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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Nightstand Books: January + Exciting News!

In which I share a picture of my nightstand.

Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned Great Possession Purge of 2016, I no longer own a nightstand.

Inspired by Jenelle Schmidt and D J Edwardson.

A nightstand.  Not MY nightstand.  But a nightstand.
Welcome back to the blog, readers!  I finally snatched some writing time while on vacation in California.  Vacation also means lots and lots of delicious reading time, so I have some real treats to share with you.

I read Keeper of the Lost Cities, by Shannon Messenger, on the plane, at the recommendation of Emma Clifton.  These books are perfect for vacation, or anytime: lighthearted, easy-to-read, and ridiculously entertaining.  They're not high literature for you literary types, but they bring joy in my life, and that's what matters in a book.  Also, I can get them in ebook form from my library, so I'm dashing my way through the series.  My progress has stalled at book three, because someone had the sheer cheek to check out the library ebook.  So now I have to wait.

Dear mysterious stranger,

Give it back.  Now.



While waiting for the third book, I've started The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathon Stroud.  I'm only a few chapters in, but so far, it's utterly delicious, beautifully crafted, and witty.  It's about ghosts, for those who may be uncomfortable with this, but it portrays them in a strictly secular light (so far, at least).  The first line:

Of the first few hauntings I investigated with Lockwood and Co. I intend to say little, in part to protect the identity of the victims, in part because of the gruesome nature of the incidents, but mainly because, in a variety of ingenious ways, we succeeded in messing them all up.

It reminds me strongly of Jackaby, by William Ritter (only, dare I say, a little more polished?), and I love it so far.

As for the exciting news, I am pleased to say that I have been accepted to UNC Chapel Hill, to study English/journalism!  I can't tell you what a relief this is to me, and I'm so glad to share it with you.

How's your month so far?  Have any other seniors heard from colleges?  What are you reading?

Monday, January 11, 2016

My Top Ten

My favorite college application had a section for my Top Ten.  It didn't specify Top Ten books, or Top Ten movies-- just my Top Ten.  I loved this idea so much that I dug through my archives and found my Top Ten for 2015.

In no particular order:

Dorothy L. Sayers

Dorothy L. Sayers launched my love for the mystery genre.  I adore her Lord Peter books, which are the perfect blend of technical mystery, genuine emotion, and great characters.  If you haven't read her books yet, you should absolutely try them for 2016.  The series begins with Whose Body?, but you can start with Strong Poison as well.

I've always loved having a clean, organized room, but I had to spend hours each week keeping it that way!  This book on de-cluttering changed the way I live.  I have so much space, and cleaning is easy now.  Love, love, love this book.

Home and Garden TV

My dad and I discovered Home and Garden TV and cultivated an obsession with it.  Our favorite shows are Love It or List It, Property Brothers, and Fixer Upper.  Using the knowledge I've obtained from these shows, I've been redecorating my newly-decluttered bedroom.


Because of my decluttering, however, I was down to two pairs of pants (eek!).  I had to shop for more clothes, and I loved doing so.  2015 sparked an aesthetic taste in me, which led to all my redecorating and shopping.


My mom and I both love this show, and we've taken to watching it in the evenings.  It follows a snooty but lovable psychiatrist and his family.  It's probably PG 13.

Till We Have Faces, by C. S. Lewis

A stunning look at the nature of humanity, truth, and love.  It is not the easiest book to read, but the ending is perfect.

My Tea Kettle

I love loose-leaf teas, but they take so long to make.  For Christmas this year, my grandmother got me a tea kettle, so I can brew loose-leaf tea in minutes.  I've had tea every day since Christmas!


I've always enjoyed yoga, but I never relied on it until 2015.  It's the perfect way to exercise and unwind at the same time, and I can't get enough of it.  And, um, I'm totally as flexible as the model in the picture.  Yeah.  Absolutely.

Jane Austen

I finished the novels of Jane Austen this year, which was bittersweet.  Few authors observe life as keenly as she did or replicate it as sharply.  I anticipate many happy rereads.

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

My most recent addition to the list-- so recent, in fact, that I started watching it on New Year's Day, which technically disqualifies it for this list.  But I love it so much that I thought I would share it anyway.  It covers alternately hilarious and chilling Australian crime.  Consider this one PG 13 or R.

Here's to 2016!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Year in Review

(This post would've been more dramatic yesterday, but I am laid low with the plague or some similar malady, so tough.  Also, I stole/borrowed this layout from the effervescent Rachel Heffington from Lipstick and Gelato.)

2015 was an interesting year.  It was, without a doubt, the hardest year I have ever experienced, and ultimately the most rewarding.  So here, month-by-month, is What I Did:


I started off a semester of nine classes, which seemed like a good idea at the time.
I wrote a novella reimagining A Midsummer Night's Dream, called The Undying.  It sank like a stone.
I checked the mailbox every day, waiting to hear from North Carolina Governor's School, to which I had applied in November.


My musician-sister left for her first national tour.  My mother chaperoned her, which left me as Lady of the House.  We ate out every day for three weeks.
I received an invitation from Governor's School to audition for their choral program.  I chose Pie Jesu from Faure's Requiem as my audition piece.
I turned seventeen and threw myself a celebratory tea party.  It was the first party I threw without my mother's help.
I suffered the first signs of a mysterious illness that bothered me most of the year.


I was accepted to the choral program at Governor's School.  Yay!
I performed in the chorus for the Durham Savoyard Opera's production of Utopia Limited.


We received word that Hospice had been called in for my ailing grandfather.  They gave him six months.  The next day, my aunt noticed he looked pale and called the nurse back.  They gave him twenty-four hours.  He passed away that night.
I assistant stage-managed Cary Youth Ballet's production of Peter Pan.
My mystery illness worsened, and I finally went to the doctor, who diagnosed it as stress and gave me orders to rest.
I finished my junior year of high school.


I went to prom with my two best friends.
I rested, as per doctors orders.
I became addicted to yoga.


I packed up and headed to Governor's School, where I studied music, philosophy, and ethics, and wrote for the paper.  While there, I wrote the first draft of my Five Magic Spindles entry, inspired by the poetry I read in the school library.


I came home for break in time for my sister's birthday.
We had an Austrian house guest for seven weeks, with whom we had many zany adventures.
I returned and finished my session at Governor's School, where I had many wonderful teachers and friends.


I have positively no idea what I did in August.  It was probably school.


I wrote the first draft of my second Five Magic Spindles entry.  Although I loved the characters and setting, the plot needed work, and I decided to take the doctor's orders and scrap this project for the year.


I started prepping notes for NaNoWriMo.
My lovely family visited for Halloween.  Shenanigans and good times were had by all.
I contacted the judges for the Blogger Awards, and we began planning this year's ceremony.


I won NaNoWriMo.  Hurrah!
I pulled together my entries for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, including my senior portfolio, the theme of which was Cowards and Courage.


I finished my Five Magic Spindles entry, it was approved by my lovely beta-reader, and I sent it in.
My older, only sister moved to Los Angeles.
We celebrated a quiet Christmas.

And there is my year, readers!  I'm sure I have forgotten some details and misremembered others.  2015 was a hard but good year.  Here's to 2016.