My Goodreads Quotes

Allison’s quotes

"Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing a book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right--in the way that's best for us."
Do you really believe that, Mother?" Peter asked quietly.
Yes," she said, "I do believe it--almost always--except when I'm so sad that I can't believe anything. But even when I don't believe it, I know it's true--and I try to believe it."— E. Nesbit

Friday, December 25, 2015

Shameless Christmas Tag

Which I shamelessly post on Christmas, because I haven't posted in forever because of the Blogger Awards, and I'm raring and ready to go.

Merry Christmas, readers!

It is a balmy 78 degrees here.

Ten days ago, my only sibling moved three thousand miles away.

Needless to say, I need a little Christmas!  (*cue Christmas carol*)  And I'm soooo grateful that Sarah from Dreams and Dragons tagged me in this lovely Christmas post.

What is your favorite Christmas treat?

It wouldn't be Christmas without Christmas cookies.  (Which I haven't made yet.  Christmas has really snuck up on me this year.)  I've already made gingerbread, but I still want to make shortbread, my personal favorite.

Are there any special traditions that your family has to celebrate Christmas?

In years past, we've always had Sloppy Joes for Christmas dinner.  I do not care for Sloppy Joes.  Now that a Certain Family Member has moved three thousand miles away, I get to pick Christmas dinner for a change, and I'm making enchiladas and guacamole.  Which I really should be cooking, instead of writing this blog post.  But hey.

How do you normally celebrate Christmas?

We begin with Christmas Mass, when the approximately four Church-attending Catholics in the south are joined by twenty-three squillion other Catholics, who pop out of the woodwork at Christmas and Easter to talk loudly during Mass, get in line too early for communion, and take all the seats, not that I'm bitter.

Do you enjoy getting presents for your friends and family? Do you buy your gifts or go the homemade route?

I love presents a ridiculous amount.  It's not the actual object wrapped in paper; usually, I am (ahem) indifferent to that.  But the anticipation is so delicious, as is the fact that it could be anything, wrapped in pretty paper!

Is it cold where you live? Have you ever had a white Christmas?

We normally have cold winters, although they're hardly ever snowy before January.  I have never experienced a white Christmas.  This year is a sort of opposite-white-Christmas: it's dangerously close to eighty degrees, pouring, and humid.

What’s on your Christmas list this year?

Well.  Um.  Because my sister moved earlier this month, we had an early Christmas, so we've already unwrapped our gifts.  But the Christmas tree looked so lonely and sad that I made a great sacrifice and ordered myself some Christmas presents, which I personally wrapped.  So even though I have a few presents still to open, some of the suspense has, how do you say, flown?

But I still have four beautifully wrapped presents from my Ratty and Mole Secret Santa that I can't wait to open!

What’s your favourite Christmas song?

I'm so glad you asked!  My all-time favorite is Good King Wenceslas, especially if it has a baritone and boy-soprano soloist like the video, singing the roles of Wenceslas and the page.  Runners-up include God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and In the Bleak Midwinter.  I pretty much love any old, Anglican song.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

I love the few minutes between dinner and opening presents from family, when everyone polishes off their food and becomes excited for presents.

What does your Christmas Tree look like?

I don't have a photo of it on my computer, and I really do need to start making enchiladas soon, so I'll give you a hint.  It's somewhere between this:

And this:

What are you reading in December? (Anything festive?)

I am currently rereading the novels of Dorothy L. Sayers to celebrate Christmas.  They have nothing to do with Christmas, except that they celebrate the majesty of a higher power, in this case Dorothy L. Sayers.  Can you tell I love her?

Are you an organised little elf or are you still shopping/preparing on Christmas Eve?

I am an organized little elf.  Even if I haven't gotten around to recording any of tracks for the Christmas CD for my parents, I know what songs they will be... when I get around to recording it.

(At this point, the author went to make enchiladas.)

How early do you start to get into the Christmas spirit?

(Oh, my gosh, the enchiladas were good.  The secret is cream cheese, readers.)

The holiday season begins late October, when my family visits for Halloween.  It continues through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, my birthday, then Easter.  Then there's a long, bleak summer until Halloween again.

Do you make any Christmas crafts? Decorations? Send physical Christmas cards?

I am not artistically inclined.  I will spend any amount of money to not have to make crafts.

What’s the menu for Christmas Day?!

We are serving Turkey Divan with rice, one of my favorites.  My mom is an excellent cook.

What makes it FEEL like Christmas for you? (Weather, specific tradition, food, smell, person, etc.?)

Family makes it feel like Christmas.  Whining together about all the people at Christmas Mass, sitting around the table for dinner, digging under the tree for presents.

Do you have relatives coming? Excited? Nervous?

None, alack.

What famous Christmas character do you most identify with? (Scrooge, Elf, Tiny Tim, the Grinch, Santa, etc.)

I love Ralph from A Christmas Story.  He's so realistically self-centered and lovable.

If you were to start a new Christmas tradition, what would it be?

I wish I decorated more.  I tend to be lazy about Christmas lights and tinsel.

What Christmas movies do you like to watch this time of year or what’s your favorite?

We love A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Toy Who Saved Christmas, A Christmas Story, and Home Alone.

What’s your favorite Christmasy book or book with a favorite Christmasy part?

I am not *hides face* particularly attached to any Christmas books.

If you've made it this far, dear reader, you have the patience of a saint.  Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Concluding the 2015 Blogger Awards: Best Author!

In October, 2014, I wanted some way to draw our blogging community together for the holiday season.  With the help of Hannah Williams, Ghost Ryter, and Clara Diane Thompson, the original judges, my dream became a reality: the 2014 Blogger Awards.

The Awards have come a long way in a year.  We said goodbye to some judges and hello to others.  I am so proud of the amazing judges this year.  Thank you so much, Hannah, Ghosty, Sarah, Annie, and Schuyler.  We couldn't have the Awards without you.

Thank you, also, to the authors and artists who created these amazing books: Kristy Cambron, Suzannah Rowntree, Nicole Sager, Julia Popova, Michael O, Rachel Rossano, Ashlee Willis, Shannon Messenger, Rae Carson, Hayden Wand, Jaye L. Knight, and Brandon Sanderson.  Again, the Awards would not exist without you.

Without further ado, I am pleased to present the nominees for Best Author!

Suzannah Rowntree

I read The Prince of Fishes, and I.  Was.  Floored.  The history was gorgeous.  The detail was beautiful.  The theology was through-provoking.  But what made this novella for me was the relationship of and power-struggle between Michael and his wife, Eudokia.  Each was a great character in their own right, but I came to love their feuding, their debates, their dreams, and their romance.

Kristy Cambron

I read A Sparrow in Terezin and sobbed.  I enjoyed Sera's modern-day storyline.  But easily my favorite part was Kaja's storyline in World War II.  It was breathtaking.  It was tragic.  And it was so romantic.  I had no idea if there would be a happy ending, and it kept me on my seat the entire novel.  I did not want it to end.

Nicole Sager

I read Burdney by Nicole Sager and loved it.  Most fantasy novels these day involve a quest, and I think people tend to underestimate the power of a story set at home.  Not Nicole Sager.  She did a terrific job drawing the action around a central location, pulling characters from all locales into one setting.  It was lovely.

All three are great authors.  But only one can win.  And she is:

Suzannah Rowntree!

I loved all three authors.  But while reading Suzannah Rowntree's book, I laughed.  I sobbed.  I fell in love a little.

Ultimately, what impressed me the most was the ever-shifting struggle for power between Michael and Eudokia.  Neither dominated the relationship; each had different strengths and, most noticeably, different weakness that Ms. Rowntree drew to the audience's attention.  They are not perfect.  They are not always likable.  But they are, throughout the novella, lovable.  And that is why Suzannah Rowntree is the 2015 Blogger Award's Best Author.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes the 2015 Blogger Awards.  We hope you thoroughly enjoyed them!  If you are interested in judging the awards next year, please e-mail me at  On behalf of myself and the judges, have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Blogger Awards in Three Days!

Be sure to check out the first category, Best Cover, at Schuyler's blog this Saturday!

Saturday, December 19- Best Cover, hosted by Schuyler
Sunday, December 20- Best Title, hosted by Hannah
Monday, December 21- Best Short Fiction, hosted by Ghosty
Tuesday, December 22- Best Character, hosted by Annie
Wednesday, December 23- Best Book, hosted by Sarah
Thursday, December 24- Best Author, hosted by Allison (me!)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Desert Island Book Tag, subtitled How to Build an Inexpensive Hut

I stole this unabashedly from My Lady Bibliophile.  Thanks, Schuyler!  Here are the eight books I would bring with me on a desert island.

The desert island
1. The Bible

I've got to finish it sometime, y'all.  As it is, I'm still stuck in Maccabees 1.  Don't even get me started on the Wisdom of Solomon!  I figure I would have plenty of spare time to finish it while stranded.

2. The Complete Plays of William Shakespeare

Yes, this is one book.  Rereading all thirty-eight would keep me plenty occupied, and I could use it to kill small mammals for food.  You really can't go wrong with Shakespeare.

3. Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones

Every time I read this book, I catch a new theme, a new reference, or a new take on a familiar character.  Some of my other reading is pretty dense, so this would be the perfect book for relaxing and unwinding on a tropical, albeit desert, beach.

4. Chime, by Franny Billingsley

I would bring this for the same reasons as Fire and Hemlock.  It is deceptively light and masks a great deal of subtle artistry, whose surface I have only begin to scratch.

5. Gaudy Night, by Dorothy L. Sayers

Because it is perfect.  There need be no other reason.

6. The Complete Novels of Jane Austen

Yes, I know I'm grievously cheating and lumping multiple volumes into one.  But I have seen it done before!  I would bring Jane Austen for her civility and sharp wit.  Besides, if you set it next to the Shakespeare and lay the Bible on top, it would make a decent hut.

7. The Iliad and the Odyssey, by Homer

Now my hut has a wall, and I can enjoy the adventure, warfare, and romance of the ancient Greeks.

And finally, 8. Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson

I could spend happy hours reading about Kaladin, nobility, courage, Kaladin, honor, war, Kaladin, extraordinary worlds, and Kaladin.  What's not to love?  And besides, now my hut has a door.

I challenge you, readers!  Which volumes would you bring with you on a desert island, and how would you assemble them into a storm-proof shelter?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Is Coming!

... and I am nowhere near ready for it!

"But Allison," you say, "there are fifteen days until Christmas.  You have plenty of time."

Ha.  Ha ha ha.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

What if I told you there were only five?

My older sister leaves for college in a week.  Her orientation is a few days before Christmas.  So at my house, we're celebrating Christmas on December 15th.

(And then we're going to do it again on the 25th.  My sister doesn't need to know about that.)

*cue mass panic*

And that is why it has been a quiet on the blog.  Because here is my to-do list before the 15th:

1. Finish rewrites for my Five Magic Spindles entry.  In terms of mechanics, this is more technical and complex than anything I have written before, but it's shaping up nicely.  Rain or shine, I'm sending it off to my awesome beta reader on the 15th, after which I'll post a snippet and tell you about it.

2. Write my senior portfolio for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  It's due the 17th.  I haven't written it yet.  Yeah...

3. And I guess my family would like it if I got them Christmas gifts...

Actually, compared to last year, I have oodles and oodles of time.  I finished my last final exam yesterday (it. took. three. hours.) and only have a few assignments before the semester ends.  So expect more blog posts!  Right...