The Golden Calf

The Golden Calf

Author’s Note: This poem was written in open defiance of the Deceiver, the Father of Lies, that cunning, cursed, blood-shot-eyed bogus bat who fell from heaven after rejecting God completely. 

The title is unique. It relays to how I felt this evening, to how Moses must have felt upon seeing how soon Satan had turned the Israelites against God in worship of a golden statue, instead. Every time I see Satan score like that, whether it be in my life or in the lives of others (particularly loved ones’), I get angry about him trying to subtly dismantle and entirely demolish people’s lives. I get defiant. And this is an outward expression of that defiance, whether Satan likes it or not, whether, heck PC people like it or not (and I’ve really given up on caring about that so far at this point.). So… in a sense, my poem is saying, loudly and proudly, “IN. YOUR. STUPID. FACE. SATAN.”

 

“Not today, Satan.”

Those words

Ring

In my ears

After seeing people

Being torn

A-

Part,

One the edge

With fear

And destruction

In their hearts.

 

“Not my family, Satan.”

You try to

Pick

And pick

And pick

Until there is nothing

At all

Left.

Corrupting,

Deceiving,

Controlling

My loved ones,

Oh yes, I know how

You operate.

 

“Not my life, Satan.”

For it belongs

To my Father

Above

Who has already

Ransomed

Me with wild

Abandon, and restless

Eternal

Love.

The most you can

“Accomplish”–

To tear my soul from

My temple,

However you wish.

 

“Not your world, Satan.”

This is my Father’s world

And in it has begun

Through hope and fears,

And all the years,

In time, God’s

Flawless

Masterful

Plan

Will be

Done.

You have not won.

 

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Image Credit: 

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Exclusive Interview with “Halayda” author, Sarah Delena White!!!

Exclusive Interview with “Halayda” author, Sarah Delena White!!!

OK, first, again, apologies to you guys for not touching base as much as I should’ve… But then, I might not have been able to surprise you with something truly wonderful!

This summer, as I’ve previously mentioned, I read and got addicted to indie author Sarah Delena White’s first book of her Star Fae Trilogy, Halayda. (I will include a blurb at the bottom, for all those interested. I will say this, though: Fae meets alchemy meets steampunk. Meets the classic, “good vs. evil”. Hehehe.) I’ve actually had the pleasure to get to know Sarah personally via Facebook, and bonded a great deal, amidst several good-natured, and sometimes comical, conversations. She informed me that book 2 is coming out soon, this spring, in fact. I asked if, to help build hype and satisfy some of our curiosity, she’d be so kind as to agree to an interview– and she agreed!!!

I AM SO FREAKING PUMPED, GUYS!!!

Anyways… Ahem *clears throat* Let’s get this show on the road!

 

L4G: Thanks soooo much for joining us today, Sarah! It’s really quite the honor to be having this interview; it seems super surreal….I know a lot of readers and Bookstagrammers are rather unfamiliar with you and your writing, so we’ll start off there. First off, how did you get started in your writing business?

SDW: I never intended to be a writer, believe it or not. I’ve always enjoyed creating stories and worlds, but I didn’t prioritize writing until I was in my mid-twenties. I started writing while living and working overseas as a way of processing my experiences. I came to realize the profound power of storytelling and spent the next few years honing my craft and working on various projects. I always wrote fantasy, though. I love the power of speculative fiction to put the real world in a new perspective.

L4G: That’s awesome! I have to agree, I love how fantasy puts a novel (see what I did there?) spin on reality, and am a big fantasy reader and writer, myself. Speaking of which, I know a lot of people who are interested in writing, particularly fiction (and not just myself!). What pro tips can you give for future, aspiring authors?

SDW: 1. Always keep writing, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Before Halayda, I left a trail of half-finished stories in a range of genres. I had to keep trying different ideas and creating different worlds before I hit on something that deeply resonated with me and that I loved enough to commit to for the long run. 2. Don’t be boring! This piece of advice was given to me by one of my editors, Janeen Ippolito, and it changed my whole perspective on storytelling. I used to think I had to plow through the “boring parts” of a story so I could eventually get to the “interesting parts.” The result was some very uninteresting stories! When I started writing Halayda, I chose to make every scene an “interesting part,” realizing that if I wasn’t interested in writing something, people probably wouldn’t be interested in reading it.

L4G: Those are definitely words to live by… All you writers out there, take notes! 😉 I know I’m personally guilty of leaving stories half-finished, sometimes due to duller parts, until recently… But that’s another tale for another day. 🙂 Since, going by your Facebook and Instagram, we already know you love ballads and fae stuff, but… What SPECIFICALLY inspired you to create the world and characters of  Halayda and the Star-Fae Trilogy

SDW: Halayda was sparked by a dream in which I got dragonfly wings thanks to a crazy scientist’s experiment. The dream lingered in my mind after I woke up, and within a few hours Sylvie and Taylan came to life and started to tell me their story. I originally intended the book to be a superhero story, but I quickly realized that the concept wasn’t unique enough and needed other elements to make it sparkle. Since I love genre mashups, I combined fae mythology and steampunk with some of my favorite superhero tropes, and the world of Kyure was born.

L4G: What?! No way, I had a story world that was invented via a dream, too! OK, this is CRAZY *high-fives* OK, OK, Livia, stay focused… stay focused… In Halayda, there are a few things that are very symbolic, the Dragonfly wings and Dragonfly abilities being one of them. Maybe the Humanities and my English-y classes are getting to me with symbols and themes, but I need to ask: What made you choose the specific image of not just WINGS, but DRAGONFLY wings to symbolize and mark out Faerie’s Savior? 

SDW: While most of the symbolism in Halayda was deliberate, the dragonfly wings started as an unintentional symbol (or perhaps a subconscious one). I originally chose them because they were an element of the original dream and I liked the aesthetic. As I delved deeper into Sylvie’s significance and role while drafting the book, I realized that dragonfly wings were a perfect fit for many reasons. Dragonflies often symbolize renewal, as well as change leading to deeper maturity and self-realization, and this is perfect for Sylvie’s journey in Halayda.

L4G: Well, I guess that makes sense. I mean, sometimes dreams just have so much powerful imagery, you can’t help but include some of it… And the fact that it turned out to be something so much more… THAT’S what I call a “God-incidence”! Alright, since I promised my good friend Jarrett I’d ask a question or two regarding specific characters in your story, the Wild Hunt… (Sorry, Casimir– I PROMISE you’ll get a WHOLE interview to express your glorious self next time!!) He wants to know, how do the leaders of the Wild Hunt get chosen (by age, seniority, family/clan, descent, etc.)?

SDW: The leaders of the Wild Hunt claim their positions through a combination of seniority and fighting ability. The older, more powerful members of the Hunt will often fight to assert their dominance and try to claim a higher rank in the pack. Iberek became the chief hound shifter about two hundred years before Halayda takes place, winning a fight against multiple challengers. He is the oldest living member of the Wild Hunt, and very few Hunters are bold enough to question his authority.

L4G: I’m sure Jarrett’ll be pleased to know that fascinating tidbit about his fave character. He also wants to know, just how animal ARE the Wild Hunt– as in, are they mainly human/fae with animalistic traits, or is it vice versa?

SDW: Good question! It’s always interesting to see how authors handle this aspect of their Shifter characters. In this case, the hound and cat shifters of the Wild Hunt are primarily fae, but they prefer a more primitive life than the elemental faeries. While certain aspects of their culture resemble a wolf pack, they don’t view themselves as animals at all.

L4G: That’s very interesting! I thought that way myself, but Jarrett asks a lot of intriguing questions I never would’ve thought of, myself… I gotta hand it to him. Anyways, let’s wrap this up! 🙂 So happy we could get together to do this! Hopefully we can get together to do this again sometime in the future! Just one more question: Any clues as to what book 2’s going to have in store for us– a blurb, or even title-wise? Because there were noticeable changes on your Pinterest, hahaha….

SDW: I don’t have a blurb or a final title yet, but keep an eye out for that this winter, along with the official cover reveal! Here are a few clues about book 2, though:

-It is partly inspired by the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone.
-You’ll get to see more of the mortal (steampunk) world).
-Everyone has a secret, and nothing is quite as it seems. 😉
 
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Olivia!

 

Thank YOU, Sarah!!! This was a lot of fun, and hopefully we can do it again in anticipation for book 3!!!

 

Interested in the Star Fae Trilogy? Here’s more!

Halayda blurb:

“Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.

King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.

Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.

Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.”

Find out more in this dramatic clash of fates and destinies in her first book of the trilogy, now!

https://uncommonuniverses.com/books/halayda/

______________________________________

About the Author:

Sarah Delena White

Sarah is a vagabond on a never-ending quest for truth, beauty, and really good lattes. She has degrees in Intercultural Studies and Teaching English as a Second Language, and loves to explore the connections between fantastic stories – both modern and ancient – and the cultures that invent them. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found making jewelry, singing Irish ballads, and working a variety of odd jobs. She occasionally remembers to eat and sleep, because those things are apparently important. She also loves chickens.

SarahDWhite

Image Creds: Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram 

More Updates

More Updates

Greetings everyone,

It’s me, Ginger. Yes, I know, it’s been quite some time, hasn’t it? Olivia has been quite fraught with a good deal of work, and since Eikon has been left– temporarily– at home, it was up to me to take charge of Olivia’s blog.

Olivia is finally reading some adequate literature, though I am not sure what to make of some of the fiction that she has to read for one of her classes. I never knew how brutal some of the older time period writers could be! Well, I suppose there are some of “those” people in each era, although I myself am more inclined to authors like Ms. Austen or Ms. Bronte.

Speaking of literature, Olivia has been officially elected to read some of her pieces for her college’s “Reading Series,” or “Geneva Reading Series” (also known as the “GRS”) a once a semester program which focuses on embracing culture, literature, and even music. She wanted to keep it a secret from people, to help build suspense and hype, but since her professor, the very unorthodox Dr. Williams, decided to let the cat out of the bag a tad early, she told me to go ahead and talk about it. I kept “nagging” her to take me, but alas, we have only gone once. I supposed it is ironically befitting that she read for them now; she has informed me to tell you that she will likely be selecting a poem or two from here, on her own blog, as well as a section of a story she is writing. I couldn’t be prouder. She will be reading on October 25th; they will record it so that you may watch on some video-posting site that Olivia says is called, “YouTube”.

As for her one blogging story, she says she promises to continue it when time permits her, and I know she longs to do so, but barely has time for herself anymore, so it will likely not be until later this year– at the earliest, perhaps next weekend. At latest, her Fall “Break”.

Some nights are better than others around campus, though, I must confess, Olivia for the most part has the loveliest friends that help making staying here worthwhile. Her one roommate has the most scent-sational essential oils, and her other friend is an excellent back rubber/tummy scratcher, and even does Olivia’s hair properly. I typically stay in the room and doze whilst she is at class, though, so I rarely get out unless I feel the need to stretch my lovely legs.

Olivia has gained much experience over the summer, making new friends, and even befriending an actual published author, from a real publishing company. She and said author have become good friends, I think, as when they are “messaging,” as Olivia calls it, she is often grinning, giggling, and even laughing outright to herself when reading her friend’s messages. I think that looks a bit odd; whatever could they be discussing? I am curious, but not inclined to pry, as that might be considered rude by any standards.

vulpixgif1

Until next time, farewell,

❤ Ginger ❤

P.S., The one evening, she has, of late, burst out into sudden squeals. I have no idea why, only that they had to do with this picture… Might you be able to decipher why?

NandWhite

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Image Credit:

https://tenor.com/view/alolan_vulpix-vulpix-alola-pokemon-sun-gif-7402679

http://pokemontowerdefensetwo.wikia.com/wiki/Vulpix

Five Things I Learned This Summer

Five Things I Learned This Summer

So, no matter where you go or what you do, even if you’re miles away from your school, you never. Ever. EVER. Stop. Learning.

This summer, I learned a few things, aside from a couple of measly cooking skills in a kitchen, which I was previously fairly deficient in. #lifeskills

  1. The Internet has a mix of good and bad people. Very often, you hear negative stories about online people. Stalkers. Kidnappers. Scammers. Catfish. Virus-Makers. (Yeah, I’m looking at YOU. I’m onto you, buddy…) Basic Creepers that have no business in looking at ANY pictures you post (especially if your account is already set to “private”), let alone messaging you (which I’ve had happen to me quite a few times… deleted those suckers faster than you can say, otkazat’sya!). BUT, I will say, there aren’t just bad apples in a barrel. You may have to dig a little, beneath Haters, PCPs (Politically Correct Persons), and Creepers, but there ARE some good, decent people out there online. I’m friends with a few, actually, via a couple of Facebook groups, two of them being writing groups (“Realm Makers” is one) and the other, Project Inspired-based, but of course. So many people out there are just like you, just “normal” ( 😉 ) people who’re nice, caring, friendly, crazy, and GREAT. They genuinely empathize when you’re hurting, give advice if you’re confused or need clarification about something, or if you just wanna hang out and talk, they’re usually there for ya. So yeah, there are the jerks who are as easily triggered as a blink… But there are also the WONDERFULS. Find yourself a “wonderful” and hang on tight to them. It’s worth it.
  2. Don’t stay in an abusive situation. Ever. OK, granted, this kind of thing has happened to me, more than once, and in more than one way. The first I will not go into great detail, only to say that it was an abusive friendship (if it could even be called that, at times…), and I said/thought a lot of regrettable things before I ended it two summers ago(summer of 2016)…. But this time, it was a different situation. And again, because unspecified reasons, I won’t go into detail. Let’s just say I felt deeply unappreciated and alienated by certain people this summer, and it nearly tore me to shreds. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. Due to circumstances, I couldn’t exactly leave this one immediately, but I knew I had to soon, or I would lose it. I cried at home almost every other night, maybe even more, because of said situation. I felt God wanted me to be strong, but I just couldn’t, at that point in time. Looking back, I’m glad I left that situation when I did; it was shortly before the week I got a blood clot in my left calf, and I would have not handled the situations very well together. So, maybe that was a sign…
  3. Appreciate constructive, mentoring feedback– IT’S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD. So, my summer, in a sense, consisted a good deal of getting advice on my writing, and giving advice on writing. As stated in a previous post, I spent my days, when not working, interning as an editor (for an indie publishing company), and doing my job, I was working at my independent study, on my novel, with my dear professor friend and overall genius, Dr. THE Williams. If you people know me at ALL, you’ll know that I’m a sensitive little bugger, and even if said with the best of intent, if you criticize my work, that sensitive little blister inside my brain threats to burst, drenching my cranium with EMOTIONS (mostly upset/depressed ones). I think this is because (theory time!) I’m so super-critical of myself already, that more pressure and criticism just causes my brain to kind of malfunction and/or overload. This is probably why I’m also so critical of OTHERS, actually– it reflects that I’m already too critical of myself. But anyways, I got a lesson in that, this summer. I told myself to quit being so sensitive and juvenile, and that, if I wanted to be a well-known writer someday, I’d get flack from ALL sides, so I just needed to suck it up and take it. Dr. Williams was going easy on me, I think. But he made very good points in his critiques, and really opened my eyes to something I had never viewed my story from, before: if it made SENSE to the reader. Seems like a “duh” thing, but really, it is so flipping important! I actually got to experience a bit of this myself first-hand, so I can now much more easily empathize with both Dr. Williams and all my educators. This summer I had the pleasure of helping a young lady (whom I will, for privacy’s sake, leave unnamed) with her own story, as her editor; her five previous editors had left her high and dry after just a few pages of reading– she had no idea why. Soon after I started, I realized why: The story concept was good, but it needed so much improvement, developmentally and grammatically, that it was making me cringe (as a reader) inside; additionally, she had little to no description of any of the characters, places, etc. It was like sitting in a theater blindfolded, only hearing dialogue, without any sense of what was going on, who was doing what. It hurt the most to see that she was already planning her sequel, and wanted to know if her book was ready to be published. (*winces for her sake*)But, now that I look back on it, she seems to have more of the mind of a playwright, NOT a novelist. If she can get some grammatical and developmental things under wraps, add some little descriptions here and there, plays should do well for her. But not every writer has the brain of a novelist. It would (probably) be terrible if Mary Oliver or Walt Whitman tried to write us a novel; it’s just not THEM. But editing for her gave me not only (free!) invaluable experience to my field,  it also showed me what it’s like on the other side of the fence, as the reader, and how I should approach certain editing situations, especially with stubborn or (like me) sensitive authors. It showed me how valuable criticism and advice truly can be, and I think that helped more than anything.
  4. Life is short, and summer is shorter. Not to mention, this was probably my *last* “free” summer that I’m going to have. Ever. Some things, money just can’t buy back, and it’s just not worth it…
  5. Internships can give you GREAT experience. If you want to test-run what it would be like to work in a certain field, go for it! If you’re just curious, that’s fine, too. 🙂 Some are paid, some aren’t. Mine wasn’t, but that was OK, because it counted for class credit (much needed credit, might I add), I was able to LEGIT help others in editing and providing feedback (seriously, best feeling EVER– your input is actually VALUED!!!), got experience, and I did so well, that the professor/owner of said indie publishing company said he was more than willing to be a reference on my resume, write up a letter of recommendation for me, and asked me to keep him posted about how things were going! In the right internship, magical things can happen to your academic-career life!

What did you learn this summer, and how did it impact your life for the better?

______________________

Image Credit:

http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/06/summertime-and-the-words-are-too-easy/

 

What Sai and Mitsuki Have in Common with Your Not-So-Average Aspie

What Sai and Mitsuki Have in Common with Your Not-So-Average Aspie

Ah, Asperger’s Syndrome.

That unfortunate semi-flaw of mine that gives me the bluntness of Luna Lovegood, the brain of Sheldon Cooper (in a girly, book-nerd, more spiritual way, of course), and, lastly…

The tact and social awkwardness of both Sai and Mitsuki (but particularly the former) from Naruto and Boruto, respectively. These two, in fact, could pretty much be anime poster children for my fellow Aspies and I. Here’s how:

  1. Lack of outward physical expression and feelings. Aspies don’t often, if ever, openly convey what they’re feeling, unless it’s something like they don’t get what they want. Likewise, Mitsuki and Sai are both incredibly hard to read, on the outside, because they’re essentially blank slates– even literally, in a sense. After all, Mitsuki’s name literally means, “snake vessel,” referring to the fact that he is a partial clone of Orochimaru; Sai, on the other hand, goes through Anbu Black Ops training from a very young age, has erased essentially most ties and emotions in his brain’s databank, and is initially forced to rely on his “fake smile” to get him through working with others.

sai1

2. Lack of obvious tact. This one is a lot more apparent in Sai than in Mitsuki, but both really have a habit of stating the inappropriately obvious, but in the wrong way, time, and place. Sai will outright insult people, and not even really know he’s doing it, often with an attitude of, “Oh, I’m sorry, I would think you’d already know.” This problem gets somewhat resolved later, when his teammates quickly urge him not to call their stout friend Choji “fatso,” and Sai decides to, instead of calling someone what they are/what he thinks they are, to lie and say the opposite of what he thinks they are– leading him to call Ino (his future wife), “beautiful,” to the chagrin and anger of Sakura. On Mitsuki’s half, he is more controlled, but is still pretty blunt; for instance, when ChoCho and Sarada are talking about ChoCho possibly not being related to her parents (and trust me, the similarities ARE there pretty plainly), Mitsuki pops in unexpectedly to give his input, saying that he can tell she’s an Akimichi from not only her family crest, but from her physique as well (she’s Choji’s daughter). He labels her with,”Tragic Heroine Syndrome,” a condition he claims affects girls like her around this stage of life, and one of the primary symptoms beings that girls question their identities. Talk about a little harsh.

Mitsuki1

3. Don’t know how to socially physically act/ react to certain people, and/or in certain situations. Poor Sai, he tries so hard to make an effort, relearn everything, and even has a little guidebook that he carries with him everywhere to try to help him socially and physically. For instance, look at how he tries to comfort Naruto in one scene, when the book advised him that physical comfort and embraces were the best way to go (My first thoughts: “Welp, this is about to get awk…ward…”). Sure enough:

naruto_and_sai___funny_moment___animated_gif_by_painbooster2-d5a5u4e

4. Obsessions! As an Anbu member, of course Sai would be obsessed with his missions, but he also gained an obsession for learning how to communicate and bond properly with other people (not a bad thing in THEORY…). Mitsuki, on the other side of the fence, is pretty clearly obsessed with having Boruto as his best friend (and no, NOT in a romantic sense, to all you politically correct people out there!), calling him his “sun,” while Mitsuki is the “moon”. Don’t know what that means, exactly, but Mitsuki formed a pretty quick attachment to Boruto, follows him around discretely a TON (before seemingly popping outta nowhere, usually freaking out/ scaring Boruto in the process, and being all, “Hey, what are we doing? 🙂 “). It gets to the point where he is willing to forego almost any behavior, save for what his dear old dad advocates him to do, to win over Boruto’s good opinion, such as when he viciously fought Iwabee Yuino in a practice battle, on his first day of school, and Boruto berated him for nearly strangling his friend. Mitsuki stopped instantly on hearing how much Boruto disapproved, and vowed not to do such again (at the very least, not in front of him.).

mitsuki2

^Mitsuki popping in unexpectedly while Sarada Uchiha tells Boruto how blue his eyes are, compared to Naruto’s

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Image Credits:

https://painbooster2.deviantart.com/art/Naruto-and-Sai-funny-moment-animated-GIF-319399358

http://blog.naver.com/PostView.nhn?blogId=satani&logNo=110190590268

The Boss-y Baby

The Boss-y Baby

We think we know everything about babies, don’t we? Where they come from, how uneducated, messy and smelly they are…

Well, according to the movie, The Boss Baby, you should think again on that matter.

*WARNING: SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT*

Apparently, it says, babies come from a magical heavenly realm where they are either sorted into families with no knowledge or real memory of being in Babyland, OR be sorted into a administration with a much bigger goal: To always keep the babies’ cuteness factor as number one in society. All you-know-what breaks loose when it turns out that puppies are beating them in that race for numero uno, so the boss babies take matters into their own hands; one of their own infiltrates a seemingly ordinary home, with seemingly ordinary parents, and an only child, an older boy aged seven, Timothy Templeton. Tim gets a taste of all the negative things that come with being an older brother with the new baby, and instantly takes a disliking to him, but also grows suspicious at the baby’s fairly obvious intelligence, and initially tries to prove this to his parents. However, the boss baby catches him, and later on they form a reluctant truce: If Tim helps the boss baby with his top secret mission, then the boss baby will return to Babyland, and Tim will have his parents all to himself again. Of course, to do so, they have to pretend they’re loving siblings so that their parents will take them to Puppy Co., their workplace, on account of “Take your Kid to Work Day”, but in the process actually bond a little, becoming fonder of each other, despite the misgivings. They defeat the “evil” CEO, cutting the company short of some of its breeding profits, and save the day. The boss baby is transported back to Babyland and is heralded as a hero, and Tim’s parents get their memories wiped (Tim doesn’t), so he has them all to himself. However, when he keeps one of the baby’s toys as a memento, and the boss baby, while given a new office with a golden potty to boot, reminisces about the time where he and Tim played pirate together on the plane to save Tim’s parents. Eventually, Tim invites the boss baby to come back and live with them again, permanently this time, and the baby rejoices, runs to the sorting machine, fixes it so that he’s given to Tim’s family, and they happily re-accept him, naming him Theodore.

Years later, we see the two boys, now adults (Theo has yet to shed the business suit), and Tim’s daughter complains to her dad and uncle how she wanted a pony, not a little sister. Amused, Theo hands her several bills, and tells her to go and buy one. The girl looks through the hospital window at the newest member of her family, when the small, blonde pig-tailed girl in a mini business suit looks up and winks mischievously at her bewildered older sister.

What was done well:

  1. The dynamic between the two “sibs”. Kept playful and yet believable. I like.
  2. Undercover mission… with babies. Their team even has an artist, henchmen, and a muscle man baby. Call me impressed.
  3. Story was fairly interesting. I found that Tim’s scheme to expose b.b. was more interesting than b.b.’s actual mission, though. Really? A simple contest of cuteness?

What needed work:

Much of the story was confusing, and sometimes contradictory. For instance, Tim’s mom is shown visibly pregnant at the beginning, and not when the boss baby first arrives. When boss baby takes Tim on a tour of Babyland, and inquires where Tim used to think babies came from, Tim whispers in his ear presumably what most parents tell their kids when they talk about reproduction; the boss baby looks revolted at this, and shakes his head dismissively.

Another contradiction I found to be odd was the Youth Formula the babies were given, keeping them forever, well, babies. The issue with this is, then they will never mature, never learn language, etc. The babies who were first created in the administration would be as immature and as little learned as the newbies coming in.Very contradictory, and a bit confusing.

 

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Cute, but needs to clean up the contradictory stuff first.

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Image Credit:

https://www.movieinsider.com/m12763/boss-baby

 

 

“Ugly” and the Beast: A Snek’s “Tail”

“Ugly” and the Beast: A Snek’s “Tail”

See what I did there???

Also, yes, I misspelled “snake,” on purpose. But don’t worry, I’ll get to that later.

Lately, I’ve been doing a good bit of reading. And not just popular reads, either (Six of Crows and Heartless have been tempting me yet again… This time, I may have to give in to the latter.). I’ve seen some pretty good stuff from the indie author side of the spectrum lately, too– from Halayda to my latest finished read, the novella by H.L. Burke, Coiled. 

WARNING! YOU ARE ABOUT TO, YET AGAIN, PASS THROUGH INTO SPOILER CITY. PROCEED NO FURTHER IF YOU WISH TO REMAIN UNSPOILED. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Overall, a good read. A fairly short, and somewhat predictable read, but a good one nonetheless. While it was advertised as a take on the mythological Eros’s and Psyche’s tale, it personally reminded me of more of… Beauty and the Beast. Only, this version was more like UGLY and the Beast.

But then, perhaps not. You see, the main character, a girl called Princess Laidra, is outright hideous in every single way imaginable, but has a beautiful, caring, moral heart. She has the gift to heal others physically, whether it be animal or person, but at the cost of further damaging her appearance; she often does so anyways, but has to hide when she heals, because her mother, who in actuality does not care about her whatsoever, forbids her from growing uglier. Laidra must wear a hooded cloak, and sometimes a veil, to hide her appearance in public. In stark contrast, her vain, arrogant and cruel twin, Princess Ellea, is immensely outwardly stunning, a pure model, but has the heart and sympathy of a freaking boulder. Yeah, you heard me. A. Boulder. A stone-cold one, at that (yep, feeling punny today, hehehe…).

Welp, right across the ocean so blue, we have our lovely neighboring kingdom with their own troublesome royal twins, Kalen and Volen, who are likewise under a twin-curse- thingy, via a demi-god’s wrath. If Kalen is looked upon, he turns into a huge, vicious serpent, and his mind instantly becomes bestial, inhuman. So naturally, not wanting to harm anyone, he lives out in a cave that interconnects to a special castle just for him, where he can be alone (but he is very lonely. Trust me on that.), save for his demi-goddess mother’s occasional visits (she visits him blindfolded). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Volen, who is more callous, cannot at all be left alone, lest HE be serpentine, as well. Their father obviously favors Volen for the throne, so, to break the curse on Volen but to seal Calen as a serpent forever, he plans to ally with previous said kingdom, marry Volen to Ellea, thus breaking both of their curses, and forcefully change Calen into a serpent and feed Laidra to him. But things go awry when Laidra ends up escaping, and she and Calen meet (it’s dark enough that she can’t see him, and thus his curse is not activated). What happens next through a series of events is epic, beautiful, and powerful. Here’s my take on the story:

What was done well:

  1. The character building. The characters were realistic and easy to empathize with, if somewhat predictable. I mean, you easily knew that the two sets of twins were going to end up with each other. Still, kudos for character growth. Especially for Laidra’s character growth. And I love Calen’s character! Very sensitive, strong guy, for all his weakness.
  2. The overall plot. Even if somewhat predictable, it was still enjoyable. I mean, for starters, it didn’t take me long to figure out that Calen was a gigantic serpent, and Laidra was supposedly going to be fed to a monstrosity (I mean, two and two, really…)… so… But the overall plot was good. I like the theme of looking past outward appearances to the heart and soul’s beauty– classic Beauty and the Beast stuff.
  3. How Laidra’s gift showed her true character and inner beauty. Each time she heals, she gets uglier. She continues to heal despite this, despite being unwanted and shunned due to her appearance, and her mother’s threats. That not only takes guts, but compassion and selflessness. She obviously thinks little of herself in this sense, and more of others, which I deeply admire.

Mixed Feels on:

  1. The whole “gods” vs God thing. While there are pagan gods, these are portrayed as the “lesser” gods at one point, and God is shown as the only One True Divine Being. However, this was not always shown to be the case, until the second half of the book, save for Laidra hoping for and hopefully praying to that God of love. This was a bit confusing, because I didn’t know which direction the author was really taking the story, with this idea– mythology, or GENUINE theology? If you’re going to blend the two, at least be careful in being theologically sound.
  2. Volen’s transformation. I thought it a cool and ironic idea… But it was confusingly executed. If he alone transforms when he’s ALONE, with no one watching, wouldn’t he turn back into a human upon his brother– and Laidra– seeing him, when he attacked them on the beach? It’s slightly contradictory, just slightly.

Things that needed work:

  1. I felt like things sometimes progressed a little bit quickly. Granted, not always the case, and I really appreciated how she spread out the days so Laidra and Calen got one-on-one quality time with each other, BUT something about most other things felt a little… rushed, every now and then. I don’t know why, maybe that’s just me. It wasn’t all the time though, and just occasionally.
  2. Slightly lacking in scenery description. Great at describing people, but then, I think that that’s what the story was about, that and love. But needs work in describing a *little* more of the scenery. Not too much more, but a little. Teleport us there!
  3. The disembodied voice of Calen’s invisible servant pal. Honestly, I want to know more. More, I tell you! I feel like we don’t know enough about him (?). Who is he? How did he end up working for Calen? Why is he invisible to begin with? Is he human or mythological?Sooooo many questions!

My rating: 3.5 stars. (Hey, like I said, I’m a tough rater, so this is actually pretty good.) Needs a bit of tweaking, but definitely LOADS of potential. Idea is very intriguing, but mostly needs to be made less obvious in some areas. Let the reader do some detective work, except when it comes to Mr. Disembodied Floating Voice. That, we need the beans spilled on!!

Oh, and P.S. ….. The author likes affectionately referring to them as, “sneks”. Because reasons. 😉

 

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Image Credit:

http://www.hlburkeblog.com/2016/12/