Howl’s Moving Castle (Book) Review

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I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until last year that I even knew Howl’s Moving Castle was not only a fantastic animated film, but also a book! I found a copy in a 2nd and Charles Free Book Bin and snatched that baby up immediately, and I’m so glad that I did! This book was pure magic. ❀ I feel like if you’re a fan of the Miyazaki film, or if you enjoy light-hearted whimsical stories like The Last Unicorn or Stardust, that Howl’s Moving Castle might just be right up your alley. πŸ˜‰

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β€œIn the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of the three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.”

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Having grown up in a small hat shop and expecting a very uneventful life due to the social stigma of being the eldest, Sophie has her world turned upside down due to a witch’s curse that transforms her into an old woman. But perhaps the Witch of the Waste’s curse is just what Sophie needs to push herself out of the dull fate she had previously accepted for herself. Setting off to find a cure for the curse inflicted upon her, Sophie winds up finding much more than that. Witches and wizards, shapeshifters and fire demons are only a sample of the strange characters she’ll meet as she is forced out of her comfort zone. She’ll venture to moving castles and palaces and more in an effort to undo the Witch of the Waste’s magic, and she’ll do it with a sassy attitude to boot!

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The characters in this story are all so quirky and fun, and the book has a lovely light and humorous tone to it. I think the whimsy of it really made this book one of those special sort of “Feel Good” reads for me. πŸ™‚ I’m not usually a re-read sort of person (only due to there being SO MANY books out there to be read) but this is one I would consider re-reading in the future.

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β€œIt is quite a risk to spank a wizard for getting hysterical about his hair.”

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Diana Wynne Jones weaved quite the enchanting story, so I would definitely like to read more of her work in the future. She was very imaginative and created a lovely fantasy world with entertaining characters to fill it. Apparently there are two other books related to this one, so I plan to check those out one day, too!

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The Language of Thorns (No-Spoiler) Review

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“Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.”

I don’t even know where to begin with this dark and enchanting little book. ❀ Collecting six different tales taking place in the mysterious world of the Grisha, it’s a great read for fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology and/or her original Grisha Trilogy. Even if you haven’t read Bardugo’s other works and simply enjoy dark fairy tales and folklore, this book is for you.

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I swear, Bardugo’s books just keep getting prettier and prettier. Each page of this book features an ever-expanding illustrated border with lovely artwork relating to the story at hand. As the tale progresses, the border reveals more and more clues relating to it, and each tale is followed with a beautiful two-page illustration to wrap things up. So no peeking at those pictures before you read the actual story, guys! πŸ˜‰

If you’ve read your fair share of folklore, myth and fairytales, you’ll no doubt pick up on the many inspirations for the stories contained in this book. With several nods toward Greek myth, fairy tales of the Grimm, Anderson, and Perrault variety, along with a hint of Aesop’s fables, you’re bound to feel some sort of nostalgia while reading. I know I sure did. πŸ™‚

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Another nice point in this collection of stories is the diversity, along with the many strong female characters. Bardugo manages to create a variety of characters and tell compelling stories with each of her tales, despite some of them only being about 50 pages, give or take.

Fun Fact: For those of you who have read Bardugo’s other works, you mayyyy just pick up on a certain character in one of the stories that we’ve seen before. I’m not gonna say anything specific here because spoilers, but I see what you did there, Leigh Bardugo. πŸ˜‰

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The six tales included in The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic are as follows:

Ayama and the Thorn Wood

The Too-Clever Fox

The Witch of Duva

Little Knife

The Soldier Prince

When Water Sang Fire

I really enjoyed reading each of the tales along with their accompanying artwork. Bardugo’s writing shines as she lends her voice to such a classic form of story telling all while putting her own fresh spin on things.

Return of the Necro Rhino!!

*Cue spooky music*

 

Okay, I’ll admit, perhaps that wasn’t the spookiest choice of music. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. But why the spooky music in the first place, you ask?? Because, today marks what I’m morbidly dubbing: The Return of the Necro Rhino!! Aka: Me not waiting until November to try again at NaNoWriMo’s (National Novel Writing Month) goal of writing 50,000 words in the span of 30 days.

The whole Necro Rhino thing is a play on words because my boyfriend and I refer to NaNoWriMo as “Nano Rhino“, as in “a very tiny rhinoceros” after he misheard me when I first told him I was participating in last year’s NaNoWriMo challenge and thought I’d said “Nano Rhino challenge”. This also resulted in us going on a very last minute, but very determined, shopping adventure at our local mall to find a tiny rhinoceros figurine to be my little mascot. This was not as easy to find as one would think, but after four stores we found a toy kit of assorted African animals, and it thankfully had two very small rhinos in it. I keep one at my place, and the other at his. They serve as my writing mascots (and reminders) because I am ridiculous like that. No shame here, folks. Since I didn’t make my goal back in November, I consider this second attempt to be the resurrection of the Nano Rhino, hence why it is now a Necro Rhino. That and I’m a silly girl who likes horror too much.

Anyway, I keep a dry erase board mounted on the wall next to my desk and I always update it with my monthly goals I wish to accomplish. Today I drew a freshly resurrected zombie rhino rising from the grave to mark this return to the madness that is NaNoWriMo. On a side note I google’d “Beast Boy rhino” hoping for drawing inspiration since his rhino form is green like a zombie rhino would be. Seems innocent enough, right? Well, the internet being what it is, I proceeded to have to scrub my eyeballs with bleach due to some fan art someone posted of Starfire and Beast Boy (in his damn rhino form) participating in some seriously cringe-inducing activities with one another.

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So, now that I’ve no doubt seared that awful image into your brain, let’s continue, shall we? I know it’s not November, so it isn’t the official month or anything, but I’m using the next 30 days to try to attempt to write the 50,000 word goal just as I would if I waited for November to roll back around. That means I need to write at least 1,666 word each day. I’ll update my progress here throughout the month and still try to blog regular posts as much as I can, but please bare with me this month if my posts happen to be fewer and farther between. I really want to give this my all and make that 50,000 words happen this time!

This was all a very spur of the moment decision this morning when I was figuring out my writing goals for the month, but I hope to make the most of it!Β  πŸ™‚ Do you have any particular writing goals for yourself this month? Or do you prefer to wing it and let it happen as it happens? What is your biggest writing motivation? Best of luck to each of you with this months creative writing/blogging/reviews/etc. ❀

Staying Focused While Writing

So, sometimes my thinky thinky parts do a wee bit too much imagining. Having inspiration for your writing is a good thing, don’t get me wrong, but it can be hard picking which ideas to work with when so many come popping into your head.

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C’mon, Brain! Get. It. TOGETHER.

This overabundance of story ideas has resulted in me being what I affectionately refer to as “a raging plot slut”. Meaning that it is very difficult for me to commit to one story and stay 100% focused on it. Things will be going fine and then an idea will pop into my head, and suddenly I’m onto that story, and then before I even know it I’m suddenly working on another, and so on. I don’t mean to be a raging plot slut. It just sort of . . . happens. (Apparently I keep tripping and falling into other stories.)

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Now, I know for some writers that this is done with great success. They can juggle multiple projects and continue to make progress on all of them. You writers are to be applauded. I however, have not yet perfected this seemingly mutant-like ability. Maybe one day I will get there, but today is not that day. That said, I’ve actually been doing really well at staying focused and carving out some real progress on a single project since the end of December. Not a long period of time, sure, but it’s a start. Small victories are still victories. πŸ™‚

So as far as 2017 writing goals go, I’m just going to continue trying to work on this one writing project and see how far I can get with it.

What about you guys? Any writing goals for the new year? Are you the type of writer who can juggle multiple projects or do you commit to one and only one until it is finished?

Nothing but Trouble

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That moment when writing that you get to introduce one of your favorite homemade characters into the mix. This one’s trouble and I can’t wait to see all the chaos they wind up bringing to the table. >:P

Fuel for the Fire

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What do you do when your vacation from your current job becomes a “work-ation” for your new job? Squeeze the tiniest bit of free time you have into huddling over your laptop with a trusty energy drink (nectar of the writing gods) at your side and write your little heart out.

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Wandering Minds

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Well, today was a triumph when it came to brainstorming plot points at work. My current job is extremely monotonous so this affords my mind time to wander. I’m frequently called out for daydreaming or zoning out, but hey, I can still get my job done in a timely fashion while my brain is far off exploring a completely fictional world. And when I say “called out” it’s more in a “you must really be in the zone” sort of way rather than a “you’re in trouble” fashion.

This is actually my first attempt at writing a multiple POV story and while it presents some challenges it also is allowing me a lot of new opportunities that I never had in storytelling when the tale was always from the same character’s point of view. It’s keeping things fun and interesting for sure. πŸ™‚

That said, it’s time to eat some ice cream and then write out those plot points I spent all day thinking about without the time to actually jot any of it down.

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