Fantasy Gypsy © 2011-2017. Powered by Blogger.

the year of more / the year of content

via
I hate writing out these end/beginning of the year posts. For me they are always filled with feigned optimism and empty promises, but I always feel like I need to write something about how I felt about the year and my hopes for the shiny, sparkling new year. But this time I am going to be real.

I had high hopes for 2015. I was excited for the clean slate, to start over fresh from the difficulties of 2014. I was going to read more, write more, blog more, be more. I was going to give up procrastinating, and spend less time on Facebook and Instagram, the poisons that feed my procrastination and I was going to do more school and get better grades. I was going to pop my little comfort bubble and talk to new people and make more friends. I was going to be different.

It started out promising, I was able to somehow balance beautifully on top of all of my blogging, reading, and schoolwork like a tightrope walker. But, inevitably, I began to loose my footing, and fell to the safety net below, staring up, wondering where I went wrong. 2015 was suppose to be my year, how could I slip so easily?

I've noticed a pattern in New Years resolutions. People always want to use the promise of a new year to change something about themselves. They will spend more time with their families... they will loose weight... they will better themselves. And I understand. There is something so refreshing about starting over, the fact that we have a second chance to change and do what we didn't or couldn't do before, and there is something honorable about wanting to change for the good of yourself and the people around you.

But I've been doing a lot of thinking about myself in these past couple of weeks. And for this new year, big, beautiful 2016, my goal is simply contentment. I'm tired of forcing myself to be more than what I am. I don't want to be continually comparing myself to other people and their accomplishments, but instead soak up the life and things I have and be happy with it all, and to be confident enough in who I am to show it to other people, in all of its broken messiness.

I want to be filled and overflowing with content for where God has me right now and trust in His power, and not in my ability to do more, because, seriously, nobody can be more than Him.

Happy New Year!

TAG : the (non-official) best book awards

I was tagged by Abbie and Danielle. Thank you!

I fail at tags. Whenever I'm tagged for something I always get super excited. I even write out drafts for some of them. But, inevitably, I always abandon them, and they get lost in the depths of cyber space never to be posted. When I saw this tag, however, I was determined to do it!

At the end of the year, Goodreads always puts out their "Best Books of the Year" awards, voted on by all of the readers that are on Goodreads. I'm always extremely disappointed with the winners, since they are always the overhyped books that I personally did not care much for. But when I was tagged for this, I felt like it would be a great opportunity for me to share some of the books that I think deserve some more love. 
BEST MALE CHARACTER
Robin Hood from Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

This was one of the harder questions on this list to answer, but in the end I just had to pick Robin Hood. He is my biggest literary/fictional crush of all time. But I won't gush about him too much right now. Maybe in another post. ;) One of my favorite variations of Robin (besides the fox character in the Disney movie) is the one from A.C. Gaughen's Scarlet series which is one of the best Robin Hood retellings I have ever read. The books are so well done, and the way Rob is portrayed makes him seem so real and makes me love him even more. These books seriously needs to get more attention than they do.

BEST FEMALE CHARACTER
Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

A lot of female characters I've been reading lately all seem exactly the same, and while they are (for the most part) very strong women and have amazing stories, there was no doubt in my mind I had to go with Anne. I know I'm being boring picking classical characters that everyone knows about, but Anne is my personal literary role model and I love her so much.

BEST PROTAGONIST (good guy/main character)
The Fellowship of the Ring from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Nothing beats The Lord of the Rings. Nothing! And, of course, I was going to pick one of the characters for this one, but I couldn't just choose only one! They are all very different characters, from Aragorn, a ranger and future king, to Sam, a little Hobbit gardener, to Gimli, a gruff Dwarf. Yet, they are able to work together (except for that one scene with Boromir) to defeat Sauron.

BEST ANTAGONIST (bad guy/opposing party to main character)
Naughty John from The Diviners by Libba Bray
General Woundwort from Watership Down by Richard Adams

I'm cheating a bit on this one (and I'm sure I'm going to cheat on a few more...) but a good antagonist is a special thing, and when a book has a legitimately scary bad guy I have to share.

Naughty John gave me nightmares. He's your typical demon/ghost sort of figure, but, oh, he was terrifying. With his little jingle he would sing before killing someone, and his creepy labyrinthian house of torture and death... *shivers*

Then there's General Woundwort who is a rabbit, but not the fluffy happy kind. He's a very large, very scary bunny and one of the first bad guys I would actually fear while reading.

BEST PLOT DEVELOPMENT
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

I read through this monster cover-to-cover last year and it was one of the best reading experiences. Victor Hugo is my fave. (I also highly recommend The Hunchback of Notre Dame) It is an extremely long book. My copy has about 1200 pages in it, but there is such a rich, full plot packed within those pages that I can't imagine it being any shorter.

BEST PLOT TWIST
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson 

This is a hard one. I'm very good at predicting plot twists, almost nothing can get by me. But this book surprised me quite a lot. When I started it I was convinced that it was nothing more than an innocent children's fantasy book. It was enjoyable, but nothing special... until the end. I read this book about two years ago, but it is still hands down the best plot twist I have ever read! I won't go into details, but seriously, Jennifer A. Nielson is a master of twisty plots.

BEST ROMANCE
Cress and Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Cathy Linton and Hareton from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

(I don't know for sure whether this question is asking for my favorite romance novel, or favorite couple from a book... but since I don't read romance novels, I guess I'll just go with favorite couple) 

I wanted Cress and Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles to be together before they even met. They complement each other so well, and have a very Flynn Rider/Rapunzel feel to their relationship. Which I'm totally cool with, since Rapunzel and Flynn Rider are one of my all time favorite Disney couples, and Cress is a retelling of Rapunzel... so it works. I love them to pieces.

I just had to add Cathy and Hareton to this list. Wuthering Heights, while one of my favorite books of all time, is a very dark and gloomy story. But, despite it all, Cathy and Hareton are the ray of sunshine that give this book a little bit of hope. Plus they're so darn cute! (I just ignore the fact that they are cousins...)

BEST ACTION
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I don't get into action in books very much. In movies I'm okay, but I can't picture the crazy action scenes when I'm reading. But Ready Player One, which is a book based in a future/dystopian sort of setting and is about video games, really pulled me into the action. Even though it's not my favorite book of all time, it was still super fun to read and I enjoyed every minute of it.

BEST SAD BOOK
The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport


I have cried waterfalls of tears over many books, but the thing that made The Romanov Sisters especially sad to me was the fact that this is a true story. I have a slight obsession with learning about the Romanov family and their assassination, and reading this book gave me a lot more insight to the real, mundane lives of the sisters and made the story I had heard so many times before feel so much more real. you can read more of my thoughts on it in my review.

BEST FUNNY BOOK
So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

It takes a lot to get me to laugh while I read a book. I'm so focused on reading, that even if I find something funny I will only mentally chuckle and move on. So Not Happening was the first book that literally made me laugh out loud as I was reading. Jenny B. Jones' writing is phenomenal and watching Bella's character develop when she's placed in very non-glamourous situations is simply hilarious. Which reminds me, I totally need to pick up the sequel to this soon...

I chose Nicholas Nickleby for this list because it is the funniest Dickens book I have read so far, but really anything by Dickens could fit here. Even though he deals with some very dark subjects in his novels, it's amazing how Dickens is able to weave in humor to make it more lighthearted.

BEST INSPIRING BOOK
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is going to be another obvious classic, but honestly, this was the only thing I could think of to put here. But, I don't care. This is an awesome book. Plus Harper Lee was able to make a court room scene intriguing and exciting. That takes talent. So yeah.

BEST OTHER BOOK
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I'm not quite sure what exactly they mean by "Other" book, so I'm just going to assume it means favorite book overall. Whenever someone asks me what my favorite book of all time is, I always have three answers ready: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Book Thief, and Wuthering Heights. But I'm going with Wuthering Heights for this one.

It's the type of book that people either adore or hate with a passion, and obviously I'm in the first category. While it is a very hopeless story, the way Emily Brontë puts it together is beautiful. And I love the story within a story that gives the book layers and helps you see all sides of it. It's true that most of the characters aren't very likable, but in my opinion, they seem far more realistic than a lot of characters I have read.

BOOK YOU THREW ACROSS THE ROOM THE HARDEST (in a good way or a bad way)
Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

I was going to use The Book Thief for this one, but I feel like I've talked about how much that book abused my heart quite enough. So, instead, I decided I would pick a couple other WWII books... (why were the World Wars so heartbreaking?) Anything Elizabeth Wein writes is absolutely gorgeous, and definitely throw-across-the-room worthy, because they will have you in mental agony over everything. In a good way of course. If any of you haven't had a chance to pick up Code Name Verity, go do it now, and make sure to read Rose Under Fire directly after.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW

I'm going to be a bad girl and not put anything for this one. Yes, because I can't think of anything, and also because I feel like I gain something from every book I read whether it's good or bad. (you could say I'm lazy, but hey I think it works)

BOOK THAT MADE YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I talked about this book in detail not too long ago, so if you want to read all my thoughts on it, you can check that out. It's very rare that a book is able to latch onto someone's heart and mind as this one has to me.
--------------------

I tag Maria at The Idea Catcher, Elizabeth at Incidents of a Literary Nature, and anyone else who might be interested. Consider yourself tagged!

cover reveal | Resist by Emily Ann Putzke

I have been following Emily Ann Putzke's writing journey ever since her first book, It Took a War, came out last year. She is extremely talented and I am always inspired by her passion for history and how it comes out in her writing so well. I had the opportunity to review Ain't We Got Fun, the book that she co-authored with Emily Chapman, and was blown away.

I had never heard of Hans and Sophie Scholl before Emily started writing Resist. I love history and finding weird, obscure events to research and learn about, but this was one thing I had never heard about. As Emily shared more of the beautiful, tragic story on her blog as she was writing, I became more and more excited for the release of this book. 

Munich, Germany 1942—Hans Scholl never intended to get his younger sister involved in an underground resistance. When Sophie Scholl finds out, she insists on joining Hans and his close friends in writing and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets entitled, The White Rose. The young university students call out to the German people, begging them to not allow their consciences to become dormant, but to resist their tyrannical leader and corrupt government. Hans knows the consequences for their actions—execution for committing high treason—but firm in his convictions, he’s prepared to lose his life for a righteous cause. Based on a true story, Hans, Sophie and all the members of The White Rose resistance group will forever inspire and challenge us to do what is right in the midst of overwhelming evil.
Resist will be available in e-book and paperback format on February 22, 2016, but while you're waiting, be sure to add it to your shelves on Goodreads and pre order. I'm sure you won't regret it ;)
--------------------
Emily Ann Putzke is a young novelist, historical reenactor, and history lover. You can learn more about Emily and her books at www.authoremilyannputzke.com and www.facebook.com/authoremilyannputzke