quick Reams of Rereads update!

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So far I’ve read the Lunar Chronicles (minus Fairest and Stars Above) and To Tame a Land.  The books were all good but they weren’t as good as I remembered and it’s really disappointing.  It’s like I remembered stuff about them differently and it wasn’t as awesome when I actually read them. *sigh*  I was actually about to give up on Winter because it was so long and boring but I stuck it out and actually liked it the best, so that’s good.

I haven’t been able to stay away from new-to-me books, though.  I read Thief of Corinth and The Last Battle and really enjoyed them.  I’m currently reading a book on writing that I’ve never read before.  And I reread a book that wasn’t on my official challenge list – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. (I wanted to read it again because I recently watched the movie for the first time and the book got bumped from three to four stars on Goodreads because Lewis’ writing style is incomparable and EDMUND and yessss.)

Overall, the challenge is going pretty well.  I think I’ll read Mockingjay next.

How are your rereads going?

Eva

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the NaNoWriMo fanatic tag!

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I stumbled across this rather awesome tag and instantly fell in love because NaNoWriMo and yes and SHE NAMED HER LAPTOP MORIARTY HOW AWESOME IS THAT. *pouts that I didn’t think of it in the first place* (I hadn’t actually watched Sherlock when I bought my laptop, so yeah.)

So!  All-important rules:

1. Insert the tag graphic into your post.

2. Link back to the original post.

3. Answer all — or as many — of the questions as you like.

4. Refer to our communal family bunny named Fanny at least once in your post. (I…don’t get this.  So shout-out to Fanny, the communal family bunny. *shrugs*)

5. Eat three cookies. (I’ve eaten quite a few sweets today.  That should count.)

6. Post a clean list of ALL of the questions somewhere in your post. (‘Clean’ meaning a list of the questions without my answers.  Which is always convenient for other people who want to answer the tag.)

7. Tag as many friends as you want! (I tag anyone who wants to do this.  Because I can and it’s late and I don’t want to spend time notifying people that they’ve been tagged.)

. . . THE QUESTIONS. . .

PART ONE. . . Get to know me

What is your NaNoWriMo Username?

evaschon95.  And if you know the whys and wherefores of ’95’, you’re awesome.

Are you a plotter, pantser, plantser, or planter?

I usually jump into NaNoWriMo with minimal planning, but this year I discovered Novel Factory and it’s been AMAZING.  I finally have a plot!  And real, solid characters!  And a general idea of theme and POV and all that good stuff.  I’ve even plotted another novel on the software and the plotting went just as beautifully so it wasn’t a one-time fluke.  Plots have always been my writerly kryptonite and I think I’ve finally cracked the code, thanks to Novel Factory. (And, no, they didn’t pay me to say all that.)  So in answer to the question, I’m a firm plotter.

Though the NF software gets down to the blocking of scenes, where you basically write everything that happens in every scene, and that’s too nitty-gritty for me.  I prefer some surprises as I write!

How many years have you done the NaNo? How many times have you won?

I won 2013, 2015, and 2016 NaNo.  I got halfway through NaNo 2017 (which was fine with me) and I’m totally planning to smoke this year’s NaNoWriMo.  Maybe even work on a second novel or some fanfiction if I get my official one finished first.

What is your NaNoWriMo Origin Story?

I DON’T KNOW AND I HATE NOT KNOWING BECAUSE I LOVE ORIGIN STORIES.  I honestly have no idea how I discovered it, why I participated, or anything like that.  It saddens me greatly.

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 not super relevant, but memes.

Do you have any writing “lucky charms”?

Nope.  I pray about my writing, though. 🙂

What is your absolute favorite NaNoWriMo memory?

Winning in 2013, very first time, and actually printing out my winner’s certificate and tacking it up on my cork-board.  I was so proud and happy even though, looking back, my writing was trash.  But it was such an awesome feeling to have that certificate.

How do you pronounce NaNoWriMo? (Na-No-RYE-Mo, or Na-No-REE-Mo?)

RYE.  I can’t understand how you could get REE from ‘Wri’.

PART TWO. . . PREP

What’s the name of your NaNoWriMo Project?

The Darkness is Past.  I’m not entirely happy with it, but it’s a good placeholder title that I took from 1 John.  So, not one of Paul’s epistles (the novel is based on the life of Paul) but I still like it because it’s pretty meaningful on several levels.

What is your project’s genre?

Dystopian, with a heaping side of sci-fi and a sprinkling of supernatural (think: Frank Peretti).

Introduce us to your cast!

Ooooh boy. *cracks knuckles*  So there’s Sol.  Early twenties.  Dedicated to the Order (placeholder names, people!) and really loyal, but it’s misguided loyalty.  Pretty arrogant.  Sees what he calls ‘flickers’ attached to certain people – only he can see them.  And that’s all I’m going to say about him for the moment.

Somewhat older Sol.

Johnny Ryan is Sol’s mentor in the Order, almost like a father to him.  When Sol is converted (because duh) Ryan becomes an antagonist and almost a villain but not quite.

arrow MAlcolm

*fangirl screaming from a certain blog follower*

Sheng and Kari Xu.  Sheng becomes Sol’s bodyguard.  He’s my version of Stephen, so bad stuff’s obviously going to happen to him. 😦  I’M SORRY, SHENG.  And Kari’s his sister and she loves her brother so guess who she’s going to have Issues with later on in the story?

Sheng

There’s also some others like Baris and Tyr (Baris is, like, Ananias and Barnabas mixed and Tyr is Timothy, Titus, and John Mark all jumbled up together).  It’ll be good.  I love these characters and can’t wait to write them.  I’m gonna cry, though.  I just know it.

What is your novel’s theme?

Darkness to light.  Seeing beyond the external.  Christ’s redemption is complete and full.  Letting go and trusting God in EVERYTHING is the only way through the bad times. (And there’ll be plenty of bad times in this novel. *sigh*)

What are your novel’s main settings?

America, recovering from a second Civil War and since divided and conquered by Russia and China.  A big, white technologically advanced building.  Dark downtown alleyways and back streets and poor house churches.  I’m getting kind of a Coruscant vibe.  Also Russia and a rather awful prison.

Are you using any plotting/story structures for your project, or are you just winging it like the beautiful pixie that you are?

Like I mentioned in the plotter/pantser question, NOVEL FACTORY FOR THE WIN.

What are some ways you prepare for The NaNo?

Plotting.  Getting to know my characters.  Spending way too much time lurking around the NaNoWriMo forums.  Buying Skittles and Starbursts.  Mentally preparing myself to drink wayyyy too much coffee.  Creating a playlist.  Prayer.

What’s in your writing toolkit? (pictures are encouraged!)

My trusty laptop, Hymie.  That’s pretty much it.  I might stick a Funko Pop or two on my desk for encouragement.

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PART THREE. . . Inspiration

What was the initial inspiration for your NaNoWriMo novel?

Okay, it’s kind of dumb, but here goes… I was thinking about writing a dystopian parody so I was thinking about weird, useless powers that The Gifted One could have and I came up with ‘be able to see who’s a Christian and who isn’t’ which sounds pretty lame, right?  But I thought about it a little more and figured that it might actually be cool if I wrote a Christian dystopian.  I’m not sure where the idea of retelling the life of Paul came in, but it did and here we are.

What’s your NaNoWriMo Novel’s Word Aesthetic?

???

Share your Pinterest boards and music playlists!

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.ca/evaschon95/the-darkness-is-past/

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/playlist/25gQenYD1EztBGJt1soMhR

What’s your absolute best advice to new (and old!) NaNoers?

Do whatever you want.  Write three novels at the same time.  Write 10K and call it good.  Write 50K words.  Write by hand.  Use a typewriter or Word or Google Docs.  But whatever you do, WRITE.  Everything else – how you do it, how much you write, when you write – is unimportant.  Just write.  Plz.

/////

Annnnd here’s the clean list!

. . . THE QUESTIONS. . .

PART ONE. . . Get to know me

What is your NaNoWriMo Username?

Are you a plotter, pantser, plantser, or planter?

How many years have you done the NaNo? How many times have you won?

What is your NaNoWriMo Origin Story?

Do you have any writing “lucky charms”?

What is your absolute favorite NaNoWriMo memory?

How do you pronounce NaNoWriMo? (Na-No-RYE-Mo, or Na-No-REE-Mo?)

PART TWO. . . PREP

What’s the name of your NaNoWriMo Project?

What is your project’s genre?

Introduce us to your cast!

What is your novel’s theme?

What are your novel’s main settings?

Are you using any plotting/story structures for your project, or are you just winging it like the beautiful pixie that you are?

What are some ways you prepare for The NaNo?

What’s in your writing toolkit? (pictures are encouraged!)

PART THREE. . . Inspiration

What was the initial inspiration for your NaNoWriMo novel?

What’s your NaNoWriMo Novel’s Word Aesthetic?

Share your Pinterest boards and music playlists!

What’s your absolute best advice to new (and old!) NaNoers?

/////

Happy NaNoWriMoing!

Eva

the outsiders read-along: chapter 11

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Another very short, sad chapter, but I have some thoughts and favorite quotes and discussion questions this time.  Yay?

Honestly, nothing much happens in this chapter besides Ponyboy ruminating about Bob and Randy showing up for a quick chat.  I think it really goes to show what a great person Ponyboy is that, even though he’s reeling from Dally and Johnny’s deaths, he’s still trying to understand Bob.  Still trying to figure out what he was really like.  Ponyboy goes beyond blind prejudice and tries to see who people are on the inside as well as the outside.  Kind of reminds me of Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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Then when Randy comes over, at first Ponyboy’s cracking jokes and being all cheerful and everything…he’s trying to escape from realities.  Realities like him and Soda and Darry having to go before a judge to see if they’ll be separated.  Realities like Johnny and Dally.  And he takes that one step farther because he ends up convincing himself that he killed Bob and Johnny’s not really dead.  It’s wrenching to read, really.

But at the end of the chapter you get a lighthearted interaction between him and Darry that actually manages to make me smile.  It’s a nice moment in the middle of a bunch of sad ones.

Quotes I like:

I’m not the kind that can lie around looking at the ceiling all the time. (p. 161)

…nobody ever looks a whole lot like his picture in a yearbook anyway. (p. 161)

A Soc, even, worried because some kid greaser was on his way to a foster home or something.  That was really funny.  I don’t mean funny.  You know what I mean. (p. 165)

Discussion questions!

-On page 162, Ponyboy says, “I’d rather have anybody’s hate than their pity”.  Which would you rather have?

-Why do you think Ponyboy doesn’t care less what Randy thinks of his house?

Eva

the bibliophile sweater tag

Hamlette opened up this tag for anyone who wanted to join in the fun and since I love tags, here we are!

Rules

Give the person who tagged you an endless supply of cookies.  (Well, I wasn’t exactly tagged and cookies would probably be ruined if I mailed them to Hamlette, so yeah.)

Answer the questions and use the tag graphic.

Pass along the tag. (If the last book you read had a character whose name started with ‘E’, consider yourself tagged!)

Wear a sweater.  (I’m all comfy in my chair and I don’t want to get up and grab a sweater.  I am wearing layers, so I guess that kinda counts.)

Fuzzy Sweater — The Epitome of Comfort

Anything by Lynn Austin or Lucy Maud Montgomery.  Both those authors write beautiful, cozy books and every time I read one of them it’s honestly like slipping into a worn, comfy sweater.

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Striped Sweater — A Book You Devoured Every Line Of

Room.  I couldn’t stop reading it.  So intense and engrossing.

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Ugly Christmas Sweater — Book with a Weird Cover

THIS ABOMINATION.  HANDS DOWN.

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There are so many things wrong with this cover.  I can’t even.  The cigarette!  The tag-line!  The fact that it’s Colin Firth on the cover but it’s NOT a movie tie-in, just a weird pulp classic edition!  Darcy’s weeeeird complexion!  UGGGGH.  And the cover isn’t a parody – I’ve seen this edition in a thrift store and it’s completely legit.

Cashmere Sweater — Most-Expensive Book

I purchased a copy of Little Women at a thrift store for $4…but it was from Easton Press, a publishing house that specializes in leather-bound, gilt-edged editions of classics.  So I think my copy would have cost about $60 from their website.

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Hoodie — Favorite Classic

I could say Gone With The Wind or Emma or The Outsiders.  But those are favorite books, not just favorite classics.  So I’m going to say Lord of the Flies by William Golding because I read it every single year without fail, and each time I’m awed all over again.  The writing is simple, yet profound and realistic.  Each character has made an indelible mark on my mind.  It’s an insanely good read.

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Cardigan — Book Purchased on Impulse

Most of the books I get from thrift stores and used book stores…?  I can’t pinpoint anything exact.  I have bought some ebooks on Amazon that were impulse buys, like The Redemption of Chauvelin (never, ever read because UGH and GROSS).  I’ve regretted pretty much all of them.

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Turtleneck Sweater — Book from Your Childhood

Assassin and most of the subsequent books in the Lady Grace Mysteries.  I adored that series and read it over and over again, even though my library only had the first six books.  I’d still recommend the series today.

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Homemade Knitted Sweater — Indie Book

I really enjoyed Dissemble by Sarah Addison-Fox.  Definitely the best of the series and the twist near the end was the best.

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V-neck Sweater — A Book that Didn’t Meet Your Expectations

Indie books enthusiastically recommended by the Goodreads community that ended up not being My Cup of Tea: Disowned, Kiera, and Counted Worthy. 😛

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Argyle Sweater — Book with a Weird Format

The Book Thief hops around in the timeline quite a bit so that was weird and hard to understand the first time.  Also, Code Name Verity.

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Polka Dot Sweater — A Book with Well-Rounded Characters

This is a series, but the Underland Chronicles is definitely my answer.  Thanks to Suzanne Collins’ writing skillz, even the most minor of characters are real people that you’d want to be friends with (or enemies, depending on who it is).  I cannot get over Collins’ ability to create deep, relatable characters.

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That’s the end of the tag. 🙂 Have an awesome autumn, everyone!  October really is the best month.  Well, that and December.

Eva

“cool beans.”

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Okay, I don’t want to become one of those bloggers who posts twice a year and begins each post with “I’m soooo sorry for being away for soooo long, you guys”.  And it seems ridiculous to think that I’m turning into one of those bloggers because I just posted on Monday.  But I’m super busy these days with Real Life Stuff and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for fangirling or coming up with entertaining, creative content.

HOWEVER.  I figured I’d give you a little update on my life (if anyone actually cares, y’know) and there’ll probably be some squee as well because I’ve read some good books and watched some good movies lately.

Sooooo…

-I got a job!  Kind of.  I was hired to create content for a website or websites (not entirely sure if there’s more than one website I’m writing for).  Anyway, I research and write about the most random things you can think of but it’s still writing and I’m getting paid for it so YES.  I love writing.

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-And speaking of writing, NaNoWriMo season is upon us!  I’m insanely excited – I think this is going to be my best year yet. (Last year I wasn’t able to do a full NaNo and it was really messy and kind of meh.)  I donated for the very first time so now I have that silly halo over my profile picture.  You check out my author page here and add me as a buddy if you’re participating as well!  I’ve also put together a Facebook group for a very special write-a-thon I’m planning to do during NaNoWriMo…

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-My family got a kitten.  I christened her ‘Cinder’.  Because small + black + certain awesome fictional character.

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-Watched ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ night before last.  Overall, I liked it but I felt that most of the action-y scenes went on for way too long.  Thoughts?  And I don’t have the whole history of being an avid Star Wars fan to make me enjoy it more, so there’s that as well.  But I did like every single character in one way or another, so that was good.

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-Coffee is still the best thing in the world.  That, and the Oxford Comma.

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-I got my ears pierced!  I was in the mall one afternoon, nothing much to do, so I went into Claire’s and got them done.  I’ve got tiny, twinkly earrings that are beautiful.  Love them.

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-Mom stubbornly refuses to let us draw names for stocking stuffers until at least December 1st.  IT’S NOT FAIR.  I say, as soon as Thanksgiving is over, it’s officially Christmastime.  What do you all think?

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What’s your favorite thing about October?  And do you agree with me about the Oxford Comma?

Eva

P.S. The title for this post comes from the movie ‘Wonder’ (2017), which I re-watched this afternoon.  Touching film.  Highly recommended. (I think the quote is used in the book as well, which I also recommend.)

the Reams of Rereads blog event is here!

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I don’t have time for more than a super quick post so I’ll list the details really fast…

  • If you haven’t joined yet, you can still join anytime during October.
  • Comment on THIS POST with all your blog event related links so I can gather them in a huge post at the end of the month.
  • I’ll link to this post through the blog event graphic on the sidebar so y’all can find this post really easily to add your links.

I’m reading Cinder right now and loving it.

Happy reading!

Eva

movie review: little women

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Do all the things.

I don’t particularly enjoy Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, but there are two film adaptions of the book that I adore.  ‘Little Women’ (1994)…and ‘Little Women’ (2018), which is the adaption I’m reviewing today.

Let’s start with the story!  Instead of trying to craft a recognizable plot out of a rather episodic book, the filmmakers went a different direction and told the story in a series of flashbacks.  (The framework for the flashbacks is Jo working on her fantasy novel with instruction from Professor ‘Freddie’ Bhaer.)  Most of the major events from the book are depicted in this film: Christmas without (m)any presents, Jo bumping into Laurie at a party, Meg making a fool of herself at another party (the prom this time), Amy burning Jo’s notebook, etc., etc. (I will say that Amy was a lot more justified in burning Jo’s notebook.  The situation was changed up a little and I Approve.)

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The feels were so, so real.  I teared up multiple times, especially with parts concerning Beth (no spoilers!) and the final scene which was #beautiful and #weddingdaygoals.

Now I’m sure most of you are wondering if the casting director got it right.  If Jo was the same strong, independent, flawed woman we all know and love.  If Beth warmed every heart with her sweetness.  If Laurie was a faithful friend.  The answer to all of that is “YES”.  I loved the casting for pretty much every character, but especially the four ‘little women’.  Sarah Davenport was outstanding as Jo.  She’s full of fire and fierce love and flaws.  And she is indubitably a Writer!  All the other films portray Jo’s writing as more of an unimportant, background hobby, but this adaption celebrated her journey as a writer.  And that made her so much more relatable to me.  For the first time, I actually, truly ‘got’ Jo. (And her connection to Beth was also so strong and I loved it.)

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This review is getting loooong, so I’ll just quickly run through the rest of the cast.  Beth was incredibly sweet, but also genuine.  Meg was perfect.  Amy (played, of course, by two different actresses) was annoying but had her moments of warmth.  Marmee was suitably Marmee-ish.  John Brooke was the only good portrayal of the character I’ve seen on film.  It took me a bit to warm up to Laurie (especially because they didn’t include the part where he sends for Marmee without waiting for permission which is my favorite character moment of his) but by the time he comforted Jo at The Funeral, I really liked him.

Overall, ‘Little Women’ is a beautiful film about the importance of family and the connection between sisters.  Highly recommended to fans of the original story.

Eva

Screening provided by Graf-Martin Communications and Pure Flix.