Monday, January 14, 2019

My Top 5 Books and Movies of 2018



It is never too late for lists, right? Because…like, since I took a break from blogging at the end of the year, I didn’t do all those fun year-end list posts everybody and their pet chinchillas were doing. Soooo I thought I’d just do them NOW. Because LISTS.


If I had to sum my life up it’d be: Writing, reading, and watching movies. (Geek, anyone?) Since I talk about my writing probably more than I should here, I thought today I’d switch over to my other two favorite subjects and list my top five favorite reads and movies watched in 2018! These weren’t necessarily movies and books that came out in 2018 (though some are), but MY first time reading/watching them.


NOTE: I’m revealing no big spoilers in this post. So if you haven’t read/seen some of these, DON’T WORRY. You should be safe. :)


Let the geeky-dom begin!


TOP 5 BOOKS OF 2018




Okay, so actually choosing my 5 favorite reads was SO HARD. I honest to goodness loved almost everything I read last year. Which is a miracle. It was a good reading year! I really don’t even know if these were my top faves (decision ACK), but they were definitely some of my tippity top favorites!


In order of when I read them…



WIRES AND NERVE
by Marissa Meyer


A GIFT TO US LUNARTICS.


Wires and Nerve is a graphic novel that follows The Lunar Chronicles (only one of my most favorite series EVER). And this time Iko is the star. Yessss.


The plot is pretty simplistic. Not a lot happens, and there’s some random scenes that seemed to be there just to feature members of the Rampion Crew. But honestly? I DIDN’T CARE. I think the point was just to delight the fans in visiting their beloved characters again. And it succeeded! I was squealing each time a new one appeared. Plus having a whole story set in Iko’s hilarious POV this time was a DELIGHT.


It’s definitely one you’re going to want to pickup after reading The Lunar Chronicles. Otherwise it’ll make nooo sense and spoil, erm, EVERYTHING. But if you’re a “Lunartic” like me YOU NEED DIS.


Also, I can’t decide if I liked the first volume or second (Wires and Nerve: Gone Rogue) better. THEY WERE BOTH SO GOOD. But it’s really just one story anyway, you can’t really have on without the other, so let’s just go with both!


 

SHADOW HAND
by Anne Elisabeth Stengl


Can we just talk about how shameful it is that I’ve yet to read all the Tales of Goldstone Wood books yet, being as how I’ve been reading them since their creation??? Why is it taking me actual YEARS to get through what is one of my most favorite series? I DON’T KNOW. I think I’m subconsciously savoring them. They’ve been such a big part of my life and I don’t want them to ennndddd! D:


ANYWAYS.


Shadow Hand. Wow. It reminded me why I love these books so very much. Mrs. Stengl’s writing is breathtaking. Like…I have no words. And THIS BOOK. It was, without a doubt, the most complex, convoluted of all the stories so far (which is saying something) and I LOVED IT. The story was rich and full and had sooo many things going on but then it all came together in the end and just I don’t know how she does it.


This one follows Daylily and Foxbrush, whom we met in Veiled Rose (still my favorite of the series!), and whom were always, erm, somewhat unsavory characters. I was very curious how having characters who before had been portrayed as antagonists of a sort would work as protagonists. WELL. I should have had more faith in Mrs. Stengl. No spoilers here but…it was brilliance. Every word. Her stories are like devouring your favorite dessert. Rich and delicious and filling. I’m so in love with this series. <3

 

FAWKES
by Nadine Brandes


You may have heard of this one. Being as how it’s pretty much all anyone was talking about all last year. AND WITH GOOD REASON.


This is a historical fantasy (such a cool genre!) about The Gunpowder Plot. Not only does it have real life historical events in it, but it tosses in FANTASY THINGS. Yessss to alternate history pleaseandthankyou.


Our teenage protagonist, Thomas Fawkes (son of the Guy Fawkes), is determined to learn color magic and be accepted by his father. WELL. When his father pulls him into a plot to kill the king, things get…messy.


The entire world revolves around “color” magic, which is when a person can basically use telekinesis to move any object of the color of mask he/she owns. So, like, if you have red color magic, and wear a mask, you can move any object the color red. SO UNIQUE RIGHT? It’s a bit more complicated than that, but I don’t want to give too much away. There’s also a plague going around which turns a person to STONE. So, ya know, fun stuff.


What really captured me with this novel was how well-though-out and poignant it was written. You really felt like you were in foggy London, and knew the characters. Thomas was a precious cinnamon roll and such a teenager. The heroine, Emma, managed to be strong but feminine at the same time (totally breaking the emotionless “strong female character” stereotypes). And each side character had their own personalities and agendas. I was so swept away with this world.


Then the PLOT. So many twists. So. Many. Twists. GAH. I loved it! Oh, and feels. Feels eeeeverywhere. Gotta love a book that stomps your heart and kicks it in the ocean. FUN STUFF!


My one qualm was the allegorical part felt a bit…weird. It portrayed a sort of God-figure, but in a very…unexpected way. I wasn’t sure I liked it. But, at the same time, the story was full of beautiful messages and made me THINK, which I always love.


Overall, I thought it was amazing and well deserved of the hype.

 

THE HOUND OF DUVILLE
by Kyle Robert Shultz


BE STILL MY BEAUMONT AND BEASLEY LOVING HEART.


I won’t say too much about this one, because I already did a whole review for it just a few months ago. BUT. Definitely, definitely one of my favorite 2018 reads.


This is a novella following the Beaumont and Beasley series (MY FAAAVE!!!). It definitely needs to be read after the first main 3 Beaumont and Beasley books, but if you have read them you MUST get this one in your life! It harked back to the first book, following Nick and Crispin, as they try to discover a hilarious curse sweeping through Talesend. The brotherly banter (NICK AND CRISPIN MY BOYS <3), the humor, the side-splitting references to a couple of well-known movies, the whole hilarious curse. It was perfection!


Until the end which destroyed my heart and soul but YA KNOW. I apparently enjoy books ripping out my feels SO.


BUT YES. I adored this little story so so so much, and just talking about it is making me want to reread it!

 

HARRY POTTER AND
THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN

by J.K. Rowling


I mentioned recently that I read the Harry Potter series for the first time in 2018 annnnnd I fear I’m becoming one of those people who now makes an HP reference like every other sentence. I’M SORRY. The hype is real!


Though I loved every. single. book. The Prisoner of Azkaban was my faaave! (With Goblet of Fire coming at a very close second.) Things really start to pickup, the characters are growing but still young and foolish and adorable, Lupin is introduced (LOVE HIM!), Sirius, too, enters the picture, and then THE ENDING. The whole plot twist and craziness that erupts in those last few chapters was eeeeverything. It was so twisty and epic and GAH. YESSSHHH.


But also can I cheat and just put the whole Harry Potter series here? Because it was definitely my favorite read of all of 2018. I had such a wonderful time entering the Wizarding World! And now that I’m here…I’m never leaving! Bwahahaha.




And there we have my top-ish reads of 2018! But, seriously, I loved practically every book I read. You can see all my 2018-reads on my GoodReads shelf HERE. Because we bookdragons are inherently nosy. *grins*

 

TOP 5 MOVIES OF 2018


I’m only going to be listing movies that were new to me, and not rewatches because then we’d be here alllll day. Heh. (I just really like movies!)


Once again, in order of when I watched them (I think)



THE GREATEST SHOWMAN


So yes, I saw this for the first time in April and AAAHHHHHH!!!!! What brilliance did my eyes just behold?


Confession: I’m not a big musical person. I KNOW. You may disown me, no hard feelings. (Okay, maybe a few.) Musicals just…aren’t my thing. So when I saw the huge hype for this movie I was just like, “Meh. I don’t think I’m interested.”



Let’s just say my friends kidnapped me and forced me to watch it, insisting I’m going to enjoy it (as good friends do). And…I had to eat my words. All of them. The opening got my heart thrumming, I think I didn’t blink for the entirety of the movie, it took my breath away, and when they asked me which was my favorite song when it was over I was like, “ALL OF THEM!” Yep. I enjoyed a musical. More than that, I LOVED a musical.


But wow, this movie. It truly captured that sense of wonder that I haven’t seen in cinema for a long, long time. The story was beautiful, the characters were alive, the chorography was astounding, and the songs are something I now keep on repeat on a constant basis. It’s honest to goodness one of my top favorite movies now.


So yeah, words were eaten.

 

INFINITY WAR


Was this my favorite or least favorite movie of the year? I DON’T KNOW. I do know it ripped out every feel I’ve ever had and turned it to ash so THANKS, MARVEL.


But, at the same time, getting to see all the heroes we’ve been following for TEN YEARS (yeah, I’ve been a Marvel fan since the first Iron Man movie #geek) come together in one movie was a TREAT. I wasn’t sure how they’d handle having so many main characters, but they did it brilliantly. (Though the lack of Bucky scenes was an atrocity! *cough, cough*) I also felt like they did well bringing together all the different styles of the movies. When the Guardians were on camera, it felt like a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. During Steve’s scenes, it felt like a Captain American movie. Tony definitely brought his Iron Man style with him. Etc., etc. It was great!


It wasn’t a perfect movie. I have complaints. But overall I LOVED it. …Or hated it. I DON’T KNOW. UGH. FEELS.


 

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP


Look at that, another Marvel movie. Is anyone surprised???


After Infinity War gobbled up my heart and spit it out, I was very much looking forward to a more lighthearted movie. Ant-man was such a hilarious movie, and I couldn’t wait for this sequel. IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. It held up perfectly to the first movie. If anything, it was even better!


The humor was just as gold, the villain was fascinating, Scott was as loveable as ever. I absolutely loved it! Definitely refreshing after the heart-stomping cruelty of Infinity War.


Were just not going to talk about the post-credits scene.

 

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN


OH, MY HEART.


Okay, so Winnie-the-Pooh is my EVERYTHING. The Hundred Acre Wood was my childhood home. I watched the Disney movie on repeat like…daily. I had stuffed animals of the characters. I even watched the Disney show of it. I still get thrills when I’m exposed to anything Winnie-the-Pooh related. It’s my comfort zone. My happy place. My home.


So when I heard that they were making a movie about an adult Christopher Robin my first reaction was…huh. (I’m such a deep thinker.) I didn’t know if to be excited or worried. On the one hand, it was a very interesting concept and looked cute. But on the other hand, WHAT IF THEY RUINED MY BELOVED CLASSIC???


Well. WELL. I should have had more faith in Disney. This movie was everything. I cried the second the opening credits came on. I wish I was joking but NOPE. The opening scene showing the map of my dear Hundred Acre Wood, and the sweet scene taken directly from the book of young Christopher Robin and Pooh had me bawling. And from there I was just a tearful mess.


Because they didn’t ruin my childhood home, they brought it to LIFE. I felt like I was Christopher Robin, now an adult, letting the world weigh on my shoulders, only to step back into my childhood home and relive all those happy memories.


When I was little, I never really played with dolls much. I played with stuffed animals (like, seriously, my stuffed animal collection was ridiculous). I always felt a special kinship to Christopher Robin, because his form of play was always my form of play. His stuffed animals and quaint little secret world. That was me.


So having Disney bring that world to life, with respect and charm and heart, was everything I didn’t know I needed.

 

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE


Oh look! More Harry Potter things!


Though the Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite book, The Goblet of Fire was definitely my favorite movie. I felt like it brought the fun charm of the books to life more-so than any of the other movies did, while also piling a bucket of feels on top of you…just like the book.


My sister and I watched it together and we were giggling uncontrollably through the first half of it, then sobbing relentlessly by the last half. So yep. It was perfect!


(Also David Tennant, guys. DAVID TENNANT!)



Although, I have to say, I was shocked how well all the movies followed the books. Like…I was not expecting them to be so true to the books. Especially not all eight movies! There were definitely things they skipped but…they only had so much room, so I can forgive them. I certainly had some qualms (I wouldn’t be a true bookworm if I didn’t), but, overall, I was extremely pleased with the movies! (But we’re not here to talk about my HP opinions are we? Maybe one day I’ll do a whole HP post and give you allllll the opinions from me you never wanted. BWAHAHAHA!)



OKAY. I will spare you of exposure to yet more of my geekiness (for now). But, overall, 2018 proved to be a fantastic year for books AND movies!


Can’t wait to see what all geekery I can get myself into this year!

 

TALK WITH ME!

Fangirl/boy tiiiime! What was YOUR favorite book and movie devoured in 2018??? I MUST KNOW. And have you read/watched any of these? Because you know I will happily flail over them with you!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Goals of 2019



Happy 2019, my elflings! It’s…it’s…2019. That feels so weird to type out. But I’m trying to embrace it, because it’s A NEW YEAR. Which means new goals and dreams and hopes and adventures and I’M EXCITED.


I do hope your Christmas and New Year’s was lovely. I am back from my little holiday break, and excited to be here because, though my break was fantastic and muuuch needed, I’VE MISSED YOU ALL. A LOT.


Being as how it’s (somehow) a new year, that means GOALS. My favorite. #nerd I’m going to do like I did last year and list out all my goals for 2019 because nothing like the pressure of accountability to get me into gear. Woot, woot!


Funnily enough, a whole lot of my goals for this year are the same as they were last year. Some because, well, I didn’t achieve them last year. *COOOUGH* But a lot of them are because I did achieve them last year (miracle of miracles!) and want to keep the good habits I picked up.


So let’s get started!

 

GOALS OF 2019


 

EDIT BURNING THORNS


Eheheheh. So this has been on my list of goals for the past…3 years now? Because I just keep editing and editing and editiiiiing. BUT. I feel like this next edit may be the last it needs before it’s *gulp* ready for querying. It’s gone through so many changes, and is like one billion times better from it’s first draft thanks to my AMAZIIIING beta-readers. And…and I think it truly is almost ready.


I don’t think this next edit will be nearly as intense and time consuming as last year’s. But LOLZ. I really shouldn’t say these things, because the universe does so love to prove me wrong. So WE’LL SEE. But I’m quite excited to dive back into my beloved story again. I haven’t touched it since September and I MISS IT. I’ve been working on it so long, it’s become my comfort place, if that makes sense. My home. And I’m ready to return! Plus, last year I discovered that I actually really, really like editing, of all things. o.o So for once I’m not terrified of the idea. Huzzah! (Miracles really do happen.)

 

QUERY AT LEAST THREE
LITERARY AGENTS


Brb while I go hide in panic for 3 million years.


Ahem, so yes. I WANT THIS TO HAPPEN. The fact that I haven’t queried yet is just SHAMEFUL. I’ve been meaning to for yeeeears. But, at last, I think I have a book almost properly ready for it. Plus I did quite a bit of research on query letters last year, and I have a copy of the 2018 Christian Publishers Market Guide to go through, which should help a LOT. So…I think I’m ready. I’msonotready.


I’m setting a goal of at least three because I work best with very specific goals. My original goal was to try to research some agents and hopefully query to them later this year. But then I realized with something that vague, I’d never get up the nerve to do it. But I’m stubborn and when I set something specific like this, I usually try my hardest to DO it. So yep. 3 agents it is (at least, but I may try more). #halp


 

SUBMIT FLASH FICTION AND ARTICLES TO MAGAZINES, CONTEST, ETC.


If I’m going to be querying I need a “resume” of sorts. I’ve been meaning to do this for actual YEARS. And this is gonna be the year. I’M DETERMINED.


I’ll hopefully be trying to write some flash fiction for Havok (which just launched it’s new website last week, by the way!), and I have a list of some other magazines to look into. BUT I’m aaaalways looking for more, so if you have suggestions PLEASE SHARE! I’m so new to this. Any help would make me love you forever. (JK, I already love all of you! <3)

 

SWITCH BLOG OVER TO WORDPRESS


Um, so hi, yes. I feel like this is coming out of the blue but, honestly? I’ve been wanting to do this for years (do you see a pattern of procrastination here? *cough*). Blogger was a great platform to start out with when I was a little baby blogger, but it is time to switch to something more advanced and professional looking. I mean, sheesh, come March I’ll be blogging for EIGHT YEARS. o.o Like…it’s time for something more serious and permanent. Past time!


SO YES. I’d really like to do this. The idea has TERRIFIED me, which is why I haven’t done it yet. But I was looking around at step-by-step guides the other day and, though it looks like it’ll be time-consuming, it does look doable. Maybe? Hopefully? I’msoscared. So I’m gonna try!


I don’t know when. I was thiiinking maybe in March or April? My blogiversary is in March, so it’d be cool to do it after being here for 8 years. But WHO KNOWS. Knowing my procrastinating ways it may not even happen. Eheh. But I wanted to give you guys a heads up so you don’t freak out when suddenly everything has changed over here. If I do it, I hope to get a domain name too. So yeah. Serious changes may indeed be coming. BUT DON’T WORRY. When the time comes, I’ll let you guys know it’s about to happen. *nods*

 

ATTEND REALM MAKERS


YES. This is probably happening again this year and AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I AM SO EXCITED.


It’s absolutely not set in stone because money and life and health and blah. But it’s definitely looking promising! I especially want to go this year because it’s at the same location as last year, and having that familiar setting will be way less overwhelming and easier on my body and mind since I’ll know what to expect, how much walking I’ll be doing, etc. So yeah, I’m really hoping it’ll work, because it’ll be sooo much easier having a location I’m now familiar with.

 

READ MORE


This is always my goal, and it never seems to happen. *shakes head* I average 30 books a year, which is just pathetic. I really, really want to make more time for reading this year.


And to go under this category, I hope to read at least a couple of nonfiction writer help books. As well as read lots of fairytales. It’s been ages since I’ve read some fairytales, and I miss them! Plus, I have reeeeasons for needing to read all the fairytales again but that’s a secret for right now. *griiins*


I’m also hoping to read at least one popular series this year that like everyone in the world has read but I haven’t. A couple of years ago I read through the Percy Jackson series, and last year (it feels weird referring to 2018 as last year o.o) I read Harry Potter (FINALLY!!!), and I want to keep up this streak. It’s just shameful that I haven’t read certain series. I’m thinking this year I might do A Series of Unfortunate Events. I did read the first 2, but that was years ago! So I want to read them altogether now. Mainly because my sister is obsessed with the Netflix series and says I HAVE to watch it. But being the good bookworm I am, I want to read the series first. But we’ll see! I’m very much a mood reader and try to make reading fun and stress free and not some obligation, so I like to leave my reading goals pretty loose and carefree. Otherwise it feels like a chore and that’s the last thing I want reading to be!


I also may totally steal Tracey's idea and read one book of Bryan Davis’ Dragons in Our Midst/Oracles of Fire/Children of the Bard books a month, because there’s exactly twelve. I’ve been wanting to reread them (and I actually never did read the last two of the Children of the Bard series! O__O), and this seems like a fantastic plan! Plus, I never reread anymore and I MISS IT.

 

PARTICIPATE IN NANOWRIMO


I mean, this is a given. And this year will be my TENTH NaNo. In a row. O_O So like, I have to participate!

 

EXERCISE ALMOST DAILY


I got in a fairly good routine of exercising for about 30 minutes most days last year, and I definitely want to keep this up! Or…restart, because NaNo and the holidays sort of killed the routine. Whoops. And I’m feeling it too. I spend so much time at the computer, my muscles get really sore. It’s definitely time to get up a routine again!


 

UNPLUG MORE


This was a big goal for last year and did I accomplish it? NOPE. Well, okay, I do feel like I did make more of an effort to not work every single second of the day. But I still got a lot of burnout that probably could have been easily avoided if my workaholic mind would just CHILL.


This year I reeeally want to make more of an effort to give myself some rest and allow recharging time. I’ve been feeling a serious decrease in creativity for like…a year now, and I think it’s due to not taking the time to refill that creative tank and REST.


My hope is to “clock out” by 8 every night. And actually stick to it! Because I always have intentions of doing something like this, but, again, my workaholic self usually just ignores the idea of self-care. But maaaaybe this year will be the year I for reals take care of myself mentally and physically. One can hope. XD

 

BE BRAVE


I usually try to choose one word to focus on for each year. Last year was INTENTIONAL, to be intentional about chasing my dreams and  using my time. And, for like the first time (*COUGH*), I stuck to that word for most of the year. I don’t want to quit. I want to continue being intentional in every minute of this precious life I’ve been giving.


And so the word for this year is an add-on, if you will, to last year’s word.


BRAVE.


That’s my hope for this year. Because with intentionality, you have to have a bit of bravery. The biggest reason I hadn’t seriously edited most of my books yet? I was scared of editing. The reason I haven’t queried anything? It terrifies me. The reason I’ve yet to submit anything to a magazines? It’s SCARY.


Fear has brought my dreams to a screeching halt. And I’m tired of that.


Last year I stumped the fear a little bit and edited Burning Thorns as well as pitched it to a couple of agents at Realm Makers. And I want to keep pounding at it until it’s gone completely.


Being a writer is SCARY, guys. Being a creative in any form is one of the most emotionally invested jobs on this earth. We’re literally handing our hearts to people to poke and prod and critique. But if God has called you to be a creative, I can think of nothing more tragic than letting fear keep us away from that calling.


So this year I want to be BRAVE. To intentionally use my passion for stories for God’s glory, and stop letting fear drag me back from my dreams.



And there we are! My hopes for 2019. All pretty scary goals, which is precisely why I strongly feel like brave is the exact word I need for this year. It’s going to take a lot of bravery and determination to achieve these. But I grew a lot lost year, and formed some good habits. And I feel like I’m now ready to put everything I learned last year into practice. We’ll see how it goes! *nervous laughter*


Whatever happens this year, I do hope to use my time wisely and soak up the moments. We have a whole new year to start over, to stretch for those dreams, to see God’s fresh mercies every morning. So let’s tackle 2019 with joy and excitement. It’s gonna be a good one, guys, I’m feeling it!


HAPPY 2019!!!

 

 

TALK WITH ME!

Who’s in complete and utter shock it’s 2019??? *raises hand* I can’t get used to it! How was your Christmas? Are you excited it’s a new year? What’s your biggest goal for 2019? I’d LOVE to hear about it! And I truly hope this year will be a blessing to each of you. You’re all in my prayers! <3 I can’t wait to tackle another year with all my dear internet peeps!

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