August 14, 2017

Just dropping in on you...

Why does it seem as if every post this summer has started out with me feeling as if I'm writing to a long lost relative? (Because I keep neglecting my poor little blog, that's why. duh.)  And yet here I am again, popping out of the abyss to give you a post detailing the events of my life (which you probably don't really care about) and will then vanish into a puff of smoke, never to be seen or heard from again till probably October or some such far off* date.

As Robin would put it I'm....

*in blogging time, anyway. In real life October is going to be here soon and make it feel like today was yesterday. (Does that even make sense? No? Whatever.)

Also, due to my perfectionist/procrastinator side (I don't even know what) I've put off writing this post for farrrrr too long. And I am now going to do it. TODAY. 

So excuse any mistakes or general rambling-ness. As soon as I hit that little orange publish button I'm heading outside to enjoy the sun. Which is what you should be doing. Stop reading this post and go enjoy the sun. :P

Without further ado, lately I've been...

Back in June my family took a trip to northern MI which was one of the best vacations evah. Then we had to go back up north early in July to pick up my brother from his Civil Air Patrol encampment (which I like to jokingly call a summer camp, but he hates that term because CAP is way more squared away than a summer camp. It's basically the military for anyone under age 18. I just find "summer camp" is an easier way to explain it than "encampment". Anyways...)

Most of my photos from that trip are in the laborious process of being edited (why did I shoot them all in RAW....) so thus here is one photo of Lake Huron from my iPad:

<3 <3 <3


The less said about that the better.

A fan art contest! An Ilyon  fanart contest to be correct. It's already over and I didn't win (*sad face*) but it was still great fun to enter, and everyone had some really awesome entries. Go check it out. (I'm number 12 of the 2017 fan art contest section.)

my favorite kind of road

I'm hoping to do a separate mini book review post some other time (because I've been reading SO any good ones lately) but since we were speaking of Ilyon.....

literally me while reading

Garage Saling*:
I picked up some 1930's and 40's swing music cds....a big soft red sweater...and a practically-new winter coat for a dollar.

I really love that coat. I mean, A DOLLAR. <3

*If that's not an actual verb than it should be. :P

Applying for jobs:
Which meant writing my very first resume. *cries*

Just was actually kind of fun, though really confusing. Like, what do I write for skills? I can knit a scarf? I can mop the floor while listening to Broadway showtunes and making clotted cream in the mixer? (Scratch that. I whipped the cream too much and it had to be thrown out. :P) 

I'm a professional GIF user???

And then there's the age old question of  whether the word "homeschool" on your resume will make someone more or less inclined to hire you....?

but flowers make things better, right?
A LOT of movies (hopefully I'll get a mini movie review post up) but a couple days ago I watched the Broadway version of Newsies with this girl and it was GRAND fun. Here's a few screenshots of our conversation (hope you don't mind my sharing them, Naomi) (or NY-omi....ha ;)).

Also, can we appreciate that I may have taken the best screenshot of Jack Kelly* ever? Thank you.

*Or Jack Jelly. You know. Whatever auto correct decides. :P 

I got a package of various tea flavors (this one) (yeah, I know it's just the usual grocery store tea, I never said I was a tea snob) (yet) so that's been an exciting bit of happiness in my life. :)
rcinemagraphs:  The evening breeze [Lumi Tuomi]

That patience is something I seem to be always lacking. That it's okay to follow your dreams.  That spending hours lying in the hammock, enjoying the summer sunshine is NOT a waste of time. That getting up early is worth it. 
And that God is so full of mercy for this impatient, ungrateful girl it's staggering.

For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, Fear not; I am the one who helps you. Isaiah 41:13

Til next time I drop in. *hugs y'll*
Tell me! What's going on in your life?? :)

August 13, 2017

Exiles//Book Spotlight

Guyyyyyysss. Friends. Comrades. Sisters. Fellow countrymen. (Or not, in the case of my international readers. :P) 

Exiles is released!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you believe it???? I. AM. SO. EXCITED. 

(My copy should be coming today. Actually, it may already be here by the time you read this, since this is a scheduled post. :P Squuuueeeee!!!!)

But 'hem. I'll try to save the fangirling for future posts. ;) In the meanwhile, for those of you who don't have a clue as to what Exiles is, please keep reading for enlightenment. Basically, it's a new book in one of my favorite series EVER. 

Thus my excitement over this book's release.

Ahem. Yes. Onward with the Book Spotlight.

 Exiles is the fourth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles, by Jaye L. Knight.  Read about it below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! :)

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00028]

About the Book
Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to the emperor’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.

Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all.

Feeling trapped within the walls of Valcré, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir, but with other forces at work, it might not be that simple.

One small misstep could prove fatal for all.

Available now on Amazon!


(Note from Natalie: Does this not sound EPIC? *hyperventilates*)

Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? The first three Kindle books are on sale August 11th - 14th!
You can find them on Amazon.


About the Author
JayeAuthor2015Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)



Thursday, August 10

Friday, August 11

Saturday, August 12

Sunday, August 13

Monday, August 14

Tuesday, August 15

Congrats to Jaye for publishing Exiles!!!! *round of applause* 
It was an honor participating in her blog tour, and I can't express enough how excited I am.

July 26, 2017

Four Fictional Friends

*Pops out of my Hobbit Hole*

*Looks around*

*Blinks at the light*

Bilbo and his face wiggle

Um. Hi everyone? Remember me? I feel as if I've been very absent from the blogging world lately. Like, ever since Miss March's visit. (That's not your fault, Miss March. Don't feel bad!!) ('Hem. Inside joke, of sorts. ;)) I've popped back on here a few times for some short announcements and so forth, but otherwise I think I've been rather neglectful of this blog.

I have good reason, though! My family and I went on a trip, I had a birthday, I've been reading too many books, and—

But oh wait. I should save all that for a "lately" post. :P

Today I want to address a certain post that I've put off writing for farrrrr too long. It's called "The Four Fictional Characters Tag" and it's from the lovely Cordy. Thank you, friend!

(Just to preface, the idea is to list four fictional characters that I relate to, and why I feel that I do. I'm also probably supposed to tag other people but....)

yes Anna, I stole this from you :)

Hmm. I have a Hobbit gif theme going here and it wasn't even intended!

Elinor Dashwood
Ever since reading Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, I have felt a deep kinship to Elinor.
I never related to her much when watching the movies, but when I read the book....!!! I was astounded by how much I understood her thoughts and feelings and actions...because, more often then not, they were thoughts, feelings, and actions I have experienced as well. Now, that doesn't mean I necessarily agreed with everything she did, but I sure did understand WHY she did them.

In some ways I never know quite how to describe why I relate to Elinor. I know I'm not as sensible as her, and I have a streak of Marianne Dashwood's emotional and stubborn nature in me that is lacking in Elinor. But nevertheless, I find myself sympathizing with Elinor very very much, and I do think of all Austen's heroines, she is my favorite.

Emily Starr
I've always sympathized with Anne Shirley on different levels. However, on recent re-reading of Emily of New Moon and its sequels,  I've found that Emily Starr and I are much more similar. First off, we're not chatterboxes. That is, we'll talk MUCH with our kindred spirits (I think my mom can very much attest to how I can prattle on), but we won't talk with just anyone. We're very private people, and we're frequently escape from real life into our own little "dream worlds". We're both writers (a trait Anne shares as well) and are thrilled at the beauties of nature—I could personally sit for hours watching a sunset or the sunlight splashing against ocean waves. I have no doubt Emily could as well. :)
Ben Stahl, cover art for "Emily of New Moon". This was the cover I had as a kid. It's the only one I feel at home with.

David Jacobs
Davey from Newsies is, besides being one of my favorite of the newsies, someone I relate to very very  very much. 
First off, he's a worrier and a "mom friend". Meaning, if he's hanging out with his friends and they start climbing fire escapes or something he'd tell them, "Get down from there! That's dangerous!"
Yeah. I am a mom friend. :P
He's very protective of his family and is always there to keep his younger brother in line. Being an older sibling myself, I relate to this on an extreme level (haha). Also, like Davey, I stick rigorously to my convictions (or at least try to), but I'm not extremely vocal about them. (Well, it depends on the issue, but usually this holds true.) I tend to want to avoid confrontation, but honesty is important and I will speak up about things that really matter. ("I paid for 20 papes you only gave me 19." :P)

Also, one more note. Davey is disgusted by the spitting-into-your-hand-handshake thing.

Yup. I'm with you, Dave.

Susan Pevensie
I actually had quite a few other characters in mind for my fourth one, but none of them were clicking for me. Then I remembered someone else I relate to. Susan, from The Chronicles of Narnia. Growing up, I could never understand why it seemed a lot of people liked/praised Lucy and not Susan. (Even Lewis seemed to have something against her. *glares* Sorry, Lewis. I'm sure you had good reason. But....still. This is the one issue on which is differ.) I found, and still find her, utterly relatable. She's the oldest girl in her family, making her a rather bossy, controlling "mother figure". ('Hem. I certainly don't relate to being bossy, though! Cough cough.) (*Waits for my brother to regale you all with tales of younger me as the bossy older sibling*) She worries about everyone being safe and doing the right thing. She likes to be right, and can be stubbornly opposed to something just because it wasn't her idea or what she wants to do.
Yup...I can relate to all those flaws, my friends.
But I believe I can also relate to Susan's determination. I hope I'm as brave and gentle as her.
Nevertheless, I find her another relatable heroine, and one well worth emulating.
(She got to Aslan's Country, too. I'm sure of it.)
The Lion and the warrior by ~TaijaVigilia Susan Pevensie and Aslan of Narnia.

(For all of you who were wondering who my "runners up" were, here ya go:
Pippin from Lord of the Rings 
Linguini from Ratatouille
Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon
Valancy Stirling from The Blue Castle)

(Of course, there are more characters I relate to, but those few were were just some ones I thought of for the post. :))

Well, that's all! Hopefully I can return with a "lately post" soon and be a less neglectful blogger in the coming weeks!

I also relate to Merlin on varying degrees, except I don't have magic

July 1, 2017

Springtime Reading (Update Two)

(If you missed my original Springtime Reading post, check it out here.)

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
This was the first time I've re-read Peter Pan since I read it a few years ago. Funnily enough, I found myself rather bored with it at parts. I didn't dislike it or anything. But I think when I read this I wasn't quite in the mood for J.M. Barrie's style, so that's why the story seemed to take forever.

BUT. I still love it, and rated it 5 stars again on goodreads because my wordy, that ending. *sobs* I do love this story. I love it's sadness, it's humor, it's whimsical randomness and magic. E v e r y o n e should read this. It's such gold. 

(This was part of Heidi's Adventure of Reading Challenge)

Greenwillow by B. J. Chute
Wooow. What can I say about this absolutely beautiful book? This was my first time re-reading it. I remembered it as a sweet, lovely story but rather slow and plodding. I liked it, but I didn't love it. I was completely taken aback this time around. I love this story. I love the writing, the characters, their humor and loves and losses. It's a beautiful story with such depth, but lighthearted and just plain happy nonetheless. *hugs this book* I love it. I just love it.

Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomer
This was my first time reading this delicious summery story, and while I didn't love it as I do The Blue Castle or the Emily books (more about that anon) I did like it very, very much. L. M. Montgomery's stories are so cozily predictable, and yet she keeps them fresh and different every time, even with her classic tyrannical "clan leaders", her whimsical, "odd" heroines, and her beloved Prince Edward Island. 

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
This was soooooo good. I need to re-read more Jane Austen. Why is it I always forget how incredibly good her stories are?? I haven't read NA in f o r e v e r and it was my first time re-reading it, despite having watched the movie many times.  I'm so glad I finally re-read this, as its superiority to the film is unquestionable. I found myself laughing or smiling many times during the reading of this book, and I "re-fell in love" with the characters even more than I had previously. Henry is the sweetest, funniest hero; Catherine utterly amusing but quite relateable; and Eleanor so admirable. She's one of my role models. ;) (And oh yes, Fanny. I didn't think it was possible she could be more annoying than in the movie BUT SHE IS. UGH.) (UGH AGAIN BECAUSE SHE'S SO HORRID.) (UGH.)

Bravo again and again, Miss Austen. I sure do love your books. <3

PS. Austen's "Great Defense of the Novel" is so perfect, I actually underlined some of it in pencil. (Shhh.)

Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery
Like A Tangled Web, this was the first time re-reading the Emily books in years, and when I first read them, I did not like them.

What was wrong with me back then???

I absolutely adored all three of the Emily books this time. (Even Emily's Quest,  although I admit I got a little frustrated with all the drama between Emily and Teddy and Teddy and Ilse and Ilse and Emily.....STAHP.) 
(Emily, Teddy. Ilse, Perry. There we go.) 
(Why  was that so difficult?) 
Funny thing is....I think I may relate to Emily even more than I do to Anne. Because, let me be honest with myself, as much as I love Anne and relate to her love of nature and stories (and share her hair color), I really am not that much like her. I'm not a chatterbox around people I don't know very well, I'm not over-the-top dramatic (as in, I don't say things like "this is a wound I shall bear forever") and I totally would have accepted Gilbert the moment he asked me to marry him. :P 

Anyhow, I digress. I relate more to Emily because, though she shares Anne's whimsical, dreamy personality, she is also much more reserved and quiet and sensible. Thus why I found her a more relatable heroine.

As to the rest of the story, I loved it so so much. Emily's struggles with her family, the loss of her father, her need to write, her ups and downs of childhood and girlhood and then's all so real and heartfelt and wonderful. All the Emily books are now some very dear favorites. <3

(Can we talk about how creepy Dean is in the first book, though? Like....whaaat.)

Alas, I didn't read all the books on my list. Emma, Only a Novel, and Rebecca didn't make it. But that's all right. I had a very delightful springtime, both readingwise and otherwise, and now I'm looking forward to tackling some particular books this summer. I'm not going to make a series for them (because #time and all that) but I will let you in on the few particulars I wish to read: 

To Tame a Land by Louis L'Amour 
(for Jessica)
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott 
(for Olivia)
(I will try, but please understand if I have to put it off due to its length. *hugs*)
and Little Men
(for Miss March).

Here's hoping I can do it! :D