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*

In which I answer my Party tag + Emily’s blog launch tag

  

Well, today is an exciting day! I get to answer two taggy things, not just my own Curious Wren questions. 
My lovely friend Emily just launched her blog, The Hero Singer, exactly a week ago. She’s a charming girl, and I did Camp NaNo with her in July which was heaps of fun. Make sure you drop by her bloggy home, and say “Hi!” I know she’d be delighted. 

Alrighty, time for tag fun. *gleeful grin*

The Hero Singer party questionlings:

1. Coffee or tea?

Coffee and tea! I like drinking my coffee black, or with honey and hot milk — café au lait, to be precise. Peppermint and citrus teas are my favorite. Chai tea is amazing too. 

2. Rainy days or sunny days?

I am a pluviophile all the way. There’s something so deliciously cozy and inspiring about a good, misty, dim rainfall or a crashing thunderstorm. 

3. What is one food you couldn’t live without?

I am going to be completely unoriginal and truthful and say, pizza. Also, chocolate. And taco salad.

4. Give three words that describe you.

Lively. Loquacious. Imaginative. 

5. What would you do if you had a free hour and could do anything you wanted to?

Anything at all? I think I would either go for a long four-wheeler ride again, or a flight in a small plane. I miss both very much. Or a long, long walk by myself in a woods. 

Oh! CLIFF JUMPING. Someday I will do that. 

6. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption?

I have so many I don’t know how I could choose just one, so I’ll go with two instead. 

-The Lord of the Rings extended edition is brilliantly done (I could go on about it for multiple paragraphs, but I won’t). It captures the essence and epic story so well, the characters are splendid, and the changes are few enough that they don’t irk me too much. Plus, the score is amazing — if you haven’t heard it before, go listen to it ASAP.

-BBC Bleak House. In a word, perfection. 

7. If there was one location from a book you could go to, where would it be?

I’ll skip the obvious answer (Middle-earth) and say the worlds of Goldstone Wood (Tales of Goldstone Wood). That would be pretty incredible, methinks. And I would love to drop into the world of steampunk and smog and winding streets in my current WIP. It would be majorly helpful. O.o 

8. If you could meet one character from a book, who would it be?

Definition of torture? This is it. 

These are by no means conclusive, but I’d love to spend an entire day with Jane from Jane of Lantern Hill. I think we would get along well. And as for the guys? Having a chat with Mir from Monster would be amazing and eye-opening, and I know I’d be in tears (I cried just reading the book, for goodness sakes).

9. If you could ask one author of the past a question, who would it be? What would you ask?

I want to know just exactly how Elizabeth Gaskell planned on ending Wives and Daughters. Can you imagine reading a few really sweet scenes between Molly and You Know Who? *fangirls*

 10. If you could change one event you didn’t like in a book, what would it be?

A certain woman dies in Bleak House. I wish I could give her a happily-ever-after.

  

Curious Wren party questionlings:

1. What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer. I loved the humor, the wit and the characters, but I’d be leery of recommending it. Lots of swearing basically, and there’s an undercurrent of rebellion that’s throwing me of. Still sorting my thoughts, actually. 

2. Describe the perfect reading spot.

A window seat piled with comfy cushions sounds amazing. Preferably with either rain or snow falling outside, and hot chocolate on hand. But I think there would be something magical about curling up in a huge armchair in a room stuffed with books. The soft glow of reading lamps, a hushed atmosphere… the thought-ambiance makes my heart sing. 

3. Favorite book beverage? Tea? Coffee? Hot chocolate? Tears of your readers?

As much as I enjoy tea and cold coffee, for reading I would choose hot chocolate. It’s such a cozy drink and always gives me colly-wobbles of happiness.

Readers’ tears are saved for special occasions. I keep them in a Certain Flask in a Certain Cupboard of my old, old home. 

4. Share favorite quotes from four books.

(I know I said four quotes, but this is my tag. I AM ALLOWED TO CHEAT. *maniacal laughter*)

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities”

~~~

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, Return of the King

~~~

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

~~~

“Good Morning!” said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.

“What do you mean?” he said. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

“All of them at once,” said Bilbo. “And a very fine morning for a pipe of tobacco out of doors, into the bargain. […] “Good morning!” he said at last. “We don’t want any adventures here, thank you! You might try over The Hill or across The Water.” By this he meant that the conversation was at an end.

“What a lot of things you do use Good morning for!” said Gandalf. “Now you mean that you want to get rid of me, and that it won’t be good till I move off.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

~~~

“This won’t do, my Jane. You must know the stars. Not that I blame you for not being well acquainted with them. Humanity in its great lighted cities is shut out from the stars. And even the country folk are too used to them to realize their wonder. Emerson says something somewhere about how marvelous a spectacle we should deem them if we saw them only once in a thousand years.”

So, with dad’s field-glasses, they went star hunting on moonless nights and Jane became learned in lore of far-off suns.

 “What star shall we visit to-night, Janelet? Antares…Fomalhaut…Sirius?”

Jane loved it. It was so wonderful to sit out on the hills with dad in the dark and the beautiful aloneness while the great worlds swung above them in their appointed courses. Polaris, Arcturus, Vega, Capella, Altair… she knew them all. She knew where to look for Cassiopeia enthroned on her jewelled chair, for the Milk Dipper upside down in the clear south-west, for the great Eagle flying endlessly across the Milky Way, for the golden sickle that reaped some harvest of heaven.” — L.M. Montgomery, Jane of Lantern Hill

~~~

“And what will they do to you when you have told them this story?’ 

Esca said very simply, ‘They will kill me.’ 

‘I am sorry, but I do not think much of that plan.’ Marcus said.” — Rosemary Sutcliff, The Eagle of the Ninth

~~~

“It was what her mother had always been. A place to put down her heart. A resting stop to recover her breath. A set of stars and maps.” — Katharine Rundell, Rooftoppers

~~~

“Summer, and he watches his children’s heart break. Autumn again and Boo’s children needed him. Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.” — Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

5. What is your most loved fantasy read? Dystopia? Contemporary? Sci-fi? Classic?

-probably most everybody knows how much I love The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, so I’ll leave that out and say Shadow Hand (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #6) instead. It speaks to me in many ways.

-Monster (Mirriam Neil) probably doesn’t count as an actual dystopia, but I’ll pretend it does for the sake of the tag. (don’t tell on me!) This story is good, folks. Check it out, you won’t regret it.

-Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Magical, humorous, endearing, and surprisingly feels-destroying.

-Halo: Ghosts of Onyx. The science is stellar, the charries heart-gripping, the plot and action fantastic, and the ending makes me cry every. single. time. 

-I have too many favorite classics so I’ll list five that pop into my mind instead. Jane Eyre, Bleak House, The Horse and his Boy, An Old-fashioned Girl, and North and South.

6. List three authors you’ve collected the most books from.

I’m not currently at home, but running through my bookshelves in my mind, I’d say C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, and Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

7. What are your thoughts on magic in literature?

I like there to be clearly defined boundaries. For instance, if the magic is from a creator or inherent gifts, etc, I don’t mind that. But if it’s witchcrafty or from demons, I don’t want to read about it unless it’s a villain and there’s very little detail given. I won’t read a book with good wizards (no, Gandalf wasn’t a wizard, lovelies), or good witches, or with main charries using magic for dark purposes unless they realize their wrongdoing and change — character development and all that. Fairytale magic doesn’t usually bother me. 

8. What types of book covers capture your imagination most strongly? Feel free to include images.

Here are a few that thrill my sense of aesthetics. (Bear in mind that other than Golden Daughter, Cinder, and The Secret Garden I have no clue if these books are any good; I simply adore the covers.)

  
  
  
  
  
  
  

9. Mention the first book character that comes to mind. Elaborate on this.

For some bizarre reason it’s Chakkas from Halo: Primordium. His storyline is heartbreaking. From inquisitive young man, to trapped on a hellish, dying Halo, to insanity, to life as an automated guardian monitor of sorts who forgets he was even human except on rare occasions. And he loses his best friend, peoples! *sobs* I would never recommend Primordium because it’s evolutionary and depressing and bleak, but the ENDING. Anyone have a tissue?

10. Do you lend out your books? Or is that the equivalent to giving away your babies?

I like people to love the books I love,  so if the person in particular is someone I know will take good care of it, and I can badger them if they’ve had it for months then I’d lend the book out. Not any antique copies though. Not the precious, old books. 

Tomorrow morning I will be announcing the winner of the giveaway!! Excitement much?

(all images via Pinterest)