december [2017]

December 30, 2017

Heya everyone,

I'm throwing this together late Friday and I haven't had time to actually to do a good post because I've been so lazy during the holiday season, and really really busy as soon as it ended with studies and alpha/beta/gamma reading various friends' works before deadlines ...

Therefore I'll just present you with a very very quick recap of December and 100-word story ...

- I read ...

- I cannot remember the last time a book made me think as hard as it made me feel

- This was a beautiful blend of cousins, magical backwoods, internal conflicts, and hidden family histories

- Bambi was my childhood home and this sequel was a walk down memory lane -- loved every moment of it
- Can't remember the last time I loved a classic this. much. (it was probably when I read P&P early this year). Basically go read Jon's review here cause it persuaded me and also sums up most of my thoughts (except for the fact that he didn't like P&P while I did)

- I also alpha read/gamma read through one novel and one novella in record speed so that should count ...

- I didn't write much

- I didn't study as hard as I wanted to but I still did some

- Christmas was just awesome and afterwards we cracked a lot of nuts

- Someone gave me a guitar on Christmas eve because they have three and no one plays them so next year when I take music lessons again I guess I'll be learning guitar again?? o.o

- got some snow for a few days and managed to go skiing and have a snowball fight and make snowmen before the rain came and melted it all away ... -_-

- Andora's Folly was releases (yay Abi!)

- the cover for Katie Manning's (aka K. A. Emmons's) next book was revealed o.o

- my mind draws a blank as to what else happened ...

And finally ... the story ...


"How much for a cup of coffee?" I asked the coffee lady over the counter. Maybe it would stimulate my artist's imagination.

She fills my cup to the brim. "Don't worry about it."

And then inspiration strikes. My pencil flies across the paper.

When I'm done, I rip out the page. "This is for you."

"Thank you!" she says.

I watch her photograph it and paste it on the wall. It shows a steaming cup of coffee and a paper bag that says, 'drink the coffee you love. Love the coffee you drink."

And it hangs there to this day.


Many thanks to Abigail Lennah for inspiring me ages ago ... (also that yearbook should be coming out soon!!)


Please enjoy the last two days of 2017 
-- have a wonderful new year 
-- and I'll see you in January :D



December 23, 2017


Two days to Christmas and wow -- I don't know what to say. Right now as I'm typing this there's Anne Murray singing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" and haha yes! Outside there's some white! Not a lot -- at least not on the streets anymore -- but some of the lawns and roofs and hedges. I thought maybe the best thing to do at this time is to give you a bit of a glimpse of what I'm doing during this holiday season :D

>> buying presents is so much fun :D

 >> for a really long time it hasn't been a huge huge thing (like it's not the end of the world if the      presents don't get here on time XD) but it's still really enjoyable. I started my shopping in November. I went to Chapters and bought myself In 27 Days as a present (umm yes I thought of me, myself, and I first lol). I also got books for some other family members but I cannot be specific about what books because said family members may read this (HELP). In fact I don't even remember what one of the books actually was (like what kind of a book worm am I?). 

>> But then this super awkward thing happened. I got this one book for my sis (the next in the series she was reading) but then right after she went and borrowed it from the library (!!!). It was bad. This forced me *ahem* go with plan b and buy her the third one as well afterwards. *shakes head* This, friends, is the risk of buying your presents too early. *ends awkward story with good moral*
>> Moving on.

>> I started my card making project in October (supposedly)
>> Did it work?

>> No.

>> I worked at in on Sundays (yeah so not very impressive). I used old cards, cutting off the fronts with the picture/text and glued them on new card stock. I also did some of my own painting and calligraphy.  But with some help and pressure from the family, I finally finished early this week. I think I ended up with 25 cards? Then I wrote them and mailed them the same day. How many cards did I actually use? About 14? Hahahaha I ended up with too many extra cards ... -_- 

>> we don't actually have a tree because we don't have space (also it really hasn't been a habit in the past few years. I know, shocking.)

>> But out friends/neighbors/landlord + lady do! 

>> And thus we went to their place and decorated theirs! Turns out, all my blogging has helped with my aesthetic sense, and tree has a red, gold, and silver color scheme XD Decorating it was so much fun but also stressful because  #fragile #nobreaking things #yellingatsisters

>> Then we got some lights to hang out side our door and in the house, and it's so #pretty. Gives a Christmas atmosphere you know.

>> Speaking of lights the streets around here look gorgeous at night because a lot of houses are all decorated and light up. They have so many decorations in the yard -- snowmen, and Santa, and Mickey Mouse, and candy canes, and etc and etc and all the trees and bushes (even these palm trees!) are all strung up with various colors of lights!!

>> I am not actually taking a break from school

>> Yeah this is disappointing news, but come Wednesday next week I'm back to studying. My teachers are having a holiday, so I technically could take a break, but no. I started my courses late, and I have four months to finish and five month's work load. My first semester is extending until February and I'm kind of buried right now.

>> Christmas music is everywhere!

>> We go out to the stores and everywhere they are playing three versions of Jingle Bells, or Let IT Snow! in English and French, and so forth and so on. 

>> Then we get home and we put on the Christmas music (if we aren't watching some movie) and so in the end, we'll here the same songs a hundred times before season's end. Not that I mind. I also borrowed a songbook from the library with hopes of learning to play some but so far I haven't hard much time XD

>> Other stuff --

>> We got a turkey! For the first time in forever!

>> My family also made cookies ^-^

>> We are all buying gorgeous ceramic latte mugs with lids and that's so nice!

>> We're all trying to wrap our presents without anyone finding out what the presents are ...

>> At least most of us because one member of the family has zero understanding of the term "surprise" or the meaning of "secret" (lol)

>> We're watching movies late into the evening with the excuse it's the holidays

>> We wanted to borrow Christmas movies and more music from the library but there's like 30 over hold on like 5 copies and just no; we'd get the things in March or something XD

>> So we're just watching our regular crime shows haha

>> The Christmas mood is all over the blogosphere and other social media too so *nodnod* 

Ok that's a little glimpse as to what's going on here! Hope you all are having a wonderful, blessed holiday season :D

Are you doing any last minute Christmas shopping? (yeah some of my family was XD)
Do your decorations have a color scheme?
Do you make your own cards?



December 18, 2017

2017 draws to an end.

I've heard this said so often around here in the past while but it never ceases to pack a punch. Like ALREADY? The older one gets, the faster time goes. I remember doing my July recap like it was yesterday and thinking, "oh my word, how can half the year be over?" Well, now it's another half.

I scream internally every time I think about it. 2017 gone. Help. It's just very sobering. As much as I love stepping into fresh year (it;s one of the best feelings) it's always very jarring to realise ... how fast it happened.

But to look on the bright side --- I FEEL SUPER PRODUCTIVE WITH THIS YEAR. Yay!!

>> It's been a huge milestone in my writing life. This year is when I started to take it seriously. I loved writing for fun previously, just whenever it struck my fancy. I never finished anything. But this year I took one step forward :D

>> I wrote a story called The Sand and the Sea for TeenInk in March. It was my first ever published piece, and I was super proud of it...

>> I entered a local writing contest in my old city and was one of the winners (YAY) (you can read the entries here and here).

>> I found out what blogging was! I remember having such fun in January just hopping from blog to blog to blog ... it was such a new amazing thing and oh my goodness I'm so happy it happened because ...

>> I ALSO STARTED A BLOG!! In June I decided to go out on a limb and try. I remember how demanding it felt at first and how terrible I was with aesthetics and all (feel free to laugh with me now, all you who saw it the first time). I wrestled so hard with design in the beginning, and now I'm happy about how far I've come.

>> I actually got really far in my books!! Usually I get in like one or two chapters and then ... nothing more. But this year (actually in the past half year) I actually wrote 20 chapters (almost) in on both projects!! whoohoo!

>> I did Nanowrimo and Camp Nano for the first time ever! (Ok so I didn't know such a thing even existed before this year lol)

>> I don't know how much I've written this year collectively but in the past half year I have written 100k in fiction, plus all the blog posts, journals, essays, school notes ... and before July I didn't even count so don't ask :D

>> Christmas marks my one year anniversary of adventuring in YA! It was last Christmas that I dived into Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy, finishing it withing ... three days maybe?? I know Diveregent (and even more the two following books) tend to get a bad rap sometimes, but for me, they drew me into this new genre and because of them I'm reading YA now. I loved them and they would really be the "epitome of comfort" for me to read now.

>> Starting with Diveregent I have tried to review every book I read this year ... and I have succeeded. I've have 45 reviews on Goodreads (which is like half of what I've read) but the rest of them I have stored for myself ... somewhere ...

>> I got my Goodreads in May, on one of those days when I didn't have anything better to do. These days I'm not very active there (because of the annoying update feed which only tells me ten times when ten friends liked the fact that one person friended another -- ugh). However it has proven useful for yelling at others to read my favorite books, and growing my tbr at neck breaking speed.

>> I also learned to review books this year by reading other people's reviews!!

>> And the number of books I've read this year is ... 100!!! Yup, that is not bad at all. I'm pretty sure that's the most I've ever read in a year? You can view most of my reads right here.


Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer The Scorpio Races Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker In 27 Days by Alison Gervais

Letters to the Lost [by Brigid Kemmerer] // This book is about two teens -- Declan and Juliet -- who become very good friends while writing letters to each other anonymously. Of course, they don't know that they go to the same high school and are not on very good terms there. Both consider the other to be a jerk. But. You can probably guess what happens. I loved this to the core because of the letter-writing, the dramatic irony, the friendships and various relationships, the development and growth, photography and cars and babysitting ... ^-^ This book was definitely on the best of the year.

The Scorpio Races [by Maggie Stiefvater] // With the usual unrivalled Maggie Stiefvater-style characters, and and epic race for the plot, with water horses as the fantasy element -- this book was a wild ride! and ... THERE IS A STRONG AND SERIOUS AND SILENT CHARACTER!!! To quote the book itself, I loved "The sky and the sand and the sea and Corr".

Chasing Jupiter [by Rachel Coker] // I actually reviewed this full thing right here, but let's just recap it. To quote myself, "This is a story about family and dreams and heartbreak and loss. It's a story about peaches and pies and peanut butter and Peter Pan and promises and peace. It's a story about cooking and baking and Spanish and summer and friends and love. It's a story about music and the moon and space and hippies and rockets and the kitchen and animals and odd people who do wonderful things." That so sums it up. 

In 27 Days [by Alison Gervais] // I loved this one so so much I actually bought it for myself for Christmas?? (shh don't tell me it's a surprise for myself) It's about a girl who agrees to go back in time to save a guy she barely knows from committing suicide. It's about caring. It's about friendship. It's about loneliness, and it's about showing someone you're there. A lot of it takes place in this adorable coffee shop, and it's full of family, with quite a few tragedies and accidents, and has both Thanksgiving and Christmas in it so this season is the perfect one during which to read it. 


Cinder by Marissa Meyer  The Maze Runner by James Dashner  A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Lunar Chronicles [by Marissa Meyer] // Ok this is totally the best series I read all year. Meet Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rupunzel, and Snow White -- all connected in one epic story set in a sci-fi future. Every book was mind-blowing. With an amazing cast of characters, friendships, adventures, action, twists, schemes, plots, and settings all over the world all the way to the moon, this series is literally the best I can recommend for fairy tale retellings.

The Maze Runner trilogy [by James Dashner] // I reviewed this here. So James Dashner is a cruel author -- one who teaches you to love characters, and ship some, and then destroys them, smashing your heart ... and I want to write like that someday. The whole premise is centred around a sci-fi future where a great disease is wiping out humanity, and they are trying to find those who can resist it ... and one never knows who is good in here, and who is bad. And it hurts hard, but it's super super memorable. And realistic. 

Out of Time trilogy [by Nadine Brandes] // This is a amazing trilogy (and I do confess, I have yet to read the last book) and it's all centred around this idea: How would you live if you knew the day you'd die? And that's the first thing I love about it, because that is so relatable. This book is about time, and how you use it, and that message is what really really resonates with me. Besides that, is has some really exciting harsh reality, severe consequences, amazing characters, a superb villain, cool technology, and of course, God playing an epic role in a sci-fi setting -- and that's just beautiful. 

The Hunger Games [by Suzanne Collins] // I have a feeling that so and so many years from now this just might be a classic?? Maybe? Idk, but it really deserves it's popularity and fame. There's Katniss Everdeen -- the cliche example of a "strong female character", but is she? There's the arena and the Hunger Games and teens forced to fight to the death and games of treachery and rebellion played on every side -- this is apocalyptic, and it's dystopia at it's best. And that ending -- so real it really makes one hurt, and it makes me admire Katniss in another way -- not for being "strong", emotionally or physically, but for breaking on behalf of everyone else.


Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire   The Blood Race by K.A. Emmons    The Sorceress and the Squid by Emily Mundell  

I read quite a few indie books this year -- considering the fact I'd never heard of indie books before. I really really loved them all, but there three really stood out --

Martin Hospitality [by Abigayle Claire] // The first indie book I bought or read, the first indie author I knew or connected with, and actually the first book I ordered this year at all. And five stars for it because it's gorgeous, it deals with family, and realistic problems, characters with rough edges, and rural farm country -- this was all I ever dreamed it to be. 

The Blood Race [by K. A. Emmons] // This is the only book I ever won in a Rafflecopter giveaway lol. This book (review here) is about parallel worlds, and super powered humans, and a darkness creeping up in the future which young people are being trained to prevent. It's allegory runs pretty deep, and the writing is stupendous, so I absolutely suggest you check it out (and the sequel's cover and title were just revealed yesterday xD)

The Sorceress and the Squid [by Emily Mundell] // This was my first ever ARC, blog tour, and giveaway win! We have here a fae sorceress, a human warrior -- and what happens in the battle between them? Well, he turns into a squid. Now that is creative in the least. This fantasy world, which really reminds one of Narnia, is charming, and the plot is really twisty. It's a lot about travel -- but not boring in the least -- which is a real accomplishment. Plus, there are a few pretty cool twists that keep this book going long after you assumed it should be finished.

[not mine]

>> So I began blogging in June, and that's like half a year now. I've really really learned a ton in this time and it's hard to believe it's been half a year?

>> I've done ten reviews, which can be found on the "reviews" page up there ^^

>> I've got 52 GFC followers, 17 email followers, and 10 Bloglovin' followers, so I'd say I've been relatively successful

>> So I finished grade 9 and began grade 10, doing online school and really enjoying it!! :D

>> Speaking of that I did an arts course, and I think it really showed me a lot of new things I didn't know before.

>> We moved to the West Coast in October, which was big and awesome and I learned a lot

>> I started work too, which is new, and rather interesting, and makes me feel all grown up, which of course, I am not lol 

>> I'm learning to take photos a bit more (due to having a phone) and I really enjoy searching for images to use in posts and editing them -- sometimes I do it for fun too

>> I listened to more music than ever before, discovering quite few new artists with the help of you all

>> Also Spotify is amazing

>> I've learned a lot about social media from observation

>> I've seen so many detective/mystery movies this year that I dream about being chased by bad guys almost every night

That was is what I can remember of the year -- and I can actually say that it's been really awesome. I say thanks to God for all the adventures and experiences I've had, and you know, for once, I think that looking back, I am happy too, not only in shock of time's fast flight xD

I know this post is two days late, but I have had so many things to do ... I hope you all are having a great week in prep for Christmas <3


are you all ready for Christmas?


jonas and olivia

December 09, 2017

Hello everyone and  happy Saturday!! I was thinking about what to post (well, actually, I knew I had to post this all along) and came to the conclusion that since Nano is over and you probably have plenty of time to spare now (!!! who am I kidding? Who ever has time anyway?) you would be looking for things to READ. Or, if your tbr is falling on you already (isn't everyones?) then you may be looking for something to gift to others for Christmas!! Am I right?? For which reason I decided to bring you a review of Victoria Mink's really really lovely book, Jonas and Olivia! (And no, don't look at me like that, it isn't as if I'm reviewing this now only because I'm four months late, oh no.)

Fourteen-year-old Olivia Wilkerson is left desolate and grieving when her patriot father passes away. Directed by his will to be placed in the care of an old friend, Olivia is forced to venture away from all she’s ever known to make her new life among people who are strangers to her.
Unaware of the new responsibility about to be thrust on him, Jonas Carmichael lives the life of a reclusive in an attempt to ignore the painful memories of the past. His heart has grown hard and bitter over the past thirty years of solitude, and his hatred towards people has only multiplied.

Suddenly burdened with Olivia, Jonas’s only burning desire is to shove the girl off on somebody else. But Olivia, still suffering from her loss, is only looking for someone to love her as her father did--and soon realizes that there is more to Jonas than meets the eye.

With the Revolutionary War pressing closer around Jonas’s secluded bubble of safety and threatening to burst it at any moment, Jonas discovers that there are choices to be made--choices that will not only affect himself but those around him as well.

 + JONAS. Hahaha -- for a grumpy guy I really liked him! Laughed a lot too :D He reminded me a lot of Scrooge actually XD Wonderful development for him throughout the story so I approve *nods*

+ OLIVIA. Maybe she could be considered as too "good" by some, but hey -- I LOVE GOOD CHARACTERS. Of course I adore the mischievous, messy, broken ones too -- but I have a special place in my heart for the good ones because when I was younger and read books about mischievous characters I often felt that I didn't get into mishaps often enough lol

+ ISHMAEL. <333 My favorite person by far! The brother/sister relationship that developed was so sweet here and he's just plain awesome! Even though he cannot speak, his honesty, kindness, and good heart just speaks so loudly <3

+ THE OTHER FOLKS. I liked all of them with their quirks and little idiosyncrasies. Hehe -- the Fraisers though *shakes head* amusingly problematic people.

+ THE HISTORICAL SETTING. So at first I was a tad confused as to exactly when this was taking place but I quickly put the pieces together. I could pretty much see everything -- all the historical details -- in my minds eye, so kudos for that!!

+ SO I WAS NEVER BORED? Surprisingly? Because this tale lacked action and fast paced adventure. BUT I GUESS THE CHARACTER RELATIONSHIPS AND CONFLICTS KEPT ME SUPER ENGAGED. So huge applause for pulling that off!

+ THE ENDING. It was such an open ending!! an while I actually love open endings, it doesn't mean I don't want more! Like I think this book needs a sequel *nods*

+ DEVELOPMENT. Wow. Huge plus was the amount of character development they all go through! They really learn and change. Jonas's was the biggest, and Olivia acts like the "foli". Ishmael is such a darling <3

+ IT'S REMINISCENT OF HEIDI. I love Heidi (by Johanna Spyri), and this one just brought back all the memories of Peter, and Clara, and her Uncle <3 so if you want to read a book with a touch of Heidi and Scrooge (from A Christmas Carol) this is one for you!!

- NOT MUCH ACTION? Like I said before, if you are a lover of thrillers and fast paced novel ... this might be slow for you *shrug*

- I FELT LIKE THE WAR COULD HAVE PLAYED A BIGGER ROLE? So it's set during the American war for independence and I feel like it could have affected the characters more or it really could have been used for action/conflict/climax ... but it wasn't. Which is perfectly okay! But there could be a sequel which includes it? Maybe? Please?

CONCLUSION. I really really liked this book and I highly recommend it for historical fiction readers -- and just all of you who want a sweet touching story to read! It's basically perfect for Christmas and December! 

NOTE: It's completely clean, so there's a plus :D


A THOUGHT WHILE WE ARE STILL AT IT -- Abigayle Claire is releasing her amazing little novella in paperback TODAY! So go check out Andora's Folly! And if you can't remember what it's about, then check out my post about it here! It would make a great Christmas present too you know *hint-hint* :D

how's the weather at your place?
any snow?
have you read Jonas and Olivia?
also, send me your best Christmas music recommendations!!


Looking Back // November [2017]

December 02, 2017

So hi everyone, how's the going? Chances are you are bleary eyed and half a sleep from Nano exhaustion. Hang in there, guys. You have a full December to recuperate.


I wish I could say that I won Nanowrimo but ... I didn't. I think I hit about 40k all in all. And no, I didn't finish my novel(s). I could have done it if I had just ploughed ahead in the first two weeks. I was on schedule up to mid month, when school really caught up with me.

At 15 chapters my book, You Were My Nemesis, is halfway through. Draft one is estimated to be 300 pages,30 chapters, and 75k. After edits, it will grow, I can assure you. I'm really proud of myself, because even though my writing is mediocre, my plot is actually working! O.o Eep! 


Yeah, I deserve to be yelled at. Now you know one reason other than school why I didn't win Nano :P 

My family is obsessed with old 1960s to 1980s mystery TV shows. This month we binged Hawaii Five-O seasons 5, 6, and 3. I know, wrong order. We never cared.

Hawaii Five-O, the original series, is an absolute blast. We've seen seven seasons and haven't tired of it yet! (Yeah that has happened with others.) I love it because of awesome cops, fast paced action, a variety of plots, and Hawaiian scenery ^-^

We also saw some of Poirot. Agatha Christie is my all time favorite ,mystery writer, and the Poirot TV series is so much fun. I love the feel of 1920s England, the brilliantly though out crimes, and the eccentic-ness of Hercule Poirot, and the humor that Hastings, Lemon, and Japp. :)

We also saw the six episodes of BBC's Planet Earth II. IT WAS PLAIN AWE-STRIKING. No other way to express it. 

Other recently watched movies --


That's a failure by my ordinary standards. But #Nanowrimo gets the blame.


Actually, I didn't finish Fangirl, but I read two thirds of it so it maybe-not-really counts? I can't decide which was the best. 

Purple Moon was a birthday present: a lovely mix of lakeside setting, teen struggles, relationships, and redemption. 

Heartless was a retelling of Wonderland, with an incredibly long and slow beginning. But it ended smashingly, in a way that made me think of Shakespeare. 

Fangirl was about fanfic, and college, and a writer girl, her roomate, family, and this adorable human called Levi who just sums up my life attitude --

"It doesn't cost me anything. It's not like smiling at strangers exhausts my overall supply."

"Making people happy makes me feel good. If anything it gives me more energy for the people I care about."

Siren's Song was an epic conclusion to a fantastic series -- I didn't expect to be so hooked or to love that end so much. But Mary Weber writes the best epic battles, fyi. :D


I know this recap is totally not in format but I am bored with the regular way I did recaps so I'm throwing in anything that strikes my fancy. In this case, a few questions from the Sunshine Blogger tag which Lila tagged me for in September.

>> Think of all the book characters you loved so much ... but who ended up dying. If you could choose only one to save, who would you pick?

I'll answer in one word.


If you've read the story I'm talking about, you'll know. Otherwise, sorry #spoilers.

I know lots of people ship P. and S. but ugh, I shipped her with Jude so hard >.<

>> Which point of view do you prefer to write in -- first person or third person?

I write in third-person most often.
I find first-person the easiest.
And I like second-person the best.

>> What is one funny story from your childhood?

There was one funny one actually XD so my parents were trying to teach me to sit properly ag meals times and kept telling me,"Sit properly. Sit properly." So then my dad went to lie on the sofa and I went and told him, "Sit popely." ^-^

>> What's the most boring book you've ever read?

Guess we'll have to go with Ice Like Fire. Problem one: it was so full of politics I DIDN'T CARE. Problem two: it had the most absurd love triangle. I knew how it would end ever since it happened and I was right. #wholethingfornothing


That was my month in overview!! A few other highlights include starting school, starting work, and buying Christmas presents, making Christmas cards, and getting myself Renegades! Can't wait to see what December brings (prediction -- more insanity).  


© Lisa Elis 2017-2019. All text mine unless otherwise credited. Please do not steal. Thank you.