Tag Archives: Books

An Update and Recommendations

One month late, what a slacker I am!

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Well, updates first, of course! I am not sure that I had mentioned it before, but I was hired to be a waitress at a Tavern/Bar back in March. Recently, though, I quit that job and now I have a new job! I am now a Video Game Advisor for GameStop, which is pretty awesome if you ask me!

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Also, I’ve FINALLY resumed work on my book, which I’ve been writing off and on for a few years now. My goal is to have the first draft completed by September 30th, 2016, that way I can start a brand new project for NaNoWriMo in November this year. =D

It was hard writing for awhile, with everything that was going on emotionally and mentally for me. Struggling through anxiety and medication and trying to figure out ways to handle situations that send me plummeting for an anxiety attack where pretty much my main villains when it came to story writing, because I was just SO obsessed trying to handle it, that I had a really hard time focusing on much else. Regardless, after working with my doctor and counselor to fix my medicine dosage, I am FINALLY feeling like my normal self (from before these anxiety problems started back in 2008) again, which is a huge relief and a lot of pressure off of my chest and mind.

That aside, I’ve been reading a lot. Have any of heard of the book “Awkward” by Svetlana Chmakova?

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She’s done a lot of manga books, but this was her very first work I’ve ever read. I absolutely loved not only the artwork but the story as well! It was such a great read and I plowed through it in under 24 hours. If you’re looking for a book to read before the summer is over, I highly recommend this one, especially if you enjoy everyday middle school life drama for a young girl trying to fit in.

Still not sure? Here’s the synopsis for it:

Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

On her first day at her new school, Penelope—Peppi—Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can’t help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he’s a member of her own club’s archrivals—the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!

And, if you’re looking for anything to Netflix binge-watch, they recently added a new Japanese Rom-Com by the title of “Good Morning Call”, and is based off of the shōjo manga of the same name, which is adorable! Synopsis? Easy: A high school girl finally gets her own apartment, but she has to share it with the most popular boy in school. No one can know they’re living together. Come on, now who doesn’t love that?

To be completely honest, I’m an absolute sucker for Asian Rom-Com’s. I just love watching them so much, with their exaggerated expressions and reactions and everything, it’s just so much fun!

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On that note, I’m going to head off. I just returned home from work and, speaking of Netflix, I want to watch some more of my shows.

Cheers everyone!

– Soleil

 

 

Just, Right Now….

Sometimes I get teary when I realize that I’m almost 26 and the longest relationship I have ever had was six months.

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And that I have had a pretty lousy date/relationship record so far, including an obsessive controller, a liar, and a cheater.

Personally, I think it’s rather hard to find someone to actually be in a relationship with. I live in a very rural area so it’s not like there are many guys around to choose from. When I’m in my university classes, my classmates are always much younger than I am (the downfall of being a 25 year old college student).

All I’m asking for is someone who understands (and if they share it, that’s a bonus) my appreciation of art, writing, and history. Who will actually want to sit and watch the same shows and movies as me (yes, I’m the girl who still likes to go to Disney and other animated movies because they’re cute and I adore them and animation is what I want to do for a career, so it’s cool to see animation in action) and who accepts that reading tons of books is a very fun hobby for me. That I like to watch anime and BBC and that I’m a Whovian through and through (PS. My favorite Doctor to date is Matt Smith as Doctor 11)! That I enjoy Sherlock and think Benedict Cumberbatch is fantastic as the consulting detective (Martin Freeman is an excellent addition and they compliment each other very well, talent-wise). That I want to travel and find inspiration in new places for my art and writing (I truly believe an artist cannot survive creatively stuck in one place)! I mean, I don’t think I’m asking too much.

But sometimes…I’m just lonely and I’m getting awfully tired of waiting for Mr. Right.

Sincerely Yours,

Soleil

 

“A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale” Review

Recently, I finished reading a book by Miss Liz Braswell, an English-born American who began her career developing video games before becoming a young-adult fiction writer. While it’s not totally up-to-date you can find her at her website, The Messy Desk. She most famously known as her alter-ego Celia Thomson, author of “The Nine Lives of Chloe King” series.

Her most recent book is the one I happened to pick up. Published this past September 1st (2015) by Disney Press, “A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale” is a re-take on the Disney Classic version of the Aladdin tale.

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Now, my last book review was on “A Frozen Heart” by Elizabeth Rudnick (and, although it was a short review, you can find it here in my “Back to Blogging (Finally)!” post) which was also published by Disney Press. While I am always skeptical about a corporation like Disney taking a new crack at expanding or expounding on their original telling of a story, books like these are interesting to pick up and read, regardless of any contradictions that may arise. (Unless of course you’re a die-hard fan determined to never see any of the Disney-verse movies changed from their original storylines).

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Haha, see how I did that, with the Aladdin gif. Yeah, I’m clever.

Pulling back, this book asks a question of great importance, which Goodreads was clever enough to point out: “What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed?”

Liz Braswell’s version of the Disney Aladdin tale takes a much darker turn. When Aladdin retrieves the magic lamp for Jafar, the evil vizier actually GETS the lamp instead of Aladdin. The events that ensue create a new world of havoc for our heroes, with rebellion, death, and destruction becoming a daily piece of their lives. Jafar is proven to more than psychotic, Jasmine battles with herself concerning right and wrong, and Aladdin finds himself trying to keep her sane, along with every other character he interacts with.

I must admit, it is a much darker tale than I was expecting when I picked the book up. Death and violence is portrayed in a very un-Disney-like fashion of grotesque and avid imagery. For true-to-heart Disney fans who don’t want different perceptions of their favorite Classics, I would say this book may not be for you. However, for those who are of the more open-minded Disney fandom, I encourage you to definitely give this book a chance! For all its darkness and betrayal and evil deeds, it is well-written and a captivating read.

Want to read it for yourself? Find it HERE, on Amazon!

Look for my words again soon!

Sincerely Yours,

Soleil

 

Recap and Ramble

Recap on my last post “A Café Encounter”: I got the illustration job!

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Seriously, though, that is majorly exciting! I cannot wait to get started on this project.

In the meantime, I’ve started binge-watching the CW‘s “The Flash” on Netflix today.

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I’m already about halfway through the first season. And, you know, Season Two starts soon. January 19th, to be exact. The exact same day I resume my college classes. I think I can watch all of Season One by then. Downright easy.

Now, please, let me gush over the Sherlock “Christmas” special that aired New Year’s night and be a good fangirl. (Ahem, spoilers ahead).

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It was pure gold. A beautiful merge of classic and modern without missing a beat concerning wit, snark, action, mystery, and adventure. I’m sure that by now it is common knowledge that the episode is a flip-back between the modernized Sherlock we know and love and the Victorian-classic of the stories origins. I especially loved the mix of three Sherlock Holmes stories in the episode. I laughed at the orange pips because I knew exactly what they were, which story they were from, and what they meant. It was excellent! Truly.

I really don’t want to give a full recap because I don’t want to ruin the episode for anyone who missed it and is waiting for the second showing on January 10th (again on PBS). However, if you really want to read a full review, the Den of Geek has a fabulous article: Sherlock: The Abominable Bride Review.

All I will say is that I am big admirer of Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes and of Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson. The two really do bring the characters from the books’ pages to life and that is what I truly love and appreciate. So thank you both for your time and talent. Please continue to do an amazing and wonderful job.

And that is all for now. Please look for my words again soon!

Soleil

 

 

A Café Encounter

Right now. Right this very minute! I am sitting at the café inside of a local Barnes & Noble to meet with a children’s book author. Why? She is looking for an illustrator for her two books and was interested in my art and art style after I submitted her a few examples. How cool is that?!

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So, I’ve brought my digital online portfolio, which you can see here on my Crevado account: My Portfolio. It isn’t much, just a few samples of my digital work, but it’s nice to have. And then I’ve also brought a hard-copy portfolio which has some older work in it but showcases my different styles of drawing and what I am capable of and not restricted to. The great thing is, I value being able to draw in more than just one style.

Well, please wish me luck, because she’s coming back over now. =)

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Back to Blogging! (Finally!)

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Did you miss me?!

It’s great to be back, I’ve really missed writing here. After NaNoWriMo and then suddenly FINALS at college (yeah totally forgot about those), I was really starting to wonder if I’d EVER get back to my little corner of the blog-o-sphere!

Whelp on to business! I just spent just about my entire day working on Astronomy assignments for my last class. This included:

  • 1 Lab
  • 2 Activities
  • Exam #3 (60 questions)
  • And the Final Exam! (120 questions!)

I can now successfully say that my mind is fried!

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This is how I felt ALL day!

Totally time for a break. Taking into consideration that I have to be up at about 6AM and it’s already 12:40AM, I should go to bed. But, I have to unwind. I can’t go to bed with a head full of astronomy problems dealing with mathematical equations, scientific notation, Hubble’s Law and so on.

Time to start a new book! I just finished “A Frozen Heart” by Elizabeth Rudnick. It is an expansion to the already famous Disney “Frozen” movie. The book follows Anna’s and Hans’ Points-of-View (POV) through alternating chapters, which “takes a sophisticated look at events of Frozen, exploring the couple’s backstories, motivations, and doomed relationship.”

Actually, it wasn’t that bad a of read and for any Disney (especially Disney “Frozen” fans) I would definitely suggest you pick it up. It’s relatively cheap. I got it at a BJ’s Wholesale Club for about $8 or $10. You can find it here on Barnes & Noble’s website for $9.73.

I’m thinking of picking up some of Brandon Mull‘s books. I have the first “Fablehaven” book and the first “Beyonders” book. I’m not sure, can I read “Beyonders” first or do I have to read “Fablehaven” so I can understand the world? Are they connected at all. Time to check the blurbs on the back of the books!

Anyway, off to read (although bed would be the smarter choice at this point…yay for lack of sleep later!)

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Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

The Time-Consuming Thing That Is NaNoWriMo!

It’s NaNoWriMo! Let the literary war begin!

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The whole goal of this event is to complete a novel of at least 50,000 words by the end of November. Yes, it is quite crazy to write an entire book in 30 days, but that’s part of the fun!

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So, if I don’t post much this month, I’ll just apologize for that now. Spare time will be spent writing. Extra spare time between the spare time I spend writing will be dedicated to eating and sleeping so I can continue to power through this. Meanwhile, this will be my motivation for the month:

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Haha, a Whovian at hearts no matter what the challenge! Allons-y and Geronimo!

So, look for my words…eventually, haha!

-Soleil

What I’ve Been Up To (An Update)

Guys! I have totally failed in my upkeeping this “daily entry” thing for you on my blog here. It’s just…I’ve had a busy few past couple of days.

With school starting next week (-gasp!-), I’ve had to get my school supplies and text books. I’m taking some pretty interesting classes, yay!

  1. Anatomy for the Artist
  2. Elementary Japanese
  3. Public Speaking
  4. Intro to Astronomy (Online!)

I’m still trying to figure out how I’m supposed to take an Astronomy class online, but I did sign up for it myself, and it is a college course (since I’m in University and all), but I’m curious how they’re going to structure it. For example, will I have to meet on campus some nights to go to the observatory and look at certain stars and planets and such? I don’t mind, I’m just curious if that will be a thing.

Ah...DW quotes...and Van Gogh! -sigh-

Ah…DW quotes…and Van Gogh! -sigh-

Oh, um, also, I hurt my ankle.

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Yeah…. You see, I was babysitting a 4-year old. Well, I let the family dog outside and when I heard him barking, I thought maybe there was a gate in the fence in the backyard that might have been open, so I went to check while the 4-year old watched “Spiderman”! So, I ran after the dog, and there was apparently this hole in the yard…that I didn’t see, and my foot went into it…and my ankle went POP! Yeah…it hurt a lot after that. So to the ER I went (after babysitting of course), dun dun daa! I was there until 2AM!

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This was my result:

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My poor ankle and leg, all wrapped up and held together with a stirrup splint. Woe is me! Well, I mean, it could have been way worse! The good news is that it’s not broken and there were no fractures in the bones. The bad news is that I may have torn a ligament, tendon, or muscle. The doctor at the ER told me to keep off my foot for the next week, use the crutches they gave to me, and keep my foot wrapped. Keep it elevated, stay off of it, nurse it, be kind to it. Basically, (don’t) run. -wink wink there, Whovians-

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Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

P.S. This has secretly really been a big Doctor Who-themed post, hahaha!

Beni’s Walk, Emma, and ED Baker

Good afternoon world!

Day Six of our family vacation is in full swing! While my parents and brother and his girlfriend and her two sisters are at the beach (see, we only have 6 beach tags, so one of us had to stay behind…. Side Rant: I think it’s quite incredulous that you need to buy tags to go onto a beach. A beach should be public property where families and friends can go to relax. But, no, some towns and cities actually charge you to use their beaches! How demanding! What is this world coming to?). Ahem, anyway. I decided to walk Beni around town while they enjoy the sun and surf. I’m pretty beached out anyway and could use a day to relax from the surf, sand, and sun.

Beni and I made plenty of friends on our walk today. She is an ever-popular dog. I guess it helps that she’s super adorable and very socialable and friendly. I walked her 10 blocks to Starbucks. Once there, the lady at the window where I placed my order for iced green tea gave me a treat for Beni. That was nice. She asked if I was a dog walker, because when I went to this same Starbucks and this same girl was my server earlier in the week, I had been walking Leila, then. I told her no, I just have different dogs, haha! Beni and I then sat at a table outside and relaxed in the shade of the awning over the building while I drank my tea. I have a portable dog bowl that folds up, so I undid that and gave Beni some fresh, cool water to drink, too.

While I sat there, I met two men who are here on vacation from Albania! I thought at first that they were speaking French, and when I said that, the one guy snorted into his drink. I guess he found it funny. But they were speaking Albanian! I’m just glad they weren’t speaking French because I thought for a moment that maybe I forgot all that I’ve learned and practiced when I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying.

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Well, that being said, once Beni and I were done with our drinks and our break, I walked her 10 blocks back to our shore house. Now, she’s passed out on our couch, sleeping. What a cutie.

I found a new webcomic! It’s called “Emma”! Well, actually, DeviantArt introduced me to it, but that’s beside the point (or is it? Hm….). Here’s the link, so check it out: Emma: The Online Comic.

I think that’s it for now? Other than that, I’m reading E.D. Baker’s “The Frog Princess” series. Did you know that her book is what Disney’s “The Frog Princess” was based off of? It was written back in the early 2000s. Since I have to wait for October for the other book in her newer series to come out, I figured I’d re-read her first series since I:

  1. Can’t quite remember it. And….
  2. Am not quite sure that I ever finished the whole series.

I’m off to do some more reading (and writing probably). I’ll post some more pictures from my vacation later.

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

An Unanswerable Question, Perhaps, and the Problem With The “Fairest of All”

Hello! Good evening! Good morning! Which is it, huh? It says AM because it’s past midnight, but it’s still dark out, therefore still night time. So, so, which is it? Which is it, I demand to know!

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Yeah, me either.

So, anyway, I finished “Fairest of All” a few hours ago. The book I mentioned in my last post. You know the one. Well, you know the one I mentioned if you actually read my last post. (You guys aren’t slacking and just skimming through, right? -poignant stare-

Ahem, ahem, digressing again. Back to the topic on hand (dun dun DA!)!

The book is about 200 pages, a bit more or so, and tells the tragic backstory of the Wicked Queen from the fairytale of Snow White. Ah, but it’s apparently Disney’s version of her backstory, as written by Serena Valentino and published by Disney Hyperion. It seems that Disney has a sort of “Backstory Bug” nowadays. Serena Valentino has even published the next book I’m reading: “The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince”, which is the prelude to Beauty and the Beast’s story and how Prince Adam became a Beast in the first place. Because the simply wonderful prologue at the beginning movie (narrated by the enchantingly lovely voice of David Ogden Stiers -sighs appreciatively (ah, but you might know him better as the voice of Cogsworth, or Ratcliffe in “Pocahontas“, as Jumba in “Lilo & Stitch“, or as Kamaji in “Spirited Away“!)) apparently wasn’t enough justice to his story. Ah, but I can’t really knock the book until after I’ve read it, right?

That being said, that means I can give way to my opinion about Fairest of All at least. The tale itself was fine, but I felt it dragged on a bit too much at times. The Queen spiraled and there was a lot of unnecessary dialogue and descriptions that felt as if they were there to lengthen the story but not enhance it. Of course, they are trying to sell the reason of why the Queen became Wicked and wanted to kill her stepdaughter, Snow White for being Fairest in the Land over herself. It’s not a far-fetched concept, mind you, for why she grew to loathe her daughter…no, that’s not the right word because she kept saying she was doing it out of love. Really, basically, the Queen had convinced herself that what she was doing to Snow White was out of love and she was trying to protect the girl from the pain that love could bring and blah, blah, blah and other selfish nonsense.

So, as far as I’m concerned, this story can go in the same pile of rubbish that I placed the recent “Maleficent” movie into (you know the one, it just came out, with Angelina Jolie as the title character):

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And no, I didn’t like the movie. I thought it was silly. I didn’t like how Disney tried to make Maleficent more “humanized”, how they tried to make you feel sad for her and want to side with her. No! She is supposed to be the “Misstress of ALL Evil” here, folks! Personally, in my own opinion, Disney is starting a terrible trek down a road that is ruining their Villains Franchise. They’re called Villains for a reason.

Ahem, that is all about that topic. However, I am sort of hoping that Ms. Valentino’s next book which I will start tonight/this morning (still not clear on that one. XD), “The Beast Within” will be a better concept. Also, there are WAY more links in this post than in any of my others! Whew! XD

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil