Friday, July 25, 2014

Tag, I'm It (Again)!

The lovely Ivy Miranda over at Revealed In Time nominated me for the Sunshine Award!  Thank you, Ivy Miranda! :)

 Her Questions:
1.) Describe your year (so far) in three words.
Ummm...okay.  Family, friendship, blogging. 
2.) Did you believe in Santa Claus as a child?

Nope. :P  I was barely aware of his "existence" till I was old enough to not believe in it.

3.) If you had a chance to live in the world of your favorite book/movie/ TV show, what would it be? (you can only choose one).

Hmm!  Um, Jane Austen.  HANDS. DOWN.  I get to live in England, there isn't any extreme danger or misery, I could visit...oh wait.  Do I have to choose one book of hers?  Fine, fine,  Pride and Prejudice.  Because that would just be so much fun. :D

4.) What is your favorite season and why?

I like winter the most, I think.  I wouldn't like to have it year-round, of course, but I love snow and hot chocolate and sledding and Christmas and my birthday, among other things. ;)  (This conclusion may have something to do with the soaring temperatures here right now. :P)

5.) Who is the fictional character you would want to marry?

First of all, I don't want to marry any fictional character seriously--I may have small crushes on some of them, yes, but it's not as if I'd refuse another man just because he didn't look like some book character.  Nor do I assume that I'll get married at all.
Now that's out of the is something that I've thought about occasionally. :D  In terms of people-I'd-get-along with, Mr Tilney.  In terms of characters-I-have-crushes on...Enjolras. :P

6.) Doughnuts or cake?

 Image result for cake food

CAKE.  Sorry guys, doughnuts just don't compare.

7.) Favorite show as a child?

I didn't watch TV as a child (I don't now, either), buuut I did watch the old Scooby-Doo episodes on DVD, and I absolutely loved them.  Still do, as a matter of fact. ;)

8.) Would you rather be a genius or have superhuman powers?

Superhuman powers.  Honestly, most of the geniuses of the world have been miserable (haha, I typed "miserables" at first...) and/or come to bad ends, so I really don't want to be one.  Superhuman powers could get a little uncomfortable (HA.  Typed "uncomfortables"...all right, I'm an insane Mizzie.  Deal with it. :D) sometimes, but superheroes tend to be at least moderately happy.  Unless they're Batman.

9.) Should dessert always be eaten first? 
No!  Eat your carrots, younglings. :P (But in all seriousness, I prefer eating dessert after my meal--it consoles me after something I don't like and gives me something to look forward to after I've finished something I enjoy.  Hahaha.)

My Questions:
1. What celebrity would you most like to meet, and why?
2. Which book/movie protagonist do you think you'd dislike in real life?
3. What, in your opinion, is the friendliest fandom you're in (assuming you're in one)?
4. Whipped cream or ice cream?
5. Do you enjoy baking/cooking at all?  If so, what's your favorite thing to make?
6. What's your favorite book genre, and why?
7. Do you prefer strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries?
8. What, in your opinion, divides a fruit from a vegetable?
9. If asked to list your three favorite books, what would be your first reaction?

And I honestly can't think of anyone to tag right now, so...if you're a fan of Miss Austen, consider yourself tagged.  If you do the tag, please leave a link in the comments; I'd love to read your answers! :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bucket List Tag

Elizabethany over at An Accomplished Young Lady created and tagged me with the Bucket List Tag a bit ago.  Thank you, dear! :)
Here are the rules for the tag:

Tag Rules:

  • List 10 or more items from your bucket list.
  • Tag 5 other people.


~Meet my blogging friends in real life
~See Les Misérables onstage
~Have a Lord of the Rings marathon
~Have an Austen-themed party
~Learn the dances in P&P95
~Visit Europe
~Go on a mission
~Own a bookstore
~Do a cosplay
~Go to all fifty states in America

My Nominees:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

30-Day Song Challenge

I've seen the 30-Day Song Challenge around before on different blogs, and now here I am, announcing that I'm going to be doing it in August.
Why, you ask?
Well, mostly because I need more post material, to be honest.  This Challenge is hopefully going to help me post daily--and it looks like a lot of fun.  We'll see how this goes.
Annnnnd this extremely short post comes to an abrupt end.  Sorry.  I'm feeling rather uninspired today.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Chronicles of Prydain

(This isn't really going to be a "review", per se...more of a rambling collection of thoughts on one of my favorite fantasy series, partly because I love talking about it and partly because I'm curious whether any of you are fellow fans.)

When I was young and unafraid around seven or eight years old, I was introduced to Disney's The Black Cauldron.  I enjoyed it all right, and my family would watch it every so often because it was my sister's favorite.
Fast-forward several years later.  I was eleven and even more of a bookworm, and it happened to come to my attention--I can't remember how--that there was a book named The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander.  My interest piqued, I found it at my library, discovered that it was second in a series, and began to read.

The Book of Three is the first book in the series.  From Goodreads: "Taran dreams of adventure, but nothing exciting ever happens to an Assistant Pig-Keeper--until his pig runs away. A chase through the woods leads Taran far from home and into great danger, for evil prowls the land of Prydain. With a collection of strange and wonderful friends whom he meets on his journey, Taran finds himself fighting so that good may triumph over evil--and so that his beloved home will not fall to a diabolical fiend."

The Black Cauldron From Goodreads: "Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper, and his friends are led into a mortal struggle with Arwn and his deathless warriors. Taran must wrest the black cauldron from them, for it is the cauldron that gives them their evil strength. But can he withstand the three enchantresses, who are determined to turn him and his companions into toads? Taran has not foreseen the awful price he will have to pay in his defence of Prydain..."

The Castle of Llyr From Goodreads: "In the imaginary kingdom of Prydain, Princess Eilonwy must leave her friends to go to the Isle of Mona for training as a proper princess. Because Eilonwy has magical powers, she is sought by Achren, the most evil enchantress in the land. Shortly after her arrival on the Isle of Mona, something sinister and secret befalls her. Eilonwy's loyal friends—Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper; Flewddur, the bard; and Prince Rhun, her intended husband—realize her peril and set out on an exciting and terrifying mission to rescue her. They encounter great forces of evil as well as private—sometimes painful—revelations in the course of their journey."

Taran Wanderer From Goodreads: "Taran, the assistant pig-keeper who wants to be a hero, goes questing for knowledge of his parentage, hoping that his journey will ennoble him in the eyes of Eilonwy, the princess with the red-gold hair. Accompanied by several loyal friends, Taran begins his search when three wily enchantresses of the Marshes of Morva send him to consult the Mirror of Llunet for the answers he is seeking, cryptically promising that "the finding takes no more than the looking." During his adventures he meets Craddoc, the shepherd, and the common people of Prydain, whom he comes to respect and admire. With their help, he continues his mission to learn the secret of the Mirror and the truth about himself."

The High King From Goodreads: "Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli--all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain."

Now on to the fun part. :D

I love these books.  They're just a little below Lord of the Rings and Narnia in terms of great writing, engaging characters, and a touching storyline.   Taran, the hero of the piece, is an interesting take on the farmboy-turned-hero type story; though he originally goes on a quest (and matures somewhat through it) because he dreams of high adventure, he ends up going on adventures because it is his duty, not because he wants to.  The way he matures through this series is incredible, and it's all completely believable.  I'll confess, he annoys me not a little in The Book of Three, but by the time we get to The High King, I admire him greatly.

Eilonwy in Disney's The Black Cauldron
The supporting cast is amazing.  Eilonwy is quick-witted and tomboyish (not to mention hilarious--her similes make me crack up every time I read the books), but she's kind and loving and is a "lady" in the true sense of the word: courteous and genteel.  Fflewdur Fflam, a would-be bard, is funny and practical; Gurgi is...well, he's Gurgi; Doli, a dwarf who wishes he could turn invisible at will like the rest of his family, is gruff and always annoyed but somehow winds his way into your heart anyway; Coll, a warrior-turned-farmer, is sensible and wise; and Gwydion, Prince of Don, is heroic and brave.

One of my very favorite characters is a minor one (as usual): Prince Rhun of Prydain's neighboring country Mona.  He is introduced in The Castle of Llyr as clumsy and inept, but has quite a bit of growth and ends up thoughtful of others and selfless.

Taran and Eilonwy in Disney's The Black Cauldron

The stories are actually extremely funny at times, and then get serious and manage to speak Deep Truths without sounding pretentious.  Some of the language can get archaic, but then in pops Eilonwy or Fflewdur to relieve the tension and prevent the book from getting too stuffy.  
And then there's the ending.  Oh my STARS, the ending.  It's somewhat similar to the finish of Lord of the Rings, but it concludes in an almost exactly opposite manner.  It's bittersweet and heartwrenching, and yet it's the only ending the book could have.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes, because Lloyd Alexander has a way with description and dialogue that I absoballylutely love...

"'Since no one has mentioned it,' said Eilonwy, 'it seems I'm not being asked to come along. Very well, I shan't insist.'
'You, too, have gained wisdom, Princess,' said Dallben. 'Your days on Mona were not ill-spent.'
'Of course,' Eilonwy went on, 'after you leave, the thought may strike me that it's a pleasant day for a short ride to go picking wildflowers which might be hard to find, especially since it's almost winter. Not that I'd be following you, you understand. But I might, by accident, lose my way, and mistakenly happen to catch up with you. By then, it would be too late for me to come home, through no fault of my own.'"
 ― Lloyd Alexander, The High King

 "There is more honor in a field well plowed than in a field steeped in blood."
― Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron
"'I can't make sense out of that girl,' he said to the bard, 'Can you?'
'Never mind,' Fflewddur said, 'We aren't really expected to.'"
― Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three

 "'By all means,' cried the bard, his eyes lighting up. 'A Fflam to the rescue! Storm the castle! Carry it by assault! Batter down the gates!'
'There's not much of it left to storm,' said Eilonwy.
'Oh?' said Fflewddur, with disappointment. 'Very well, we shall do the best we can.'"
― Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three
"'I can't stand people who say 'I told you so.' That's worse than somebody coming up and eating your dinner before you have a chance to sit down.'"
― Eilonwy, The Book of Three 
"It is harsh enough for each man to bear his own wound. But he who leads bears the wounds of all who follow him."
― Lloyd Alexander, The High King
"I have never known courage to be judged by the length of a man's hair. Or, for the matter of that, whether he has any hair at all."
― Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three
Have you ever read the Chronicles of Prydain? 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Hello everybody!  I'm here to re-introduce you to Rafe (remember him from my NaNo novel?) with this month's Beautiful People!

1) What’s their favourite food? (Bonus: favourite flavour of chocolate!)
Hmmm, I don't think he'd ever really think about that because he's never really had much of a chance to focus on anything other than his revolution.  But as his author, I get to choose for him.  He actually has a little bit of a sweet tooth--he loves honey on bread, though he rarely gets it.  One of his most treasured memories is a day when he was about 12 and his father brought back a honeycomb. 
2) What do they absolutely hate?
The king of Deri.  He hates King Lamar with a passion that can sometimes completely blot out everything else in his life. 
3) What do they enjoy learning about?
People.  He likes to study them, find out how they tick, what makes them the way they are.  It's part of what makes him so charismatic.
4) Who is the most influential person in their life?
It depends.  When he was young, he worshiped his mother, but stopped following her every move when he was about five--he's always been independent.  Then for a few years, Corani (his sweetheart) could make him do anything.  When she died, thoughts of her still influenced his actions.  But where he's at now, Tristan is definitely the most influential person in his life.
5) What is their childhood fear?
He was terrified of water when he was young.  It was completely irrational and he soon forced himself to conquer it, but he hated swimming for a long time.
6) What is something they have always secretly dreamed of doing, but thought impossible?
Travel.  Sometimes he just wants to drop everything and go see the faraway countries he's been hearing about.
7) What is something he is impractically afraid of?
Being completely abandoned.
8) Are they a night owl or morning person?
A morning person, definitely.  He stays up far into the night sometimes, but he always gets up early; it was a habit drilled into him when he was young and he likes being up early anyways.
9) Do they say everything that pops into their head, or leave a lot unsaid?  
Ehm, it's sort of a mixture of both, actually.  By nature and inclination he would say everything that pops into his head, but he's leading a revolution, so he's sort of trained himself to keep quiet and not say anything before carefully considering it--unless he loses his temper or gets otherwise very upset, and then his coping mechanism is just to talk on and on.
10) What are their nervous habits?
He rubs the back of his neck when he gets nervous, or rumples his hair.  When he gets really nervous/upset, he'll bite the inside of his cheek or his fingernails, sometimes drawing blood.