folklore by Taylor Swift // album review + thoughts

folklore was my first real introduction to Taylor Swift’s music, and I very much enjoyed the discovery.

I think I originally tried some of the songs this fall — the first I remember listening to are “peace” and “betty.” Eventually I decided I wanted to try them all, so I listened in order from start to finish (I did the same thing for evermore and might do a review of that too later). This post is basically an excuse for me to do a few things:

  • fangirl about this amazing album.
  • talk about what makes some of the songs so great (and what makes the others fall short for me).
  • discuss content concerns and explain my thoughts on what is and isn’t appropriate for Christians to listen to.

I am really excited to do this and I hope you enjoy it! 😀

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blog tour + book review // Fifteen by Amie Woleslagle

Hello hello, lovely readers! Today I’m participating in the amazing Amie Anne’s blog tour for her book Fifteen. The book is a collection of poetry about mental health, and *squeals* I got to read it!! It’s beautiful and important and I can’t wait to tell you what I thought. But first — the book info:

You’re not alone

You’re not the only person who struggles with mental health issues, not the only person with demons floating in your mind. Amie Woleslagle wrote Fifteen because she deals with them as well. Not to fix your pain, but to reach out and hold your hand. To remind you that you are not alone, to ask you to stay and make the world a better place. Because the world will never be the same without you and your unique take on life. Fifteen is a book of poems crafted from one teenager dealing with mental health issues to another teenager in the same place. It walks through the battle of pretending to be okay, of having people you thought were trustworthy shatter your heart, and the battle of not giving in when your brain has given up. Fifteen covers true friendships, embracing joy, self acceptance, and living your faith while struggling with mental illness, all the while showing that, in the end, flowers will bloom in the ashes of your pain. 

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From the Heart by Eva Grace // poetry book review + author interview

Hey there, my friends! (*awkward wave at any strangers present*) My friend Eva Grace wrote a poetry book, and I’m here to talk all about it (plus share my interview with her!).

about the book

A poetry collection about life, the world, people, beauty, and adventure. Dare to dream, try, and conquer.                                                                                                                                  
Here I leave my thoughts
Here I tell my dreams
Here I unveil my secrets
//
Here my heart is opened
And everything pours out

buy the book

my review

If you couldn’t tell from all the poetry book reviews/cover reveals/blog tours on my blog, I read a lot of poetry, especially books by young writers. It’s one of my very favorite things to do. So I was very excited when Eva told me she was publishing hers.

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Waiting Spaces by Acacia Mitchell // poetry book review + launch!

Hey there, my friends! I’m excited today to talk about my friend Acacia Mitchell’s poetry book, Waiting Spaces. I was honored to be a beta reader for it and I can’t wait for more people to read it!

As you may know, I’m a huge fan of modern, lyrical poetry, and Acacia’s was just right for me. I’m going to tell you all about why I loved it — after I tell you about it and its author (:

about the book

We have all waited.  

While searching for answers. Staying in places of rest and growth, or unsure of where to call home.

Waiting Spaces explores the feelings of waiting through poetical thought and spoken word. 

Each poem is written as a letter to those who are in their own spaces of waiting. 

Perhaps you will find one written to you. 

buy with color illustrations | buy with black and white illustrations

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the Hamilton book tag + the outstanding blogger award II // ft. mini book reviews and random appearances by my WIPs

Tag posts are fun to write, but I have an (irrational?) fear that people don’t like them as much as my other posts.

Since you’re one of these “people,” do you mind telling me? I’d like to know the truth instead of clinging to an assumption that may or may not be true.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are the tags I’ve been tagged for.

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the Hamilton book tag

I found this tag at J Long Books; Jaedyn said anyone who loves Hamilton could do it. Since I am doing it, you’ve probably (correctly) assumed that I love Hamilton.

This post is not supposed to be a Hamilton review, but… I have a hard time stopping myself from reviewing things. I’ll be brief.

  • THEATRE // I love all things musical theatre, and have seen quite a few shows (live and recorded) and participated in dance, acting, and singing lessons. Thus, I know (a little) how hard it is to perform well, and Hamilton is performed very well. The second time I watched it I watched mostly the ensemble, which I encourage everyone to do on their second time through!
  • WRITING // I also (surprise!) love to write. I consider myself to be fairly good at it (twelve years of practice, six of which were spent consciously trying to improve, helped in that regard). So I advise you to trust me when I say that the writing is marvelous. For example:
    I’m in the cabinet. I am complicit in
    Watching him grabbin’ at power and kiss it
    If Washington isn’t gon’ listen
    To disciplined dissidents, this is the difference:
    This kid is out!

    Read that aloud. Can you rhyme as well? I doubt it. (I can’t.)
  • HISTORY // Hamilton is not completely historically accurate. Basic knowledge of the Revolution/early American history, and access to accurate historical information, is important if you want to fully understand the context and reality of the time period and events portrayed in the musical.
  • CONTENT // The movie is rated PG-13. It has more profanity than almost any other PG-13 movie I’ve seen. The sexual content is about what you’d expect from that rating. All violence is portrayed via dancing and acting (no blood is actually shown, and gun duels are dramatized). I personally recommend it for ages 15 and up, but please read reviews, talk to your parents (if you live with them), and think carefully before viewing.
  • That being said, I could easily squeal about this movie all day, and I highly recommend watching it.

Mini review done. Let’s do the tag.Read More »

The Lightest, Heaviest Things by Weez Phillips // book review

Weez released her debut novel on August 1, and I am so happy.

Her blog is delightful, the letters she sends me are such fun to read, and I love her quirky honesty and unexpected descriptions. So when she sent me an ARC to review, you can imagine my joy.

*pretends I actually read it before the release date*

I’ve read it now, anyway (: It was marvelous, I enjoyed every bit of it, and I can’t wait to tell you why.

But first, here’s a bit about the book:

The Lightest Heaviest Things by [Weez Phillips]
cover designed by Clara

 “The trees are tall, and the giants are not actually taller than the trees. You told me that the giants aren’t real. I don’t know if they’re real. They look real, to me, but they also don’t seem real. You don’t see them, either.”

Peri, alone in her house, has spent a lot of time observing the silent, strangely sad giants that move just on the edge of her vision. They never speak. They never laugh. They are always alone. Drowning in her own loneliness, Peri doesn’t think much about where the giants came from, or what they might need from her.

When Peri’s best friend Wink starts seeing the giants too, though, they decide that they need to find out why the giants are so sad and alone. This sets them off on a quest that neither of them is quite prepared for, through the woods and up the mountain.

Magic, melancholy, and myth collide in their lives, showing them a world both worse and better than they ever knew.

It’s beginning.

buy on Amazon | add on Goodreads | Redbubble merch shop

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the mid-year book freak-out tag // speculative, historical, and much Goldstone Wood

Hello hello, readers, and welcome to (as the title suggests) a post in which I talk about the books I have read so far this year, the books I want to read later, and the fact that despite my grand plans to read 40 works of nonfiction this year, I have yet to read a single one.

(Yes, seriously, I haven’t read any nonfiction.)

I’ve seen this tag on several blogs already; I’m going to be taking my questions from Heather @ The Frozen Library and May @ Forever and Everly.

Before we start: I wrote this post on June 21; I will have (hopefully) read more books before its publication. (Including some nonfiction?) And, I’m going to relegate rereads to the “honorable mention” category (unless there’s a very good reason not to).

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reading stats

books read

  • total: 77 (+ two in-progress works by friends and about 10 Melanie Dickerson books — more on that later)
  • library books/borrowed: 47 (that was hard to count!)
  • ebooks/read on computer: 18
  • audiobooks/read alouds: 3
  • DNF: plenty that I will finish (including some I’m currently in the middle of); I don’t think I’m abandoning any
  • rereads: 46
  • sequels: 46 (I think?)

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flotsam and jetsam | 6 (Camp NaNo + mini book reviews + some updates)

How are you all, my friends? Quarantine in Michigan has been extended until at least May 28 (I think) and my musical has been officially canceled, so I’m still at home, still reading and writing and taking walks and wishing I could go places. I miss normal life.

But enough about my woes. Despite the (many) downsides of living in 2020, there are a few good things. The first one is that I exceeded my Camp NaNo goal of 20k!

Camp NaNo

 Camp Winner 2020 - Twitter Banner

I wrote 21,708 words in April! I shared some snippets from day 1, days 2-4, and days 5-10 earlier. Here are some of my favorite things I wrote from days 11-30.

poetry

// 13: shadow heart //

My heart is shadowed and uncertain. I’ve been trying to get back to where I was but the sirens call me into sin and seduction and unsatisfaction and my heart is heavy….
My heart is shadowed. Craven and breaking. Someone come pull me out of my aching and raise me to heaven — or I will fall to hell….
My heart is shadowed.
Send rescue.
Send salvation.

I tried my hand at spoken word poetry. I’m not very happy with the result, but I’ll keep trying.


// 14: play //

I’m tired of deception (but that’s unrelated to anything I’m supposed to be writing about)
and this quarantine
and being me
and, well, a lot of things.
I want the world to be healed
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Love Lifted Me by Faith Blum // book review + blog tour

Welcome, friends! Today I’m reviewing Love Lifted Me by Faith Blum, a novella inspired by Cinderella and Song of Solomon. I very much enjoyed reading it and can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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about the author

Faith Blum is a small-town Wisconsin girl who lives in the center of the state with her husband and baby boy/girl. She loves writing, reading, crafting, and her cat, Smokey. She writes primarily historical fiction with an emphasis on Christian westerns. Find out more about Faith on her website.

website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

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about the book

Love Lifted Me - composite 1Elaheh’s brothers are lazy and controlling…

When Elaheh’s parents die, she is devastated, especially when her brothers seem to not care at all. They slowly make her help them more and more in the vineyard until she is finally forced to do all of the work plus keeping the house clean and food ready.

When Prince Solomon comes to town to hear from the people, Elaheh talks to him to see if there is anything they can do. Solomon feels bad for Elaheh and searches for weeks to find something, but can’t. So he comes up with a plan.

Will Solomon be able to rescue Elaheh from her lazy brothers? Will Elaheh survive all the work she is forced to do? Can true love come to humble foreigner like Elaheh?

// inspired by Cinderella and Song of Solomon // 

buy Love Lifted Me on Amazon

check out the first three books in the series here, and book four here

➽ GENRE: Biblical fiction / historical retelling

➽ LENGTH: 25,000 words (novella)

➽ AGE RANGE: all ages
(note: I actually disagree with this age range; I’ll specify more down below!)

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my review

initial thoughts

When I started reading this book, I had no idea what it was about. I may have read a synopsis or description of it at some point, but I don’t remember it. I signed up to review it because I wanted to support Faith, but I had no clue what her book was about… (sorry, Faith :)).

And at first, I didn’t really like the book. The book started in the middle of action without explaining what was going on, the characters’ decisions weren’t believable, I didn’t relate to the MC (main character) at all.

I’m happy to say, though, that within a few chapters I actually loved the story! It took a bit for me to get into it, but once I did I didn’t want to stop, and I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up to read any other book by Faith Blum (even if I didn’t know what it was about… XD).  Read More »