how we rise

May 27, 2020

welcome to the next stop on the How We Rise book tour!!

I've been waiting for this day for ages! one of my best friends, Brooke, is releasing her first novel - and not only am I excited because I know her, but because the book is really really good :)) I've known Brooke for nearly three years (my word, so long already?) and I beta read some early chapters of this, saw how the cover design progressed, and practically enneagram typed all her characters (although, she did confirm everything through tests XDD). I am so proud of her and cannot wait to share her novel with all of youuuuu !!

How We Rise
by Brooke Riley

When the truth gets you killed… will you still Rise? 

Raegan MacArthur is content with her simple life. But lately, her life hasn’t been all that simple. She can’t drown out the screams in the night coming from the military base up the road. And she can’t ignore the truth behind them. 

Peter Daniels thought moving back to Texas with his mom for senior year was a good thing. A chance to reconnect with old friends and finally feel at home again. But his life now can never be the same as it was six years ago. 

Signs of government overreach are everywhere, and an unknown- yet familiar- enemy lurks in the shadows, watching their every move. The government is clamping down tighter and tighter on anyone who resists their ways. Raegan and Peter have to make the hardest decision they've ever faced: will they go quietly to save their lives… or will they rise?  

disclaimer: this book was written by one of my best friends and I might be slightly biased. I read it more critically than I would a book by a stranger, and I also enjoyed myself far too much (almost feeling as if these characters were my own) so my review isn't impartial.

- the review -

part i. the characters.

It's been quite a while since I've seen a supporting case as strong as the one in How We Rise. the protagonists, Raegan and Peter, are certainly characters who deserve love and support and all the hugs, but for me, the true shining stars were the side characters. there's something about their quirks, and emphasized traits, and humor that calls to me. they actually remind me - slightly - of the side characters in K. A. Emmons's trilogy. they're colorful; they're sympathetic; they're round. (almost too sympathetic, if you ask me; I certainly was too fond of someone I shouldn't have been fond of.)

anyone who doesn't ship Peter and Raegan is blind to the obvious truth - the two were meant to be together. and I don't mean this in a story-line sense. I mean that the author obviously wants us to ship them, and wrote them like that. whatever she plans to do with the ship, heaven knows. but what does she want us to do with them - SHIP THEM, OF COURSE. and I do. who can't? (if you don't I know some people who'll fight you.) but whatever the standing of their feelings, these two are awfully lovable individually, and I'm sure you'll be cheering them on their adventures too.

part ii. the plot.

I was extremely invested. to be fair, it wasn't as fast paced as I would expect a dystopian to be, but then, that's where the contemporary vibe comes in. see, this book is dystopian in its storyline and the current set up of the world - but it's a contemporary in the sense that its set in a contemporary time where the technology and the make up of society is very similar to what we currently have. nevertheless, I was quite hooked. there was this delicious mystery element that kept me on my toes, trying to guess the identity of a certain someone - and that also that kept the characters busy trying to sort things out.

there was definitely a predominant mood of danger and doom in this book - something I appreciate. it /felt/ like a solid dystopian in this sense. and I liked how I could kinda see where the plot was going, but not really - it made sense to me and yet surprised me all at the same time. I'd also like to say that I have the brain of a five year old when it comes to comprehending strange and complicated political intrigues and plots - but I understood everything going on in here. the author did a great job explaining things simply yet soundly.

part iii. world building.

I've already touched upon this a little, but I like how I got a sense of what was happening all over the country instead of just this little corner of the world that the character's inhabit. I do still have some unanswered questions on the "how" part of some past events that happened in this dystopian world, but other than that, the author did a wonderful job laying out the land and showing us what was going on. I also really appreciated her descriptions - concise yet precise.

part iv. somethings you should look forward to reading in the book

- friends who obviously should be lovers but keep denying it
- very complex troubled conflicted bois
- someone cocky, someone broody, someone sunny, someone vicious.
- hinted-at-ships that could go any direction but I'm here cheering for them
- an evil president
- a very very scary sort of school
- a very very interesting/exciting rebel institute
- R E L A T I O N S H I P S
- a very dark mood
- kidnapping
- shooting
- some punching and running
- some scheming
- blackmail
- a very neatly and beautifully woven in theme that's apparent but doesn't slap you in the face with its apparent-ness
- some happiness, some sadness, a lot of in the between of the two
- the audience [you and me] screaming over a lot of things

part v. thoughts summed up

I'm so proud of Brooke. YOU SHOULD READ HER BOOK. it's really lovely. it's quite exciting. it's quite BrUtAL, too. 4.5 stars/5 stars (rounded to 5 for the goodreads rating). I think you'll enjoy it. and I for one can't wait for book 2.

recommended for everyone, especially those who love books full of amazing relationships, a touch of futuristic, and a struggle against tyrants.

// read more here about the characters 
// read more here if you need more convincing

have you read this book yet, or do you want to?
what's your favorite dystopian novel to date?
if you lived in a dystopia, would you rise?

peace out, lisa



May 24, 2020

hey guys, last week I participated in an even called Crazy Writing Week, and though y'all would enjoy hearing about it ... XD

tuesday, may 12. 

when I opened my inbox in the morning I saw I had an email from Brett Harris (I'm subscribed to him) so I skimmed over it. it said something about a "crazy writing challenge" that lasted for week and was totally free.

nice, thanks, I'll think about it, I thought, which was another way of saying, I would forget about it within the next five minutes.

I moved on with the emails and saw one from Kellyn Roth about the same subject, so I took a moment longer to read it. I clicked the link just to see what was going on and the website said,

  • it was free
  • you'd be working in teams, competing against others (!!)
  • and there would be prizes
(although I completely didn't see the prizes part at the time)

they had me at TEAMS COMPETING. I've done Nanowrimo and competed against a word count but never against someone else, and since I'm a rather competitive person, I was sold, and immediately signed up ON PURE WHIM.

did I regret it two minutes later? 

yes I did. I am so busy, what Do I thINk I aM DoINg?

then I remembered some of the things I am busy doing are writing related and would count for the challege, so I didn't regret my desicion for long. 

other things that occured ...

  • some people were doing a 13 sentence story challenge but I skipped it because
  • it looked difficult
  • and I was busy
  • met some old friends and some new people and fangirled about Narnia
  • somehow convinced Snapper to join

wednesday, may 13. 

when I signed up I was expecting multiple groups of 10 to 15 people, NOT two groups of about 300 members each. with 300 members in one group, you cannot, in any possible way, get to know all your team mates (especially not in a week). it was interesting to see little groups forming within the huge group - people who already knew each other and people who'd just gotten to know each other - banding together and having fun and chatting and sprinting.

speaking of sprinting, here's how the whole contest system works:

  • the website is set up like a forum
  • when you write, you must log the time and word count in the "sprinting" space (basically, post when you start, and then update when you stop)
  • after you've done that, you need to fill in a google form, filling in all the information again, so that the leaders can keep track of things
  • you also have to link to the post, because it acts as proof that you did actually write
  • the two teams (Lions and Wolves) compete
  • there are prizes unlocked with each new level of writing reached (certain word count/hour count)
some little things:

  • coming back to 203 notifications at one point because if you even so much as like a post, you'll be notified of every single comment on it
  • and sometime you just happen to like a very popular post
  • “I need to stop getting so distracted by all the notifications!” ~ Alex the Mouse Defender
  • somehow managing to get a 1600 word short story rewritten as 1300 words - editing it - sending it to two beta readers - going through the beta responses
  • changed my profile photo to a lion (#peerpressure)
  • “Never has an aggravatingly short story been so fun” ~ Jana, Keeper of the Penguin Waffles
  • fought Snapper and lost
  • "I feel tired" ~ Terah 
  • ok, but same ^^

total amount I wrote: 1,500 words
team leading: LIONS

thursday, may 14

I edited in the morning, and logged science notes about plant classification as words. I squeezed in a full flash fiction in 45 minutes just before dinner time. it was one that I've been meaning to write for a while, called "The Ghost Boy".

Snippet of the day: 

  “What exactly is your ability?”

“I …” Kae cleared her throat, which felt strangely tight. “I feel pain.”

“Are you all right, Miss Ruve?”

“No. I mean, yes. But not like that. It's my ability—I feel pain.”

~ "what pain feels like"

total amount I wrote: 1,700
leading team: LIONS

friday, may 15

a good day for writing! some geniuses in our group started a "official lion's sprint" thread that was updated with new half hour sprint times for eight hours+ straight, and helped centralize writing and encourage other members. because we're stronger together, to quote Trollhunters, my newest obsession. (also, Mr. Strickler is inspiring me to write anti heros, somehow xD).

little things:

  • 1,114 words in 30 minutes isn't bad
  • yesterday's short story typed up
  • science chapter finished
  • editing a previous story for future publication
  • Snapper turned into a squirrel - one of the noncompeting members who just sprint for the sake of writing, not winning XD

total amount I wrote: 2,200
leading team: WOLVES

saturday, may 16

I surprised myself. decided to do almost nothing but write write and write because the weekend is one time when I don't have to do school. so I took a notepad with me into the car when I went out, and when I had to wait, I wrote. plotted my book according to the three act story structure (thanks, Abbie). outlined, rewrote old stories, just smashed those words down.

  • wrote a flash fic fanfic about my own unfinished novella ??
  • about the characters in the future!!
  • called "Like Grim Death"
  • it's a treasure hunting jungle adventure
  • with a lot of teeth involved

total words I wrote: 5,110
leading team: WOLVES

sunday, may 17

my best writing day of all. I think I barely did anything else useful other than write write write. I was actually aiming for 10k, but that's an awful lot. I actually felt like this was the furthest I'd ever pushed my creative limits ... I actually felt that well of insipiration running dry for the day.

  • got a lot of words written thanks to journaling (literally the easiest way to get words down lol)
  • also today we finished the Trollhunters final episodes (still recovering from that :'))
  • trying to write an assasin story called "Death Sounds Like Silence" but didn't finish it because I got stuck XD
  • however, I was stuck on the plot line of another short story and then I had a dream that solved the problem (?) so I quickly wrote that down (it's called "The Taste of Truth")
  • also yes, some of these are following Havok themes xD

total words I wrote: 6,730
leading team: WOLVES

monday, may 18

kind of a terrible writing day ... it was a holiday and so I didn't do much school work to count either. however, I deserved the break XD

total words I wrote: 1,338
leading team: IT'S A TIE

tuesday, may 19

LAST DAY. I did my best and churned out 3,660 words - including very random plot ideas, outlines, premises, and super short stories.

  • took science notes like crazy
  • although the topic of science was slightly weird - how the life functions of invertebrates work
  • wrote a mini story called "Picture Perfect" based on an ancient prompt from Jem
  • also wrote another story called "The Girl Who Sat Still"  

AND ok the site was so crowded at the time of the winner announcements that the website actually crashed for a few minutes XD sadly, the Wolves won :( but I'm not acutally sad. we still won prizes XDD

total words I wrote: 3,660
winning team: WOLVES

all in all - it was a good week. I wrote a lot. my personal calculations say I wrote 21.7 k, but the official word count from CWW says I wrote 29.4 k (and 24.75 hours o_O). I'm most amazed by the fact that I churned out about 7 short stories in 7 days. the prizes for the week's word include some incredible classes on writing ... an some silly VeggieTales songs sang by Brett Harris XDD in fact, I'm still trying to catch up on claiming all the prizes ack. I have learned a lot and made new friends and am so grateful for this opportunity. hope it becomes annual ... then y'all can join too next time!!

what have you been up to this week? let me know below!
xx lisa

Writing Related

on discovering your own writing style

May 16, 2020

I've really come to appreciate how katie emmons says, i don't believe in writing advice.

I feel like a wonderful thing about the writing community on the blogosphere is HOW MUCH STUFF ONE CAN LEARN FROM OTHERS. but, it's also a bit of a downside. I, for one, have realized that I've become almost overdosed with writing advice.

it's not that the advice is bad or useless in any way but that I JUST CAN'T HANDLE IT ALL IN MY SMOL BRAIN. which leads to the first thing I want to say about finding ones own writing style ...


item # 1 there's such a thing as too much advice

or, more specifically, there's such a thing as trying to digest and follow too much advice. it would be awfully nice if we were all able to sift through the advice we receive and discard everything we don't need and just hold onto what matters, but ... how many of you also find yourselves being like, 

"yo, I need to HANG ON TO allllll the advice JUST IN CASE I need it later!!"

which in turn just clogs your brain with too much information.

^^ this is me, all the time. about everything. 

trying to follow all the advice you find online about writing - or even, all the advice your friends share - can be overwhelming. especially because 


item # 2 you cannot follow all the advice at once 

there's a time and place for each bit of wisdom we receive. you don't need editing advice when you're plotting ... and yet for some reason you're already watching a youtube video about editing your book and allowing all that information about WHAT SORTS OF ERRORS TO LOOK OUT FOR to influence how you write your draft. 

stop it.

it's really subtle. there's so much "writing advice" that is acutally "editing advice" because it's teaching you how to polish and perfect parts of your story (for example, characters) and you really shouldn't allow this to put so much pressure on how you write your first draft. 

but it goes deeper than that. you may not be able to follow all the advice at once because you just aren't there yet. for exapmle, when I was a young writer, I heard this a lot - write for yourself as if no one will ever read the story. which is beautiful advice.

but I couldn't follow it because ... I was a smol writer who couldn't part with the imagination of others reading my work. and being published. and being famous. and all those ... normal but ... premature dreams.

I was, basically, incapable of following that advice because I hadn't yet reached the point of understanding that it's totally fine if no one reads your work and it's really not that important. 

item # 3 take a break from taking advice

when your mind is full of other people's writing processes, how can you discover your own? not that knowing their methods isn't useful - it can be! I've learned a ton from seeing how others write.

but their process isn't yours, and it can be easy to get others' processes and your own mixed and muddles when you don't even know what yours is yet.

think about this for a moment - if no one were to tell you how to write your book, how would you do it?

you may not know, because that scenario of "no one telling you how to do it" is so far and so foreign. but think - if you had no time limits, and pressure, and no need to finish your book fast - how would you go about writing it?


item # 4 experiment. a lot.

when someone talks about their process, take inspiration. don't try to copy exactly. but if something they say seems to resonate with you - try it. or try some version of it. the best way to learn anything is BY DOING IT. and that goes for writing.

try to treat your writing as an experiment, if you're new to it. or even intermediate. (and maybe even expert.) it's supposed to be a fun learning experience. so HAVE FUN and LEARN. try different methods of plotting, and planning. try writing your book chronologicallly, or backwards. write it in three days. or write it in one year. write the end first. write it in the order that things come to you. record it on audio. write fast. write slow. 

TRY IT and see what works for you.


item # 5 try to develop the mindset of taking useful advice, not all advice

as I was saying, we cannot use it all at once, so why try to? this doesn't mean that you shouldn't read all those blog posts that tell you how to do things, but that you should approach them with a more open mind. one that recognizes that all the advice you read there might not be for you at this time.

just as an example, I'm a huge huge fan of Abbie's youtube channel. it's absolutely incredible and all her videos are amazing. HOWEVER. she posts a lot of videos about a lot of different writing topics. I cannot, in any way possible, handle all the information she provides at one go. I cannot even handle it at the rate that she posts - one video per week. I cannot write as fast as she can provide information - AND IT'S TOTALLY FINE. it doesn't make her advice less important or her channel less useful or me less of a writer. I just add a bookmark to her channel so that someday when I need advice on a certain topic, I can come back and look for it. 

it's okay not to read every post. it's okay not to watch every video. it's okay not to take all the advice. look for the advice that you need. bookmark the rest for later.

so this post wasn't really meant to be an advice filled post, but more of a spill of thoughts that I've recently had. I've been learning more and more about myself as a writer lately and thought I'd share. here are a few fun facts about me:

// I cannot really plot at will. meaning, I can't sit down with a paper and pencil and PLOT THE THING OUT.
// I really like visualizing my book as a movie in my head. SLOWLY. with every shot, every camera angle, every character's facial expression, every background scene in exact time as it would appear on a screen.
// to do this I need to sit still, have my eyes shut, go deep deep into my mind, and imagine. 
// and I hate sitting still with eyes shut in the middle of the day ... so.
// I cannot write a book without doing any plotting. it gets stuck.
// I cannot write a book before the idea has "matured". if I try, it dies.
// my best ideas stand the test of time. if I'm still thinking about the idea I had two years ago, chances are it's a good idea.
// not all ideas need to be books. flash fiction is good as well.
// I prefer editing to first drafts.
// with every book I try to write, I get better. and better. and better.

in other words, enjoy the process. take time to discover who you are as a writer. don't rush it. you have as much time as you need to do what you were meant to do.

keep writing, lovelies <3
xx lisa, who is currently having too much fun in a writing contest called Crazy Writing Week and this post has hopefully counted for about 800 words yayyyyyyy 


books that have left me with something

May 09, 2020

how's everyone's week been?? i'm here trying to get used to the new blogger layout. it's much friendlier for mobile, though it takes getting used to!! my life lately has been made up of enneagram typing characters (Brooke's, Faith's and my own), watching Trollhunters (it's ... surprisingly addictive), and studying bacteria and viruses (wow, great timing, right?)

i've also been thinking a lot about my favorite books. specifically, what makes a book A FAVORITE? what criteria does it have to meet to be considered a favorite? it's easy to call any book a favorite just after you finish reading ... but fast forward months later, when someone asks you. you can only tell them several titles. how do you pick?

something Nadine Brandes once said (in this video) kind of stuck with me. "it has to affect my life somehow ... grow me as a person ... make me think really hard." so recently, I've been trying to think of the books I've read and see whether they have, actually, affected me. grown me. made me think.

and of course, what better way to think than to write a post about it. so here we are. BOOKS THAT HAVE LEFT ME WITH SOMETHING.


32830562In 27 Days 
by Alison Gervais

Basic idea: 
When Hadley Jamison is given a once in a lifetime chance to travel back in time to save a boy she barely knows from committing suicide, her life becomes 10 times more complicated, and maybe 20 times more exciting.

Number of times I've read it: 
Probably four times, if not five.

What if left me with: 
I think this book taught me (not that I didn't know already, but this book punched it in) that strangers are worth caring about. You may not know them; they may appear really really different; you may not really have anything in common - but they're much more like you than you realize and they are. worth. loving. Hadley took a chance. She made hersefl look like a fool. She went out of her way, took so much trouble, and faced loneliness and critisism and some scorn. All for what? A person she didn't know. But a person she had a chance to save.


The Lost Books 
by Ted Dekker

Basic idea: 
Four chosen ones are sent on a mission to prove themselves to their new commanding officer - but on the way they are stopped by mysterious creatures and redirected on a new quest - to save their own world and ours. The six books in the series follow them through hell and back again as they race against time to save what was lost.

1620913Number of times I've read it: 
I've read the first four books once, and the last two twice (once in audio, once in print). I've been meaning to reread but am too scared, in case I don't like it anymore.

What it left me with: 
If Bambi was my childhood favorite, then this can be said to be my teenhood favorite. I was addicted. This was my introduction to modern fantasy (previously, I'd only read C. S. Lewis). And it taught me so much, literature wise. 

While I'd give this book 3/5 stars for technicalities and execution (it really veered off course of its own plot line in the later books), it gets 5/5 starts for what it did to me. This series showed me everything I love in ficiton. I had never read anything as riveting before. Action, twists, gripping plot, fantasy setting, strong themes, Christian allegory, enemies to lovers, betrayal, redemtion, a close knit group of characters, climatic battles, escapes, rescues, etc etc.


Letters to the Lost 
by Brigid Kemmerer

30038855Basic idea: 
Juliet Young writes letters and leaves them on her mother's grave - but she never expects that someone would actually read them. And reply. This little correspondence sparks a fascinating relationship that ends up  being much more complex than it first appears.

Number of times I've read it: 
I've read this book twice, I believe.

What it left me with: 
One of my absolute favorite themes in books is not judging people by their covers and actually  learning to look beyond the surface of things. I think that you will notice this theme in every single favorite book of mine. I think that Letters to the Lost cemented the idea in my soul like no other book - people are more than what they appear to be. Besides this is also my absolute favorite contemporary of all time, and a beautiful example of characters and plots that I love.


11127. sy475 The Chronicles of Narnia 
by C. S. Lewis

Basic idea: 
if you don't know what Narnia is about, you're living under a rock.

Number of times I've read it
I'm acutally not sure, but possibly at least three times. I've also seen the movies multiple times and love them all <3

What it left me with: 
Everything. Narnia was my first taste of fantasy, and I fell in love. I adore everything about the style and the plot and the characters and the world and the allegory, and I'm gonna go reread it again now, okay? C. S. Lewis taught me so much about both life and story writing. Can anything beat that?


24807186Wolf by Wolf 
by Ryan Graudin

Basic idea: 
in an alternate history where the Axis won WWII, Yael, a death camp survivor, must win a motorcycle race across continents in order to come face to face with Hiter - and assasinate him.

Number of times I've read it: 
only once! I just finished it two weeks ago but cannot wait to get it from the library again once I can!

What it left me with: 
I'll bet some of you saw this coming, eh? I cannot exactly pinpoint what I learned from Wolf by Wolf, because I got so much. Both an insight into history, an insight into humans, an insight into writing books. I think that if I had to tell you only one thing about this book, I'd say - people are people; people have souls; people matter.


All things said and done, these are not, by any means, the only books that left me with something. Many books have taught me things, made me think, helped me grow. (And these are only the fictional ones I mentioned.) But as I scrolled through my lists on Goodreads, these jumped out at me like no others. These are the ones I shall always remember.

do you like books to leave you with something? off the top of your head, which ones have impacted you the most?

have a lovely saturday,
xx lisa


a little life update

May 02, 2020

dear friends, hey, how are you? It's been a long time since I sat down and actually truly blogged. the last few posts I put up were interviews/guest posts - nothing wrong with them, of course. but I haven't actually talked with you in so long. so here, you deserve an update ~

I was inspired by Grace Anne's latest post, quarantine diaries vol. 1, and will be doing something of the sort. wow, has it really been one and a half years since I wrote A RECAP POST?? how's that even possible?

I have not been counting the days I've been inside. not totally housebound, of course. just not going into town. days feel like all days have always felt. school. family. writing. art. walks in the park. unfortunately, something happened with my online school's website and course content was lost. so I've had more free time on my hands than I expected ... some things that have been happening ~


x art. I've been learning to paint skin tones through this video. a new favorite artist I've discovered is Tara Spruit. and I'm working my way through Dixon Drawing Class taught by Heather Dixon (yes, the author). I'm also doing a Top Secret art project right now which I'm super excited for that I'm sure you all will be hearing about more in the near future!

x nanowrimo. which I've failed AGAIN, but oh well. I don't think I'm really the Nano type of person? for once in my life, there's something I cannot do FAST. and that is, write. however, I've had a lot of fun with my cabinmates, and my wip is really exciting me more as I keep writing it.

x video calls. ironically my social life has become even more social with the quarantine - I used to video call people one every few months in the past, and now it's like, once a week (if not more). it's certainly fun and great to connect with others but sometimes I feel ... introverted ... like, wow, video calling so much is tiring. let's take a break.

x working for havok!! I was recently accepted to the havok team and am currently working as a submissions manager of sorts - going through stories and replying to emails! I abosultely love the work and the environment and can't wait to learn all the things!!


x Netflix, what else. we recently got an account thanks to friends who decided to share theirs with us!! and so, we've been watching all the things. namely ~
  • Our Planet. it's narrated by David Attenborough and feels exactly like Planet Earth by BBC so we love it. 5/5.
  • Mary Poppins Returns. it was fun, but once again, I thought the filmmakers were trying too hard to follow the plotline of the original and bring back all the nostaligia. still, it was entertaining. 3/5.
  • Sahara. a never-heard-of-before Canadian animated movie about a snake and a scorpion. it was, frankly, really really good for a movie not produced by one of the giants (Disney, Dreamworks, etc etc). in fact, the music was even better than a lot of Disney's latest ones. 4/5.
  • Peter Rabbit. hilarious. exciting. decidedly a comedy that I loved, even though I generally hate comedy (the reason I didn't hate this one was because the rabbits were the main characters). it was pretty deep for something so funny. 4/5.
  • The Croods. I really want that saber toothed tiger as my pet, enough said. 4/5.
x Anne of Green Gables ~ the Good Stars and Fire and Dew. this was a Canadian PBS two movie series. definitely not as good as the famous trilogy made by Kevin Sullivan. not terrible, but it certainly left out a lot of my favorite parts and changed things. 2.5/5. (got this one through Hoopla.)

x Chopped. only recently did I and my siblings discover the world of COOKING SHOWS and we really really like Chooped, way too much, I think XD it gets to be a bit much if you watch over two episodes a day though, so 4/5. (this was from Youtube.)

x Jessethereader because my favorite booktuber whom I watch with dedication XD


x Les Miserables with Hannah Rodriguez - I'm in awe over Hugo's DEDICATION TO DETAIL.

x God in My Everything - a book about how we can learn from the ancient monastic life. heard about this from Kaylan Mah and love it so far. 

x Wolf by Wolf and Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin. I listened to 23 hours of audiobook in four days and was destroyed by this duology. I've never read anything like it. now I'm listening to Fleurie's album, Love and War, to try and recover from it. 

x How We Rise. I am so excited for the release of Brooke's book!! I already have  review of this one up on Goodreads so read it right here to be convinced that you need it!!

x next up on my list is the audiobooks for the Illuminae Files and I am excited. Nicole Dust keeps talking about these so HIGH TIME I actually read them.


x err, double fudge cookies :)) smoked fish. waffle cones that I made. smoothies. 
x I'm unused to talking about food on my blog so I'll stop right here ...


x finding that you can schedule gmails to send out at basically any time in the future and preparing a "time capsule" email to send out to my squad (the Dimension) in 2030.

x playing online games with my overseas cousins because we're stuck at home (we never did this before)

x writing to Ryan Graudin about how much I liked her books and hearing back from her that it was just the encouragment she needed wowowow

x doing a little photography project where I collect cool photos and try to replicate them (still working on this one)

x getting a new laptop - I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MOMENT.

x going outside and photographing the gorgeous cherry blossoms that grace our streets at this time of year <333


x about how blessed we that God is our Father and taking care of us and that if we belong to him we cannot fail at life because it's not we who are doing things in our own strenght anymore but he is doing things in and through us.

x how I think I have a sort of wrong view of the world - thinking of things as "the world". "The world" doesn't experience anything. It doesn't suffer. It doesn't feel. IT'S THE PEOPLE and they are individuals. I think that by calling the people elsewhere "the world", and calling all the masses in a country by the county's name ("China is doing this", "America is doing this", "England is doing this") makes me duller to feel for the people. I'm trying to learn to imagine others as people - not as a generalized population. That what has happened to "the world" happened to one person. and to another. and to another. and to another. and to another.

x increasingly thinking about the purpose behind why I do things ... trying to set motivations right.

x absolutely love Abbie's latest writing video about the enneagram types !!

with all that said, I hope you all are doing well! let's chat below about how YOU are doing. what have you been watching/reading/doing/thinking lately?? 

stay safe and healthy, and may God bless you all <3

~ lisa

ps. for all my writer friends, here is a publisher hosting a novel competition that you all should check out if you have a complete manuscript xx


faithless, by emily mundell

April 01, 2020

Hi all, happy April! Hope everyone is doing well in self isolation :)) today I'm presenting to you a newly released book by a dear friend of mine, who was actually the first person whose book I was an advanced reader for. in addition, I have a little interview with her about her writing process—enjoy!

It's hard to forget the past when it's been written over your body.
Katarian refugee and dignitary, Sagaar Remus, is reunited with her husband, Damien Sparr, a convicted war criminal in the Outer Reach whose coup destroyed her country, her home, and her family. After seven years of separation she meets him in his prison cell, aghast by the atrocities he has committed in the name of his people. With her husband facing the executioner's block and conspiracy swimming around her, Saagar must decide whether to place her trust in the dangerous hands of her allies or with the man who left her to burn. But thrown into a world of terror and intrigue, can she even trust herself?

- the q&a -

tell us a bit about who you are, and what have you been up to since you last visited my blog for the TSatS blog tour?

Wow! It's certainly been awhile since TSatS came out in 2017. Since then I've gotten married, moved a few times, written a couple more manuscripts (including Faithless), blogged, ridden horses, and kinda just lived my usual life, haha. But I'm super excited to be back here on your blog, Lisa! You were certainly instrumental in making my debut publishing experience as awesome as it was. :)

why did you write Faithless?

Tbh, I started writing this book just because I was inspired. I was fascinated by the idea of someone experiencing the betrayal that Saagar suffered at Damien's hands, of wrestling with the complex emotions that would create. Once I started writing I kind of tumbled headlong into the story, and it took me on an intense journey through some of the dark parts of my own heart and mind, and certainly gave me a lot to reflect on. While Saagar is by no means any kind of caricature of me, I do think the appeal of her character is how despite the fact that she isn't really a very good person, aspects of her experience really resonate with the reader, and we begin to see reflections of our less desirable selves in her thoughts and actions. Coming out the other end of a messy first draft, I realized that the strength of Saagar's character was not her likability, but in fact the opposite, and how victimhood and self-pity are chains that hold you back from true healing, and from realizing what you CAN do for yourself and others. It's a hard lesson, and a dark one, but important I think. Also, again, I just super liked the premise when it crossed my mind, and I wanted to play with these dark themes and morally complex individuals while remaining honest to the severe aspects of the story and neither glossing over or glorifying them. 

what does this story mean to you and what do you hope it will be for others?

Similar to above, I think it paints a portrait of some of the darkest parts of ourselves, and I think it presents an opportunity for myself (and the audience, hopefully) to take an honest look at who they are, like Saagar had to, and realize that sometimes your own worst enemy is yourself. 

I also wanted to explore how war and trauma truly affect people, and how a corrupt leader or leaders can destroy a society, family, or country down to the core. In the characters of Saagar and Damien particularly, but also nearly all the others, I also wanted to show what it means to be really human, not black or white, but a mixture of the two, often selfish and frightened and just trying to survive the things we've been thrown into. How it is to be human, and to have empathy for those around you, even those who have wronged you, or those who hate you.

All in all, this is a story about humanity at its worst, and how even in the midst of terrible evil and suffering, it is within each of us to choose to make the things right that we can.

when were you inspired to write this?

In late 2015, I dreamt that Jonathan (my husband, then boyfriend) had confessed to me that he was actually a horrible murderer, and I was screaming and raging at him, feeling completely betrayed by the person I had thought I'd known. That's all I remember of the dream, but it definitely planted the initial seeds in my mind for the story of Faithless. I became obsessed with this plot bunny, character names came to me, and the image of a woman who was burned and brutalized. I scrawled the scene where Saagar and Damien are reunited after seven years in Damien's cell in a notebook while I was sitting and eating at camp, and I wrote and rewrote and wrote until I had what you guys have today.

how did the writing process go - was there anything that surprised you?

The writing process was wild. Like, harder than anything I've done before. And yes, there were a lot of surprises. When I initially conceptualized the character of Saagar, I had envisioned her as a soldier in the Tokaran army, fighting back against the rebels in a real, tangible way. But, the more I tried to write this version of her, the more she seemed to rebel. Eventually, I realized that Saagar was NOT a soldier, that she was tragically just a victim, and she was not going to be the typical warrior protagonist/vengeful anti-hero. She was something entirely different. Discovering her was a process, and definitely a struggle. It took time to find her true voice, but once I did, she spilled onto the page. 

There were a couple other spoilery plot-related difficulties that I had, but after a lot of crying and head-banging, those came together too. *sighs in relieved*

can you give us three fun facts about this book that no one knows about yet? 

Oooh, three fun facts...let's see. 

1) It took me about 8 drafts to get this book where I wanted it to be. And doing my last rounds of edits, I probably reread it at LEAST that many times in the span of the last week. Luckily, it was -40 in Alberta then so I had nothing better to be doing!

2) I "stole" the name Saagar from the chestnut mare in The Black Stallion Returns movie. It might not be spelled or pronounced quite the same, but that's where the idea came from. 

3) The aforementioned reunion scene scribbled down in my notebook at dinner is almost word-for-word the same in the finished product as it was when initially written. 

Thank you so much for hosting me, Lisa! It's honestly so great to have you on my blog tour again, thanks for being so awesome!

thank you so much for being here Emily :)
and thank you to everyone for reading. find the book here.

let me know if you've read any of Emily's books, and how you're doing, in the comments !!

xx lisa 

Guest Posts

reasons we don't talk about God more on social media + why we should

March 16, 2020

Hey! A while ago I asked my dear friend Grace from The Worthy Beloved to write a guest post for me, and here I am now, posting it (a bit late too). Enjoy - and hope it's thought provoking :))

A few years ago I would have told you I was a Christian, but despite my believing in God, I hardly ever talked or wrote about Him.

Later on, my beliefs changed drastically and I realized I wasn't a Christian because I had never obeyed or knew about what the Bible said about salvation as a whole. Since then, I have been striving to please God and always proclaim His name and share what His word says.

Don't get me wrong, I have always loved God, I have always wanted to bring glory to Him. However, looking back, I realize how impossible it was for me then because I was not in Christ.

When Lisa graciously invited me to talk about Christians who don't commonly talk or post about God on her blog in light of my recent blog change, all I could think of was that the reason for my change was a complete change of heart. I wasn't saved before, nor knowledgeable in the Bible at all, so how can I truly write about Christians who are holding back when I wasn't truly a Christian when I was holding back?

It took me a while, but the more I thought about it, the more Christian sisters and brothers I thought of who truly love the Lord, but yet don't make it known outside of worship. And after taking several days to truly think about it, I've come up with several reasons why people hold back from posting Christian content.

But first, why should we, as Christians post about Christ?

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."-Matthew 6:33

If I'm seeking His kingdom first, am I focusing on anything else before Him?

If you could see the statistics for what you spend most of your time writing about, would it be about our Creator, His sacrifice, and how to be saved, or would it be about some materialistic item or hobby that cannot save you or anyone else from hell? (Disclaimer: I am not saying that hobbies aren't allowed, I have several myself, but we mustn't let anything but God come first).

If you're not doing it for the Lord, who are you doing it for?

We are also commanded to preach the word (2 Timothy 4:2).

So, why do people who love the Lord hold back?

1. They aren't saved

"For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness."-Romans 10:2-3

 I fell under this category. Many people love the Lord but they do not have enough knowledge to follow Him. Think of all the people who will call out "Lord, Lord", they know His name, but He does not know Him.
That is the sad and scary truth, and also the reason why I am very loud now about what the Bible says because I once was in this category.

2. They are weaker or new Christians

(A lot of the following points after this one will also go back to being weak, but I digress).

"Concerning him, we have much to say, and it is hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant." -Hebrews 5:11-14

If you're a new Christian, you are an infant, you're still learning about what the Bible says and thus, teaching others might not be something you're ready for yet. That's okay, what's not okay is not working on growing in your knowledge in order to be ready.

3. They are scared of the backlash

Let's face it, not everything wants to obey the Bible, and there are a ton of people who get angry very quickly when Christians talk about their beliefs. The Bible's teachings can be divisive, but then, we are all going to be divided on the judgment day, aren't we? (Matthew 25:31–46).

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword."-Matthew 10:34

4. They want to be liked by the world

This goes hand in hand with No. 3, but let me tell you: it is not possible to be a strong Christian and still fit in with the world. Why? Because we are not called to be like the world:

" not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."-Romans 12:2

The word "church" in the Bible is the Greek word "ekklesia" which means a gathering of people who are called out.

"And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."-Luke 14:27

5. Their priorities are not in the right place

I have fallen into this one as well, it's so easy to let your priorities slip.

In Haggai, we see a group of Jews who are letting personal affairs get in the way of finishing the temple, and God sends Haggai to set them straight. In verses 2-4, we see these Jews’ problem: they are selfish. In verse five the Lord tells them to consider their ways.

Do we consider our ways enough? Do we stop enough times throughout the day and make sure that we are still putting God first? (Lamentations 3:40).

6. They’re worried about being perceived as fakes

Sadly, a lot of people use the Lord and His word only when it makes them look good. It’s easy to post an encouraging verse with a sunset as the background and then click off of social media and go back to being like the world (Titus 1:16 should be a warning against being like this). The fear of appearing like you’re being fake deep like this is real, especially when almost all of us can picture a person or an account like this.

It is important to remember that we will all be known by our fruits in the end (Matthew 12:33-35).

Even if people call you fake, the Lord knows your heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

Despite all these fears, think of Colossians 3:17: 

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”


“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

If you've read this far, thank you for your time. I hope this post has helped or made you think in some way. I'd also like to thank Lisa for inviting my rambly self to her blog. <3

To God be the glory,
-Grace Marie

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