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Watching the year fly by

Well, it's that time of year again... When we say a fond farewell to the year, and a howdy-doo to the new one.

Like every year, 2013 has had it's ups and it's downs. Though, for me it seems almost as if it has sped by far to fast for me to really enjoy it.

This was the year I read (almost) fifty books (okay, I have to finish two today, but it shall get done!), which is super exciting, because that's more than half of what I read last year. I preformed in Pride and Prejudice, and learned that I really quite enjoy English Country Dancing... and I mean really enjoy it. I've laughed, I've cried. My heart has been broken, and mended. I've grown in my writing, and reading, and internet  stuff. This was the year I took the plunge and started a website/professional blog.

2013 has been a year of change.

And I'm positive that 2014 shall be no exception.

I don't usually make new years resolutions. I can't ever think of anything worthy enough, or fantastic enough, so I just let the year go by without any real plas. But in these last couple months I have come across so many things that I desperately want to do in the new year, that I have decided to make a list.

#1: I want to be a more active blogger.

If you haven't noticed, I haven't been posting as much as I've been wanting to. I knew that you all didn't want another post of: "my inspiration is dead, so I'm writing this wonder of a post to compensate for it. Love me." Yeah. So I need to get back in the swing of things. I'm going to mean, and force myself to post. I'm sure things will get back to normal after a couple of weeks.

#2: I want to read.

Well, yes, no matter what I'm going to read, but I want to go about it a bit differently this year. I don't want to be stressed out to make my reading goal this year, I just want to read and see how far I'll get. I also want to re-read my favorites again, and I want to read classics, lots of classics. And... just read!

#3: I want to write.

Writing is like reading, I would do it whether it's on this list or not. But my single goal for writing is simply this: finish the first draft of my book. I have worked so hard on this book, that not finishing it seems out of the question. But I also want to start something new. I've been working on my current WIP since April (or before April... I can't remember. It's been a long time!), so I want to get it done! Of course, other goals like doing NaNoWriMo again would be nice, but right now I'm working on this manuscript.
***

 Reading, Writing, and Blogging. That's 2014 for me.

What are your goals for the new year?

And, of course, have a Happy New Year. :)

That Christmas Feeling || Another Christmas-y Playlist

I have this unofficial rule when Thanksgiving comes around... I don't think about Christmas until we return home from my Aunt's house (the place where we always seem to spend Thanksgiving). There's just something simply magical about waiting for Christmas. Just having all of your Chirstmas-y excitement ready to explode after Thanksgiving.

I must say, I'm not a huge fan of Black Friday shopping. Huge violent crowds? No thank you. It's just that Christmas feeling that you get after you've been waiting for forever!

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I'm the type of person who would wish someone a Merry Christmas in the middle of summer if people wouldn't put me in an insane asylum for it. So I kind of really love Christmas. Okay?

If you remember from last year, I had a Christmas-y Playlist for You, and so this year, since I am so obsessed with Christmas music (and just... Christmas), I thought we'd do it all again. With different tunes, of course. :)
***

We've set up the Christmas tree, the stockings are hung up on their usual place on the wall, and the piney decorations are scattered throughout the house.

I have gone shopping a couple times, and have sort of realized that it's hard to avoid the huge, violent, scary crowds, even when it isn't Black Friday, if you go shopping at the mall in the middle of a nice Saturday afternoon (it's simply impossible).

We got a dusting of snow, which, for some reason, only seemed to make me very happy. Why is it that everyone dislikes snow? I mean really, I know it must be a nightmare to drive in (not that I would know, since I've never driven a thing in my life, let alone in any snow), but still, it's pretty, and it's not like you have to have it all the time.

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Every one of my siblings have been begging for early presents to be put under the tree (needless to say, our parents have given in yet)

So we wait, for "Santa" to make an appearance on Christmas Eve as we all anxiously sleep.

... but the most magical part of Christmas is most of the times the most forgotten.

Merry Christmas. :)

Back to the Present

Let's hear a big 'welcome back from Thanksgiving Break, Hannah!'

Okay, I wasn't exactly planning on having a thanksgiving break, but that's just how it goes sometimes, and hey, it's nice to have the holidays around when you are slacking on blogging (and writing in general. :P)

Anyway, I have been finding it somewhat hard to get back into the swing of things here in the bloggy world. As I was getting this blog ready for human eyes to see, I thought it would be easy to get back into posting. Inspiration would simply be flowing from my ears, and all would be well. But, let me tell you, once you've spent a month or so away from the blogosphere, it's hard to begin again.

...and when your computer breaks down after your first couple posts, and you are forced to post and do all of your internetly things on your siblings laptop (and they aren't to happy about it).

But I think I'm fine now. I'm back. Christmas is coming 'round, bringing christmas-y inspiration (and not to mention christmas-y blog posts) with it every year.

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(Here's a picture of some peaches that I took over the summer. I lost all my other pictures when my laptop broke down, and I'm too lazy to find a photo that would better fit this post. Enjoy :)... oh, and please excused the over edittedness)

Isn't so weird how time can pass by so fast, without us hardly even realizing it?

This probably sounds ultra cliche, but it feels like it was just yesterday, and Christmas is figuratively here. again.

I have found myself worrying about my future... again.

It's just kind of scary, sometimes, to see how fast life goes by, and not knowing your part in the world.

I wish that I could just plan my future to a T and have it be perfect.... but I know I can't do that. No one can perfectly plan their lives. How boring would that be?

No. We must all live life as it goes, in the right order (unless you're The Doctor:) it's just hard for me sometimes to except that.

I want to know what God has planned for me. He can see the whole picture in front of Him, and I do trust Him in knowing whats best... but I just want to know what I'm going to do with my life.

So, my new challenge: live in the present, not in the future, or past.

Life is a mystery. But it's a beautiful mystery.

Code Name Verity

Alrighty, looks like I've got a lot of catching up to do with reviews... oh well.
***
First Line: I am a coward.

About: I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team. (Goodreads)


Author: Elizabeth Wein

Pages: 447

Publisher: Egmont Press

Review: I don't know what is up with me at the moment. It seems that recently I have been reading a lot of WWII books, but, you know what? I'm not even sorry. WWII books are kind of amazing, I'm learning.

I wasn't quite sure what to think of Code Name Verity when I first bought it a couple months ago. I just picked it up, and didn't find anything else that interested me, so I bought it.

This book sort of brought me out of a reading slump.

The first couple chapters were a bit confusing, and it took me awhile to be able to get totally immersed in the story, but once I did I was hooked.

Let me just say I loved Verity and Kittyhawk's (I'm just going to call them by their code names for this review) voices. They were both so amazing, and made me laugh quite often as I was reading. The way that the author decided to write this book was genius, as it's told in a memoir-like style between the two girls.

Their friendship was absolutely beautiful, and the ending was tragically poetic.

This is the kind of book that you just have to experience. Reading this review probably won't help you to determine whether you should read it or not, you'll have to decide that for yourself.

All I can say is that this book was incredible, while there may be a couple bad words, (I don't entirely remember) a kiss, and a bit of inappropriate behavior from some strange guys.

Other Fun Stuff: 
“It's like being in love, discovering your best friend.” 
― Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity


“KISS ME, HARDY! Kiss me, QUICK!” 

― Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity

“But I have told the truth. Isn't that ironic? They sent me because I am so good at telling lies. But I have told the truth.” 

― Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity

Romance: Like I said, there was one kiss, but besides that not much

Violence: It's based in WWII what do you think?

Recommended age: 12-13+

Rating:

An update with no pictures, because that's what this is

What's up? Long time no see.

Lately I have been camping out in the lovely world of Wordpress. Figuring out codes, and all that complicated stuff. Posting has been put on the back burner a bit, but I felt you deserved an update of sorts.

The new website is taking form... kind of? Wordpress makes my brain hurt. It should never be underestimated. But... okay it isn't as bad as I thought it would be. And it has a great personality! (It says Howdy, Hannah on the dashboard!) I think that we shall become best friends, once it get's easier to design.

Speaking of design... I would give you a sneak peak, like colors and fonts and stuff, but i am so indecisive, and nothing can be sure with me. If I showed anything to you right now, it will probably end up changing. so, I think it's best if we just leave it a surprise. :)

I am so happy with all of the support I'm getting from you lovely followers. I really do love every single one of you. And hope you will enjoy the new website as much as I think you will.

At my current pace the website shall be launched around November-ish... but you should never take my word for anything. (Of course the website is out there, but good luck finding it (note to people who do find it: It's a total mess right now.))

And if you have any suggestions for elements to put in my design, please feel free to shout it out, I'm kind of at a loss as to what I want to put on there. :/  

So, there's my update. 

I've got my own door!


There it is. Marvel at it's beauty.

Okay, yes, it looks rather boring at the moment... I mean really, it doesn't even have a doorknob. But to me this door is a long awaited luxury. 

It's been well over two years since I moved out of the room I shared with my sisters, and I finally, finally get a door. 

Here's a boring back story that you probably won't care about; there are three bedrooms in our house. One for my mom and dad, and two large bedrooms for us kids to live in.

We moved into this house several years ago when we only had five kids, three girls and two boys. So this whole three bedroom thing worked out just perfectly for a time... then Emma was born, and before we knew it she needed a place to sleep.

So the plan was to split the boys room in half, since they had plenty of room, and stick me on the opposite side.

Naturally, I was ecstatic to get my own room, and packed up my things, and moved myself over.

The only thing to separate me from my little brothers was a couple shower curtains... for two years.

Flash back to the present, and I finally have that wall and door, making my little space behind a curtain a "bedroom".


If you'll please excuse the out-of-focusness, you'll see that this is the view of my room from the door. Ain't it the cutest thing you ever did see?

It still needs a bit of paint, and swall sturf, but yup, that's the basic room. It's small, but really, I love it. It's cozy. And I'm not claustrophobic, so the smallness doesn't bother me.

I like having my own place, for me to live in and take care of. 

So. Yeah. Ladies and gentlemen (assuming I even have gentlemen readers), my room!


And just for kicks, here's my bookshelf against the shiny new wall. :) I take great pride in my bookshelf. 

Purple Moon Blog Tour & Giveaway || Story Behind the Cover Art


Selena’s life isn’t turning out to be the fairy tale she imagined as a kid. That hope seemed to vanish long ago when her dad kicked her and her mom out of the house. This summer might finally hold the chance of a new beginning for Selena…but having to live with her snobby cousin in Lake Lure, NC while waiting for her mom to get out of rehab wasn’t how Selena was planning on spending her summer. She soon begins to wonder why she committed to give up her “bad habits” for this.

Things don’t seem too bad, though. Especially when Selena gains the attention of the cute neighbor next door. But when her best friend back home in Brooklyn desperately needs her, a secret that’s been hidden from Selena for years is revealed, and when she becomes a target for one of her cousin’s nasty pranks, she finds herself having to face the scars from her past and the memories that come along with them. Will she follow her mom’s example in running away, or trust that God still has a fairy tale life written just for her? (Goodreads)
***


Story Behind the Cover Art 

(The previous fact or fiction was FALSE.)

I am very grateful to have been published with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas—not only were they patient with me as I kept wanting to go back and change parts of the story, but they give their authors the opportunity to have input in their own cover art. 

At first, I wanted the cover to be of Selena sitting on the edge of a dock and looking out at the lake and the mountains. I wanted it to be a real photograph, so my mom and I went through our friends on Facebook to see if we knew anyone who could be the model for Selena. 

Near the end of my mom’s friends list was the daughter of one of her old friends. Not only was this girl, Marissa, 16-years-old and part Mexican—but she looked almost identical to the girl I had envisioned in my head for Selena. My mom had coincidentally ran into Marissa’s mom a few months back, and when they were talking, she’d told my mom that Marissa was interested in modeling.

It couldn’t have been any more perfect.

Almost right away, we contacted Marissa and set up a time to meet with a photographer that we knew. When I went into Marissa’s bedroom, I couldn’t believe it…the first thing I laid my eyes on was a big window seat. Just like the one Selena has in the book.

So of course, we had to do a photoshoot of Marissa sitting at her window seat. What’s even more crazy is the fact that Marissa also likes to draw, just like Selena in my book. The photographer took several shots of Marissa staring out the window with the sketchbook in her lap. We also went to a lake and took a few pictures of Marissa sitting on the edge of a dock. 

Although I really wanted the cover of “Purple Moon” to have Selena sitting at her window seat, there was a lot of details that we would’ve had to photoshop—and those things weren’t going to be easy (such as keeping Marissa’s reflection in the cover while somehow changing the view out the window and straightening the window railing). 

Here’s the picture that we had planned on using at first: 



Meanwhile, my mom and I kept going back to this one photograph that Marissa actually took of herself and posted on her Facebook. The expression on her face really drew me in, and it even reminded me of a certain scene towards the end of “Purple Moon”. 



So, we decided to try and schedule another photoshoot with Marissa and have her do the same expression as that one. However, I realized that Marissa had actually cut her hair to her ears (she wasn’t aware that we were going to do another photoshoot). 

So, I had no choice but to either try to use the window seat picture, or the one above. 

However, a couple of problems stood in the way. When I asked Marissa if she could send me the original photo without the sepia setting, she told me that it was taken in sepia. And when I asked if she could send me that picture in high quality, she told me that her computer had crashed—wiping out all of her pictures—and that she couldn’t find the memory card that contained the original  one. 

At that point, I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to do. Of course, none of that was Marissa’s fault. In fact, there were several more pictures we took of the photoshoot that I think got erased because my computer crashed also, and I didn’t have the pictures backed up. 

While I was at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference this past May, I met with my publisher and the cover artist. After telling them the entire story of how we couldn’t schedule another photoshoot or find the original picture of the above photo, we decided to just re-make the photo by making it look as if it were water-colored. I thought that was a perfect idea, especially since the book is sort of “artsy” since Selena is an artist and loves to water-color herself. The way that the cover turned out is, in my opinion, far better than I had originally imagined. 

Oh, and here’s something interesting about the cover: On the lake in the background, if you look very closely, it looks as if someone is sitting on a paddle boat. The cover artist had no idea that a paddle boat is actually very significant in the story, and the fact that it appears to be in the distance relates to the story even. Of course, you’re just going to have to read “Purple Moon” to find out why that’s so significant. =)
***





“Purple Moon” Blog Tour Stops:

Don’t forget to stop by the blog tour’s next stop to increase your chances of winning the PURPLE MOON prize pack!

Wednesday, September 18: Purple Moon Blog Tour Launch: The Story Behind the Story: Christ is Write

Thursday, September 19: 5 Facts about Purple Moon: Kim Vandel

Friday, September 20: Character Sketches + Character Cast Contest: Who YA Reading?

Monday, September 23: Behind the Scenes: Why I Chose Lake Lure: Words to Dreams

Tuesday, September 24: Release Day! Selena’s Diary Entry + Creative Photo Contest: Writing for Young Adults

Wednesday, September 25: Austin’s Diary Entry: Amy’s Book Blog

Thursday, September 26: Q & A: Notebook Sisters

Friday, September 27: Purple Moon Playlist: Ashley Carr 

Monday, September 30: Purple Moon Excerpt: Wooden Swings: Heather Brice 

Tuesday, October 1: Dealing With Anxiety—The Spiritual IV: The Destiny of One 

Wednesday, October 2: Q & A: Saved by Grace

Thursday, October 3: Behind the Scenes: Name Meanings: Labor Not In Vain

Friday, October 4: Is It Okay To Be An Introvert?: Alex Inks It 

Monday, October 7: Story Behind the Cover Art: Candy Apple Books (You are here :) 

Tuesday, October 8: Purple Moon Excerpt: Cherishing the Sunrise: Author Casey Bond 

Wednesday, October 9: Q & A: Writing While the Rice Boils

Thursday, October 10: Behind the Scenes: Christian Human Videos: Writing in Wonderland 

Friday, October 11: Teenage Substance Abuse: Emily Rachelle 

Monday, October 14: Behind the Scenes: Lake Lure Academy of the Arts: Worthy 2 Read

Tuesday, October 15: My Middle & High School Experience: Hello Highlights 

Wednesday, October 16: Purple Moon Excerpt: Meatless Turkey Sandwich: Diane Estrella

Thursday, October 17: Body Image Laurel’s Leaves

Friday, October 18: Behind the Scenes: Brewer’s Coffee: A Splash of Ink

Monday, October 21: Purple Moon Excerpt: Farkle at the Park: A Slightly Nerdy Bookworm 

Tuesday, October 22: Teenage Dating: Tell The World 

Wednesday, October 23: Q & A: The YA Book Stack

Thursday, October 24: How Much of My Personal Life Did I Put Into “Purple Moon”?: Read 

Friday, October 25: Fairy tales & Happy Endings + Contest Winners!: Inspiring Daring

***
Tessa Emily Hall is a 19-year-old author of Purple Moon, her YA Christian fiction novel to be published September 2013 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also the editor over the faith department for Temperance Magazine, a column writer for Whole Magazine, a contributing writer for More To Be, as well as the PR for God of Moses Entertainment. Other than writing, Tessa enjoys acting, music, Starbucks, and her Teacup Shih Tzu—who is named Brewer after a character in her book, as well as her love for coffee.

Website: www.tessaemilyhall.com 

Blog: www.christiswrite.blogspot.com 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/tessaemily 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tessa.h16

Changes are Afoot!

Hello October. The month of change. When the blistering hot of summer turns into the crisp of Fall. Oh how I've missed you.

It seems like just yesterday I was sitting here on the first day of October, typing a little post welcoming the season. Oh how time flies. And oh how we can change over the course of a year.

I've been thinking a lot about this blog... even though it seems like I haven't, what with no posts like ever... but I have.

During my absence, I have gained a vision for this blog.

We are all like clay aren't we? We form and change shape as time goes by... and I have realized that having a blog has changed me. And it's time for the blog to take a new form along with me.

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The long and short of it is, I want to be a professional blogger. And that means a lot of work and dedication on my part, but I am willing to do it!

First things first I'm going to have to move to Wordpress.org. I don't know what you think of Wordpress, or if you don't like it when your favourite blogger blogs move to it. A year ago, I would've sworn I wouldn't ever leave Blogger... and while I still love Blogger, moving to Wordpress is something I'm just going to have to do in order to pursue professional blogging.

You might also notice I put Wordpress.org, instead of Wordpress.com. Wordpress.org is the more websitey of the two, and, yes, costs a bit of money. But I'm so willing to do all of this.

I'm planning on posting more... at least twice a week. Which means lot's of posty goodies for you. :)

Also, I'm hoping to do monthly vlogs. Key word: hoping. It may take awhile before I can actually figure out vlogging. :P

And  many other fun surprises shall be in store with the new website. But it shall take some time before I'll have it ready for public display. So keep an eye out.

What I really need is support, from all of you. This is a project I can't complete by myself, and support would be just amazing!

Thank you, and see you soon. :)

Legend

First Line: My mother thinks I'm dead.

About: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. (Goodreads)


Author: Marie Lu

Pages: 320

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Review: I don't know. I just don't know. That is what I was thinking throughout the whole of this book. My feelings were just all confused. Is this good, is it not-so-good? What? #mixedemotions

When I first started it, and got to meet Day, I thought, hummmm, this is an interesting character, I kinda like him. Buuutttt.... then I met June, and it kindd of went downhill from there.

It's not that I didn't like the book. I did. But emphasis on the eh like.

For one, it's a dytopian, and since The Hunger Games hit the big time, dystopians have been so overdone. If you want to write a dystopian nowadays, you're going to have to make it super different. And there was just nothing that really stood out to me in this book. It was all pretty much cliche dystopian stuff.

If I had read this before The Hunger Games, or even Divergent, which I only just read a couple months ago, it would probably have a better slot on my bookshelf of honor. But, since I have read several UH-MAY-ZING dystopians, it just kind of leaves this one in the dust... sorry. 

As for the story in general. It was pretty predictable for me (the freak of nature that can guess any ending in any book, movie, etc.), nothing really jumped out and surprised the noodles out of me. I was just reading with a blank expression on my face.

And the characters... I did start liking Day (even though I absolutely hated his name... until I learned it wasn't his real name at all... *spoilers*) but soon, he got old, and both his voice and June's voice melded together into one voice that sounded exactly. the. same! If Day's chapters hadn't had the fancy gold font, I would've gotten really confused about who was talking when.

I also got really confused about their age. I kept thinking that they were 18 or older, but nope. They were both 15!

The whole thing felt pretty far fetched. June, a 15 year old, and has graduated college, a lead agent in the government whatever, and is pursuing a (very serious) relationship. Wha? It just didn't feel realistic. And I'm 15!

And another thing I feel inclined to talk about is the romance. It's all romance! Without all the ick romance this book would have nothing.

This book was just so-so for me. I liked it, but not as much as I had originally hoped.

Romance: Kissing, and maybe touching, I don't remember. But this book was just chuck full of gooshy romantic stuff.

Violence: Every chapter either June or Day has to beat someone up. Pretty much.

Recommended Age: 13+

Rating:

I don't think I'm in Kansas anymore

I have noticed I have a very bad habit. Whenever I go on a trip, or anything that involves pictures in the blog post, I stall the post for as long as I possibly can. It's not something I'm  proud of.

I know that my camera is not by any means the best camera in the world, so I try not to put my own photos in posts. Plus there's just something about running upstairs to pull my camera cord from my room, and plug it in to download the pictures so that I can actually post sounds like so much work, and I'm lazy. I don't like to leave my perch at the computer for any reason... but I guess I'll do it for you all.
***

(I apologize for the ickiness of some of these pictures. I was in a salt mine, and my camera didn't like the dim lighting.)

I've done it again, I went on a vacation without telling you about it... Okay I guess I did mention that I was going to Kansas, but didn't really talk in great detail about it.

so, yes. I went to Kansas... and it was fun... I guess.

I survived the long drive with a van full of cousins, and stayed at the cutest motel with kittens roaming about outside (I am serious! We would wake up and see kittens out the window.) 

I went to a salt mine, and a flour mill, and took a walk around the loverly town of St. John Kansas. 

We also went to the park, and Chauncea and I got to go see Monsters University with strangers in a small town movie theater. :)

Then I got sick.

Yes I got the worst cold in history in Kansas. It was miserable.

That's probably why I didn't feel like taking pictures of anything (except the salt mine).

It was a nice trip, but I am glad for the comforts of sleeping in my own bed... especially after being sick.

So yeah. Imma back!

and all at once, summer collapsed into fall

                         Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
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I glanced out my window the other day, and noticed something... something curious and exciting.

The leaves on the trees were brown, and a huge pile of them had heaped itself on the ground.

Fall is coming!

I can feel her sneaking up ever so quietly, putting summer to sleep.

With every little breeze in the air, she's letting us know she is here.

And I'm ready.

I have been waiting to break in my plaid shirts and blue jeans since Fall ended last year!

I can't wait for the rest of Fall to cover up the world in her warmness.

Fall, I love you. :)

i'm talking to myself here, don't worry

I have noticed that it is around this time of year that I really get into what I like to call a "blogging slump." I don't really know why. School's just started and there really isn't much else to post about.

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I'm not doing choir this year (it's complicated), and my whole family isn't doing co-op. This first semester is pretty much nothing except staying at home doing school.

Which does sound nice. 

It will really help for me to get a head start before drama starts in the spring. But if I'm stuck at home too much for too long, I do believe I go slightly mad.

Sometimes it's just me and my thoughts. 

And when I'm stuck doing school with no other company other than me, I really start to think about things. 

I think I've mentioned before how much it bugs me that I don't have any plans for the future. And it's around now that it's bothering me more than ever.

Because while doing school and trying to get enough credits to pass highschool (I still don't understand credits by the way) I'm trying to think of what I want to do after high school.

What do I want to be known for forever and ever and ever and ever and ever?

The thought of eternity scares me just a little bit. I am going to be me forever and ever and ever, even in heaven I shall still be me. So I guess I feel like I'm limited. I can't do everything I want to, or meet the people I want to because I can't do this or that when I grow up. If that makes sense.

Like if I decided to be a writer, I won't be able to do this other thing that I would also really like to do with my life. 

I'm also indecisive, so that helps... not so much.

Which brings me back to the blogging slump. You must understand, with all of this ^ running around in my mind, all inspiration for interesting post ideas are all fogged over.

I'm trying to fight through this, but it might take awhile. So if you don't here from me in a long time... yeah. Now you know what's going on, so don't assume I've died until I haven't been posting for ten years or so. :) 

Reached

First Line: Every morning, the sun comes up and turns the earth red, and I think: This could be the day when everything changes.

About: After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again. (Goodreads)

Author: Ally Condie

Pages: 512

Publisher: Penguin 

Review: This whole trilogy has had it's ups  and downs for me. I absolutely adored Matched! I loved it so much, I wouldn't care if I had only read that book in the series and just let the other books go. But no, there had to be a slight cliffhanger, and I had to read the next book.

It's not that Crossed was bad... it just was not as good or exciting as Matched. I have heard several people say it; Crossed is boring, which is pretty true. Compared to Matched or Reached, yeah. It is most definitely the 'sagging middle' of the trilogy.

After reading Crossed, I almost didn't want to read the last book. I sort of just wanted to buy Matched and pretend that that was the only book in the series. But friends on Goodreads and on Blogger told me that they thought that Reached was the most beautiful book they had ever read, so, of course I had to read it!

Plus, if I hadn't had read it, there would have always been this feeling of 'I-did-not-complete-this-series', I would always be wondering what happened in the end. Would Cassia and Ky finally get to be together?

My sister and my dad bought this book for our family to share without my consent (I was waiting for it to come out in paperback! People like to drive me crazy! Oh wellz, I'll just have to buy it for myself in paperback... but I don't like the feeling of owning two of the same book. It's like inflation... the value and rarity of your book goes down when you own two of the same. :P But you don't want to hear me rant do you? Okay, back to the subject) so, it was just lying there all the time, staring at me, begging to be read. And my sister wasn't even close to reading it, since she has yet to read Crossed. So I gave in and read it.

It's safe to say that this book surpasses all the others in the series in size. This one felt twice as long as Matched, but, you know, that's okay.

I'll admit it, I wasn't excited when I started this. I was so worried that it would be like Crossed, and all of the things people had told me would prove to be false. Plus, I was still suffering aftershock from The Book Thief, so I didn't want to like anything. 

When I think back on it, I really did give Reached a hard time.

It took me awhile to forgive Cassia for being such a girl in Crossed. I spent at least the first half of this book hoping and wishing she would just *spoilers* get the plague and *spoilers* die, even though I knew that wouldn't happen. 

There were still some moments of her being in Ky-land, but there were equal moments of Ky being in Cassia-land. There was a time where I would've loved to hear Cassia and Ky gush about each other, but it has gotten really old for me. I wanted a twist, something that would make them question whether they were the perfect couple. 

We do have Xander narrating several chapters, and the whole thing with Indie, but that just wasn't strong enough. Though, I will say, now Xander is my favorite, and towards the end I was starting to lean towards team Xander. But by now we know that that's not possible anymore, so I let that dream die, and continued watching Cassia and Ky. :P

But the good thing about this book, was that Ally Condie's beautiful writing voice is stronger than ever. The way she writes... ugh! it's so poetic, and just beautiful. It drags you into the book. I have said how much i love her writing before, but I must say it again before this review is done.

Parts of this book were a wee bit confusing, and it was hard at times to piece together what was happening, but that was minor. 

All in all, I do think it was a good ending to the series. It's pretty predictable when it comes to couples. You know who's going to end up together.

Anyway. I forgive Ally Condie for Crossed, and can't wait to read more from her.

Romance: Not as bad as Crossed. Only three kisses, I think. And the couple are always thinking about each other... all that romantic stuff.

Violence: Lots of fighting.... and yeah. I don't even know why I still put this violence. Every book I read has some sort of violence in it.

Other Fun Stuff:
(This book trailer isn't really that good, but I'll put it in here anyway)

“You cannot change your journey if you are unwilling to move at all.” 

― Ally Condie, Reached

“If you let hope inside, it takes you over. It feeds on your insides and uses your bones to climb and grow. Eventually it becomes the thing that is your bones, that holds you together. Holds you up until you don't know how to live without it anymore. To pull it out of you would kill you entirely.” 

― Ally Condie, Reached

“I realize now how much courage it takes to choose the life you want, whatever that might be.” 

― Ally Condie, Reached

“In a story, you can turn to the front and begin again and everyone lives once more. That doesn't work in real life.” 

― Ally Condie, Reached

Recommended Age: 13-14+

Rating:


A satisfying ending to the Matched trilogy, just a couple things I would've changed.

so... I'm a s'more now

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So, I have been sitting here at my laptop for over a week now trying to think of how exactly to start this post.

It should be simple to explain my first day of school... but no. My "First Day of School" post has turned into a "First Week of School" because I have been so lazy. 

But, no matter. Highschool is hard... it's a good excuse. 

Anyway, yeah. I started school this Monday. 

On my own actually...

You see, I wasn't suppose to start school until the day after Labor Day, but for reasons I shall explain later, I decided to start school earlier then the rest of the household.

For starters, I was still behind in things (mainly icky science :P) from last year, and wanted to get that done with before starting my actual first week of school.

...And we are going to Kansas soon after we start school, so I thought it'd be nice to get a head start. 

...And, the strangest of all, I wanted to start school early.

I'm sure there are some of you out there rolling your eyes while reading this, mumbling "weird homeschooler person" under your breath. But really I did want to start school early.

For some reason I'm always like this at this time of year. 

I have taken enough time to relish the nice break, and have taken advantage of the free time to actually get some things done. But now I've just got nothing to do, and want school to occupy me.

Okay... I guess I am weird.

But I am very proud of my progress. 

I am usually the absolute worst procrastinator in the whole of creation, but I have fought off the urge to join my brothers and sisters in watching TV, or some other distraction, and actually did school everyday all week!

I can't tell you how happy I am! 

When you are homeschooled, your whole school year progress could depend on how well your first week goes. At least for me, this has been proven true.

So, I have had a very successful first week of being a Sophomore... or a s'more. Like how they say in Before I Fall... yes, I know that it's sort of suppose to be mean in the book... but frankly spelling out Sophomore takes forever, so I shall be known as a S'more on this blog from now on... just letting you know before you go crazy trying to figure out what a s'more had to do with this post.

Here I go... deeper and deeper into the world of highschool. Will I ever get out?     

It was a year ago...

One year ago today I sat at my computer.

I was absolutely tired of writing on my blog, and just wished I could start over again... so I did.

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When I first started this blog, I had no idea how much I would love it.

This place has been a vent for me. To let out my random thoughts and feelings for a whole year now, and it has been such a blessing.

I feel more myself here than anywhere else. And I'd like to thank you, dear followers, for accepting it all.

I really can't believe that there are one hundred eighteen of you who are reading this right now. Thank you for sticking with me through this whole journey.

Even though some of my posts might seem pointless and strange... I do hope to look back at this little website and feel proud that I wrote all of this.

It was a year ago that I wrote the first post... I have grown since then, but I am still Hannah.

This blog has helped define me in so many ways, and I can't wait to see what the next year holds.

Thank you.

Essence

First Line: The first thing that the new mother notices about her baby is its silence.

About: It starts with a shift in the atmosphere. The forest greets Emma with startling force. At first she can’t move her limbs. Then her vision is rendered useless. The sensation comes more often, and the symptoms become frightening as Emma is left paralyzed to the force that emerges from the forest. Voices come in dream at first, commanding against her will. Something is out there that calls Emma to the forest. It isn’t going to fade until she surrenders. (goodreads)

Author: Mandi Lynn

Pages: 330

Publisher: Createspace

Review: I found Mandi Lynn via Youtube once upon a time, and knew that if she ever published her book I was going to read it, and I just knew I would love it. So, needless to say, when I discovered she was self publishing her book, I was pretty excited, and was determined to buy it.

Once it was out and published I bought it, like any person would. And I read it.

I must admit, finally reading this book felt a little weird to me. I had been so used to seeing the cover online, so actually owning it was a bit odd... but I don't know, that might just be me. :/

When I finally started reading the book I told myself (like I do for all the books I plan to review) "Now, you need to be honest, read it, think about, and don't plaster a smile on your face and pretend it's good in the review when you don't like it. Be honest!" So I'm being totally honest when I say, this book surprised me... quite a lot actually.

It felt like it started out shaky for me, probably because I was so nervous that I wouldn't like it. I didn't quite get why the prologue was important, but as I read further, I came to realize it's importance to the story. 

After I got past a couple chapters I really, really did get into it. I read about maybe 150 pages in one sitting once because I was getting so into Emma's story.

I really liked the idea of the Essence world. It is different than any other young adult book I have ever read (and as you all know, I read a lot). It might sound strange for me to say, but I can understand why this book was rejected by 39 literary agents... it is a very different story, and could be risky. But I honestly think that those agents missed out big time. 

Mandi has created one of the most original beings I have ever heard of.

An Essence is basically like a ghost, only different. The thing that struck me most about Essences is that no one wants to be one. I don't know why, but it seems like, to me, that a lot of creatures in books and tv shows make you want to be a part of the world. If that makes sense. But the difference with Essence is that it makes you realize how lucky we are to be human, and to have lives that someone as an Essence can't have.

The book had many different moments that really tugged on my heart, and made me think.

The characters were all very interesting and grabbed my attention. (Eliza and Luna in particular) 

There were a couple things that were a bit weird. Like how in the first chapter you are suddenly thrown into what's happening... while it's fine sometimes, in this book I felt like I would've been more comfortable if there had been at least a half a chapter before the whole thing in the first chapter.

And I also thought it was weird that when Emma first came to Phantom Lagoon no one really talked to her, or tried to get to know her... except for Eliza.

But really, those are the only things I thought could be improved upon.

I did enjoy this story a lot.

It didn't have any real villains, or a journey or anything, but it was a very nice story that was very likable.

Romance: None. Except for, you know her parents were married, but that's about it.

Violence: Not much that I can think of. There might have been a little, but I don't remember.

Other Fun Stuff:

Recommended Age: 12+

Rating:
Actually more like 4 1/2. :)