Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Great Birthday Bash // feat. Me, Myself, and Cake

I'M BACK!!! *pops through the ceiling* Um...I apparently disappeared for over two weeks? I blame this all on school and the craziness of life (which I might talk about sometime--maybe).

If you didn't even notice I was gone...that's okay. I'll get over it. Eventually. *sniffles* :P

It just so happens that today is a special day. No, not the anniversary of the invention of chocolate. (Though that's arguably more important.) (But anyway.)

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! *customary glitter explosion*

This may seem like a terribly narcissistic post, but if you think about it, it's really not. (Well, mostly. *cough*) I mean, people throw birthday parties for themselves all the time and the invitees usually feel obligated to bring that person presents. So yeah. That makes this seem mild in comparison. ;) 

Anyway. I'm not doing this just so everyone knows it's my birthday. (I mean, you already remember that from last year...don't you?? *squints suspiciously*) I'm just doing this because I had such a fun time putting together a birthday celebration last year.

Oh sure. Because that's totally believable.

*groans* Who invited YOU, Lieutenant?

I don't need an invitation, love. I just naturally assumed everyone would be flattered with my presence.

Naturally. *rolls eyes*

Well, don't let me interrupt your egotistical celebration of your birth. This shall be quite the interesting show.

It's not egotist--oh, never mind. You wouldn't listen to my reasoning anyway.


// Q&A //

Since this went so well last year, I decided to bring back the Q&A idea! (Very original. I'm a very original person.) My birthday Q&A post is actually the most-viewed post on my blog so I guess everyone liked it. *shrugs*

Anywho! Shoot me all your questions, o bookdragons! (But don't actually shoot me because that would hurt.)

Way to ruin the fun.

Ahem. *withering glare in character's direction* In addition to the Q&A, I also have a few other festivities planned.

// Quiz //

I put together a fun little "how well do you know me?" quiz. Basically, it's a test to see how good of a stalker you are.


I tried to do a fancy quiz through Typeform, but they had to make all the features I needed not part of the free account. *grumbles* So you get a lame link instead. xD

A lame link to a lame quiz. It fits.

// Music //

So you remember how I got a ukulele recently? Well, I recorded a bit of me playing "I See the Light" from Tangled and "Rainbow Veins" by Owl City on my uke! I guess they kind of count as covers? I didn't do the entire songs because *cough* the chords are too hard but at least you get a glimpse at my terrible skills. I will most likely regret sharing these videos...

Look at that, you actually made a correct statement. *claps*

Oh wow, you actually made yet another annoying comment. Look at you.

I'm very skilled in that department.


A few things:

a) Yes, I do realize I'm singing super quietly. THERE'S A REASON. xD

b) D7, G7, and E7 chords are the worst. (Thus my failure during the chord transitions...hehe.)

c) Again, terrible video quality. I promise I'll give you a decent video one of these days.

// Writing //

Because for some reason, this cake shop scene I wrote in Moonlit Mirror popped in my head. (This post is so random. *uncertain chuckle*)

/ / /

She shoved open the door to the shop and was hit straight-on by the scent of orange and vanilla. She inhaled deeply, letting the aroma ease her frustration. With a sigh, she allowed herself to take in her surroundings. It was quite a bit smaller than she had thought, based on the exterior. Dozens of shelves lined every spare inch of wall space, and each one was filled with cakes of every imaginable variety. Quadruple layer chocolate cakes, leaning blue and pink towers of frosting (with what she assumed was cake somewhere underneath it), and miniature loaves oozing purple berries. There was a white cart rolled into the center of the room. It was laden with sprinkles, glitter, and strange glowing stars.

Charlotte took a step toward the cart, but her foot slipped on the slick tile. Gasping, she flailed her arms in a desperate attempt to steady herself.

Thud. She fell onto her backside, her skirts poofing in the air like a hot air balloon. She groaned and struggled to her feet. That was the second time in three days that she had fallen down and made a fool of herself. At least no one saw me this time.

“Ah, g’day, Miss Davidson!”

Charlotte jumped and noticed with dismay that a man in a stained smock was standing right in front of her, smiling expectantly. She attempted to smooth out her skirts, only to realize that they were smeared with icing. She winced. I don’t even want to know how much of it is on my backside…

She cleared her voice and attempted to salvage what little dignity she had left. “Good day, sir.”

“Oh dear, I’m terribly sorry about the frosting.” The tall lanky man bent over and began to wipe the floor with her skirts. She jerked them out of his hands in horror.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.

He blushed and fumbled with a rag in his smock’s pocket. “Sorry, sorry. So terribly sorry. Dreadfully sorry, madam.”

He uttered about five more apologies before Charlotte finally grew impatient. “We’ve already established that you’re sorry.”

“Oh, I am sorry.”

I know!

He finished wiping the pink confection off the tile and awkwardly ran a hand through his wild shocks of blond. “You must think me terribly oafish. I’m sor—I mean, I didn’t wish to inconvenience you, Miss Davidson.”

Charlotte crossed her arms. “How do you know my name?”

The man adjusted round spectacles on his nose, his eyes growing wide in realization. “Oh! That!” He chuckled. “Lieutenant Bradshaw informed me of your need for a cake. He said you would be coming down shortly.”

Oh, splendid. Now she had the Lieutenant watching her every move.

“Is there any particular cake you would like?”

Charlotte shoved her annoyance aside and turned her attention back to the peculiar worker. “What do you have?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. What do you want?”

She exhaled sharply and forced a smile. “Perhaps I could tell you if you described your menu.”

The spectacled man scratched his wild head of hair. “Oh dear…but I’m afraid you don’t quite understand. I have to know what you want before I can tell you what I have.”

“What on this blasted earth are you talking about?”

He shrugged and set to wiping the floor again with her skirts. She yanked them out of his furiously-scrubbing hands and received another round of apologies.

“The floor’s already clean.”

He laughed nervously. “Oh, I thought so. I was just making sure.”

/ / / 

Figures that you wouldn't include a snippet with me in it.

Sorry, I didn't want to give everyone nausea.

I'm quite sure they already have it after reading this disastrous post.

*sticks out tongue*

That concludes my birthday celebration post for this year! I hope you all enjoyed my kind-of-but-not-really-narcissistic post. 


Well, I hope that you actually DIDN'T get nausea from this post. It was a lot of fun to put together (even with all the annoying side-comments from the Lieutenant. :P) What's your favorite cake flavor? What questions do you want me to answer in the Q&A?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Book Review: A Name Unknown {Roseanna M. White}

Just as promised in last week's post, I am reviewing another book today! It's that gorgeous book with the library on the cover...and trust me, the inside is just as good as the outside of the book.

Allow me to present A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White!

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family's German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors' scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he's more than his name?

(Find this book on Goodreads & Amazon!)

/ / /

What does one say about perfection?

This book is a winner, friends. Even by looking at the cover, I had the feeling this book was going to be good (because duh, any book with books on the cover HAS to be good).

But the cover was just the beginning...

/ / Lovely Things / /


Do you even want to get into the infinite reasons why I love this book?

- Rosemary. First off, you know a book is good when you have to devote separate categories for each character. I haven't done this in a while, BUT THESE CHARACTERS ARE SO WONDERFUL THAT I HAVE TO.

Rosemary is a complex character with intricate motivations. She's a thief, and she's been charged with the job of a lifetime: to steal someone's very name. She heads out to Peter's estate with the intent of proving him a traitor to Germany. Of course, Interesting Things happen when she has to put on the facade of being a librarian in order to work there. *winks*

Rosie's just one of those characters you have to love. Sure, she has her rough edges--boy, does she--but that's what makes her so real. She's spunky, witty, opinionated, often blunt. But also soft-hearted, compassionate, and loyal. As one character so perfectly puts it, "Delicate when it suits you. Strong always." (TRUTH)

Not to mention she's just hilarious all around and lands a pretty solid punch. ;)

- Peter. *cue the flailing* If ever there was a character I would marry...it's Peter Holstein. NOT EVEN KIDDING.

(Now if only he were a little younger. *grumbles because he's thirty* XD)

Peter is so. darn. nice. Don't get me wrong, I looooooove me some snarky antiheroes...but there's a part of my heart that will forever adore the sweet, gentlemanly type. And Peter perfectly fits that role. He has a stutter (which, frankly, is really endearing); he has a MASSIVE, SWOONWORTHY LIBRARY; and he writes. HE WRITES. *cue more flailing*

He's considered by most to be a recluse, and the popular opinion is that he's a German sympathizer. (Ughh. Really, people? Just because of his name?) Due to the imminent threat of war, he realizes that his heritage could cause quite a few problems for him if he doesn't find a way to prove his loyalty to Britain. Not only that, but if anyone finds out he's the famous adventure novelist, it may tarnish his reputation as a writer. Allllll the complex motivations, folks. *rubs hands together*

Over the course of the book, my heart just is completely lost to Peter. What with his teasing banter with his friends Gryff and Rosemary, his sweet interactions with sweet Elowyn, his caring concern for...well, everyone, and his wonderful faith in God, he's just THE BEST.

Of course, he has his flaws--namely never paying attention to people when he's writing (#relatable) and getting a little irritable at times. Haha! But he really is one of my new favorite characters. HE'S JUST A PRECIOUS LITTLE HUMAN BEAN AND I LOVES HIM.

- The people. Yes, I know I just talked about two people very in-depth. But this deserves being mentioned separately. The people that populate this novel are so alive. Roseanna White certainly does an incredible job with breathing life into this novel. Rosemary's family. The villagers. The household staff. The royal family. They're all so real and marvelously done!

- THE BOOKS. YES, PRECIOUS. ALL THE BOOKS. I about died of happiness with the library stuff, all the writers mentioned, and the bookish discussions. It was bookdragon heaven.

- The plot. *points up to blurb* Need I say more?

- The themes. This is really important to me as a reader, to have books that stick with me after I read them. WELL. A Name Unknown certainly does just that. Rosemary's journey to faith is incredibly poignant, and it brought me to tears at a couple points. This is probably one of the best-handled faith arcs I've read. Ever.

- The rich detail. The author obviously did her research! I loved all the British dialogue (er, most of it), the beautiful descriptions, the entire feel of this book. It legitimately FELT like I was in early-20th century Britain. ME LOVES IT.

- The writing style. Yeah, while we're at it, let's just mention that Roseanna's writing style is perfect. Because it is, people. It is. She somehow manages to write a story that doesn't get you lost in the details yet still paints gorgeous pictures. I will admit, I'm a wee bit jealous of Roseanna's mastery of showing vs. telling. This is a book I will undoubtedly reread just to get a glimpse of perfectly engaging writing.

- The romance. OH MY GOODNESS. These two = the most darling couple. I know, I know...I say this quite a lot. ;) But I love Peter and Rosemary together so much! They complement each other perfectly, offsetting each other's qualities and helping each other see/correct their weaknesses. Not only that, but their romance is NOT based off externals.Something which I always find extraordinarily refreshing. They don't have an insta-love story either. They start off a little rockily, but slowly become friends over the months they know each other.

(The short version: they are precious.)

/ / Not So Lovely Things / /

- You thought you were actually going to see something in this section? WELL, THINK AGAIN.

- (Okay, I lied. :P) Some of the British terminology got a little old, and I felt that the plot wound down a bit too quickly. BUT that honestly didn't detract much at all from my enjoyment of the book! Just a few personal preferences.

/ / /

CONTENT: Lots of British "cursing." (Blazes, blighted, blasted, dratted, etc.) I don't personally consider it swearing, but it might bother some people. Characters share one semi-detailed kiss and three or four undetailed ones near the end. There are two kisses on the cheek, one kiss on the hand. Also brief mentions of mistresses a couple times, though nothing is gotten into. I would probably recommend it those 14 or 15+, mostly just because of the depth of writing/little bit of romance.

I think it's safe to say that I love this book. AND I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL. *glitter explosion* This author has made an impression on me, and it's a good one.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

5 stars!

(Find my review on Goodreads and Amazon.)

Hope you enjoyed this review! (And didn't mind all my flailing over a Certain Character. *coughs*) Have you read this book? BECAUSE YOU SHOULD. What is your favorite kind of character to read about?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Summer '17 Vlog // Giveaway Winner + Book Haul

(We're just pretending that this was posted on Thursday, not Friday. Okay? *quietly backs away*)

Greetings, bookdragons of the internet! Today I bring tidings of great joy!

...Or sorrow, depending on how much they like seeing your face.

*glares at Lieutenant Bradshaw* As I was saying, today I'm bringing you all a vlog! It's been a long time since I've done one, so I thought it would be a nice change.

Actually, you're wrong. It would be a horrible change.

Just...stop. You always ruin everything.

Well, excuse me for speaking truthfully here. I wasn't aware that freedom of speech didn't exist on your blog. Though I guess it's not much of a shocker really.

WILL YOU PLEASE BE QUIET? *sighs* Just ignore Lieutenant Bradshaw, everyone. He's rather annoying at times.

Someone has to make it more interesting around here, you know.

Back to my original thought. *taps chin* Oh! Yes! The vlog! It's been about 9 months now since I've recorded a vlog, and I just spontaneously decided to do one at midnight.

Totally logical.

I mentioned last week that nobody actually guessed the two lies for my 10 Truths and 2 Lies challenge...buuuuut I decided I was going to pick a winner anyway. I put everyone's names in a hat, shook them around, and picked the person lucky enough to receive a prize.

I think the correct term is unlucky.

I'm just pretending you don't exist.

Go ahead and ignore reality. That's one of your best skills anyway.

*sighs angrily* What are you doing here, anyway? You should be sitting in the unstarted draft of a sequel.

Ahh, so you are writing a sequel? This is news to me.

It depends how well you cooperate. If you don't shut up, I might just never continue your story.

Eh. I could care less.

Or I could kill you in the first chapter of the sequel. Whichever you prefer.

*grumbles* All right, evil author. You win.

*victorious smile* Thank you.

Now before the world's most annoying lieutenant decides to appear again, I should get onto the vlog. I drew the name of the giveaway winner (YAY!!) and rambled on about books I've purchased/borrowed/received for review lately. SO YEAH. This is just me being random essentially.

Um. Hopefully that wasn't too bad?

Don't worry, it was.

Go. Away. Right. Now.

*clears throat and steps out of room*

I hope that you at least partially enjoyed the vlog! I know I rambled quite a bit, haha. I promise there will be a Realm Makers recap post coming soon! (But maybe not a Camp NaNo recap post. All you really need to know is that I lowered my goal--again--to 10k. And I reached it! YAY! This is kind of a big deal since I had such a crazy month in July. *shrugs*)

ALSO. I'm having issues with spam bots subscribing to my blog. Anybody ever had that happen? I'm trying to figure out a way to add a CAPTCHA to the "subscribe by email" gadget. Or to completely change out that gadget and replace it with something else. Basically, I need tech help. Please. XD

I also wanted to let you know that I'm not sure how frequently I'll be blogging for the unforeseeable future. I want to blog, but I just feel like the quality of my posts isn't what it should be. I don't know. I may be posting less frequently, I may not. WE'LL JUST HAVE TO SEE. But I really really really want to reply to your comments and produce good posts. So that will probably become the priority in the next few weeks.

But hang tight! 'Cause I've got some cool posts headed your way soon. ;)

Now all you have to do is stop talking. Then we can get peace and quiet.

I swear, if you say one more snarky comment, I'm going to start plotting your tragic death scene.

Sometimes I really hate you.

I hope that a certain character wasn't too distracting for everyone. Ehehe. (I kind of love him, but don't tell him that. *coughs*) Let me know what you thought of the vlog! I will for sure be emailing you, Madeline, and sending you your prize should you desire it. :)