Bi-Monthly Update ~ July 2021

Summer is here at last! Time to kick off the spring socks and snuggle into those time-worn flip-flops for some sunshine-y fun! What are your plans for this season? Ice cream? Campout? Trip to the beach? 

I, for one, have some exciting plans… including officially starting to draft The Language of Quiet Things! My outline was approved to begin drafting by my mentors June 29th, and I’m beyond excited. This’ll be my third novel ever completed (I still have one from NaNo a couple chapters short I haven’t finished yet) and my second featuring an autistic main character. It’ll play to a lot of my strengths (Worldbuilding, characters, creature design) but at the same time stretch my ability by writing a historical setting (Edwardian era London). To get a taste of what this’ll be, here’s the original concept I posted in May: 

“Chamomile Edevane, an autistic girl with a passion for botany has been shut up in Victorian (Now Edwardian) London for years, longing to be accepted, especially her mother who hides her from society’s prying eyes at the prompting of her Aunt Irene. Being too shy to stand up for herself, she prefers the steadiness of her rooftop greenhouse. When she finds an injured plant pixie named Protea among her lilies, Cam nurses her back to health and offers to help find the rest of Protea’s displaced species. 

    Together they sneak into the London underground of mythical animal smugglers for the endangered pixies. By helping them with her skills in botany and rebuilding them a home among her flowers, Chamomile finally feels useful. Maybe, to stand up for herself, she needed to learn to stand up for someone else first. 

    But her blunders into the world call unsavory characters that endanger all of them — the crippled man who imported the pixies and Aunt Irene, who’s been campaigning for Cam’s permanent institutionalization… and is finally ready to make good on her threat. Cam must decide if she’d rather stay someone her family wants her to be, or speak up… and be locked away from her flowers and friendships forever.”

As I said, the concept itself has changed drastically from then to now, but the root of the story remains the same: A lonely autistic girl in 1900’s London discovers friendship and family by saving the magical pixies. And that’s what I’m excited to write, and I hope you’re excited to hear more about in the months ahead. 

Luckily I’ll have plenty of time to get the first chapters and content started because my family and I are taking a vacation to visit family. It’ll be the perfect time for reading, writing, and practicing my art, as well as other activities like paddle-boarding, boating, and just enjoying God’s creation. Because of this, I won’t be able to post on my platform for the month of July and probably August. I want to be able to relax and recharge, so taking a break from blogging, social media, and other commitments will be good for me and for my blog (Tired brain + perfect writing environment = better writing & happy readers). 

To end this bi-monthly update, I have an important closing question to ask you readers. Do YOU want to see more of my writing? If so, what form of writing do you want more of? (Ex. Poetry, short stories, novel updates, character profiles, etc.)

I’ve already done some of this by posting snippets of poetry, but I think I can do better. So, what are your thoughts? Comment below what you want to see more of!

My Hero Academia #1 Review

My Hero Academia is a superhero Anime and Manga and Anime by Kohei Horikoshi. The story centers around one main figure, on the path to become the greatest superhero ever! One problem. He has no superpowers!

Izuku Midoriya, or “Deku” is part of the twenty percent of the world with no “quirk.” Because of this, he is constantly bullied and pushed down by a society that’s eighty percent superpowered. Despite this, he will do whatever it takes to attend the Superhero Academy and fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a superhero. The only question is… how? 

Why You Should Read

Deku instantly stands out as a memorable character from his first few slides by defending a fellow classmate against a horde of not-so heroic playmates. He proves himself on every page as honest, courageous, persistent, hard working, and filled with integrity, whether it be scribbling in his superhero notebook or cleaning up a beach all by himself. It struck me while reading that the author placed Deku in the perfect position. Unlike others who have to learn what it means to be a true hero after manifesting a quirk, Deku already knows what it means — integrity, kindness, perceptiveness, diligence, and sacrifice. Through his own struggles being quirkless, he actually learned the most important skills needed to not only succeed, but to excel. He’s already a hero! Now all he just needs to figure out the “superpowered” part of the job role. 

The other characters, or “heroes,” might be even more memorable. All Might, the “Symbol of Peace” is a perfect picture of estranged heroism, filled with the ideals of a true hero, but marred with the mortality of humanity. The side characters — Bakugo the explosive bully, Uraraka the perky love interest, and Ida the inflexible rule-follower — all have such life. Bakugo grows into a relatable character that crosses paths perfectly with Deku. Uraraka is bubbly and fun. And Ida… well, you’ll just have to read him for yourself. And those are just the main side characters. There are plenty of other background characters, both kids and superheroes that stand out purely through imagination and creative design. The author is able to balance them perfectly, adding enough to make them interesting but not overwhelming the headlining characters. 

The artwork is fun and almost cartoonish, without losing the gravity of the story. You can see funny things that make you laugh (like a firefighter hero with water hoses for arms) but you also pull back upon seeing the destruction and consequences left behind by a gruesome villain. Every face is expressive and every character design — a crucial part of the superhero world — flawless (if not whacky). 

The message — character, not power, makes a true hero — really resonates with me as a reader and a person. If you’ve ever felt helpless — bullied, friendless but without the courage to make friends, disabled and angry, or in the grip of an illness you can’t control — Deku reminds readers of the power of perseverance and how our actions can impact others around us. 

Content Warnings

There are, unfortunately, several content warnings to go with this Manga. There’s plenty of swearing, borderline sexist remarks and depictions (as in physically-accentuated female characters), danger, and lots of violence between villains and heroes, with civilians caught in the crossfire. It’s clear this isn’t a book for children.

Is It Shelf-Worthy?

If you’ve got a thing for Marvel and can get past the content warnings, this is the Manga series for you. Every character shines through the pages with their quirkiness, kindness, and heroism, finally showing others that actions and character are what crafts the person behind the mask. Hopefully, whether we’re empowered with super strength or crippled with weakness, we can all learn to be heroes in our own way.

Penny From Heaven Review

Penny From Heaven is a Newberry honor winning middle grade novel written by Jennifer L. Holm. Penny, the main character of the story, isn’t looking forward to her summer this year of 1953. Her mother won’t let her go anywhere but her uncle’s butcher shop because she’s afraid Penny will catch polio. Her Italian side of the family won’t speak to her mother’s side, or the other way around. Her favorite uncle, Dominic is living in his car! And no one will tell her what exactly happened to her father, especially now that her mom’s dating the milkman, Mr. Mulligan. All in all, summer this year isn’t looking stellar. But Penny, with help from her father’s favorite singer, Bing Crosby, will remember that as the days lengthen and her ice cream melts, pennies do sometimes end up falling from heaven. 

Why You Should Read

The characters in this story really stand out, from Penny’s half deaf grandfather, to her fast-talking Italian cousin Frankie. While Penny herself didn’t stand out to me very much as a unique character (apart from her terrible hairdo), the world around her that really shines with that vibrant vintage glow. I laughed reading about her encounters with each of her grandmother’s cooking, her escapades with her cousin, and her attempts to get rid of her mother’s less than extravagant suitor. 

The plot of the story in the summer of 1953 was sweeter than the Butter Pecan ice cream Penny couldn’t get enough of, and more diverse than her own family. It jumps from dinners with her grandparents, listening to Brooklyn Dodgers ‘Da Bums’ games with her Uncle, talking with a crush, even treasure hunting with her mischievous cousin. And while that all sounds pretty chaotic, the author fits all the pieces together into a coherent and enjoyable story.

Finally, the message of this coming-of-age book is very touching. The basic premise is, things don’t always turn out the way you want them to. Penny wishes Uncle Dominic didn’t sleep in his car. She wishes that her mother would love her father’s side of the family and that they would all sit down, get along, and share a nice Italian meal together instead of her grandmother’s disgusting liver. She wishes the Dodgers would win the world series for once. She wishes she still had her father. 

But, as the story goes on and reaches the conclusion, we learn the rest of the premise. While things don’t always turn out the way you want them to, that doesn’t mean they still can’t have a silver lining. The author did a wonderful job of illustrating this point in a heartwarming, and heartbreaking way without making it too much to handle for young readers.

Content Warnings

The book is sweet, but there are still a few hard nuts to consider. There is a good amount of family feuding, dogs “going” in the parlor, stealing, vandalism, disobeying parents, rivalry, fighting (both with words and fists), lying, past death, injury, mention of World War Two, and guns and shooting. Luckily, none of it is very descriptive and defers to explain the pain in later scenes.

Is it Shelf-Worthy?

Yes! It’s not a long read, or a particularly hard one, but Penny From Heaven has earned its place for me as a heartwarming little coming-of-age novel. It’s the perfect go to read from your local library on a lazy summer’s day, especially if you’ve got some ice cream to go with it. 

Why I’m Not a Fan of Percy Jackson (& it’s Spinoffs)

It’s true- I’m not a fan of Percy Jackson. I know it seems terrible, even dreadful to some of you die hard fans, so this’ll be harsh. I’m giving you fans a fair warning: turn back now, lest I roast your favorite fandom. 

Before I go on, I do have to admit there are some excellent elements in Rick Riordan’s work. Greek myths have always been an engaging collection of imaginative stories for children, and his idea of creating a mash-up world of both the old and the new is not only interesting, but downright brilliant. Not only that, but his style of writing is as light-hearted and fun as a children’s book series should be. 

But Riordan falls into many pitfalls that dive too deep to redeem his work. I hate to say this. It hurts as a writer to discredit the works of others who work as hard as I do, as I know how much toil, labor and heart goes into the craft of storytelling. But we as readers uniquely hold authors to the responsibility of bettering their craft through both praise and criticism. In the end it will guide us authors onto the path of becoming better than they could have been before. So hopefully this isn’t seen as all bad. But, well, here we go.

It’s Inappropriate.

If you take a step back and think about it, Riordan’s books are actually quite inappropriate for middle grade boys and girls. Historically, Greek myths weren’t all flowers and rainbows. I mean, come on, Kronos ate his own children! That’s heavy stuff, even if your not Atlas holding the world on your shoulders. Taking those old myths in hand is like grappling with Medusa’s hair. It can be done, but you could get bit. And unfortunately, he did. 

The first line of the book starts off saying not to trust your parents. Then he gets to telling your kids how Kronos ate his children, just to put you to rest on the history side. Heartwarming, right? Putting parents in a kind light?
It doesn’t stop there. Almost every authority figure in the first two books are made out to be morons (Dionysus and the school teachers), power hungry leeches (Percy’s stepfather and Kronos) or distant figures without a care (Poseidon and Zeus). 

Violence is predominant in and without the first two books. Not to mention adultery is swept under the rug, and in some ways, even praised (Of course we want more demigods! More fun characters!). The main characters even enter Hell! There are many more examples that can be drawn as to why these books are ghastly for the audience Riordan wrote for. And to be honest, the fantasy genre for young people isn’t very PG to begin with. But those are the few I’m going to name for now, both for myself and for readers. 

After a while, it Gets Boring. 

You don’t need to read the first two series to realize that the concept of gods among us, “oh look I’m a demigod,” grows a bit dull. There are five books in the original Percy Jackson series. Next comes the Heroes of Olympus series, also including Percy. Then there’s the Kane Chronicles (Which, tying into the topic above, covers topics like possession by demonic forces, sorcery/magic, and violence), the Magnus Chase series, the Trials of Apollo, and (though not written by Riordan himself) spinoffs of basically every possible god in the history of the world from India, to Asia, to Africa, to Hawaii, and everything in between. Even if each series takes a sort of different spin, each concept is the same. The gods are failing in some way. They need the teenage wizards, demigods, etc. to help save the world.

And least to me, the concept becomes boring and thin after so many reboots to continue the franchise wagon. You can only go so far before your premise becomes watered down and loses its impact on readers (Looking at you, Pirates of the Caribbean). 

The Author Does Not Respect Christ.

This is a hard and, honestly, a very disheartening point for me to make. While I have no idea what the spinoffs say of God and His Holy Trinity, a competent reader can discern the real truth. The main concept of every story is ‘the gods live among us’ and that very statement is in contradiction with the fact that one God (Three in One) exists. There are no mini-gods running around messing around like naughty children or looking down as disappointed parents, just the One waiting for his children to acknowledge Him in love. And instead, we literally run off with our copies of the Lightning Thief, absorbed in the idea of beings higher than us that will never return the affection (And let’s get real, we’ve all done this with our books, including me).

On a more specific note, many times in his writing, Riordan’s characters make uncouth remarks and references, from obscure points about hell (Percy Jackson, the Lightning Thief) to openly mocking Jesus (Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer). 

At the same time though, Riordan tries to play both sides, making his stand on the matter murky; including “religion” to please some, but then dumbing “it” down for a laugh. In an essence, by not acknowledging Christ but still having Him around, he is trying to erase the offensiveness of Christ while keeping the character of Christ as a court jester for the other gods to poke fun at. As Jesus described a foot in both worlds in Revelation, Riordan’s stand is lukewarm.

I can’t tell you how my cheeks burned as I read the layered accusations. Coward. Joke. Liar. And, as a servant of Christ, what does that say of me? It says I am the coward. The joke. The liar. And I wasn’t the only one who experienced this. My brother, a stalwart Greek myths fan, wasn’t able to continue reading the series because of these issues. As a reader, this is not only off-putting, but downright embarrassing and depressing, as would it be if anything or anyone else was put in Christ’s place. The Bible makes it clear that this would happen. Christ is against the world, and the world will always be against Christ. But, well, it still hurts. So, without meaning to, Riordan makes his stance without meaning to. It breaks my heart in two, but it’s true. The books are as the gods were thousands of years ago: pagan. 

Now, to be clear, I could be wrong. I only made it (just barely) through book two. Maybe the series does get better. Maybe Riordan takes a turn towards something better and brighter for middle grade children to enjoy in their pastime. But, from what I have heard, seen, and read myself, I highly doubt it. 

Conclusion.

So in the end, the books to me are just a pretty shell swept in on a shallow tide, only to be taken quickly in, washed back into the sea. I wish something better could have come of those mythic tales of old. I wish Riordan had been, at the very least, better in his approach to re-writing those old tales, such as Tolkien does in his masterpiece the Silmarillion (though obviously not written as in depth for a middle grade audience). I definitely wish it was stopped before every god or goddess in existence got a book with a suspiciously similar storyline. I wish (though in vain) that my King would be respected, and all who serve Him, from demigods to mortal men. And most of all, I wish my brother could’ve enjoyed the series without having to set it aside. But so it is. 

I don’t like Percy Jackson, and that’s why. 

My Reading Philosophy

Let’s face it, readers. There are a lot of books out there. Some good, some bad, some just plain ugly. And I’ve read my share of both. Let’s just say it didn’t always turn out well. Because of this, I’ve developed my own reading maxim over the years whenever I pick up a new book. This has also guided my thought life, ideas, and even actions.  Because I think books are so important, I think it’s about time I shared my reading philosophy — what makes a book worthwhile — with you all as well. 

Spiritual Discernment.


“And whatever you do, in work or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17, ESV) We don’t often think about what we read as glorifying our King. The aim of this blog is to provide books that’ll encourage that (or to direct you away from books that do the opposite).

Nourishment.


“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20, ESV) Just as we become what we eat, we become what we think. We must critically evaluate the words we digest not just as meaningless jargon but as a tool that can affect our mental health and growth, for better… or for worse.

Good Use of Time.


“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, ESV) There is nothing worse than a bad book and wasted time. As followers of Christ, we must account for all of our minutes, and use them to the fullest of the time gifted to us. Even if that means saying no to a new bestselling book. 

That is the basis of my reading philosophy. Other things I factor in are the research I do for my latest writing project, new genres I want to explore, or just for pure enjoyment (books for enjoyment can still nourish you and be a good use of your time) but these points are what it boils down to. Better yet, this entire article encompasses a powerful idea I want you to grasp: books are important. Much more important than we think. So we should always be selective and remember why — and for Who — we read in the first place.

My (Almost) Flawless Tokyo Dream Life Review

My (Almost) Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is a young adult contemporary novel by Rachel Cohn. The book is all about the fast-paced, techno marvel of a city called Tokyo nestled in the island of Japan (One of my dream vacations spots!). I snatched this right up. I mean, hello, Japan? The food, the sights, the fun, the adorable lucky cat smiling on the cover! How could I resist? 

I would love to shove the main character Elle out of the book and take her place as the heir to a rich Japanese hotel empire. Yet, as I swam deeper into the pages, I began to have some second thoughts about this Japanese Cinderella story. Sadly, my misgivings proved to be closer to the truth than I’d wanted them to be.

Why This Book Fell Short

First off, as far as characters went, Elle, the main character, was just simply tasteless. She went along with everything you’d expect from a young adult courtroom drama (Gets in with mean girls, goes with their not so cool stuff until it’s inconvenient, snaps at her elders because she’s a teen, etc.). Not only that, but her personality was the utterly stereotypical teen with nothing else besides. I don’t even remember the author mentioning a hobby she liked to do in her spare time. She only drifts through the pages, flicking through her phone, agreeing with every cultural ideal except anything actually Japanese. In a way, she was a figurehead, a girl there for the sake of having a strong female character. In the end, she wasn’t strong at all. She was the opposite.

The side characters were exactly the same, only smeared over with the sparkly garment of the Land of the Rising Sun. They were all typical: A distant father, A snobbish grandmother who won’t approve of this “American girl”, the fun-loving uncle, mysterious cute guy with anime hair, and the list goes on and on. Not a single one actually had anything memorable that made them stand out as characters. 

The second big issue I had was the misrepresentation of Japanese culture. I could look past the characters. After all, I was reading it for one real thing: Japan! 

Well, I was disappointed. The description of Tokyo and the surrounding country of Japan were just as shallow as the characters. The only real sites besides the hotel and the glimmering scholarship school she visits are popular sites in Japan, such as the cat island or the imperial palace. It was like reading a tourist guide, not the actual life of a girl who lived in the city for several months. And the people, especially the Japanese characters, didn’t act as people who lived and grew up in Japan. They were like cheaply made Japanese-impersonator dummies. 

This all in all really saddened me since I was hoping for a more in depth look at a country different from my own: the culture, the tradition, the mindset. The dedication to art forms and craft, time, and appreciating nature and all living things. Instead, I found that the author had just simply overlaid America and the West with some fun, cool-to-look-at things from across the pond and called it Japan. She never thought or even endeavored to grasp that Japan and the East have different mindsets, different ideals, different ways of doing things than Western culture.

In the end, she decided that the West was best. But just barging in and presenting the lifestyles, ideas and mindsets of the West as ideal for all humanity is not only annoying, but disrespectful. If we as people really want to be loving to our neighbors, then we need to see them as they are first, in all their beauty and ugliness. Projecting what we want onto someone in this way, whether it be an actual neighbor or an entire nation is just how we step into trouble; with expectations, instead of an open mind. 

Finally, to top it all off, there was nothing of substance or value. Whenever I read books, I try to pick ones with some underlying message. A book without a message is like a ship without a rudder; pointless and aimless. Even children’s picture books have underlying lessons to teach, whether that be kindness or how to make friends or even manners. I thought that Japanese culture would be that message in the book, or even what it’s like to jump cultures so suddenly. But there was no message. Absolutely nothing of value at all. In fact, throughout the whole book there weren’t even small things to grab hold of. 

For example, as someone who’s been involved with the foster system, Elle’s brief life as a foster kid in America at the beginning was far overshot and typical. She had a terrible relationship with all her foster parents for no apparent reason besides she was the risky foster kid they needed to hoard clean towels from. This was not expanded on whatsoever. There were so many ways she could’ve gone with it. Why do foster parents have to be despicable? Why can’t families, even if they are broken, still stand together? Why not show the reasons behind that to give readers a better perspective?

The rest of the book, from then on, was the same. No morals. No messages. Nothing. Not even picture book quality. Not even where there was room to expand on it. It was a cheeseburger of a book laden with fat, sugar, and calories, and it wasn’t even delicious enough for the effort.

Content Warnings

There are plenty more than I’d like to admit smashed inside this seemingly adorable novel. Drinking, swearing/language, selfishness, just plain unkindness and gossip, LGTBQ+ agendas (Note: When I say ‘agenda’ I mean there was nothing else notable about the character or story. Essentially, her being LGTBQ+ was used as a gimmick to please people), mentions of sex, and an almost assault.

Is it Shelf Worthy?

Iyadesu, which means (according to google translate, because I still haven’t learned Japanese from my cousin), HECK NO. While the concept of an American girl living the dream in Tokyo is fun, the actual pull off falls far short of anything that could be worthwhile. Elle was a woman no one should ever endeavor to be: a mindless, selfish, good for nothing filler for skin deep pleasure. The characters weren’t memorable in any positive light. The plot was average, the messages and morals were bartered for shallow boyfriends, and the setting was underdone with minimal research to paint a flabby fingerpainting of the actual island nation.

I for one, though annoyed, am glad I read this. I am now more aware to think and choose what I read. So please, dear readers, if you value your time, take care with what you read, and remember not to read this book.

Golden Pages ~ Poetry #1

I realized something today. I’m a fiction writer… who hasn’t posted any of her fiction writing. Ironic, right? Well, today I hope to remedy that. It’s a little difficult to post an entire 50k book, so instead I think I’ll share a secret little hobby of mine… poetry! It’s something I don’t do very often because I commit so much time to writing novels and blog posts, creating art, and keeping up with college and work.

But today I want to break that mold. No professionalism, just uncensored creativity. So I hope you enjoy this little snippet of fun and love.

Bilbo blunders

Frodo sunders

Darkness from it’s eyrie

Edmund stumbles

Aslan rumbles

“Grace enough for thee.”

Sauron crumbles

White Witch lies humbled

At the feet of Kings

Knights and beavers

Elven singers

Battles blazen

Tea-time taken

How I love Adventure

Within these golden pages

August 16th, 2020.

A Silent Voice #1 Review

Welcome to my first Manga review! Only a few months ago, I was afraid of ever trying Manga. And now, here I am, writing my first review! How crazy is that?

The first Manga I ever picked up happened to be A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima. And wow, I wasn’t disappointed. The story follows a troubled boy named Shoya Ishida as he tries to reconcile with a girl named Shoko Nishimiya, whom he severely bullied in Elementary school for being deaf. 

Why You Should Read

First of all, the characters. Shoya and his loyal gang of classmates are memorable for their mischief, if not for their eventual cruelty. Shoya is played expertly as a person who does bad things instead of just a classic bully stereotype. Instead of being mean for meanness’ sake, he tries to starve the loneliness or hole inside him by doing the most daring things he can do. One thrill after another, from jumping off bridges to antagonizing classmates. All this is explained through his troubled family life (A single poor mother with a sister in the same boat as he is) which gives depth to his character and bullying actions a reader wouldn’t have seen if Shoko had been the main character. He’s also curious about Shoko, his new classmate and coupled with his tendency to push the limits of boredom ties in well to the bully in his character. All this builds up in the end to turn on him, leading him back to Shoko and the conclusion of this Manga. 

Shoko, on the other hand, is purposefully the opposite of Shoya. Even though she has had a difficult life like Shoya, drifting from school to school because of the children’s cruelty to her disability, she is meek, kind, and humble. She takes her bullying with a bowed head, never complaining, and instead turning kindness back on her persecutors (though I must point out that she too, has her limits like every regular person). Both characters in the end are trying the best they can to cope with what the world has given them, one with anger, and the other with life giving love, which ties them inexplicably together. And even the side characters, though not as central, have believable reactions and personalities interwoven in the duo’s story. 

Second, the plot. It’s difficult to describe the plot of this Manga without giving the details away, so I’ll try to keep it brief. The plot flowed well from plot point to plot point. Every scene tied into every scene and every character placed helped to move everything toward the conclusion. The scenarios and twists that occurred were not only believable, but done just right to extract the most power the scene could bring, especially with the time jump from Middle School to the end of High School. You don’t often see such flawless execution in story plotting, so I congratulate the author on such a job well done. 

Third, the art itself was incredibly detailed and well thought out. Just flip open to a page and take a look. The detail is stunning! Shoya’s room is filled with toys down to the buttons and knobs on his video game controllers. The trees are drawn right to the bud in bloom. The classroom even has flowers that Shoko takes care of every day. It’s just overwhelming the amount of care that went into this work.

Finally, the message. Oh where to begin? This book packed such a terrible punch to the gut in so many places. Bullying, disability, friendship, reconciliation/forgiveness, loneliness, kindness, and love are all themes that shine brightly through every page. 

Childhood bullying and its consequences is the main theme the author described. I almost felt like I was being pushed around by the overwhelming impact this theme brought out in me to the point of tears at the end. Often, we assume that children are pure. But not so in this book. Everyone, whether he looks like a bully or she looks like an angel, can step into the role to hurt another far worse than it could ever be intended. It’s a look into the human condition that we often want to ignore. But because of the impact, mistreatment like in this book can’t be ignored. It should be addressed in our own classrooms close to home, whether visible or invisible. 

Despite all that, the love and compassion shown in this book gives such a glimmer of hope that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Yes, people’s actions hurt. But the reaction is just as impactful as the action. Whatever your circumstances, whatever your past, a hand offered in kindness can change just as much in the life of someone as a shove to the floor in anger. You just need to try.

Content Warnings

The bullying in this Manga is incredibly intense. There’s very little physical violence (fistfights and punches are as bad as it gets), but there’s plenty of psychological and verbal attacks on poor Shoko. There’s also swearing, visible anger, mistreatment of Shoko because of her disability as well as other characters, and implied sex (nothing is shown). 


Is it Shelf-Worthy?
Equal parts heart touching and wrenching, A Silent Voice is a perspective changing book that resonates deep in the hearts of its readers. In short, whether you like Manga or not, read this book, cry your eyes out, then read it again. Books like this are worth the tears for the beauty they contain.

Spring Reading List ~ 2021

Spring is in the air! Can you feel it?

After weeks of stagnant snow, I’m elated to curl up among the flowers in the radiant sunshine and enjoy some refreshing reads. Hopefully, they will grow me a little as well. You ready?

1. Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

Long hailed as his greatest work, Till We Have Faces is a classical retelling of the Greek Myth of Cupid and Psyche. Told from the perspective of Psyches unattractive, embittered, and overprotective sister Orual, the shunned woman is forced to grow as she tries to protect her sister from the god of love himself, learning in the end about the overarching meaning of love and identity. The quote from Orual sums up the entire book, that we cannot know the intent of the gods “till we have faces.” With my current looming book project on the horizon exploring similar themes, I think this is an excellent place to start, with profound characters and even more renowned authors to explore.

2. The Blue Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang

I received this gorgeous book as a birthday present from some wonderful friends who know the way to a bookworm’s heart. In this volume are many classic tales from many parts of the globe, such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Puss in Boots, and Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp. But there are plenty of others far less well known, such as the Water Lily/the Gold Spinners, Prince Darling, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, the Princess on the Glass Hill, and the Tale of a Youth Who Set Out to Learn what Fear Was (Yes, that is the title).

I have to confess a terrible truth… as a young girl, I never read fairy tales. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I could barely read during the time in childhood when fairy tales blossomed most in young minds. In a way, this is me playing catch-up, and I’m more than a little excited to read some old tales of dragons, princesses, goblins, and good winning in the end.

3. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Again, another romantic classic for me to enjoy. Part musical (More opera, if you ask me) part Beauty and the Beast retelling, Phantom of the Opera tells the romance story of a woman named Christine raised in an opera house and the ‘phantom’ who’s protected her all these years, teaching her music yet hiding his hideously scarred face behind a white mask. Their strange yet touching relationship is sweet until it turns sour, and Christine mysteriously disappears after the appearance of a new lover on the stage (insert dramatic music). 

What captures my interest most about this story is it’s starring a man with a scarred face as a potential lover. Often, stories, especially love stories, don’t star undesirable love interests. They star people who’re whole, attractive, wealthy, or in tune with current fads. Maybe this is because it can be harder to form a relationship and maintain it with someone who has health problems, mental issues, difficulties with spiritual disciplines such as drinking or adultery, or even something as difficult as quadriplegia. Whatever the reason, I’m interested to see where this love story leads.

4. Phantastes by George MacDonald

Mentioned by C. S. Lewis as one of the foremost books in starting his walk toward Christ, Phantastes was a book I couldn’t refuse. Described as a ‘faerie romance’ it tells the story of a man who is transported to Fairy Land, where he searches for his interpretation of true female beauty. Nearing two centuries old, I’m surprised I was even able to get my hands on this book! I’m especially interested to see what this former Scottish pastor thought about the subject.

5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

A bit of a pivot from the previous books, but I’m taking a dive into sci-fi with this classic. Fahrenheit 451 isn’t just a sci-fi, but a look at a world without books and knowledge, and the consequences thereof (Saying that just reminds me of Brave New World, a world where passion and pleasure is pursued instead of truth and beauty. I’m already getting chills!). A story that carries both a message, good characters, worldbuilding, plot, and prose cannot be a book to pass over, even if it is a little yellowed and worn.

6. Dune by Frank Herbert

Yes, I am rolling out the classics this spring and proud of it! While Dune is a long read, I’m prompted to read this because of the most recent movie release (set for October as of right now). And I must stick to the rule in our house: You must read the book before watching the movie (And let’s be honest, the book is almost always better anyway). So I shall do justice and honor to my beloved mother by reading Dune before the movie… even if it will take till summer to finish.

So, there you have it! My spring reading list this season. What will you be reading?

Unmasked Launch… And Giveaway!

Guys. It’s official. My book, Unmasked, has officially launched!

I mean, there’s not much else to say. I’m shocked that it actually happened. Excited that I’ll be able to hold the first book written by me in the whole wide world in my hands. Terrified that people will hate it and ground a year’s worth of hard work and good intentions into the dust. But I can’t go back, so I guess ya’ll will have to live with it…

But seriously, I’m so blessed that the Lord decided to carry this through. Seriously, this is all Him. I wouldn’t have made it this far if He hadn’t told me to keep going. So I guess this is His work, not mine. Too late to change the credits though…

To celebrate such a momentous day, I’m holding another giveaway! Me and the other Unmasked Anthology writers are giving away an E-book and the last of the preorder goodies (4 bookmarks, 2 pieces of original art, 1 exclusive poem, and 1 letter from the author). But this time, we’re adding 3 extra goodies! The winner of this giveaway will also receive 2 extra bookmarks exclusive to this giveaway and a mock cover by Natalie Johns of her short story in the collection.

The last winner of our giveaway was Acacia (Just so you know that we run giveaways where you actually win something) so if you want a chance to win this bundle, enter your preferred email below for it to be drawn. Best of luck to everyone who enters!

Fine Print: One winner will be chosen. Must be 18 years or have parental permission to enter. Open nationally. Giveaway ends on May 11th, 2021. All prizes except the 2 extra bookmarks will be digital to make it easy to convey the prizes to the winner.

Giveaway Entry: https://kingsumo.com/g/fa4ilq/unmasked-anthology-e-book-preorder-goodies-giveaway

Paperback: https://www.etsy.com/listing/972265890/unmasked-an-anthology-paperback-preorder?ref=shop_home_active_1&frs=1

E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08ZL77M46

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