousands of people. He’s an awesome guy. But this book just didn’t impact me the way I expected and hoped it would.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

The Safe Lands trilogy.

I began this series once before and hated it. Quit the first book before I got halfway through. But then I thought… “I should’ve given it more of a chance.”

So I tried again. And loved it.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I don’t do this much? Because I am surrounded by people who don’t read, so…

However, I’m constantly shoving the Hunger Games trilogy down willing and unwilling throats, so we’ll go with that.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

How is this one question?

Best series? The Song of Seare trilogy.

Best sequel? Beneath the Forsaken City or Outcasts.

Best finale? The Sword and the Song, by three miles at least.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Robin McKinley. Lynn Austin. F. Scott Fitzgerald.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Both Sunshine and Shadows were unusual reads for me.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

In Between by Jenny B. Jones. My first encounter with Jones was when I read her book There You’ll Find Me, an instant favorite. For some strange reason, In Between was free on my tablet and recognizing the author of Finley’s sass, I immediately gobbled it up.

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I would say “most of them” because I am Queen of Rereading, but one of my New Year’s resolutions was to read only books that are new to me – absolutely no rereading allowed.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

Sunshine had a pretty cover.


I also like these…


11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Omar from the Safe Lands trilogy.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

Fahrenheit 451 and Jacob Have I Loved were both gorgeous.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

Either the Safe Lands trilogy or the Song of Seare trilogy. Both series unabashedly wrangle with some incredibly difficult topics. Have I ever mentioned how much I love that?

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

The Great Gatsby. Fahrenheit 451. Jacob Have I Loved. Blue Like Jazz. Oliver Twist.

All of them, basically?

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

Hope you plan to be here for awhile…

“For a moment it hurt. It hurt a lot, like it had the night after Dad had died, when the world that Mom and Ran and I lived in shattered into millions of sharp little pieces, and we were walking around on the slivers, so every step cut into us, and all we saw around was empty and broken. When we found out that people die when they shouldn’t. That stuff happens, and sometimes it happens to you.
That the world was nothing like I’d thought it was.”

Shadows, Robin McKinley

“Living is dreaming.”

Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace

I plan to write an entire post about the amazing quotes of North To Freedom, so I’ll leave you in suspense for those…

“Writers don’t make any money at all. We make about a dollar. It is terrible. But then again we don’t work either. We sit around in our underwear until noon then go downstairs and make coffee, fry some eggs, read the paper, read part of a book, smell the book, wonder if perhaps we ourselves should work on our book, smell the book again, throw the book across the room because we are quite jealous that any other person wrote a book, feel terribly guilty about throwing the schmuck’s book across the room because we secretly wonder if God in heaven noticed our evil jealousy, or worse, our laziness. We then lie across the couch facedown and mumble to God to forgive us because we are secretly afraid He is going to dry up all our words because we envied another man’s stupid words.”

Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller

Okay, that’s all. That last one sums me up perfectly, by the way.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Scarlett was the longest book I read this year at 884 pages long. Goodreads refuses to tell me which book was the shortest.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

I was shocked by Deerskin and Rebels, both in a not-happy kind of way.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) (OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Katniss and Gale. I mean Katniss and Peeta. I mean Katniss and Gale?

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The relationship between the three brothers, Mason, Levi, and Omar in the Safe Lands trilogy. Also Maggie’s relationship with her best friend and her relationship with her younger brother. Jake’s relationship with Lois, his baby dragon. Conor’s relationship with Eoghan. Finley’s relationship with Sister Maria and Mrs. Sweeney. Sylvi’s relationship with Ebon.

What? I like non-romantic relationships.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

In Between, by Jenny B. Jones. For aforementioned reasons.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Ha. No. I do not read books this way. I do not know what peer pressure is.

No, I’m serious. I never read the books that are recommended to me. Not that I don’t love it when you make recommendations. I do. I’m just… terrible at actually reading them.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Con from Sunshine. And Guy from Fahrenheit 451.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

I don’t think I read any books that were published in 2016 in 2016. Actually, I’m reasonably sure that most of the books I read in 2016 were written before 1971. Yep.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Hunger Games and the Safe Lands trilogy.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller. His sense of humor is perfect.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

Are you looking at me? I do not cry. Ever.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

If I say The Great Gatsby one more time you will hunt me down and steal all my books in my sleep, and, while that would ultimately be a good thing because I would retain my sanity, but I actually kind of want the books more than my sanity, so I will say…

The Great Gatsby.

Just kidding… Jacob Have I Loved. Happy now?

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

The Great Gatsby. Ouch. Consider soul officially crushed. Apparently I enjoy my soul being crushed, though…

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

I’m gonna say Pegasus by Robin McKinley. It had zero romance, human-animal friendship, animals-who-acted-just-like-humans-but-weren’t, and essentially no plot.

In a word, unique.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Deerskin. It was… awful. Never read this book. It is not okay.



1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

How am I to answer such a question?

I rediscovered Abbiee‘s blog that makes me want to eat waffles, go indie, and have gorgeous hair. I discovered Kenzie‘s blog of spunk and randomness. I rediscovered Christine‘s blog and got to know Christine who is like the big sister I never had. Except I have three big sisters, but whatever. I also met Anna who has become a dear friend. And Kit who is apparently my long-lost twin?

I’m gonna go cry stormily in a corner now because I like you all so much.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

Well, this is easy. I only wrote one. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

How should I know? You guys can vote in the comments.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I don’t participate in most of those things… I am, after all, an introvert, so you can’t exactly expect me to betray my true self and be social, right? Right.

However. I do participate in Cait and Sky‘s monthly Beautiful People linkup, because I know Cait and, even though she is famous, she is not scary and I like her.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

By far the best moment was when I realized that for the first time in two years of blogging, I had an audience.

Like, humans wanted to read my words? Totally unprecedented. I’m still in shock, to be perfectly honest.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I suppose that my biggest struggle is comparing myself to other bloggers. Like, “She started at the same time I did and has triple the followers and great hair! How does this happen?”

Stuff like that.

Otherwise, my experience has been fantastic. No rude or abusive comments, no trolling, no drama.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

I don’t monitor views so much? Comments, on the other hand… Well, suffice it to say I rabidly stalk the comments.

I got 54 comments on my post about being nominated Sunshine Blogger. But the numbers might be a bit warped by the fact that Sarah and I started debating Hamilton in the comments?

Personally, I loved when I shared snippets for the first time and everyone said the sweetest things imaginable. That was fun. And made my face hurt from smiling too much.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

As some of you know, I moved my blog to WordPress in September. Before that I had been blogging at Blogger and I had essentially no following there.


The thirty-something posts that I wrote to my nonexistent audience were moved over and immediately found their way into the deep dark recesses of the forgotten past. I wrote new posts, I got new followers… Nobody goes back to read the old ones.

Basically, any of those posts could qualify.

Honestly, I don’t mind. My writing style has become much more decided since then, so I shudder to think what drivel you would find should you read them…

Just don’t read them, okay?

And then there are other times when it would seem that my timing was off, or I got a little too nerdy for my own good.

Wanna make my day? Check out this bit of rambling about the Hobbit movie trilogy or this piece of nerdiness about the Lord of the Rings books.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Um. That nearly every classic ever written is free on my tablet? I may or may not have squeaked excitedly like the small bookish mouse that I am to see so many books piling up on my virtual shelves.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Alas, I did not.

I set my goal on Goodreads for 200 books. This was kind of a wild guess? I had never tracked how many books I read in a year before and 200 seemed about right…

Whew! That was a lot of surveyishness. I am exhausted and must go sleep now.

Before I go: What was your favorite post of mine this year? What was the best book you read this year? Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? What are they? What was your best blogging moment this year? What book crushed your soul this year? What book made you cry? Did you discover any new authors? Go on, scream at me.

2016 Character Awards!

So Cait designed a lovely little Character Awards post that she invited us all to politely steal. Because impolitely stealing things isn’t nice.

So I did. Politely stole it, that is.

Now, feel warned. Cait’s questions are somewhat tailored to someone who reads more YA than I do. And so you may notice that my answers don’t always fit quite right… or that I bend the rules a bit. My apologies, Cait.

Personally, I do a great deal of rereading and I read a few classics and a bit of nonfiction. So obviously I had to… tweak things a bit.

Before we get to the, um, ceremony, you should know one last thing. I read 93 books this year. Aren’t you proud of me? I am thoroughly proud of me. You should be, too.

Okay, I’m actually a little disappointed? I set my goal on Goodreads for 200. I thought I could do it. I’ve never tracked how many books I read in a year before… 200 seemed quite reasonable.

Alas, either I overestimated how many books I can squeeze into one year… or I had a bad year in the Reading Department. I think it was the latter? This year was weird in the Reading Department… I had my first reading slump… and ended up hiding from certain scary books for months… books that may or may not be titled Don Quixote and The House of the Seven Gables…

I feel myself beginning to hyperventilate. Breathe, breathe, breathe…

Okay. What if we start the ceremony, yes?

Image result for let it begin rhino gif


I’m gonna be that annoying person who can’t decide and say Wheeze from Jacob Have I Loved and Katie from In Between.

I related to Wheeze’s circumstances. Like Wheeze, I sometimes struggle with feeling like I will never step out of my siblings’ shadows. After all, there are a lot of them. And they are all so incredibly talented. It’s hard to feel… special.

Katie’s, on the other hand, were nothing like mine – but her personality was. We’re both dramatic and love good clothes and chocolate and accidentally memorize plays that we’re not actually in. Oops?

Hix, one of the “shadows” from, well, Shadows, is adorable. As is Lois, the baby dragon Jake adopts in Dragonhaven.

I was also sorely tempted to mention the baby dragon in my novel, The Songless. However, as it is not technically published yet…

Orual, from Till We Have Faces.

Ha! You thought I was going to say Katniss?

Jim, from Huckleberry Finn. Jim is a sweet guy. If you’re planning a raft trip, I seriously advise you to take Jim with you. It will just make your life so much better. I promise.

Jemma, from the Safe Lands trilogy. Normally I do not like – nay, I detest – the Overly Sweet and Kind Soul of Goodness. But Jemma was refreshingly genuine and realistic.

Without a doubt, Finley, from There You’ll Find Me.

“The least you could do is offer a little conversation.” Beckett dodged a pothole, keeping his eyes on the road.
“You want me to talk?”
“It would be the polite thing to do.”
“Okay. Let’s talk.”
“Any topic will be fine.”
“I’m going to sit here and silently think of one. Might take a while.”

Finley is my hero.

Omar from the Safe Lands trilogy. I hope to get a review out soon, but Omar was the best part of this trilogy. I deeply appreciated that Williamson didn’t tack up a “Church-going Protagonists Only” sign up at the door. Omar is high on drugs for approximately half of this trilogy. But he’s still a good guy. He still believes. He just doesn’t act like it. Most of the time.

President Snow, always and forever.

Katie’s foster parents from In Between. Not that they were that bad, but I certainly don’t recommend trying to win a difficult teenager’s heart the way they go about it.

I don’t know that A Wrinkle In Time would traditionally be classified as YA… but I don’t read much in that genre, so bear with me. I’m going to say Meg’s parents. Though technically, only her mother is present for much of the story. Still. She is an awesome mom. I would like to abduct her and force her at gunpoint to adopt me.

Aerin-from-The Hero and the Crown‘s parents were also truly fantastic. I will abduct them as well.

Jo and Laurie. Duh. And Julie and the nasty doctor from Fire By Night. I have a weakness for nasty doctors with addictions to alcohol and sarcasm. Also a little bit of Maggie and Takahiro, from Shadows.

Honestly, I want to protect them all?

But for the sake of brevity, I will only name two. Frankenstein’s monster and Jay Gatsby. Frankenstein’s monster is too sweet to survive in our harsh world and Gatsby is far too naive.

Robinson Crusoe from Robinson Crusoe. I have not sufficient words to describe my hatred for this disgusting hero. And for good measure, let’s throw Ben-Hur in there, too. In a fight to the death, I predict that Crusoe would barricade himself in a corner with materials he brought with him and Judah would agree to marry all the women in the crowd who shouted catcalls.

There were not a great many royals in my readings this year, unfortunately, but I did like Rowena from The Reluctant Duchess.

Oh! I know. Jay Gatsby, from The Great Gatsby. He was adorable.

Um, Katniss? And Rae from Sunshine. Both of you should have been dead… yesterday. Or last month.

Archer Keaton from the Dreamtreaders trilogy. Though I must argue that bad decision-making is one of the fundamental building-blocks of every story. Frustrating? Yes. Agonizing? Absolutely. But true.

Aaron from Bridge To Terabithia and Anne from Anne of Green Gables. So adorkable.

Huck Finn from Huckleberry Finn. He is a rather devious little boy, but also completely lovable. I shall adopt him.

Conor from the Song of Seare trilogy. This poor guy! He is always so exhausted… and covered in blood… and wounds… and beginning to fray mentally…

He. Needeth. Sleep.


Finnick and Annie from the Hunger Games trilogy. Anyone with me here? They are seriously the most adorable couple to ever grace the pages of a book and I want more. How did they meet?

Scream at me about: how many books you read this year, how many books you wanted to read this year, whether this was a weird Reading Year or not, which character you would most want to read more about, your favoritest ship, the character that you are the most surprised is still alive, and which villain you hate the most. Go ahead. Scream at me.


I Got Time… I Don’t Got Time

I don’t know what is going on with my schedule right now, honestly.

Image result for how to train your dragon gobber gif

It’s been a weird couple of months.

I’m blaming it on my tablet. Ever since I got it, I have no time.

Or perhaps I should say I only have time for certain things.

Like reading blog posts. And writing blog posts. And commenting on blog posts. And responding to comments. And finding new blogs to follow and comment upon. And deciding to jump onto the bandwagon called National Novel Writing Month. Things like that.

On the other hand, I don’t have time for…

1. Spanish

No. Definitely don’t have time for Spanish. How do you say hello again? Hoala?

2. Anatomy

Who even needs to know all that stuff anyway? I call this piece an arm and this one a leg and this is my eye. Clearly I know everything there is to know.

3. Geometry

Ugh. Math. I hate math.

4. Reading books

This makes me sad.

There is something wrong with life when you don’t have time to read books.

But I haven’t read anything in… forever. I haven’t visited a library in… forever. I haven’t checked anything out of a library in… longer than forever.

5. Interacting with humans

Image result for how to train your dragon gif

Let’s not be coy. I rarely interact with humans even on the best of days.

6. Brushing my teeth

This may seem random to you, but there was actually a night not too long ago where I thought to myself, “Eh, I don’t feel like it. I’m too tired. I have other things to do – I don’ have time to brush my teeth.”

There is something wrong with this picture.

7. Cleaning my room

Image result for how to train your dragon gobber trolls steal your socks gif

Ew. Do not look at my room right now. It is not a happy place.

8. Writing my book

Which is ironic, since I joined that lovely bandwagon called National Novel Writing Month.

Oh well.

I enjoy contradicting myself. Apparently.

What’s up, people? Time flying? Do you have enough time? Or is time precious and hard to come by these days for you as well? This one’s important: are you brushing your teeth regularly? What is being pushed aside? What do you still find time for, somehow?



Subplots In The Lord Of The Rings

I think it has been sufficiently established that I love The Lord of the Rings. I have read it over and over, and have picked up a thing or two.

A common complaint is how long it is.

The length has long since ceased to bother me; it means the pleasure that is this book gets to go on longer, does it not?

But it’s essentially true. It is a long book.

But because the book is so big, Tolkien has the time to have a much larger cast of characters and broader landscape than is possible in the typical novel.

This causes for many different dynamics. Different characters get to interact. Groups split up. You see each character in a variety of settings.

Here are a couple of my favorite “mini-stories” within the larger story of The Lord of the Rings.

1. Eowyn and Aragorn

“As she stood before Aragorn she paused suddenly and looked upon him, and her eyes were shining. And he looked down upon her fair face and smiled; but as he took the cup, his hand met hers, and he knew that she trembled at the touch.”

“Then she fell on her knees, saying: ‘I beg thee!’
‘Nay, lady,’ he said, and taking her by the hand he raised her. The he kissed her hand, and sprang into the saddle, and rode away, and did not look back; and only those who knew him well and were near to him saw the pain that he bore.”


It amuses me that Tolkien, the brilliant scholar, was not above a little romance.

I think he must have been a bit of a sap for it, actually, as there are at least three separate romances in The Lord of the Rings alone.

Eowyn and Aragorn form two members of an ever-popular Love Triangle.

Normally these annoy me, if only because they are so disgustingly prevalent.

But I don’t mind this one. It’s too real for that. Eowyn is too real for that.

In Aragorn’s defense, he never encourages her. He is only ever polite and kind.

And yet, any girl who reads this knows what Eowyn feels like.

I mean, who wouldn’t be in love with Aragorn?

2. Eowyn, The Feminist

“Shall I always be chosen? Shall I always be left behind when the Riders depart, to mind the house while they win renown, and find food and beds when they return?…

…Too often have I heard of duty. But am I not of the House of Eorl, a shieldmaiden and not a dry-nurse? I have waited on faltering feet long enough. Since they falter no longer, it seems, may I not now spend my life as I will?…

…All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honour, you leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more. But I am of the House of Eorl and not a serving-woman. I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear either pain or death.”

Eowyn is like the world’s first feminist.

Image result for leave the saving the world to the men gif

And while Aragorn gently tries to encourage her in his sweet, sensible way, Eowyn’s dissatisfaction with her life is so compelling.

No wonder she is a favorite character.

3. Sam: From Servant to Friend

Sam starts out as a servant.

About thirty years younger than Frodo, it doesn’t seem as though Frodo pays much attention to his maintenance man and gardener. His real friends are Merry and Pippin and Fatty.

Frodo is fond of Sam. The way you would be fond of a little kid you saw in passing a couple of times a week. Honestly, it seems like Sam may have been closer to Bilbo than to Frodo.

But as the story progresses, and circumstances dictate more interaction between Frodo and Sam, the dynamic begins to shift.

Frodo is pleasantly surprised to find how strongly his servant cares for him and how many noble qualities he possesses. Loyalty. Courage. Goodness.

By the end of the story, Sam and Frodo are no longer employer and employee.

They are friends.


4. Gollum Vs. Sméagol

Perhaps the most thought-provoking of all the themes explored in The Lord of the Rings, the struggle in Smeagol between good and evil is reminiscent almost of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde.

Obviously, the average person does not appear to have two people living in their body.

But, for lack of a better phrase, the struggle is real.

It might not be so obvious, but good and evil are battling for control in each of us.

Of course, Smeagol’s story does not have a happy ending. As much as Frodo – and with him the audience – would have liked to believe that Gollum was capable of change, that there was still some remnant of the old goodness in him, he succumbed to the darkness in the end.

5. Eowyn and Faramir

Eowyn and Faramir have the sweetest romance.

By far my favorite couple. What could be better than stoic, chivalrous Faramir falling for stubborn, passionate Eowyn?

“‘Then, Éowyn, Lady of Rohan, I say to you that you are beautiful. In the valleys of our hills there are flowers fair and bright, and maidens fairer still; but neither flower nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, so beautiful, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still. For you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the same hand drew us back…’

And so they stood on the walls of the City of Gondor, and a great wind rose and blew, and their hair, raven and golden, streamed out mingling in the air…

And would you have you proud folk say to you: ‘There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Numenor to choose?’

‘I would,’ said Faramir. And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many.”

6. Aragorn and Arwen

“And then all left him save Arwen, and she stood alone by his bed. And for all her wisdom and lineage she could not forbear to plead with him to stay yet for a while. She was not yet weary of her days, and thus she tasted the bitterness of the mortality that she had taken upon her.

And Aragorn said,’I speak no comfort to you, for there is no comfort for such pain within the circles of the world. The uttermost choice is before you: to repent and go to the Havens and bear away into the West the memory of our days together that shall there be evergreen but never more than memory; or else to abide the Doom of Men.’
‘Nay, dear lord,’ she said, ‘that choice is long over. There is now no ship that would bear me hence, and I must indeed abide the Doom of Men, whether I will or I nill: the loss and the silence.’

‘Estel, Estel!’ she cried, and with that even as he took her hand and kissed it, he fell into sleep… Arwen went forth from the House, and the light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and grey as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Then she said farewell to Eldarion, and to her daughters, and to all whom she had loved; and she went out from the city of Minas Tirith and passed away to the land of Lórien, and dwelt there alone under the fading trees until winter came.”

Sadly, Arwen is largely left out of The Lord of the Rings. Unlike Eowyn, Arwen seems uninterested in getting involved, apparently content to leave the fighting to the men.

But her and Aragorn’s love story can be found in the Appendices, and the sad beauty of their story is deserving of a book of its own.

7. Aragorn – King in Exile

Like his love story, Aragorn’s early life doesn’t enter much  into the main story.

But if you ever have the chance to read the Appendices, Aragorn’s is a beautiful story of sacrifice and love.

His father died when he was just a child and so his mother, Gilraen, took him to live in Rivendell, where Elrond became like a father to him.

It reminds me of a genderswapped Sleeping Beauty…

As heir to the throne, Gilraen was afraid for her son. He was never told who he was or even his real name until he was a young man.

Aragorn was known by the name Estel, which means “hope.”

One of my favorite parts of this story is what Gilraen tells Aragorn shortly before she dies.

“I gave hope to the world. I have kept none for myself.”

Have you read The Lord of the Rings? Who is your favorite character? Which couple is your favorite? Are there any other substories in The Lord of the Rings that I missed?Which one is your favorite?

Top Ten Countdown: Books

Want to know which books are the best ever written?

Which ones you should absolutely make an effort to read at all costs before you die?

Out of the kindness of my heart, I have made a Top Ten for you!

Image result for the princess bride gifs

10. The Hobbit


Honestly, if J. R. R. Tolkien had not gone on to write The Lord of the Rings, I don’t know that I would have included this on my list.

But he did.

So let’s not depress ourselves with thoughts of a world without Frodo, alright?

My point is, I’m not sure if I added this to list solely because I love The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit is its adorable prelude, or because it can stand on its own.

Personally, I think it can. 

Yes, it’s simplistic. Childish, even.

After all, Tolkien wrote it for children.

But as some of you know, I am an advocate of teenagers and adults reading children’s literature. There are so many gems we would miss out on if we obeyed the dictates of labels like “YA” and “adult” and “children’s lit.”

I say read kid’s books. There’s almost always something in there for you.

The Hobbit is no exception.

Not only is it fun and lighthearted, but it is truly beautiful in its simplicity.

9. Go Set A Watchman

Yes, this made it on the list.

Even though I wrote an entire post on why I hated it after reading it the first time.

But, ultimately, I love Scout – or Jean Louise. I love Atticus. I love Jem. And Uncle Jack. I love Maycomb County. I love Harper Lee’s blunt prose and dry wit and looking at the world through her unique – almost cynical – lens.

8. Gone With The Wind

I feel almost embarrassed, putting this here. Like maybe it doesn’t quite belong?

For one thing, it’s a well-known romance. Not normally my thing.

Image result for the princess bride gifs

For another, it’s huge. Like The Lord of the Rings huge. Like Les Miserables huge. They paid those guys per-word, right? No wonder they’re a thousand-plus pages long.

Not to mention dense and, at times, quite boring. Gone With The Wind, that is. Be not offended, lovers of Lord of the Rings and Les Mis!

But it rocked my world. And for a book to do that, there has to be something special about it.

7. The Hunger Games Trilogy

I know, I know. This is a bit of a copout. I’m sorry.

I just… can’t separate these three books.

I love them as a whole.

The Hunger Games I loved by itself.

Catching Fire? Eh, notsomuch.

Mockingjay is… well, Mockingjay is a different matter altogether.

But all three? Together?


6. Little Women

What a beautiful picture of family, of childhood, of home, of friendship, of sisterhood, of love.

I come from a large family myself, so I can relate, on so many levels.

According to modern readers, Little Women breaks a great many rules. Like the one about infodumping. Remember that one?

They would probably say that it has no cohesive plot, that there is nothing holding the story together, and that it has no point. That Alcott rambles.

That might be true.

But I reject these criticisms.

This story is true, if nothing else. Alcott has captured the heart of a family in a way that I believe no one else ever has.

And if you can’t appreciate that, you’re not a critic worth having.

This heartwarmingly simple story rings true. And that is enough.

5. North To Freedom

More popularly known by the name I Am David, I saw the movie by the same name long before I knew that it was based on a book at all.

The movie is well crafted – and it features Jim Caviezel before he ceased to have some spark of life in him. So that’s certainly a win for everyone.

But I still maintain that a movie can never quite capture the essence of the book it is based upon.

And that’s okay. Books and movies that tell the same story can be appreciated as separate stories – and appreciated better than if we constantly compare the two.

However, I would hate to see anyone miss out on the amazing story that is the book, simply because they have watched the movie and so think that they have seen everything there is to see.

The book offers so much more.

4. Julie of the Wolves

Oddly enough, this is the only Jean Craighead George book that I like.

I read this book as a young girl – which, honestly, doesn’t mean that I recommend doing that; I read a great many books at a young age that little girls should not be reading – and have since read it over and over again as a teenager.

The raw beauty of this book is so gripping. Every emotion is a color, and the metaphors are breathtaking.

The way Miyax lives in harmony with nature is simply beautiful.

Can I be adopted by a wolf pack, please?

3. To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird, sadly, was not a book that I had the pleasure to grow up with.

I was vaguely aware that a book by such a title existed, but my knowledge did not extend much further than that.

Imagine my surprise and pleasure at meeting this amazing piece of literature.

Image result for pirates of the caribbean i love those moments gif

Actually, I thought the first chapter was boring and predicted hating the entire book.

Excuse while I go laugh maniacally at myself for a few moments.

Honestly, I don’t have sufficient words to accurately describe my feelings about this book.

It’s a classic for a reason, folks!

2. The Lord of the Rings

I think we can all agree that J. R. R. Tolkien was nothing short of a genius.

We may or may not be able to agree on whether he was not the most boring writer to have ever lived.

At nine years old, I struggled for six months to wade through The Lord of the Rings. So, at that time, I probably would’ve agreed with those of you who say that it’s too boring, too long, and you’d rather just watch the movie.

I would’ve rather watched the movie as well. It was the bitter disappointment of being told that I was not allowed that provided the impetus behind my reading it in the first place.

All these years later, I have read The Lord of the Rings over and over again and it has never been a waste of my time.

It is a truly beautiful book. Action, emotion, beauty, romance, history – it’s all there.

1. Till We Have Faces

I am not actually a fan of C. S. Lewis.

Now those of you who grew up reading The Chronicles of Narnia are disgusted with me.

And those of you who think he’s the boring author of books expounding upon Christianity  are beginning to think my opinion might be valid.

Not to mention that it is currently my favorite book.

Till We Have Faces is unlike anything else C. S. Lewis ever wrote. Obviously every author has a particular voice and there are moments that are clearly recognizable as classic Lewis.

But this is not a kid’s book. And certainly not nonfiction.

It’s actually a retelling. Of a Greek myth.

Pysche and Cupid, to be exact.

It would be better if you experienced for yourself, so I won’t say anything to try and convince you.

Discover it for yourself. Tell me what you think.

What is your favorite book? Have you read any of the books on this list? What did you think of them? Do you ever read kid’s books? Do you ever read books that are intended for an audience that you are not apart of?

The 12 Best Quotes of Anne of Green Gables

I first met Anne through an audio dramatization.

I have never been a fan of audiobooks, but audio dramatizations, when done well, can be a great way to expose yourself to literature. I was introduced to many of my now-favorites that way.

I must’ve listened to Anne of Green Gables a dozen times or more.

So it was nostalgic to finally read the book for the first time, many years later. By that time, I had seen the film trilogy as well.

Anne of Green Gables now represents a little piece of my childhood and I enjoy reading it now, as a teenager, as much as I did then, as a little girl.

Here are some of my favorite moments from the book.

Image result for anne of green gables movie

1. “It’s so easy to be wicked without knowing, isn’t it?”

It is, Anne. It is.

2. “But if you have big ideas you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you?”

This was definitely my persuasion when I was five.

I do find it interesting that later on in the book Anne realizes the value of using short, easy-to-understand words.

3. “But the worst of imagining things is that the time comes when you have to stop and that hurts.”

Most of my favorite quotes from Anne of Green Gables are my favorites because they are amusing, but this one makes me sad.

I have a hard time accepting change. Accepting that children have to grow up and that one day we have to wake up and face the real world, that dreams don’t always come true and one of these days, we’ll have to stop pretending.

For me, that’s what this quote is about.

4. “But I’d rather look ridiculous when everybody else does than plain and sensible all by myself.”

 I love Anne’s unique way of coming right out and saying things the way they are. The funniest part is that she’s speaking in defense of trying to fit in, and yet, when she puts it that way, it sounds so utterly foolish.

I mean, don’t we all do this?

I certainly do. I just don’t articulate it – and if I did, I would try to make it sound justifiable. Anne doesn’t even attempt to justify it.

5. “She doesn’t know what to do with the people so she kills them to get rid of them.”

No, Diana does not murder anyone!

Except characters in stories.

I think my favorite part of this quote is that I’ve read books where this actually happens. I used to think that killing off one of your characters must be the hardest thing an author can do. Then I realized that killing your characters can be a way out. An easy way out.

6. “Reading stories is bad enough but writing them is worse.”

Obviously, I strongly disagree, because I do both.



I just love this quote because I couldn’t stop thinking, if Marilla was disgusted with Anne’s reading and writing habits, how much more disgusted she would be with me!

7. “If I was wicked, I meant to be wicked to some purpose.”

Can we just make this the worldwide mantra for villains everywhere? Please?

8. “The things you wanted so much when you were  a child don’t seem half so wonderful to you when you get them.”

I think, in some ways, that the “wanting” is the best part.

On the other hand, we can spend so much of our lives chase after something we think we want, only to realize that we aren’t satisfied when we get it.

It almost seems as if people are wired so that we aren’t truly happy without a goal to aim for.

9. “Young men are all very well in their place, but it doesn’t do to drag them into everything, does it?”

I know a few authors who could use to hear this message…

10. “I like people who make me love them. It saves me so much trouble making myself love them.”


Small children are particularly gifted at this.

11. “Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.”

Well, that’s one way to look at it!

We think there is such a huge gulf between winning and losing, but Anne has a point here. Failing is the closest anyone can get to winning.

12. “I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe the best does.”

As a bit of a pessimist myself, this way of thinking is so foreign to me. But I think it’s a good way to live your life.

It’s not as if we can change the outcome by knowing it could be bad.

Have you read Anne of Green Gables? What are some of your favorite quotes? Have you seen the movies? Do you think Megan Follows does a good job of portraying Anne? Which movie is your favorite? Have you read all eight books? Which is your favorite? Which is better – the books or the movies?

In other news… I have not yet finished writing my first Character Interview featuring both Makovu and Endelyn – which means you can still submit questions!

My Best Friends

I love books.

I consider them my friends.

Ever since I was tiny, I can’t remember a single thing I liked more than for my dad to read me stories. Consequently, all of them made me cry – sensitive little soul that I was. But I loved it, nonetheless.

I love the smell of paper, of faded ink, of leather,  the sound of whisper-thin pages fluttering, brushing the thick spines with my fingertips, the cracked, worn bindings, the thick moist sound of opening a thick tome, the satisfying thump of closing one, the awing silence of a vast library, the feeling of limitless information at your fingertips…

But there is a darker side, even to something so seemingly innocent.

Let’s face it. Books, stories, are a form of escape.

I could lose myself in the magic and wonder and mystery of a good book… and escape the hurt, the pain, of the world around me. I could run away into a world where everything was happy, and ended happily, the bad guys couldn’t touch me. I could escape into a dreamland that was magical, and safe, and controlled.

But I wonder, can that be right? 

I believe in facing your problems. And I always hated the idea that life was so hopeless that it needed escaping. I never thought it was right, or even acceptable, to try and drown yourself in…escapes, trying to numb the pain. But isn’t that what I am doing?

Some turn to alcohol, some to work, or drugs, sex, entertainment, pleasure, sleep, food, shopping… and the list goes on. I find this depressing because no matter how hard you try to escape, the pain will still be there when you get back.

Sometimes I find myself more concerned about what’s going on in a book than what’s happening all around me.

So, in the end, the people that populate my world… aren’t real people at all.

This worries me. It scares me. I don’t want to become an addict. Even if the form it takes looks harmless.

So do I give up my favorite pastime? And, if I’m honest, could I even if I decided that I should?

When does enjoying a good book cross the line of becoming wrong, a way to run away from my life, when does it start causing me to miss out on things, important things, things I will later regret missing? When does it become destructive, an addiction, something that could ruin my life? Will I awaken from my dreaming, and, like Rip Van Winkle, realize that the rest of the world has carried on without me, and left me behind?

These are questions that I cannot answer. And I don’t know if I will ever be able to.

13 Amazing Quotes From Till We Have Faces

I first read Till We Have Faces when I was about eight years old.

My big brother wanted me to.

I think he thought I was just a little smarter than I really was because I was reading adult books only a few months after learning how to read.

So I read it.

thought I understood it. I didn’t.

It’s a tough book.

A lot of metaphor. Lotta metaphor.

So I took everything at face value. I thought that the story was about an ugly girl and her gorgeous half-sister who marries a god.

It’s not.

Over the years, I have read Till We Have Faces many more times. And over the years, I have come to understand it better. I get more out of it every time I read. It has so much depth. I will probably continue to see some new aspect of it every time I read it.

And so, a book that once totally baffled and bored me, has become my favorite.

It’s kinda crazy.

If you have never read Till We Have Faces, you should.

It’s that good.

Don’t believe me? Allow me to give you just a glimpse.

1. “The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing.”


Pysche has always felt like she was created for another place. She never felt like she fit in.

How many of us have had that feeling?

I’d be willing to wager that all of us have. And more often then we’d like to admit.

I’d go so far as to say that most of us spend the greater part of our lives trying to find a place where we belong.

But Pysche… she embraces that loneliness. It is the sweetest thing she has ever experienced.

2. “Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but going back.”


3. “Then I did a thing which I think few have done. I spoke to the gods myself, alone, in such words as came to me, not in a temple, and without a sacrifice.”


This quote makes me smile. In a sad kind of way.

Orual thinks she is so brave. But she is so ignorant. She thinks she is being so daring. She thinks she is doing what no one has ever done. She has no idea that things don’t have to be that way. That they’re not supposed to be that way.

God was never supposed to be Someone we were afraid to approach. Someone we had to placate with sacrifices and blood. Someone we found in a temple and only had access to through a priest.

My heart bleeds for Orual.

4. “Holy places are dark places.”


A major theme in the book, this quote encapsulates the Priest’s philosophy. In some ways, I agree with the Priest. In others, like Orual, I want to fight against this idea.

That God cannot be understood.

I want to believe He can.

5. “Holy wisdom is not clear and thin like water, but thick and dark like blood.”


6. “Don’t you think the things people are most ashamed of are the things they cannot help?”


I find this quote so profound.

Is it true?

Is it?

7. “There is a cold doubt, a horrid shadow, in some corner of my soul. Supposing – supposing – how if there were no god of the mountain and even no holy shadowbrute…?”


8. “But there is no judge between gods and men, and the god of the mountain will not answer me.”


Again, this quote from Orual makes me sad. Her sense of despair. Her bitterness at the gods. Her unwavering belief in the futility of trying to make peace with them.

9. “When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over… I see now why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”


Obviously this is the most important quote in the whole book, the quote the whole book is centered around and named after.

People complain that God does not speak. That he is silent. And I think that this quote is the most satisfying explanation I have ever heard.

10. “Do you think that we mortals will find you gods easier to bear if you’re beautiful?”


Orual is angry at the gods.

Even in her anger, though, she never ceases to be honest. She is willing to admit that the gods are beautiful.

But it does not make her hate them any less. In fact, it may make her hate them more.

11. “Did I hate him, then? Indeed, I believe so. A love like that can grow to be nine-tenths hatred and still call itself love.”


“I was facing them – I with no strength and they with all; I visible to them, they invisible to me; I easily wounded… they invulnerable; I one, they many.”


12. “They will neither… go away and leave us to live our own short days to ourselves, nor will they show themselves openly… Why must holy places be dark places?”


Isn’t this the cry of all our hearts?

Why must holy places be dark places?

Why can’t God just play fair and come out into the open where we can see Him?

I think the reason that so many people struggle with God is due to this very thing. He does not simply walk away – set the world in motion and then leave us to our own devices with it, but neither does He meet us face to face the way we want Him to. He speaks to us in whispers and hints, in a breath of wind or in a sudden gleam of sunshine or in the pounding of the rain.

But we want Him to be clearer.

We want messages posted on billboards or written in the sky, we want lightning and thunderclaps, we want a discernible voice shouting at us from the heavens, don’t we?

God doesn’t work that way.

The Priest knows this. But Orual struggles against it. You can hear her desperation in this quote.


13. Orual: “Are the gods not just?”

The Fox: “Oh no, child. What would become of us if they were?”

Something we don’t think about a whole lot. We rail against God all the time. Accuse Him of all kinds of awful things. And we think we’re justified in doing it. We think our complaints are valid.

How often do we think about the fact that if God treated us the way we actually deserve to be treated…?

We accuse God of being unjust.

He is unjust.

And you better thank your lucky stars that He is.

What do you think? Which of these quotes is your favorite? Have you read C, S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces (you should!)? 

6 Reasons I Quit Reading

People want to believe in your story.

There is a fancy name for this truth. However, I cannot think of it at the moment.

But it is true.

And this is a good thing.

People go into a story wanting to like it. Wanting it to be good. 

Which means that they will excuse a certain number of mistakes in it. I’m not exactly sure how many.

But I think it is important for us, as storytellers, to be aware of this fact. When someone walks into a theater, they want the movie to be good. When someone picks up a book to read, they are actually prejudiced in its favor.

I don’t know why this is.


After so many mistakes or errors on the part of the author, the audience will start to lose interest. And after so many more, they will hate you.

Here’s the deal. At first, they will defend the story. If only subconsciously.

They will think, “Eh, it’s only a little flaw,” and they will keep reading.

And they will keep doing this until you have passed the point of no return. And there is no defending you anymore.

You are not worth defending.

Do not let your audience get to this point.

Now, I have more endurance than most people.

Some people get past the point of no return rather easily. Especially if they are experienced. These people are particularly difficult to please.

I, on the other hand, though experienced, will almost always finish a book. I do not like to quit. It goes against my personality. I like to see things through.

And that is good news for writers. I will finish it out of principle.

Even if I hate the book.

That is not-as-good news for writers.

That said, there have been a few books I have quit. And a whole lot more I would’ve liked to quit…

And since it is so hard to make me quit reading a book, I thought it would be enlightening to explore the mistakes that are so bad that even I quit reading.

1. Too Predictable

When the plot begins to mirror something I have read before, perhaps multiple times, I will quit reading. Like the “I’m-in-love-with-two-guys-and-I-don’t-know-which-to-choose…” I have read that a million and one times and have absolutely no reason to read it again.

So if you fit the mold, you are too boring.

If people know exactly what is going to happen or how the story is going to end, you are being too predictable.

Cut it out.

Or even if your characters are too predictable. Your heroine is A-Loner-Who-Is-Beautiful-But-Doesn’t-Know-It but just so happens to have One-Quirky-Friend?

Totally predictable.

Or she is Angry-And-Bitter-And-Sarcastic. Also predictable.

Your one love interest is Wild-And-Dashing-And-Slightly-Dangerous? And the alternate love interest is Protective-Tender-And-Morally-Upstanding?

Way predictable.

Don’t do it, folks.

2. Poor Writing

There is nothing I can’t stand as much as blatantly poor writing.

I’m not talking about Suzanne Collins is weak at writing dialogue. I’m talking about “I was born without the gift of being a writer and the only reason I got published was because my uncle owns the publishing house”.

It’s easy to spot.

And it’s disgusting.

I will quit reading.

3. No Suspense

If you give me no reason to keep turning pages, I won’t.

As I see it, there are two ways to do this. Keep the audience interested, I mean.

Suspense comes in two forms.


And mystery.

So if your mystery isn’t mysterious, then you have a big problem on your hands, my friend. If I know Who Dunnit before the end of the book… I will either be mildly proud of myself – or disgusted with your lack of skill.

Probably the latter.

4. Too Confusing

If I can’t follow the storyline, or I get lost in a network of characters so complex that I don’t know who’s who anymore, I may quit reading.

Granted, most people are bound to be confused at the beginning. That’s okay. Normal. Expected. Everyone is confused at first. It goes with the territory of starting to read a book.

But if I’m confused at the end?

I shouldn’t be confused at the end. Unless of course you want me to be confused. In which case, I definitely should be.

In other words, I’m okay with my brain buzzing pleasantly. But if I have a headache and feel mentally exhausted and have no idea what in the world just happened… well, that is not good.

5. Too Long

Please do not make the mistake of writing one of those books that takes approximately one million pages to tell a story that could have been told in five hundred.

Please don’t.

6. Not Invested

I get intensely emotionally invested in characters.

I almost cried when Rue died. I did cry when Prim did. (By the way, I hated Rue and Prim. Don’t ask.)

I was devastated for Rhett at the end of Gone With The Wind.

I routinely fall in love with Faramir, Aragorn, and Eomer every time I read The Lord of the Rings.

These people are real to me.

They are my friends. Or my enemies, as the case may be.

I care about them. I care about what happens to them. And you know why that is?

Because the author did a superb job in making that character real enough for me to care about. They poured their soul into that character. So that the character would come to life.

If I don’t feel anything for the characters – don’t hate them, don’t love them – then why would I want to read an entire book about them?

What do you think? Do you agree with any of the things on my list? What makes you stop quit reading?

How To Write A Romance In Three Easy Steps

First of all, let it be know that I do not read romances.

I skim them. Obviously.

Because I’m embarrassed to admit that I am a granny at heart and am a complete sap for romance, that’s why!

In all honesty, just plain romance is not my thing.

As aforementioned, I am a complete sap for romance. But I like it on the side.

Action… with a side of romance.

Dystopian… with a side of romance.

Fantasy… with a side of romance.

History… with a side of romance.

Mystery… with a side of romance.

Romance is great and all, but I need something else to be going on as well.

Recently, however, I have allowed myself to skim some just plain romances, and, armed with all this newly acquired knowledge, I thought to share my observations, namely: the building blocks of every great romance.

Step 1: Choose Your Heroine

The story will almost always center around the woman, because the intended audience of a romance is usually female.

You have exactly two options because attractive women come in exactly two embodiments: short, petite, and cute – typically these women will also have a shorter haircut – or tall and leggy, with long, flowing hair.

Step 2: Choose Your Hero

You have literally no options in this department.

He must be: tall, athletic, rugged, and gorgeous.

Apparently leading ladies have selective taste.

Step 3: Choose Your Trope

Some good options are: I’m-trying-to-sell-this-house-and-you-are-a-convenient-handyman, we’re-both-fighting-over-the-custody-of-these-children, or let’s-pretend-to-be-married-even-though-we’re-not.

I’ve also found that if one or both parties falls into a coma or tries to skip town, it builds up the angst nicely.

Whichever trope you choose, whether one of these or something new and dangerous and untried and probably sure to fail because it is not among the prescribed, just make sure that it requires the heroine and hero to be in close proximity for several weeks, if not an entire summer.

Don’t worry about thinking up a good name. Just pick something pretty and entirely unrelated and you are good to go!

Now blend all the ingredients well, and, if you want to go above and beyond, you could throw some good writing into the mix!

Now, please recognize that these are trained professionals.

I’m sure that handymen occasionally turn out to be dangerous creepers. I don’t recommend pretending to be married to someone when you’re not. And personally, I don’t see that it makes a whole lot of sense to fall in love with someone you’re in custody battle with.

Just don’t try it at home, kids!

So, tell me: do you read romance? Or do you, like me, prefer it on the side? Or would you rather romance was left out of the picture entirely (it does get tiresome to feel that romance is just included to garner a female audience. Like, “Here’s this story! Oh, and here’s some romance so the girls will read it, too!” Being pidgeon-holed is rather awkward.)?