Monthly Recap — May // in which I roadtripped and read a deliciously high (deliciously good) tower of books

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Wrenlings!

let us pretend this recap is not scandalously late, m’kay?

A lot happened last month — which was glorious. I basically turned into a wandering Wren (which was also glorious), and I read stacks and stacks of splendid books, and made new friends and had good times. It was a curious jumble of busy-but-still-restful-and-fun. Love it when that happens.

Curious Wren bloggy Things

— I introduced you all to two characters who are polar opposites from my sci-fi/steampunk series Mingled (said series is currently On Hold). These darling charries give me warm fuzzies.

— of stardust and sea-spray  gave you all a “currently” glimpse of some of life’s happenings as I traveled with the family to our usual holiday spot. I quite love this post.

— I hosted an interview and giveaway with Suzannah Rowntree, the author of Pendragon’s Heir. I’m still head-over-heels with delight for getting to have her here on Curious Wren! Suzannah is just so sweet and talented and I feel honored much. ^_^

— Schuyler guest posts about How To Write Lovable Protagonists. Read it, Writer Humans. So good. 

all things bookish

Ever since I a) started my part-time job in March, and b) started taking writing lessons (more on that later) my TBR stack has been sadly neglected. Hence why nine books read in May feels like a tower to me. Probably the fact that I read 7 of them in a single week also has something to do with it–holidays are wonderful for reading non-stop. Highly recommended, bookworms. *wink*

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(ignore Steal Like An Artist — it’s barging in where it doesn’t belong)

Loved it: JACKABY. It absolutely deserves the all-caps. I want to sleep with this book under my pillow, I love it that much (a book under a pillow, tho? Pain, methinks?). Paper Crowns = every bit as delicious and fairytale-esque as I imagined. I want a blue cat. Also, paper-bending powers. Isle of Swords satisfied my secretly pirate-loving  heart and wouldn’t let me put it down for the entire day. That book owes me hours of my life, people. And I laughed over The Luck of the Bodkins until I couldn’t breathe. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT read this book whilst a small human is napping/whilst you are eating. The result won’t be pretty.

Deserves a mention: Murder is Easy. Cleverly clever cleverness. I now know how to murder people. (I KID. I KID. I KID.)

May-Drop-Tome-Off-A-High-Cliff: Elephants Can Remember. Disturbingly disturbing disturbingness.

Gorgeous Cover(s): JACKABY. Paper Crowns. Jeeves in the Offing.

Favorite Charrie(s): JACKABY. All the main peeps in Paper Crowns–having officially fallen for Azrael, I am more than ready for Paper Hearts to be published. *starts hoarding pennies ahead of time*

Currently reading: while on holiday I started Dreamtreaders (be pleased, Youngest Sister!) and Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl (this book. so good. O.O) and Dracula (never read this in the dark if you value your sleep and/or peace of mind) and Inkheart (*hugs Dustfinger and Meggie*).

Also, I accumulated a surprisingly large stack of books in one month so I do believe a photo-heavy Book Haul post is due, yes?

“The books in Mo and Meggie’s house were stacked under tables, on chairs, in the corners of the rooms. There where books in the kitchen and books in the lavatory. Books on the TV set and in the closet, small piles of books, tall piles of books, books thick and thin, books old and new. They welcomed Meggie down to breakfast with invitingly opened pages; they kept boredom at bay when the weather was bad. And sometimes you fall over them.”

— Inkheart

all things writish

Remember I mentioned that I was taking writing classes? My darling Mum and Dad signed me up for the six-week Writing With Grace course taught by Ann Swindell. Ann is an wise, amazing woman and I’ve learned so much from her–about our stewardship as writers, about voice and edits and dialogue, about owning our call as writers. Some of the lessons cracked me wide open and I sat at my laptop and cried. Every lesson was an encouragement. Now that the course is finished I’m re-watching the recordings and taking more detailed notes, etc. Most of my May writing was for that, and I’ve done some journal writing and vignette writing on the side.

But now that June’s begun I’m going to get back in the swing of things with editing I am Juliette. *is torn between cheering and screeching*

life glimpses

May in a nutshell: crammed with travels, books, people-time, and good things.

Older Sister and I roadtripped for a week and it. was. incredible. Traveling never grows old. Instead the more I do it, the more I want to do it and I feel like this is a vicious cycle, but I LOVE IT anyways. #worldtravelerhere

We stayed at Bed & Breakfasts and made good friends with the sweetest, dearest German couple (I fully intend to visit them someday) and with three lovely women (all related) that we chatted with about books and painting and other nice things (ladies, if you’re reading this, Older Sister and I chat about you often with fondness!).

The roadtrip also included: exploring many bookshops, coffee shops, yarn shops, and an antique store; tramping about quaint side-streets, chatting about everything under the sun, eating far too much Chick-Fil-A, singing along to musical scores, making new friends, falling more in love with the South and the slower pace of life, sitting by a bonfire and listening to our adopted uncle’s childhood stories, laughing uproariously with our adopted aunt and nearly choking on chocolate-covered strawberries, and so much more… I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful it was. Give me roadtrips always and forever, amen.

(all the photos except for the bookish ones are courtesy of darling Older sister)

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Family holiday: basically lots of reading + beach bonfires + rock-climbing + rock-hunting + hot chocolate drinking + memories + soaking in the beauty around me.

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(when you have allll the siblings and nieces, etc on a holiday together things can get delightfully crazy and chaotic.)

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all things bright

//clothes that smell of smoke from late-night bonfire-side chats… snuggling my nephew while he sleeps… books that keep you captivated by their pages for hours on end… laughter and singing and long, long games of Guess-What-I’m-Thinking-Of… the 2003 Peter Pan soundtrack… the peace and tranquility of being off-the-grid… red lipstick and frosted lemonade… hummingbirds and how you can watch them for ages without growing bored… Southern folks and southern parties and breakfasts and hospitality and charm… sweet, encouraging words about being a writer… adopted family that threatens to keep you forever… intellectual talks… coworkers who water your plants and miss you whilst you’re gone… the exhilaration of climbing breaker rocks… realizing that you, in fact, have seen very, very little of the world… reality checks and remembering that i am tiny and my tininess in this vast universe is still special and vital, and i laugh in the face of the wind and rain… hot grapefruit… lacy skirts… watching a storm come in… sister heart-to-hearts… inside jokes… the always-when-I-need-it reminder that my Savior never leaves me… stars on a clear, spring night… ice-cream in zoos and becoming friends with a giraffe… when a day is so perfect it makes you cry//

all things fandom

(as always, unabashed fangirling ahead)

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I finally,  finally, watched James Bond!

I’ve been longing to for the last several years, but since there’s just so much to fast-forward (womanizing spy much?) we’ve been putting it off. Well, the last evening of our roadtrip Older sister and I were staying at a B & B that actually had a TV (the others didn’t. which we loved) and she introduced me to Daniel Craig’s James Bond in Skyfall.

EXCUSE ME WHILST I HYPERVENTILATE AND RUN IN EXCITED CIRCLES.

Somehow I had no idea that these were British spies and so the instant I realized–which took awhile because I hear British accents so often–it just got that much more epic. I was taken aback in the best way possible by the depth of the story and the character arcs. James Bond is not just an action film by any means, folks. It makes you think, it makes you question, and it makes you appreciate the importance and value of life even more than you did before. I’ve since seen Spectre and I thought that the love story was beautifully done — so much so that I’m pondering a brief article on it. Maybe.

Also the antagonist in Skyfall  is easily the creepiest and most heartbreaking character I’ve encountered in awhile. I don’t know how I managed to escape having nightmares. 0.0

Oh, and I have a new favorite character. *flails*

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I will probably never stop squealing with excitement every time Q appears on scene. He’s the most precious gingersnap of brilliance and nerdiness.

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And does anyone else think he would make a stellar Doctor in Doctor Who?!!! O.O I want this to happen. Somone say something to somebody.

*aggressively listens to James Bond theme*

around cyberspace

— Paper Fury turns 5 years old which is, obviously, a Very Exciting Thing (EEEEP. CONGRATS CAIT. GO BUY PLUTO WHILE I TAKE OVER JUPITER). Also, Cait ever so graciously explains to non-bookworms (poor souls) how to translate the gibberish we bookworms say. It’s hilarious and spot-on.

— (For the female readers of Curious Wren) Carmel talks 4 Ways To Feel Like A New Woman.

— Here’s a thought-provoking article about why she doesn’t want a female James Bond by Mirriam Neal (I don’t want a female Bond either, please and thank you). Also by Mirri: a chat about psychopathy and spiritual enlightenment. You know. Writer stuff. + Should Christians Write Horror, Part 1 and Part 2.

— please, by all means, check out this site. I don’t agree with everything she says and am quite unthrilled whenever a swear word pops up, but despite all that there is much gold. And her articles are deliciously bite-sized.

looking ahead

— lots of editing this month. I shall start hoarding chocolate at once.

— my 20-something-ish birthday (Woot!)

— I have several blog articles planned I’m excited about! Specifically one talking about villains, and another discussing the importance of friendships in literature. I can’t wait to share them! Also, there might be another giveaway + interview, peeps!

— remember my post about Dead Shot and Laser? I had such, such fun with it, and even though I’m not planning to write Mingled for several years I really want to do the same questions with the rest of the cast. What do you all think?

— lots more reading. So, so many BOOKS. OH YES AND HURRAH. I have Inkspell and Storming and Red Rising and The Crown’s Game and much Wodehouse and Agatha Christie on my TBR tower. It’ll be great.

Alrighty then, Wrenlings! What are you reading currently? Have you any recs for me? GIVE ME THEM ALLLL. Please. And do tell: what are you looking forward to the most this month? And are you editing with me? *scatters chocolate chips to the masses*

(OH. Should I do more Beautiful People questions with the Mingled crew? Yea or nay?)

 

 

 

Monthly Recap — January // in which I read little and nearly forgot what my family looked like (I kid)

Jan Recap 1 (edited)

I started January thinking, “This month will be a quiet month, a gentle month, a month of dedicated editing and digging into books. This month I shall be a hermit and all I shall do is edit and read.”

Oh, poor, wishful, deluded Annie.

Basically by the end of the month I strongly echoed the Doctor.

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Curious Wren Bloggy Stuffage

All things bookish

My reading in January (or rather, lack thereof) is utterly scandalous. Scandalous, I tell you! I finished a grand total of– *gulp* two books. *hides behind door* I think that is the worst record I have ever had. In my defense I did read regularly — I just didn’t finish much. Wodehouse’s short stories kept me happy most of the month, Jill the Reckless was rife with humor (“This woman always made Freddie feel as if he were being disemboweled by some clumsy amateur.”) and I finally read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the first time and, humans, it. is. wonderful. pun sorta intended 

I treated myself to this gorgeous copy at a rare Barnes and Noble trip and I fully intend to read it to my children someday.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

All the rest of my reading time this month was (still is) devoted to Crowning Heaven, a planetary fantasy I am beta-reading for Emily and, let me tell you, peoples, if you love fantasy: you will want to squish this book close and gloat over it.

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In other news, I attended my first library book sale last week. Twas glorious. I nearly got trampled, but everybody was so nice and friendly (bookworms are just lovely humans, aren’t we?). People recommended authors to me, I chatted with old ladies about mysteries and life and all that good stuff; lost my sister and Mum multiple times in the crowd and tracked down every good book I could. We came away with full boxes. Most of my 20 books were research for writing and whatnot, but I found a copy of Behemoth which makes me happy. Now I just have to read it.

All things writish

Barely anything writish went down this month, unlike I had originally intended. Lots of planning and brainstorming and plotsing, but not much actual writing. Which was rough because I started to feel stressed and I missed my charries terribly, but on the whole I think my impromptu break was good for me. Especially after the mad insanity of finishing Blood Thread. I might not have put many words down on paper, but I lived. January rejuvenated my inspiration and mind, and I long to pour all my energy into edits this month. It’ll be grand.

Also, after reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I am SWARMED with ideas for retellings. HALP ME FEND OFF THE PLOT BUNNIES.

Life Glimpses

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post January was madly busy.

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I was home only 11 days last month, those were interspersed throughout January, and as a people-loving human who needs her darlings around her, it was rough. But, despite hardly being home and not getting any editing done whatsoever, it was a good month.

My nephew was born in the very first week of January and he is a snuggly bundle of cuteness that I will never tire of holding. Unless, of course, I faint from the adorable. That is a possibility. o.o

(this Tiny Human waited anxiously for her baby brother to finish being born) 

The week after the Cutest Nephew Ever was born my older sister Holly and I had the opportunity to house-sit for friends. We were gone for more than a week and it was amazing. Their house is many-leveled and posh and I read and worked on my blog lots and watched the entirety of Once Upon A Time season 4 with Holly. We went to a bookstore with escalators and I rode them and felt like a levitating superhero. Or a majestic Queen.

(Holly likes to take pictures like this and send them to me. She’s awesome like that.)

And talking about books (we weren’t, but pretend we were) I started Winter while we were house-sitting and, Sweet TARDIS of Gallifrey, I really love this crazy crew of charries. I forgot how precious Thorne and Cress are. shippinggggg

(I am a huge fan of scribbling in inspiration journals between people-watching and eating at restaurants.)

// all things bright //

  • Joy and I have been soul-friends for almost four years now and finally, finally we had the chance to talk face-to-face. We skyped twice and chatted for hours about everything imaginable. (love you, goosie!)
  • I have a laptop! This is huge news, humans. To make a long story short, I’ve been praying for months for the funds to buy one, and then a friend of mine gave me her little-used college laptop because she felt she needed to. It is new-ish and beautiful and I still can’t quite believe it’s mine. Having it is a tremendous answer to prayer. I still cry when I think about that reminder of just how much God cares about even the little things. *gets all teary again*
  • I got to spend four days with six of my favorite children on the planet. They’re such darlings, and I couldn’t love being a part-time nanny more.
  • Guess what? I have a kitten! At last. (#AilurophileAllTheWay) She loves people with all the love, and is precious and warm and soft. I call her Leia.

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  • pillow fights. trips to bookstores. telling stories to eager, listening children. long talks with friends about all things writerly. deep discussions. small-ish roadtrips. mint shakes. piping hot chai tea. sherbet. spine-tingling emotional songs. romping with a friendly golden retriever. halo parties and candy fights. escalator rides. fairytale books. snuggling a brand-new baby. basking in the glow of a Christmas tree.

Around Cyberspace

all the fandoms

(unabashed fangirling ahead. feel free to skip this if you wish)

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post my older sister and I watched Once Upon A Time season four last month. Excuse me while I howl in the corner.

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This season gave me so many feels.

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And that finale. O.O

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I was thrilled by the unexpected, new addition of Will Scarlet. He is hilarious.

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And let’s take a minute to appreciate how lovable and awkward and spot-on Anna’s character is?

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Sometime I want to write up a post about this TV show since there’s so many things I love about it, but things I disagree with too. Needless to say, I am on pins and needles for season five.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation was every bit as amazing and gripping as I expected it to be. More so even, with plot twists I didn’t see coming, great fight scenes, nerve-racking stunts and a female character who is so much more than just eye candy or a plot device. I really want to review this on Curious Wren soon-ish. Also it was refreshingly clean with only a few swear words and one tiny scene. And can I just mention how much I love the Ethan Hunt’s character? And BENJI. Actually just everyone.

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Agent Carter season two started airing in January. YAY. My family never, ever watches TV shows while they air so it tells you how much we like Marvel that we’re willing to spend our Tuesday evenings watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter. Once the first episode of season two started up I basically went all fangirly a la Jemma Simmons.

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And watching it reminded me all over again how much I love Peggy and Jarvis as a team. Because hilarity and camaraderie and I’ve-got-your-back and general British awesomeness happening. I’m also very curious to see where Thompson’s character is headed. I’m getting hints of inner conflict already and I could see his character having a great story arc. Let’s hope it doesn’t go south. We don’t need another Maniac Grant Ward in the Marvel TV show family.

Looking Ahead

  • I am starting a new blog series along the theme of my word for the year — brave. The first post should be up sometime this month.
  • During February I’ll be editing the fourth draft of I am Juliette intensively. Which is thrilling and terrifying.
  • Plus, working on college stuffage which is also thrilling and terrifying.
  • I’m nearly done beta-reading Crowning Heaven, and then it’s on to finish beta-reading Emergence by Brianna. Both books are fantasy, albeit two very different kinds and I. love. them.

How was your January, lovelies? What are you looking forward to this month? Have you seen any of Agent Carter or the others? Any fantastic books you discovered last month? LET US CHAT. *gives out baby griffins*

 

Monthly Recap — September // bloggy news, all the books, and pretty photos.

Lots of exciting things happened in September: it was my first month of blogging, I got together with two lovely writing friends, I started scribbling a new book about cats, and faeries, and steampunkish things, and Autumn began!

–> Curious Wren bloggy Stuffage <–

  • I did my bookish tag and Emily’s launch tag in one fell swoop, and rambled on about pretty quotes and book covers and favorite teas and charries and all that good stuff.
  • I wrote an emotional thing about my memories of 9/11.
  • I chatted about some books I’m dying to get my paws on.
  • You were given a teensy sneak peek of my light sci-fi re-telling of Beauty and the Beast.
  • I talked about what makes the perfect Autumnal TBR and shared my list with you.
  • Also, I had a writish interview with a sweet gal, Heidi.

–> All things bookish <–

I read a grand total of thirteen books this month. My awesome friend Amanda had the brilliant idea of doing a read-along of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It was a first read for the both of us and we cried over it together — it’s a heartbreaking and beautiful story. So that happened.

Right now I’m doing a read-along of Great Expectations with my Mum and sisters (goodness, I could shake Pip currently!) and I have at least two more read-alongs scheduled for October. I am immensely fond of buddy reads in case you hadn’t noticed that yet. ^_^

(ignore A Tale of Two Cities. That was a Goodreads glitch.)

Not pictured is Monster which made me cry all the tears and feel all the feels (despite the distressing book cover). Also, They Came to Baghdad in which I guessed the villain (oh, the cleverness of me!), Postern of Fate (disappointingly dull), and Anne of Windy Poplars, a delightful re-read.

And, incidentally, I reviewed Leviathan. 

–> all things writish <–

This month I experimented with 2nd person, present tense; a style I’d never tried before. Her (part one) and Her (part two) were the result of that. I’m thrilled with how they turned out, and I still hug all your amazing, encouraging comments to myself occasionally (all the love to you nice humans!).

Currently I’m scribbling like a small maniac on a newish side-project I started in the third week of September. It’s called Blood Thread, written in third person past tense, and it’s all steampunkish and fantastical and stars a black cat named Tarquin who has a High Opinion of himself. He’s snarky and adorable and I love him to pieces. There are roughly 6,000 words written right now which is good since I intended for it to be a short project in-between I am Juliette edits. It’s so good to be writing fantasy again, because I HAVE MISSED IT LIKE IT IS A DEAR FRIEND.

Speaking of I am Juliette, a blog post properly introducing it should be forthcoming in the future, methinks?

–> life glimpses <–

At least every Thursday this month was a beach day for us. I read copious amounts of Wodehouse and Agatha Christie, soaked in the bright sun, tried to find the perfect way to describe water, roamed the shoreline, and ate far too much icecream.

I had my first flea market experience with my older sister and a good friend. We people-watched, ate Amish-made donuts, investigated ancient books, and I bought a tiny teacup.

We celebrated a niece’s birthday. Our church had revival meetings and they were incredibly convicting, and encouraging. #thankfulforChristianfellowship

Autumn began, and we’ve been preparing all our vegetables for the winter (I can’t wait to make jam!). Fall cleaning has started (ish).

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D season 3 premiered yesterday, and it was a smashing, solid beginning to the season. Don’t mind me while I cry in a corner over the science babies (a.k.a. FitzSimmons). I am not prepared for another season of emotional trauma! Who am I kidding, I love having my heart crushed like a grape.

We also watched Cinderella and Beyond the Mask, both of which are wonderful new family favorites. I should review them — thoughts?

Also, I am knitting a pair of gloves for winter (so cushy soft) and I’ve tentatively begun coloring more often — I have Fear of White Paper, apparently. Artistic, Annie is not.



The highlight of my month was getting together with Emily and Schuyler. Emily is a dear on-line friend, and meeting her in person was wonderful; Schuyler is just a darling human that I still can’t believe I’ve been privileged to spend so much time with. The three of us had a glorious time chatting of “shoes and ships and sealing-wax and cabbages and kings.” It was wonderful and uplifting and I’m blessed by their friendship.

–> around cyberspace <–

–> Coming in October <–

  • Age of Ultron comes out on DVD on Friday and we’re having a family party together since it’s our first time watching it. I am incredibly excited and I CAN NOT WAIT TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED WITH HAWKEYE DURING CAPTAIN AMERICA 2. ALSO I AM DYING TO MEET THE TWINS.
  • Hanne-col is starting a new blog series — which is under wraps — and it’ll be great!
  • Aimee is celebrating her first blogversary which is epic. *runs around in circles of happiness*
  • I am planning to finish Blood Thread by the middle of October, and after that I’ll be prepping for NaNo IF I decide to do it.
  • There will be several writing articles on the blog, a snippets posts, more reviews (including one of Go Set A Watchman) and all that good stuff.
  • I’m making an exciting announcement around the end of October so stay tuned!
  • Also, if I reach 500 followers on Twitter by the end of the month I’m going to host a bookish giveaway over there. Spread the word!
  • I’m doing a read-along of The Phantom Of The Opera with three of my friends. Excitement much?

All in all, September was a good, full month. It was hard…. but beautiful.

How was your September, my friends? Did you read anything incredible? DID YOU SEE AGENTS OF SHIELD OR BEYOND THE MASK? What are YOU excited for in October? *gives out many chocolate chip bags*