Monday, August 3, 2020

Eight Good 'Kids' Books

Dear reader,

As a young adult, the genre targeted at me is usually, well, YA ("young adult") fiction. And surely there are YA books that I enjoy; The Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the Dragons' Bane series by Melody Jackson, and The Fire Rain Chronicles by Miranda Marie being examples of that. 
However, I don't always, or even often, gravitate to YA books. Not for any particular reason. It's simply that when a book description or cover catches my eye, it's almost always for kids ranging from 8-14. 

So, I thought it might be fun to go over some books, the age, and what I like about it in the age order of youngest to oldest.

The Five Kingdoms by Brandon Mull: Target age 8-12

I read this some years back, and though I've only read book one, Sky Raiders, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and still plan to get the other four in the series. 
I'm seldom one for contemporary, and so when this story started off in the real world I wasn't overly interested in it. However, when it stepped into the world of fantasy, and how it stepped into the world of fantasy... it caught my attention. 
This book is about a boy named Coal who finds himself in a world of fantasy after slave drivers come to his world and take quite a few kids from Coal's world. He goes in after them rather then fleeing, and the adventure commences. 
It's a great adventure that isn't very childish and my only real gripe with it is a gripe I have with most books; young love. 12-13 year olds and romance just doesn't mix right. Granted, Coal is depicted really only as having a crush, and sure, that's fair for a kid his age, and also I don't know how that develops as the books progress. Maybe he grows out of it. And besides that, it's not even a leading part of the first book and is only occasionally mentioned.

It's a really fun book and I have good memories of reading it. With floating castles, swords, beasts, talking smiley faces,  a resilient main character, and characters from many genres (due to the floating castles), seeing the fantasy world interact with modern things, and best of all, tying with the talking smiling face (named "Happy"), the dear character Liam, how could I not like it? 

This book influenced one of my first stories, one that I've now been working on for many years and has since strayed from that influence. It still helped begin it, though. And thinking back on it, it seems to have accidentally inspired one of my other stories to some degree. 

In any case, it's a great book, and I've begun to reread it and hope to get the other books soon, and it's a good example of kid's books being wonderful for all ages.

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine: Target age 8-14

(Not to be mistaken with Marissa Meyer's Fairest.)
This one I read a little over a year ago, I think. It's a really sweet story about a girl who is just horrible looking. She's downright ugly, and even mistaken for an ogre once or twice. Her one charm is her beautiful voice. 
In a wonderful but one-in-a-million chance, she becomes a lady-in-waiting to the new, and very young, queen of Ayortha. Mischief, magic, and tragedy soon follow, making for a wonderful, upsetting, endearing, and good story, with quite a few songs in it, as well. 

This story is one of the sweetest stories I've read in some time. I felt  for the protagonist, Aza, through all the stress and frustration and fear and feeling. Sure, there were times where I wanted to scream at her for making a decision or two, but really it was just realistic, given the circumstances. 
I honestly cannot think of anything in particular that I disliked about this book. It served as a very good summer escape for me, and it's really just a very dear story.

It is, in a large part, a love story, so if you're not fond of those, you may wish to pass this up. 

Dear America: Target age 9-12

This is actually a series, one of which I haven't read every book in, but I have read and own a handful of them. 
These books are all historical fiction taking place in various times and locations, but all having to do with America (thus the name). Everything I've read so far (and this series I did begin at a younger age) has been decent, but it is mainly on this list for two books in particular; "So Far From Home" and "Early Sunday Morning" by Barry Deneberg. 

So Far From Home follows a Irish girl who comes to America to escape the Great Potato Famine that is plaguing her family and country. It shows her adjusting to the life of America, struggling to make money as she works in the mills, and having to let go of her family in many ways while never quite feeling like she belongs in this new land. 
It's a interesting read and remains one of my favorites of the series. 

Early Sunday Morning is follows a American girl whose family moves to Hawaii, which is a hard move for our protagonist because her family is constantly moving all over America, but they'd never moved somewhere so different before. But when they arrive, and just as they've settled in, comes the frightful event of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The story doesn't end there; it goes on to show the aftermath of it and how people were effected, and not just how the nation was effected. 

Both books, and really every book in this series, has one specific thing that I do always love about them: they show you different cultures. And not just in the usual way, and not in a over-explained way. They are written in the form of diary entries from various walks of life in various times in various places, so it takes a more casual and realistic approach to showing the culture, and as far as  I can tell, they're pretty accurate. 

The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett: Target age 10-13

This one is another historical fiction book. It takes place in France during The Great War, and follows two young sisters who find a blind soldier in the woods. They bring him food and supplies daily, and he tells them many stories, and while some stories are more interesting than others, they all have an impact on the girls. 
This story's setting is beautiful, and the story as a whole is just such a sweet one. I'll admit that it lost my interest at one or two parts, but it was still very good. 

The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan: Target age +10

Now, how to talk about this one without it resulting me in going on a fangirl ramble about how much I love these books...
I'm on book three right now, and I love love love these books. When I read the first book, I actually started a review for this, as well as a review for the second, but the thing is I love these books so much that I can't find a way to do a constructive review. I may see about cleaning up the current written review and posting it another time, but this will have to do for now.

This series (so far) is just incredible. It's a prime example of "kids" books often being so much better than YA. This series, and each book, is faced paced without missing details, clean without being childish, epic without being gory, and just absolutely magical. 
The main plot is really just Will's life as a Ranger, starting at Apprentice. The first two books are about war, and the third book I cannot tell you what it's about because of spoilers for the first two. But basically, I went in thinking that the main plot for the series was the war, and I was very wrong. The war is a important thing, but really the story isn't about the war, it's about Will. And what a wonderful story it is. 

I am in dept to R.M. Archer for suggesting the first book in the series, among two other books, to the book club we were both in, and to the other members of said club for voting for it to be out next read. I've not been this emotionally invested in a book in a long time, but less a series. This is one of those books that I stayed up until 1:00 AM to finish reading, and then was too excited for the next book to sleep. 

I just... ahh. I could gush about the first book alone for an eternity. There's so much I want to say about it but I really want you to just experience it for yourself. So please, even if you don't read the whole series, read at least the first book. It's worth your time.

The Last Dragon (or The Last Elf) by Silvana de Mari: Target age +10

Of course, it wouldn't be a true Bleeding Ink post if I didn't mention this darling book.

It's rated ten and up, and that seems appropriate to me. It's very good book with dark themes disguised as a childish adventure, because it is told through the view of our darling Yorsh, who is a child, and is also an elf, who has little understanding of humanity. 
This book is just... it's amazing. The scenery is vivid, the characters are full and fun, the whole thing is just wonderful and I love it so, so much. It's made me laugh (and some parts still make me laugh to think of), it's made me cry, and it's made me feel the same misery that some of the characters experienced. 
The setting often makes me feel cold and uncomfortable, because a fair amount of the book takes place in cold and wet settings and it's so vivid that you can practically feel it yourself. 

So much credit is owed to the amazing translator, Shaun Whiteside for being able to capture Silvana's imagery and wording and just everything. It's a absolutely wonderfully book that all ages can enjoy, not just ten year olds. Honestly it didn't strike me as a child's story at all, because as I said, though it is told through the lens of a child, it is a heavy and dark world. 

Through the entire book I have only two issues, and neither will make much sense if you don't first read it, and neither are very big. For one, there's just this rather odd instance that seemed out of place, and I have a feeling that the other books in this series (which haven't been translated to English) would explain it, so it's not a big deal.
For the other, it's just that there's one character whose perspective I don't enjoy reading very much, but that's mainly because I always feel weird when new characters are introduced. 

But even with those two things, I strongly advise that you read it. It is, by far, my favorite book. 

(P.S. To Silvana de Mari and Shaun Whiteside, should you ever happen to find this: please please please please translate The Last Ogre and My Name Is Yorsh and all of the other books in this franchise. I really, really, really want to read them.) 

The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood: Target age 12-16

This one is quite the jump in age, just starting towards YA at its oldest and is a kid's book at its youngest. 
This book is about an orphan boy who is well taught in shorthand and is thus hired (or, more of 'bought') by a man to steal the plays of Shakespeare by attending the plays and writing down all that happens as closely as possible. 
He then ends up working with Shakespeare's theater team, all the while he's stealing the plays and reporting back to his master. Quite a lot of chaos ensues, and in the words of the book's reviews, "it's a good adventure". 
It also has two other books in the series, but I've not read those as of yet. 

This isn't a book that I became very invested in, but it is one that I enjoyed and now that I'm writing this, I'd like to reread it some time.

Post Conclusion:

Well well, and here we are. This certainly isn't a list of all my favorite books, and not all of these on this list are my favorites, either. But they're good, and if you're exhausted from the YA or even the adult scene, they're a good alternative. 

I tried to look for things that these books had in common to propose an idea of why these eight books are appealing, but the only thing I could find is this: they're all kids' books. 
They don't have inappropriate content (though The Ranger's Apprentice third book makes a mild reference and has mild swears such as the D and H words), they aren't romance based, they aren't about a girl who "isn't like other girls", they don't hold political agenda, they aren't... well, they aren't adultish.  

So my conclusion is this:
Something being made for children does not make it childish. And often times, it makes it even better. So next time to see a book and the premise sounds interesting, but the target-age is low, don't be afraid to pick it up anyways and give it a go.

I hope you enjoyed this, and should you decide to pick up any of these books, or if you've read them already, tell me what you think about them. I'd love to hear from you. 

        Until we meet again. I remain, 

                    𝓔𝓭𝓷𝓪 𝓟𝓮𝓵𝓵𝓮𝓷

P.S. You should really read The Last Dragon (or The Last Elf if you're in the UK) by Silvana de Mari! It's wonderful and it deserves more attention and love.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

In Defense of Katniss Everdeen

Hello, dear readers!

People often hate on Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of Suzann Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy. It's an easy thing to do.
But I was thinking about this, and I came to the realization that Katniss' attitude, emotions, decisions, strengths, and weaknesses, all need to be weighed against her circumstances.
And I came to realize the following, and thought it might make for an interesting post, especially considering Suzann Collins has recently released her new book, which is part of this franchise, "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" (which I may do a review of  when the time comes). So, here it is.

**ALL the spoilers for The Hunger Games trilogy ahead. If you've not read the series, please do so before continuing to read.**

Katniss is a child

I'm not sure if you know this, but sixteen is a very young age. And, that's how old she is when the first and part of the second book take place. Not to mention, she was only twelve when her father died and she began taking care of her mother and little sister.
She didn't grow the way she needed to. She didn't grow up with anyone to take care of her, she had no one to teach her, no one to guide her.
And that includes things such as how to handle dangerous situations, hormones, anger, how to make hard decisions, how to deal with certain people, social manners, she didn't even have someone to help her build her moral ground. All of that stopped for her at the age of twelve. She had to piece it together and figure it out herself. 
The fact that she got as far as she did is honestly amazing.

And when I was younger and read this story, I saw sixteen year olds as an adult. But now, being around that age, I've come to realize that it truly is not.
So, at sixteen, Katniss Everdeen is thrown into a arena and told to kill other kids and survive.
Can you really honestly blame her for doing what she felt would keep her, and her friend, alive?

Hormones are a thing

Through the entire trilogy, Katniss never gets out of her teens. It's sixteen to seventeen, discluding the epilogue. And yes, she had been through a lot, but she still has hormones.
And as much as I hate love triangles (I really, really, really hate love triangles), there being one makes sense.
Because at sixteen/seventeen, your brain and body aren't fully done growing and maturing. They've hardly even begun where maturity is concerned.

Plus, Katniss has never really had romantic male interaction before, she's been too focused on surviving. Throw not one, but two equally hormonal boys also in hard life situations, at her and something is gonna happen. It'd be a miracle if it didn't.

Katniss was the face of the rebellion

This could also basically be worded as she was a war leader. Sure, she couldn't call all of the shots in District 13, but as far as the citizens were concerned, the Mockingjay was far more than a symbol.
And she had all kinds of pressure with that, while still being a teenager. She was forced into molds and positions and situations, she was forced into a war.
And all this time she doesn't even know where her loyalties lie. All she knows is Peeta is going through who knows what in the Capital, that she hates Snow, and that she needs to keep her mother and sister alive.
13 aligned with that better than the Capital, but even they took advantage of her.

All the while, Katniss surely has permanent mental damage such as post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, and is still being forced to make big decisions, still looking after her loved ones, still trying to save Peeta, still trying to lead the Districts, still trying to survive.
Not to mention the fact that Peeta is trying to kill her for half of Mockingjay.

The fact that her sanity hadn't completely snapped the second she stepped out of the first arena is amazing. Now look at her in the book "Mockingjay".
I can't blame her for having an attitude, or being confused, or crying, or breaking down, or any of it. Especially when you consider all the mind games that she's being forced to play.

She loses everything

Pardon me if I'm being redundant, but seeing as all these things tie together, it's kind of hard not to be.

There is not one thing that Katniss stands to lose that she doesn't lose in the end.
Prime dies, Rue dies, Peeta as she knew him is gone, Gale disappears from her life, her mother lives but she doesn't get to see her anymore, her district is exploded, Finnick dies (at her own hand), Madge dies, Cinna dies, her small amount of freedom is gone until the very end, and her life... Well, she has it, and she goes on to live a seemingly happy one, but it's at a very grave cost, and it's she's mentally never going to be the same again
It's all lost at the end of the day. She never even gets her revenge on Snow, which was top on her list of priorities next to keeping Prim alive.
I suppose, one thing she's kept that didn't really change, would be Haymitch. But he took his toll a while back, and Katniss was never too concerned with his survival.

She was a human

Humans aren't perfect. They don't always make the right decisions or take the easy path.
And in the heat of the moment, they do and say things that aren't right, they make faulty plans, and they don't always think ahead and about consequences. And that should be expected.
Because they're humans.

This is completely applicable to Katniss, as well as the other characters in this book.
Surely Katniss could've gone about many things differently, surely there are many easier ways to do this or that, surely there was some survival or fighting technique that would've worked better than what she did, surely there would've been some strategy, or some word choice, or some fill-in-the-blank that would've made the story "better" or fixed/saved a situation.
But humans don't always get that stuff right, and sure you can say the author is at fault for that. But isn't it just as believable that a character doesn't have the same time you, the reader, do to sit and analyse a situation for what it is, then find the best solution?

Another thing; it isn't about practicality or perfection, it's about telling a story. If Katniss, or anyone in the books, had all the answers, it'd be incredible boring and the book might as well not be written. Frankly, I'm glad it was written, and I'm glad that Ms. Everdeen wasn't perfect and didn't make all the best decisions.


I believe that readers nowadays are desensitized to the concept of death and killing. Sure, they know it's wrong, and it's suspenseful when the main character is in the heat of the moment and trying to defend themselves, but they seem to have lost the understanding that those things aren't just bad, they're permanently damaging. And in some cases, both losing a loved one and killing someone else, it can be debilitating.
Going through either thing can warrant years of therapy, and a life of PTSD.

Now consider this:

Katniss' father died.
Katniss had to take care of her mother, sister, and herself all on her own since age twelve.
Katniss was forced to kill or be killed in an arena.
Katniss watched Rue die.
Katniss is chased by beasts that look like her friend and opponents, a psychological terror-move on the game makers' part.
Katniss mercy kills Cato after he falls to the mutts.
Katniss saw a man get executed after he saluted her.
Katniss saw her best friend being whipped.
Katniss took a whip to the face.
Katniss saw Darius, her peacekeeper friend, made into an Avox.
Katniss was put back in the arena only a year after winning the last time. Now, she's focused on keeping Peeta, her lover, alive.
Katniss saw Cinna be brutally beaten, intentionally right before her eyes.
Katniss watched Mags die, sacrificing herself.
Katniss saw Wiress die.
Katniss saw the woman who scarified herself for Peeta die.
Katniss blew up a force field and almost died.
Katniss saw her entire District in rubble, with skeletons everywhere.
Katniss lost Madge.
Katniss saw Peeta beaten on a screen, unable to do anything to help him.
Katniss went to a hospital full of dead and dying people, then saw it explode.
Katniss got shot while reaching out to a wounded man.
Katniss was choked by Peeta after he's hijacked.
Katniss mercy-kills Finnick because she can't save him
Katniss is attacked by horrific mutts that are hunting her, and end up killing her team in the process.
Katniss loses almost her entire team after heading off to war and being in a third arena.
Katniss thinks Gale is, or will be, killed.
Katniss sees her sister die in an explosion, among other people, most far, far too young.
Katniss kills Coin.

Even just one of those things could ruin a person. But Katniss Everdeen goes through that entire list, and survives it all, at the age of seventeen. She was incredibly strong to have gone through all of that, and still manage to live on.
And she was in constant mind games with Snow and Coin and still managed to lead a rebellion, hold compassion (such as the man at the train station in Mockinjay), and make the right decision in the end.

So, yes. The love triangle is annoying, Katniss has an attitude, and she almost made the decision to repeat the Games and war at the end. She wasn't perfect, but that's kind of the point. She was the worst, and yet best, person to have leading a rebellion.
And again, I cannot stress this enough, she was a kid. That point is even made in Mockingjay once, though it is only in passing about the makeup she's wearing for a promo. The wording was, "she's just a girl". And honestly, being sixteen-eighteen, I agree with that wholeheartedly.

All that considered, maybe give our sassy, hormonal, strong, determined, and broken heroine a break. She's been through a lot.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. And Suzann Collins, should this ever happen to find you, thanks for making such a realistic heroine and for writing the first full novel I ever read. 

Until we meet again,

          - Edna Pellen

Monday, July 20, 2020

Leibster+Sunshine Blog Tags

Greetings friends! 

I've been meaning to post an actual useful post for some time, but I've been surprisingly busy this month as well as brain dead. Excuses aside, I've got a post for you today that is hopefully more enjoyable than my recent content, curtesy of the lovely Allie from Rainy Days and Stardust Veins.

The new nominees and questions will be at the end of this post, so if you're here because I tagged you, feel free to skip to the bottom.

Sunshine Rules:
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you (thanks, Allie!).
  • Display your award.
  • Answer the questions you were asked.
  • Nominate 5 bloggers.
  • Ask 6 questions.
  • Let your nominees know they were nominated.

Leibster Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog (once more, thank you Allie!).
  • List the rules and display an award logo on your blog post. 
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and notify them by commenting on any of their posts.
  • Ask the nominees 11 new questions.

Sunshine Questions: 

1. What is your favorite kind of tea?

Pretty much anything black. English tea and Irish Breakfast tea in particular, no sugar or cream.  If I have something vanilla flavored, such as chi-vanilla, I like to put cream in it (because vanilla being thin just doesn't seem right).

I also enjoy lemon ginger with honey, which is an herbal tea.

  2. If you had to get all dressed up (like, to the nines) to go to a fancy restaurant or event, would you?

I'm entirely sure what "to the nines" means, but yes! I quite enjoy dressing up, though I've never thrived in such events. They're quite anxiety-inducing.

  3. What is something you’re a secret fan of that you’re afraid to admit about?

It's not a secret, but a lesser known and perhaps odd fact about me is that I'm greatly and ironically fond of the older Barbie movies. I could rattle off a huge list of why, but the main reasons are that they are nostalgic, and they hold genuinely good moral material.
In Barbie, the Princess and the Pauper, there's a line in the opening song sung by the princess Annaliese (who is to marry for the greater good of her kingdom, despite loving a different man), and the pauper Erika (who is an indebted seamstress to a horrible shop owner because her parents borrowed money to keep their daughter fed and alive), that goes; 

"Annaliese: I'll remain forever loyal, 
Erika: I'll repay my parents debt,
Both: Duty means doing the things your heart may well regret". 

And I find that to be a prime example of how amazing a role model Barbie used to be for young girls, such as myself. That's something modern shows, movies, and music that children are exposed to lack; duty, morality, and maturity on a level that they understand. 

Needless to say, I adore these movies and still enjoy watching them and am happy to expose my little sister and nieces to them.

  4. Do you have a favorite music album? If so what and if not, why?

I do not; I tend to find songs like one may adopt stray kittens. Unintentionally, but then fall in love with them. Even with artists I like and am familiar with, I couldn't tell the name of more than two albums, and then I could only tell you the contents of one. 

  5. How do you take notes? Are they neat and tidy, color coded by subject, or are they messy on-the-back-of-your-hand reminders, or perhaps you don't take any?

All of the above, I'm afraid. They start organized and sometimes color coded, but over time more notes are added on and scribbled all around the originals and it becomes a terrible mess that I will, depending on the importance of the notes, rewrite and organize later. 
I often don't take notes when I should, and when I catch myself doing this I will scribble them all over my left arm and hand.

  6. If you were a book, what might the title be?

"Messes: How to Make Them, Stumble Into Them, Be Pulled Into Them, and Exist In Them Because There Is No Escape".

In all seriousness, I don't have a clue. I began an autobiography called "Art in the Face of Anxiety" which was going to be about my testimony and whatnot, but I didn't get far in it and that title was just a place holder.

Leibster Questions:

1. If you had to chose to go to either the distant past or distant future for one year, and when you came back no time had past, which would you chose?

I would choose to go to the distant past; where the future is headed is pretty easily predicted and in areas that it's not, I'd rather live my life not knowing what I'll face and when. Besides that, if sci-fi has taught me anything (and if I could time travel, I'd clearly be living in a sci-fi story), it's that the future isn't necessarily set in stone, and so simply my knowing it may change it and what I think will be the future won't be, because I'll be deceived by what I saw by time traveling, and not by what will be there as a result of my time-traveling.

And when it comes to the past? We can never stop learning. If I could go back into the distant past and meet an old author, or go to the origin of a particular artifact, I could learn so much, and such knowledge may even be used for the better of the future. 

2. Who are your top three favorite YouTubers?

Well that depends. There are so many different types of YouTubers, there's tutorials, education, music, gaming, satire, and various other forms of entertainment. 
But off the top of my head, Bernadette Banner, Blimey Cow, and Mossy Bottom are my more consistent and comfortable (as in, I'm certain they will not have inappropriate content and am thus free to share them here) favorites. 

3. Where would you go if you had an all-expense payed trip for a three-day weekend and what would you do there?

Ah, but there's so many places I'd like to go! 
Perhaps a back-packing trip through the rain forest, Ireland, or Sweden! Oh, and I would love to do something that is very close to the top of my bucket list; stay in a castle with my writing group. Though I'd prefer the latter to be for a week or so, I would take even just three days.

4. If you could have anything, real or mythological, as a pet, what would it be?

As a pet... Hm. Well I would love a dragon, because they can fly and I could ride them and they're, you know, dragons. 
A phoenix would be lovely pet, but would mostly be for show because I couldn't hold it or pet it because it's made of fire and would burn me. 
A griffin, depending on the size, may be like a cuddly large dog, but it could fly and might run off that way. 
I'll go with the dragon. Be it large enough to ride, or small enough to cuddle with, dragons are always an acceptable answer.

(Editing Edna: Psst, Maple, if you're reading this then I promise I'm not copying your answers!)

5. What’s something (or someone) you couldn’t stop loving if you tried?

I can't think of something, because I feel like if I tried to stop loving it there would be a good reason.  But someone would actually be four someones; my three nieces and my nephew. 
I believe that, when each of them were born, it was my introduction to 'falling in love'. 

Not romantically so, but just in general. Not to love like a sister, and not like a friend, I've always known what it was like to love in that way, I can't remember an introduction to it. But this love is something entirely new that I can only figure is what it feels like to be an aunt. 
And so, these sweet babies stole my heart very quickly and I don't foresee me getting it back any time soon.

6. What is one moment in your life time just stopped?

I haven't a clue. I think when I'm playing music with other musicians, it tends to fade away. Which is odd enough seeing that, as a bassist, keeping track of time is very important. 
Then there's also all the times when someone in my family got hurt or injured and- oh wait, I've got one! 

Years ago when I was at summer camp, my group away from the camp and went hiking on a national forest trail, off-grounds. And whenever we took a break, I loved to get lost in the present. No time for thinking of the past or being anxious of the future; I closed my eyes and listened to the birds and enjoyed God's creation. 
This happens often when I'm outside, but never so intensely as when I'm deep in the nature.

7. What’s a food or drink (or combination) you like that most people you know think is gross?

For food: Chocolate and potato chips. Or no, a few people like that as well.
 Lightly dipping fries/potato chips/popcorn and chocolate milkshakes is one that my brother was completely repulsed by.

For drinks: Ginger ale and root beer. I've not actually had anyone dislike that, but no one I've known, other then a certain clan of friends, has tried it.

8. Stripes or pokadots?

It depends. If the dots are small and not huge, clown-like dots, I like pokadots. And depending on the color scheme of the strips and the contrast between them and the width of the stripes, I like stripes. 
Either thing can give me a headache and make me feel sick if done a certain way, though, so it varies from circumstance to circumstance.

9. What book is a book (or series) that you wish was longer?

The Last Dragon by Silvia De Mari! The book itself is a perfect length, I think, and it has a series, but I want it to have a series that's in my language. I want that so badly. 
I wonder, if I wrote to miss Silvia and requested that she have the other copies translated, would she?  Probably not. It has to go through agencies and other official people and whatnot.  

I guess I'm still subject to having to learn the entirety of the Italian language before I can read the rest.

10. Was there ever a movie you were waiting for for a long time that when it finally came out it was a disappointment? Why was it?

The Star Wars sequel trilogy. Some of it was good, some of it wasn't, and though it was entertaining and good as its own thing, it was disappointing to be looking forward to the trilogy so much only to  have all the cannon messed up and character development lost. 
Overall, it was an okay idea, but with a less okay execution. 

11. What is your least favorite Disney or Pixar movie?

The Good Dinosaur. The first time I saw it all I could really do was scratch my head (though the opening scene is hilarious, and the scenery throughout the movie is beautiful). It's enjoyable, but I'd expect something more... I don't, maybe in depth, from Pixar. 
(Also the scene when Arlo and the child get drunk (or maybe 'high' is the better term?) off of the fermented fruit was just weird and boring. I don't get why kids movies so often feel the need to put in odd scenes like that, they've never been entertaining to me, not as a kid and not now. I always just space out until they're over.)

New Sunshine Questions:

  1. What's your least favorite book-to-film adaption?
  2. What's your longest-lasting hobby?
  3. Do you prefer mountains or valleys?
  4. If you were a fruit, what kind do you think you'd be and why?
  5. What's your favorite flower?

New Leibster Questions:

  1. What is the strangest thing you've done in the early AMs?
  2. If you had to act out an entire musical, of your choice, to save your life, which one would you choose to do? (can you tell that I'm struggling to think of questions?)
  3. What are your top three favorite words?
  4. What are your top three least favorite words?
  5. What is the most obscure thing you've learned?
  6. What is the best thing you've read for required reading in school?
  7. Have you ever started reading a book, and then couldn't bring yourself to finish it? If so, what book was it, and why couldn't you finish it?
  8. What's your opinion on puppets?
  9. Which do you enjoy more; sun rises or sun sets?
  10. What was your favorite book as a child?
  11. What are your top three favorite books now? 

11 Nominees for Both Tags:

(Yes, I apologize, but I won't be the brave soul to go and find seventeen different bloggers to divide the tags between, though let it be said that I tried to. Many sorries to you eleven beings.) 

And thus I conclude with a wish you go well, sweet be your dreams and your happiness swell (all the kudos to you if you know what song that's from). I'm off to go alert these eleven fine folk of their nomination. 

I shall see you anon, friend.

                ~ Edna Pellen 

P.S. Many apologies for the ever inconsistent formatting of this post, Blogger updated some time back  and I've yet to acquaint myself with the changes.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Updates IV

Hello, friends! 

I realize it's been quite a gap between this and my last post, but I assure I have not been inactive! 
Given I don't have much time to complete a full post at the moment, and I don't really want to make a new banner for one, I figured I'd just give you some updates (again). 

Reading Updates:

I haven't been reading much lately, as I've been doing a lot of alpha, beta, and proof reading. But the book I'm currently 'on', is book #3 of The Rangers Apprentice.
I'm also saving up to buy a lot of books (including: Azalei's Fall by Miranda Marie (third book in The Fire Rain Chronicles),  Dragons' Bane by Melody Jackson, the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce (sequal to Tricker's Choice), and The Mirror-Hunter Chronicles by R.M. Archer). It'll cost a small fortune, but it'll be worth it. 

Path to Publication Updates:

Ah yes, that great challenge I assigned myself. Your guess is as good as mine for how that's going.
I started this challenge, or more of I told you that I started this challenge, on the 7th of May. That
 post detailed my plan for this large task, and I can heartily tell you that I have not fallen behind. I've not written as much as I'd like to, but I still have a few months before October to finish this draft, so there is hope yet.

'Roslyn' is now at 66,430ish words, and still not done. I've come to realize that I don't like to rush through my story, that every travel-scene is important, that every character's point of view is important, and that each scene is, to some degree, important and not to be rushed through. 
But I'm only a little more than halfway through the actual plot, and so if this keeps up, I may either need to cut back on words, split it into two books, or I can just let it be 100k+ words and follow in Sanderson's footsteps. 
We shall have to wait and see. 


On blogs: 

R.M. Archer released two posts  recently ("Why I Read YA (even though it often stinks") and "5 Things I'd Like to See in YA Literature") that really caught my interest. They're really well thought out and detailed, and for me, they really got me thinking. 
You should check them out, as well as her blog in general.

Maple from Maple Quill Penning Magic has this wonderful feature on her blog where she makes a poem and uploads it each week, and I got lost looking through them today. So if you feel like reading some short poems and looking at pretty imagery, check out her poems of the week archives

On life:

I'm resuming work on my desk! Now that the winter months are over and a certain country-wide annoyance is lightening up (...sort of... not really, but, one can hope) we can retrieve the remaining needed supplies for it. 
It's nearly done, building-wise, and soon I will begin decoupaging the entire thing and adding embellishments here and there. Then, I'll begin my quest to find a nice desk chair to replace my rather uncomfortable and slightly too tall stool. 

Well, that's all I have to say for this post.

                    ~ E.P.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Upcoming Author Tag, Ft. Everlasting Gold by Mattie May


Greetings, friends!

I have made my very first blog tag!
The inspiration for this tag came from my friend Mattie May's debut novel release.
I wanted to help spread the word of it to as many people as I could, and (knowing that my blog has yet to reach a very wide audience) came up with this tag.

(If you choose to participate in this. I know that some bloggers don't like promoting work they aren't familiar with, that don't fit their themes, or that isn't from someone they know.
I also know that this isn't exactly a "fun" tag, as you're not doing much writing. This tag is purely meant to spread the word of indie authors and show them support, like handing out a flier and sticking up posters.
So please, if you read this and decide it isn't your cup of tea, feel free to pass on participating. :) )

1. Re-post the following on your blog

Copy, paste, and post it. 
If you know and/or contact the author to add more to this tag (like if you would like to do an author interview), or have written a review for the book, or have anything of the sort, feel free to add them to the "Notes" section (and you can also wipe a previous poster's "notes" and just include your own if you want to). If not, feel free to just type "N/A" and move on.
The "Notes" section can also be used for the author to include some notes, but the current author doesn't have any to include.

2. Be sure to include the listed links

The links that will be included in this post all link back to the author and published piece, they are really important to this tag. Please remember to include them.

3.  Tag three (or more) blogs

Writing, book-related, and indie artist blogs, in particular. It's okay if you share them to other blogs, but I don't know if they'd be as appreciative of it as fellow indie artists.

4. (Optional) Snag the tag!

If you are or someone you know is publishing a debut book, feel free to snag this tag and edit it accordingly, then spread it around!

Let's get on with the tag!

~ Book Details ~


Title: "Everlasting Gold"


Several decades. Two estranged brothers. Love separated by culture. Family, redemption, and forgiveness.With America on the brink of the Civil War, the successful Dr. Billy Taylor is sent by the infamous Knights of the Golden Circle to find the stolen gold of the robber Rattlesnake Dick. When he needs to get to California without suspicion, he uses his estranged brother Philip's family. Little does he know how his heart will be caught by his young niece, Angie. Will Angie still love her uncle after what he has done to her and her family? When everything comes undone, will there be forgiveness?

~ Ordering Details ~

Release date: 

4/23/2020 (out now!)

Pre-order link: 


Ordering link(s):




$10.00 USD Paperback

$4.99 USD Kindle

~ Notes+Extras ~

I have had the pleasure of reading snippets of this book, as well as editing some chapters of it. I can't vouch for the entire book, but what I did read I really enjoyed. The characters are sweet and endearing, and I'm really excited to read it all the way through now that my copy of it has arrived.

~ Author Bio ~


Name: Mattie May

Links: The Blossoming Writer Blog, Facebook (@Mattie.May.Author)

Mini Biography: Mattie May is a Christian teen writer. As soon as she could read, a desire to write her own stories was kindled. She was always taught the importance of history and soon her love of writing and history were combined into historical fiction.
She lives in central California with her family, chickens, ducks, two German Shepherds and too many cats.
When she's not writing you can find her playing her harp or the piano. You can often find her getting attacked by animals of unusual size, aka her sweet dogs

Blogs I'm tagging:

(because this is the beginning of this tag, I'm tagging more than three blogs.)

Julia at LitAflame

Millie from Millie Florence 

Jenna from Jenna Terese 

That's all, folks! Hopefully this inspires you to check out Mattie's book, or to share the information, and show some support to an indie writer. 

Have a wonderful day, 

                ~ Edna Pellen

Eight Good 'Kids' Books

Dear reader, As a young adult, the genre targeted at me is usually, well, YA ("young adult") fiction. And surely there are YA book...