Build Something You can Be Proud Of, V. II

Today, I don’t have any exciting reviews or media content to share with you; today, I feel like only showing just myself. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been watching or reading anything–I’ve honestly been doing a lot more of that than anything else, I think. While I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that, I want to bring myself back down to reality for a bit.

You see, I’m in a bit of a slump. When I’m in a slump, I feel that making small goals, or lists of aspirations, would help me to feel better–so that is what I’m here to do today!

Goals

1. Cross-Stitch

I want to learn to Cross-Stitch so badly! It looks so calming, and methodical and just…pretty. I see so many beautiful pieces on Instagram and Twitter. I would love to try it for myself!

Image result for cross-stitch

 

(Irina Tkachenko / EyeEm / Getty Images)

(by Liz. E @ http://www.oldfashionedfamilies.com/cross-stitch-pattern-walkthrough/) SO CUTE.

Hochzeit - Floral Boogie - Modern cross stitch pattern PDF - Instant download

(Pattern at http://de.weddbook.com/media/2670024/floral-boogie-modern-cross-stitch-pattern-pdf-instant-download  ) I am *so going back to try this later. Can you tell that I love Floral print?)

IMG_8987 (1)

(plan to see some pretty epic “Expectations vs Reality” photos like this one…hehe)

2. Create a Bullet Journal

I’m definitely one of those people who buy pretty journals/calendars, work hard in them for about two weeks…and then forget that they exist. (Whoops.)

 How to be consistent with your bullet journal

(Journal by Christina )

I have a hard time staying focused, and being inspired in my everyday life–it’s so easy for me to get discouraged. I think that keeping up with something like this would help me so much, both in productivity and peace of mind. I have so much creative energy pent up, and I’m too shy to really try much with it. I think that, with something like this, something *just* for me, I would learn to channel it the right way.

I love the flexibility of it. I love that you can keep track of whatever you think will help you the most–a mood tracker, a habit tracker, an expense tracker…or all three. I like that you can change it up, or become as detailed with it as you want to be.

Image result for bullet journal

(Journal by Sarah Mims Yeargin)

3. Read More (& write more)

Image result for sailor moon studying

Yeah, this one is pretty vague–but I’ve been in a huuuge reading slump lately, and I can’t seem to focus. The frustrating thing is that I absolutely love reading,  and I think it’s a great gateway to other creative ideas. I remember reading an interview by Neil Gaiman, and something he said really stuck with me–the idea that in order to write well, you also had to give yourself breaks and *read* well–to read anything that you can get your hands on! My friends, I have a TBR a good mile & a half long. It’s time  to get to work!

4. Quality over Quantity

room

Last year, I posted this photo of my old Bookshelf; it is still one of my favorite photos to date. while I still own quite a bit in terms of books and comics, I’ve learned to really be selective about what I own, and how I own it. (Digital vs in-print, Audiobook, etc etc.) I’ve downsized at least a little bit, thinking hard about the titles that really matter to me. Moving forward, I would like to downsize a bit more, and be much more mindful of my hobbies and spending habits, vs how much stuff I really *own*. I want to be able to look at the things that I have, and be truly grateful and excited about each and every one of them!

There you have it, folks.

Four goals that I’m really hoping to expand on in the coming months! While these don’t exactly seem  small (c’mon, I know that starting new hobbies can be expensive/time consuming), I hope that in the end I can become a more mindful person.

Do you have any smaller (or long-term) goals for yourself? How do you cope with being in a slump?

-Lux

 

Advertisements

Currently Playing/Watching/Reading VI

Hey guys! It’s that time again 🙂 I haven’t had a chance to do many other posts except for these, but you know what? I like it. Writing about the things that I am enjoying makes me happy, and on your bad days, I hope it makes you happy, too. Tell me about some of the things that *you* like! As with my last update, I’ve been doing more reading than anything else, and I want to post some book reviews here soon. Stay tuned!

Until then…..

Image result for fate grand order

Currently Playing: Fate/Grand Order

This game is SO MUCH FUN! It has everything–time travel, strategy, magic, *wonder*. As you may have guessed, this is a spin-off of the super popular Fate/Stay Night Visual Novel/anime/manga series, and let me tell you….it WORKS.

If you’re not familiar with the Fate series, it revolves around obtaining a mythical chalice called the Holy Grail–the ultimate end which will grant your one true heart’s desire. Each generation, Seven sorcerers are chosen to compete in the Holy Grail War. In order to compete, they summon “Heroic Spirits”, the men and women who in their lifetime achieved greatness in one way or another. (This isn’t limited to *real* historical figures–they can be legends & myths as well. I’m looking at my girl Medusa right now <3). They act as their master’s sword–the last duo standing wins and their wishes are…granted? (Bear with me, I know this is a super watered-down explanation) But if this sounds appealing to you, I would definitely recommend checking it out!

This version a mobile, turn-based style game in which you work your way through Seven different eras in history. These eras have been disrupted by the Holy Grail (well, pieces of it) that have been scattered throughout time. With the grail comes sorcerers, both good and evil, who are trying to get to the grail first in order to achieve their ultimate “Wish”. YOU are one of those sorcerers! Defeat the evil and “cleanse”  the singularities before it’s too late, and history is altered as we know it. This game is super exciting, and oddly educational. Fight alongside some of your favorites–Captain Blackbeard, Shakespeare, Florence Nightingale–and achieve greatness!

Image result for fate grand order fight

This game is multi-faceted, and that’s one the things that is so appealing to me. If you’ve ever played Kingdom Hearts: Chain of memories, this is vaguely reminiscent of that. Each “attack” is based off of a card (like in a card game). “Quick” cards, “Arts” cards, and “Buster” cards allow you to use strategy and achieve your “Noble Phantasm”–which is another way to go…super saiyan? It’s like your final form, except it’s your Deus ex Machina attack that is much stronger than any which come before. (I digress, I digress).

There’s so much strategy, and variety to this game that it’s hard to encompass in only a few paragraphs–but it’s free, it’s so much fun, and I hope you give it a try. It’s way too engrossing to be a mobile game, but I think that’s what makes it so fun. It’s easy to lose time in here, but I think that’s okay too. Sometimes real life warrants a distraction.

Currently Watching: The Haunting of Hill House

(And by “currently watching” I mean, “already finished and had a few nightmares about”.)

Image result for the haunting of hill house

This was….SO GOOD. I laughed, I cried, I hid under the covers. This show made me feel every little thing.

The story revolves around a family.

(And that, in itself, is really such a perfect description).

In the early-mid 90’s, a family of seven move into Hill House–a beautiful, Gothic and historical mansion seemingly built decades before. They come to stay on the premise that it will only be a few weeks over the summer–they’re “House Flippers”, a Husband (contractor) and Wife (Architect) duo who make their living off of renovations. Hill House was the “Last Stop”, the one that would allow them to build the house of their dreams.

Or so they thought.

It seems like a typical Haunted House story, but it’s so much more than that. Each episode is told from the perspective of a different family member–there are ten episodes total. The timeline is fluid, split from their childhood in the home, to the aftereffects they experience when they’re adults living their own lives. This is a story about trauma, the stigmas of mental illness, relationships, and healing.

I feel the show was also perfectly cast, and SO well executed. Carla Gugino is a personal favorite of mine, her performance was STUNNING. (Not to mention, her wardrobe was so beautiful and flattering. I was getting some serious Evelyn O’Connell vibes from her).

Image result for the haunting of hill house

For me, the show was 10/10; I cannot sing its praises enough.

Hill House was based on a novel by Shirley Jackson, published (I think?) in 1959. Even though the “spooky” season is over, I might still add it to my TBR (Though to be honest, I’m kind of spooked out for the year.) I will get around to it *sometime*!

 

Currently Watching: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Image result for the chilling adventures of sabrina

(In which I realize that I truly may be spooked out for the Fall 18′ season).

My best friend came over last week, and we started this together. We also had the same reaction of “huh….”

(Okay okay, let me start from the beginning)

I was expecting the Sabrina rerun to be dark, but more….”campy” dark, like Riverdale. What I got was something a bit more unsettling. (And this is saying something, because I watch a LOT of horror.)

First Impressions (Negatives):

*I was not expecting the whole show to revolve around Satanism, but I guess I should have seen that coming with the whole “Witch” factor. (And I’m not knocking Satanism, you do you. I’m not even religious.) Honestly though, if you’ve seen The Witch, you’ve seen Sabrina because so far it’s basically the same thing. While I was definitely freaked out, I was disappointed to watch something that is so much like what I’ve seen before.

*The camera–somehow they keep using fish-eye lens for dramatic effect, and it’s really doing quite the opposite. Instead of making me focus on one specific thing, my eyes are all over the place because they keep trying to make the rest of the picture less blurry.

*A lot of the characters fall flat (for me, at least.) It’s like the secondary characters, (mainly Sabrina’s friends) are all typecast and don’t display much of  a personality outside of that.

First Impressions (Positives):

*Diversity

*Female empowerment/voices are heard

*Actors look the age that they’re portraying (Even if they’re not.)

Speaking of actors/characters…these two make the show *heart eyes*

Image result for the chilling adventures of sabrina ambrose

Ambrose is totally best boy–he’s smart, he’s witty, and he’s not typecast into a definitive “roll”. His sarcasm is light and airy, a sharp contrast to the constant darkness.  (I think he’s supposed to make up for Salem the Cat, who doesn’t talk in this rendition.)

Image result for michelle gomez madam satan

Madame Satan is a QUEEN. I love her. She is the Antihero I never knew that I needed. She’s resourceful, smart, dark with reason, and purposeful. I can’t wait to see more of her.

Overall,

This show has its ups and downs–I think I’m just trying to decide if the ups are worth watching for the downs.

The atmosphere, the wardrobe the overall creepy vibes are amazing, but so far I think this one’s gone too far for me. (I know, I know. Unpopular Opinion).

I’ve only seen 2 or 3 episodes, so I would like to try a few more before I make my final judgement.

At the very least–

Congratulations, Sabrina is the Supreme Reigning EdgeLord of the year 2018.

Currently Reading: An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Image result for an unwanted guest

This book was a fun, quick read–atmospheric, with great characterization. (Like a game of clue!) Shari does a wonderful job of planting doubt in your mind, of making you wonder at the little darkness inside of everyone. While it didn’t blow me away, I can definitely appreciate it for a great in-between. The relationships seemed a bit rushed in the story, but I also felt she didn’t give herself time or length to flesh it out any more so again, good enough. I don’t read a lot of mystery/thriller genre, but this one made me want to read more! (& really, I think that’s a solid accomplishment for any book.)

Currently Reading: Dreamin’ Sun by Ichigo  Takano

Dreamin' Sun, Vol. 1

I finished this up and, it was cute!! There was nothing terribly unexpected in there, but I’m okay with that. Sometimes you just need to get lost in a good Shojo manga, and you need something lighthearted and happy to balance out your brain.  I think that this was the perfect story for that. The characters were all likable, the humor was *perfectly* timed (Mostly thanks to Best Boy Zen).

IMG_8735

(Guess which one is Zen)

I think the only couple of thing I wasn’t too thrilled with was the main character, Shimana–I don’t feel like she had much personality. I wish that had been explored a bit better.

BUT. In typical Takano fashion, there were some GREAT plot twists in there, some very signature moves of this author, and I was all about that.

And well, that’s a wrap!

Thank you guys for reading, and sticking with me even though I  manage to go so long in between posts. I’m grateful for your support, and I’m so pleased that anyone is willing to read my posts. I have a few more ideas for the upcoming year, so please bear with me until then!

-Lux

Twenty Questions Book Tag

Hey guys! I elected *myself* to participate in this book tag 🙂 I realize that I’ve never participated in tags before, and it’s kind of fun to think of answers to them in my head–so why not put them on the page?

1. How many books is too many books in a book series?

That depends on the series, really; JK Rowling wrote a *masterpiece* in the Harry Potter series, and that was 7+ books! For me, I think it comes down to the content and whether or not I feel like it needs to be drawn out. I can’t stand when a book is split apart that doesn’t need to be–if it’s 200 pages each, that could have *easily* been one book and now it’s just a cash grab. I really like books that aren’t necessarily in a series, but set in the same universe, if that makes sense! Each book just focuses on separate individual or aspect of the universe. Holly Black is very good at that! Also mad respect to her for still making great standalone books too.

2. How do you feel about Cliffhangers?

I think that in this world we live in, with *soooo* many series and sequels, cliffhangers are a necessary evil. The suspense! The Wonder! I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers. They’re stressful, but at the same time it’s a great way to keep me excited/invested in a story. It’s that difference between going to sleep on time, or failing to function as a human the morning after a late night 🙂 (Or getting anything else done, really).

(“Just oneeee more chapter!)

3. Hardback or Paperback?

I LOVE  hardback books! To me, they are easier to keep nice & they look good on the shelf. Lately though, I’ve been reading more & more E-books. Since I don’t go to the library, I usually buy my books–I’m trying this thing called “quality over quantity” were I read the E-book and if I absolutely love it, I buy a hardback copy. It saves space for the best ones on the shelf!!

Image result for sailor moon throwing fit gif

4. Favorite Book?

It comes and goes. (Except Harry Potter, because *Always* is the best answer.) Aside from HP though, I would have to say The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, or Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones.

Image result for harry potter gif

5. Least Favorite Book?

Glitter by Aprilynn Pike makes me pretty angry; the main character was narcissistic and completely without emotion for anyone but herself, and I couldn’t stand it. I talk about it more in-depth on this post.

6. Love Triangles, Yes or No?

Someone in the story will always get their feelings hurt, which means that *I* in turn will get my feelings hurt, so no. I don’t enjoy them. I also feel like it lessens the value of each person’s experience, and in some cases, creates the “special snowflake” effect. *cough*Twilight*cough*

Image result for eye rolling gif

 

7. The Most Recent Book You Just Couldn’t Finish

Amy Tan’s Valley of Amazement; I don’t know why, but I had a really hard time with that one. I DNF’d it back at the beginning of summer–I loved the other books I’ve read by her, but this one was not my cup of tea.

8. A Book You’re Currently Reading

Right now, I’m reading a few–so far I love them all so much!

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Red Winter trilogy by Annette Marie

9. Last Book You Recommended to Someone

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon was a complete Dark Horse for me; I stumbled on a retweet from the author about it being on sale, so I scooped it up on iBooks for $2.99 and BOY I was not disappointed. It was so good–it pulled me apart and quietly put me back together again. I would recommend that to anyone looking for something new and different to read.

10. Oldest Thing You’ve Read (Publication Date)

uhh…does it count if I read it for a class? The oldest things I’ve read (and enjoyed) are Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, anything by Jane Austin, Shakespeare, or Charles Dickens.

11. Newest Book You’ve Read (Publication Date)

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, or You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon.

12. Favorite Author?

J.K Rowling, Holly Black and Rainbow Rowell ❤ (No, I can’t choose just one. That’s impossible!)

13. Buying Books or Borrowing Books?

I prefer to buy mine! It makes me nervous to borrow from friends, and I never have time to go to the library. Maybe once I leave my second job I’ll give it a shot!

14. A Book You Dislike That Everyone Seems to Love?

Eliza and Her Monsters. I disliked that one so much–the relationship between her and Wes was so unhealthy (more specifically, something he did later on), and Eliza was a jerk more often than not. There was a lot of problematic behavior. And yes, I *understand* the important representation of depression in the story–I related to a few of her struggles. But I just can’t get over the mentality that all of her mistakes/bad things that happen in her life are the result of someone else–the mental blame game. She blamed everyone else for her problems. I’ll talk more about my feelings in another post…next question please!

Image result for sailor moon annoyed gif

15. Bookmarks or Dog-Ears?

I’ll take crumpled CVS receipts for 500, Alex!

16. A Book You can Always Re-Read

Harry Potter is number one, but pretty much anything on my favorite books list above!

17. Can You Read While Hearing Music?

Unless I’m reading subtitles on the TV…nope!

18. One POV or Multiple POV’s?

I think that books with multiple POV’s can go really well or horribly wrong, and when they go horribly wrong sometimes it’s hard for me to tell because I feel like maybe I’m just not understanding it. So, while I enjoy that multiple POV’s help you see ever side of the story, I like on POV better. Also, I don’t like when the multiple POV pulls you away from something big happening to one character. (That’s the kind of cliffhanger I *don’t* like. I’m looking at  you, George R.R. Martin.)

Image result for confused supernatural

19. Do You Read a Book in One Sitting, or Multiple Sittings?

That honestly depends on the book, but most days it will take me more than one since I never seem to have time to read consecutively.

20. Who do you Tag?

Everyone!! (Seriously, I want to see them.)

 

As always, thanks for reading! I hope to have some posts with a bit more content in the upcoming months.

Lux

 

My Autumn Reading List

While it may be summer now, autumn is just around the corner; & with the Autumn comes….*spooky* things! (I know, I know–it’s still super early). But when it comes to things like reading lists, I have to give myself a head start! I work two jobs, so I average maybe 2 books a month. (I’m trying to go easy on myself, here). More than that, I want to have goals and it’s always better to start small, right?? Take a look, and please feel free to recommend anything else that’s spooky and/reminiscent of the season to me! With that, let’s move on with the list here shall we? (Starting in no particular order, because my thoughts are a mess) :

Image result for possessed: The true story of an exorcism

Possessed: The True Story of an Exorcism

Alright, *clearly* I started off pretty strong here. If you all don’t know, William P. Blatty’s book The Exorcist was based off of something that happened to a 13-year old boy in St. Louis, Missouri in the winter/spring of 1949. This account by Thomas Allen is an in-depth analysis of his ordeal, which is equal parts horrifying and…educational? This book was a bit hard to read for several reasons (yes, I’ve just finished reading it) which mostly involves the subject matter, but also because it delved so deeply into parts of Christianity that I am vastly unfamiliar with. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it–what I genuinely appreciated about this piece is that it was meticulous very well researched; I felt that Thomas left no stone unturned. If you’re up for it, I would give this one a chance! (I don’t know that I can read The Exorcist itself yet. I’m so not brave.)

Image result for the cruel prince

The Cruel Prince

This one has been on my reading list for quite some time, actually–since last year if I remember correctly! At the time, I had just finished The Darkest Part of the Forest and I was *so* in love! I’ve been reading Holly’s works since I was a freshman in high school, and everything from her just blows my mind–her stories just get better and better. Now, Forest had more of an eerie, Fairy Tale fall-time feel to it and I don’t know that Prince does–but I somehow have a feeling it will put me right in that cozy, spooky mindset that I’m looking for! Fae, court intrigue, macabre masquerades, vengeance, antiheroes—Sign. Me. UP!

Image result for the dark beneath the ice

The Dark Beneath the Ice

This one gives me chills just *Looking* at it. That cover, though! That, and all it takes is reading the Google “synopsis” to get me hooked:

“Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity in this compelling ghost story about a former dancer whose grip on reality slips when she begins to think a dark entity is stalking her.

Something is wrong with Marianne.”

What? WHAT. From my understand, there is good LGTBQ+ representation in here as well. Once again, I can’t wait!!

Image result for practical magic book

Practical Magic

I watched the film version of this years ago, and fell in love. The story was much darker than I anticipated, and I found that to be a nice surprise. Just as well, my favorite actress of all time, Sandra Bullock, played a leading role! (Of course, I also love Nicole Kidman as well–so gorgeous and talented!) The book has also been on my list for a few years now, so I’m excited to delve into it. Curses, magic, family secrets…yes, please.

Image result for interview with a vampire book

Interview with the Vampire

The story is similar here–I *finally* watched the 90’s film version with my best friend, and fell so in love with it. It was…beautiful, dark, and macabre. (Also a bit sad!) Basically, everything I would have wanted in a Vampire tale. I stared to read the novel a while back , but didn’t have the focus at the time to push through. Not to say I didn’t enjoy it–I just wasn’t in the right mindset! Hopefully this reading list will get me to the place I want to be 🙂

Image result for toil and trouble: 15 tales

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft

This is a newer YA (I’m assuming) release! I’ve read the preview on iBooks and it’s left me hungry for more. It’s been a long time since I’ve read an anthology/short story collection, and judging by the subject matter–this one has come out at just the right time! I can’t wait to see what it’s all about.

 

As I go along on this Booklist, check back for some full reviews as they will be coming! I think that would be a fun way to track my progress, and to see what you all think 🙂

What are some of your most anticipated Fall reads? Do you see anything I’ve missed here? I’m open to  any and all suggestions.

One month ’till Fall!

Happy reading 🙂

–Lux

Currently Playing/Watching/Reading V

Hey guys! It’s been a minute since I’ve done this type of post, so I’m ready for a bit of an update 🙂 Lately, more than anything, I’ve been doing SO much reading, and that makes me happy. Back in March, I decided to join in on Goodreads and that has helped me so much! I feel like I’ve regained my passion for books and good stories. Lately it’s been really hard for me to find the time to do anything creative, because of work and many other things (That will be coming in my next life update post!) For now, let’s get on with the show!

Currently Playing

This space is sadly lacking for the last few months; I simply haven’t had the time to really engage in anything, and that makes me sad. BUT, I have found some pretty cool mobile games that I’ve been trying out!

Image result for pokemon shuffle

Pokemon Shuffle

This one I’ve actually been playing for quite a while; it’s fun, simple, and rewarding! It’s a puzzle game, the likes of which we have all seen before–you match the Pokemon together to make them “disappear”, attack, and win the game!

Image result for pokemon shuffle

You battle a different Pokemon each time, and every time you win, you get a chance to “catch” that Pokemon if you haven’t already. It’s a good time to play if you need a brain stimulant every once in a while 🙂 Plus it’s really fun, and cute as well.

If you play, Add me! My friend code is:

ZBNJ-FAQE

Currently Watching

Image result for dark tourist

Dark Tourist on Netflix

This is a docu-series in which you follow the adventures of a chronically uncomfortable New Zealander to “unconventional” vacation spots. (Of course, when they say “uncomfortable” they mean eerie and macabre.)

Image result for dark tourist

(I mean, just look at that face).

“Dark Tourists” are people who forgo sandy beaches and soothing resorts, & instead choose to vacation in less desirable destinations such as nuclear sites, murder houses, and haunted places (Just to name a few).

This show is incredibly interesting, dark, and (yes) educational. Here, he talks about the ugly side of history, and how it impacts our society today. It’s fascinating, really–I tend to be drawn to darker stories to begin with. I’ve only seen a few episodes so far, but I’ve enjoyed every one of them. It’s been a minute since I left school, so it’s nice to continue learning in one small way or another 🙂

Currently Reading

Image result for your lie in april manga

Your Lie in April

I mentioned watching the anime a while back in a post just like this one–after watching, I definitely wanted to give the books a try. I am so glad that I did.

This broke my heart into pieces, and quietly put it all back together. It’s a cruel lesson in humanity, and love, and growth. If you’re feeling depressed, or unmotivated, or afraid, read this. The writing was superb, and the characters were all lovable in their own way.

I’ve watched the anime before, and to all those who say that it’s “better” because you can actually hear the music–I urge you to give it another chance. As with most book-to-media translations, I think the books go more in-depth; however it’s in much more subtle ways. I better understand the motives of the characters, and the depth of their feelings. It’s all in the writing and the emotions which-my God-Naoshi does so well. The art was beautiful and just as expressive, if not more, than the writing. This is an important story that will stay with me for a very long time.

I’ve read so many other books in the last few months, too many to talk about at once! Your Lie in April is the one that’s impacted me the most lately, so I wanted to talk about that.

Sorry guys, I know it’s not much–life has just been too crazy for me to sit down and enjoy a thing! But I’ll get more into that in my next post. I hope you’ve all been well!

Tell me about what you’re reading, watching or playing! Or heck, even just something you’ve found that you’re really excited about! I want to hear about it. 

Thank you so much of taking the time to read my posts! Until next time.

–Lux

Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

 

Image result for uprooted book

As the title suggests, today I will be talking about one of the books on my recently read list! Going into this story, I was quite excited. It has been getting rave reviews, and the fantasy community seems to really love it. I was excited to love it too! I mean, just look at those beautiful covers. Even without them, the premise alone was enough to catch my eye.

Set in a fictional world based on Polish folklore, we follow Agnieszka on her journey from fellow peasant haunted by The Wood, to her transformation as the captive magician in the Tower.

Every ten years, The Dragon takes a girl from the village and holds her in The Tower. Nobody knows what happens to them during this time; all they know is, by the time she’s returned, she’s no longer the daughter they once knew. It all sounds dark and mysterious, like a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (My favorite story of all time).

However, in the end I was a bit disappointed.

Final Rating: 2.5 to a 3 out of 5 (Okay, maybe it’s not so final.)

I have very…mixed feelings about this book, and the last 100 pages are the only thing that bumped it up to a solid three stars. The world-building, or rather the mythology that she was drawing from as inspiration, was beautiful. I loved the idea of the “corrupted” Wood, and how it transformed the lives of the people around it. However, most everything else in the book fell flat. It has the skeleton of a great story, but nothing to keep it upright.

The Wood was the most captivating part of this book, and honestly what kept me reading more. I was always excited to see what would happen next in that regard.

However, the characterization just wasn’t there; the book was plot-driven alone, and that wasn’t enough to keep it moving forward (as evidenced by the long, drawn out middle half that seemingly would not end…I was bored.) The characters had no story to them whatsoever, and it made me not care about them at all. I knew nothing of Agnieszka’s family, or the townspeople, or even the secondary characters like the Dragon or her best friend, Kasia. The only description allowed to The Dragon was constant irritation & impatience; Kasia seemed to know nothing except how to grasp Agnieszka’s hands. There was no real dialogue or humanity to any of their interactions.

The Dragon’s part in the “love” story bothered me a bit, because it’s the same (very dangerous) trope of “He’s mean because he loves me” or that he just doesn’t know how to express his feelings. I’ll tell you right now, that’s the first step to getting trapped in an abusive relationship. The Dragon had the emotional range of a *very angry* spoon. I was not a fan, though I do very much appreciate that the love story wasn’t the center of the plot.

I enjoyed that Prince Marek & Solya had morally grey areas, and I appreciate the part they had to play in the story–but most of the time I couldn’t focus on what was happening. I also couldn’t get a read on their personalities, but their…*actions* were more human. (Keep in mind, with everything Marek has done…he’s still the SCUM of the Earth.)

There were some thinly veiled political movements in the book, and I liked that Agnieszka faced consequences for every small action, like anyone in power has to deal with. But that’s about as deep as the characterization went. (except for the last 100 pages, which I won’t spoil now).

The magic system was not fleshed out at all, but that actually didn’t bother me. I wouldn’t count that as a negative, because I felt like *how* magic was done wasn’t the important thing, and I think that’s what the author was trying to say. Maybe in her world, there isn’t a set way to do things; it all comes down to your intent and emotion. I really loved the descriptions of how Agnieszca felt when she was working to make the magic happen. I felt that those moments were the most well thought out passages.

There were definitely some beautifully written phrases in here, but for the most part there was a lot of repetition of words, usually in the same sentence or entire paragraph. This caused my mind to wander a bit.

It really had a lot of beautiful components to it; I just wish that it had focused on other parts of the story too. I’m glad that I read it, and I love the world and the scenery that Naomi painted for us. I think I just wanted more–I’m sad that it took until the very end of the book to be engrossed in the story.

 

What did you all think of the story? What are some things that you loved about it?

Top 5 Classics I’ve Never Seen

We’ve all been there, right? (Please nod your head silently with me, so that I don’t feel alone.) Somehow, someway, I’ve missed out on what I’ve been told are the BEST stories to watch. How did I do this? How did I fall so far behind? You might be asking yourself (as though you want to ask me) “Who hurt you?” And the answer is….I PLAYED MYSELF. I straight up LIED to myself, saying “I’ll watch it sometime or other.” Well, 15 years later I still haven’t reached that “sometime.” Listed below are a few of the greatest things I’ve been missing–complete with my rambling thoughts of first impressions. Maybe now that I have all my dirty laundry out in the open, I’ll work to correct it by watching them one by one 🙂

 

  1. Forrest Gump

Image result for forrest gump

I don’t know much about Forrest Gump, other than that he’s a kind and handicapped individual who only wants the best in the world for those around him. (Is my first impression incorrect? Somebody help ya girl out!) I know that Jenny is a hot topic and that there’s no middle ground–you love her, or you absolutely hate her. Missing out on this one is a bit of a shock to me really, since I love Tom Hanks so much. How does this one rate on your scale of “This is the best?” After missing out on it for so long, would you recommend that I absolutely see it? Also, as long as we’re still talking Tom Hanks here–you should all watch Splash because mermaids and New York and everything else you could possibly want.

 

  1. Neon Genesis Evangelion

Image result for neon genesis evangelion

Okay, this one I have *purposefully* avoided because I know that it’s sad, and existential. I’ve also heard here and there that the ending is rushed, and sort of goes unexplained. Is that why they’re re-releasing it in movie form? Is that why they’re doing that thing? It’s really hard for me to watch something so depressing. I really do want to give it a good shot one day, because from my understanding there are a lot of meaningful messages wrapped up in there. From my view on the outside, it looks like “The world sucks and we’re all gonna die and would anybody even care?” If you’re reading this, and you feel like I don’t understand, PLEASE educate me!

 

  1. Gilmore Girls

Image result for Gilmore Girls

I know, TRUST ME I know. This honestly looks like a thing that would be right up my ally–bookish friends, and quaint little town, witty comebacks. And here’s the thing–I’ve seen bits and pieces of it, so this *technically* shouldn’t be on my list, but here it is anyway. I’ll be honest, while what I’ve seen of it is vaguely interesting, I’m mostly bored by it. I don’t know why, but my attention doesn’t stay there long. I would like to give it a real run-through before I cast my final judgement, of course! Would you guys like it if I took you along for the ride when I do? Would you read them if I posted blogs along the way?

  1. The Labyrinth

Image result for the labyrinth

Okay, this one HURTS ME. I don’t know HOW I have gone so long without seeing this cult classic! I guess I was more wrapped up in Beetlejuice when I was younger–but even so, I am still SO EXCITED about this one and I’ve been too busy (let’s be honest, probably just lazy) to give it a watch. It looks dark and mysterious and wonderful, and I’ve recently picked up Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, which I’ve been told has that same vibe to it. I will DEFINITELY be talking about this one when I get around to watching it.

 

  1. Indiana Jones

Image result for indiana jones

Believe me, I know this was a mistake. The adventure, the thrill!! Maybe at this point it would be best to mention that I had very restricted viewing habits growing up–my parents were very careful about what they would let us watch (my sisters and I) because we were pretty wild and would tend to emulate some of the more…creative…stunts. (Power Rangers lasted all of two weeks before being abruptly shut off.) Regardless, this one is a timeless classic with a stunning score by John Williams (who *hasn’t* heard the Indie theme? I’ve at least done that, I’m not SO uncultured okay). I definitely want to add it to my top ten favorite films! I hope it lives up to the hype.

 

So, there you have it folks–

A comprehensive list of all the things I’ve been missing out on. Now that it’s all out in front of me, it leaves me wondering what I actually *did* watch as a child. (The Last Unicorn, Disney, Sailor Moon, Pokemon….I see another blog post coming on!)

 

What film classics did you miss out on? Are there any more that you would recommend for me? Thanks for reading!

-Lux