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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January is Over

By On January 31, 2017
January is over!! Which means we've confirmed that 2017 is officially up and running. Always a good thing. 

2017 got off to a mostly good start for me- I'm just a little ahead in my reading challenge, but then again I somehow didn't finish my novel? #oops More on these below, haha. 


(IT'S NOT COFFEE. IT IS HOT CHOCOLATE. FIGHT ME ON THIS.)


Hannah posted about letting go of your story and if you're not already following Hannah then you probably should because she's basically my go-to for writing inspiration and such. 

Abi had a cover reveal for her upcoming release Martin Hospitality, so that was tons of fun! 

Christopher shared a post on how this earth isn't our home and I was super encouraged and inspired by it. 

Savannah got a post about mentors on GO TEEN WRITERS which means she's famous now.

Rebekah posted some hilarious answers to the question 'What are you planning on doing in your future?' and you definitely need it in your life right now. 

Mary wrote a poem called remember the days and it made me nostalgic meaning it has to be good. 

Amanda wrote about when life feels meaningless and you need to go read it because I said so. xD

Hannah posted on darkness in fiction and why it needs to have a reason and it was so, so good. 



I got a good of reading done this month!!! Which makes me super happy because I sort of set my reading goal to 100 books [WHAT WAS I THINKING], so I need to read as much as I can. 

I read 9. TOTAL. BOOKS. Which isn't really all that impressive but I'm also halfway through three other books that I didn't quite manage to finish this month. XD But I think this might be some sort of record for me lol. Count 'em up:



Favorite Fiction: 

Storming by K. M. Weiland. This was SO MUCH FUN. It has fantastic characters and a super creative plot. Plus, it's a historical mashup. #win I HIGHLY recommend this to everyone, so go buy it. xD

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stuart. ALSO SO MUCH FUN. But of course we expected this from Trenton Lee Stuart. XD I have a full review for this one, so go ahead and check that out. :D

Favorite Nonfiction: 

Reckless Faith by John MacArthur. I don't really agree with much of this author's theology, but I agreed with most of this! :D I think the information in this is pretty important and that everyone should probably read it. *nods* 

The Extroverted Writer by Amanda Luedeke. This wasn't SUPER helpful to be personally, but I'll definitely be reading this in the future if I ever get on more social media sites. :D

Wouldn't Recommend: 

Hmm... this was a really good reading month, haha. I personally wouldn't recommend The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton [I understood about 4% of what happened, heh], but I know other people who LOOOVE this, so it's probably more of an opinion thing. 


Stalk me on Goodreads if you want to know what I thought of any book I didn't mention, or ask me in the comments! 



Didn't get quite as much writing done this month [probably because I read so much]. I wasn't really keeping strict track of my wordcount, but as far as I can tell it's only a little bit more than 3k. 

But it was still a realllyyyy good month for writing. Here's why: 

You know how you've been planning out scenes in your head as you work your way through your story? (or maybe before you started even writing haha) And then you finally start to get to those epic, fantastic scenes that you were planning and you realize that you ACTUALLY. GET. TO WRITE THEM. 

And then you sort of freak out because you're not sure if it's going to turn out how you want it to. 

^^^ THIS = ME DURING JANUARY.

So this month, I decided I was going to take everything slow. Slower than ever, I think. 

And... it actually worked? 

At first I was kinda hesitant. Because slowing down is just not really my thing. At all. I felt like if I didn't spit the words out onto the page, then I would lose them, or my ending would have a disjointed feeling. 

LOL OBVIOUSLY I WAS A MISGUIDED LITTLE NOVELIST.

I'm still not quite finished with Library of Lies [which is what everything above applies to, btw], but I'm working on the ending. 

And yeah haha I HAVE A BUNCH MORE TO SAY HERE but I'll probably do an entire post about it when I finish. In the meantime, have a longish snippet:


~a character who will go unnamed for now, mwahaha~ 

The cataclysmic explosion throws me off my feet, sending me upward and interrupting my jolting dash through the battlefield. I’m soaring through the air, flying, breathing, spinning, like a bird. The wind caresses my cheeks as it flows past me, and I take in gasping breaths. Up here, the air is fresh and crisp and clean. My eyes are shut, blocking out the battle. I can do anything here in the sky. 

But the sensation doesn’t last long. I’m bounced back into reality as I land on the cobblestones with a harsh thud. Glass and other small pieces of debris shower onto my still form and the ground around me with an almost melodic tinkling. 

I sit up. 

Toby. 

I’m surrounded by battling men, and the air down here is stagnant. I feel like I’m suffocating- but it’s not because of the metallic air. 

Toby. 

Now, I don’t just feel like I’m suffocating. I am suffocating. I can’t breathe, I can’t think. Something slams into me hard, and I tumble backwards, barely managing to stop myself from falling onto my back with the palms of my hands. 

Toby. 

I force myself to climb to my feet, and it’s as if the motion clears my throat of something that was blocking it. I can breathe now. The air has a rusty flavor  on my tongue. 

Toby. 

I run towards the Tower, the pounding of my feet matching the pounding of my heart, both of which echo fiercely in my ears. Somewhere in my mind, I know that there’s a battle going on around me, and that I should be afraid. But I keep running. 

... to be continued... xD



Nothing exciting really happened on the blog... unless you count my two week (ish) and completely unannounced hiatus. I did hit 40k pageviews though, so that was cool. 

Also I'm STILL adjusting to the blogger update, haha. I'm at the point where I can actually REMEMBER TO CHECK MY READING LIST but at the same time I just realized that I can't see the total number of comments published on my blog?? #rude xD 

And no, I still haven't put up a new page for Library of Lies. I'M WORKING ON IT THOUGH. So stay tuned for that at some point in the near future. (just know that anything in the next year qualifies as 'near future.' Ahem.) However, I did update the synopsis for The Raven Project, as well as added a mock cover, so you can go check that out.








ALRIGHT YOUR TURN. Tell me about your month!! How did 2017 start off for you?? Any favorite books you read? And for all you novelists, HOW GOES WRITING? Anyone else working on their ending??

~ Jonathan 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Secret Keepers: Smoke, Watches- and Secrets. (+ an Intriguing Mystery)

By On January 25, 2017
So I sort of haven't posted a review in... a long time. I think at one point I was trying to do one review a month, but OBVIOUSLY I HAVE MORE OR LESS #FAILED. Oh well either way I'm here with a book review today and maybe I won't miss next month's??? Who can tell.
about the book 

Eleven-year-old Reuben spends his days exploring, hiding, and practicing parkour among the abandoned buildings of the Lower Downs as a way to escape the rough times that have befallen him and his mom--but his discovery of an extraordinary antique pocket watch changes everything. When Reuben finds that the watch has the power to turn him invisible, he's propelled on the adventure of a lifetime.


Now Reuben is being pursued by a group of dangerous men called the Directions, and someone--or something--ominously called The Smoke. They all want the watch, and with the help of new friends, it's up to Reuben to unravel the mysteries surrounding it and protect the city from evil.


New York Times bestselling author Trenton Lee Stewart's latest novel will enthrall old and new fans alike with the twists and turns of an inventive and compelling adventure reminiscent of The Mysterious Benedict Society series.
 


my review

Well this book was more or less BRILLIANT so I'm just going to write this review in list form. Since I practically live off lists anyways. 


L I K E D 

- Reuben is basically a ninja. Even before he finds the watch, HE'S 100% NINJA OKAY. Trust me I know these things. And of course, after he finds the watch, it sort of can make him invisible. People who can go invisible = ninjas. THE LOGIC HERE IS FLAWLESS. (But: note to readers of this review- invisibility isn't actually all it's cracked up to be, just so you know.)

- Reuben and his Mom have a really great relationship. They basically 1) make jokes about everything and 2) design their dream houses. THESE ARE GOOD PRIORITIES. Plus they both have great senses of humor, so it's a win-win. 

- The Directions. BECAUSE HELLO YES I'm completely in love with this idea because it's so original and creative. Although, what else did we expect from Trenton Lee Stuart?

- Did I mention that Reuben is an unofficial ninja?? BECAUSE I APPROVE OF THIS.

- The Meyer family was pretty fun also, especially Penny.

- Jack was sarcasm goals when he went to visit the Counselor. That is all. 

- The Smoke. Because he was basically the perfect villain for a mystery, and there were so many twists and surprises that I did not see coming. Not from miles away. 

- The climax is sort of set in an old mansion filled to the brim with traps. Obviously this is fantastic and I approve 100%. 

- The plot was nothing short of brilliant, pitting Reuben, Penny, Jack, and Mrs. Genevieve against The Smoke in an engaging mystery. Featuring 1) a lighthouse (no you did not see the cover shush), 2) a watch, and 3) a decades-old family secret. I have so much love for this plot, which is sort of unusual for me. 


D I S L I K E D 

- The word 'parkour' was in the synopsis but I don't remember reading it in the book? #disappointing 

- It was decidedly less clever/witty then The Mysterious Benedict Society. Mostly because there's 1) no Kate 2) no Constance 3) no Sticky and 4) no Reynie. The characters in this book are still great, but not nearly as funny as the cast of The Mysterious Benedict Society. Which I'm okay with- since the plot was so darned brilliant and the characters were still likable. 

- There's definitely some deception and such in here, both from the good and the bad side. Reuben lies to his Mom a few times. But while I'm not excusing it, every time it's because he wants to protect his Mom. And there's a lot of discussion about whether or not Jack's 'borrowing' of a car is actually stealing. (it's more humorous than anything else) Just something to keep in mind. :D


So I'd probably recommend this for 13+. (loosely) ALL IN ALL I LOVED THIS THOUGH. I can't wait for Trenton Lee Stuart to release another book!!

~ Jonathan 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Martin Hospitality Cover Reveal

By On January 21, 2017
GUYS IT'S MY FIRST COVER REVEAL WOOT WOOT. At least I think it's my first? I can't remember ever doing any other one so we're just going to assume that this is my first and ignore the fact that I have the memory of a goldfish. Ahem.







Yup, the whole point of this picture is so that the cover won't show up in your blogger feeds, mwahahaha. 








So obviously I'm going to make you scroll down
















Because I've seen other people do this and it's evil and brilliant




















And naturally I'm just going to keep on rambling













Until you get all the way to the bottom 















And then I might















SHOW YOU THE COVER





















Or I might not























But then if I didn't I guess it wouldn't technically be a cover reveal





Okay see, I didn't make you scroll that much. blogger was freaking out on me heh. ISN'T IT GREAT THOUGH? Plus it represents the book super well. :D 

ALSO. IMPORTANT NOTICE: Martin Hospitality will be available on Amazon on February 4th. 

Don't worry, I'm in the blog tour, so I'll be reminding you. Most likely I'll use a blend of flame throwers and polka dotted unicorns to get your attention, but that's not set in stone. Plus I haven't asked the author yet and something tells me she might not approve. So. XD


~ Jonathan 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Transcendentalism vs. the Bible

By On January 17, 2017
So yup here I am after a rather sporadic and accidental hiatus. It's not that I don't have ideas- it's that I don't have the time to develop the ideas into blog posts. I have a few longer, more challenging post ideas that I need to get started on, but lately I haven't had the time or the inspiration, haha.

So instead you guys are getting my literature paper because I have nothing else to post at the moment and I haven't posted in long enough. (don't worry it's not all that long) XD JUST PRETEND LIKE YOU'RE INTERESTED IN A SCHOOL PAPER AND IT'S ALL GOOD.






(okay but making a graphic for a school paper is actually a really interesting experience) 

The philosophy of transcendentalism holds to many beliefs that permeate our society today. With the rise of New Age ideology, we see many transcendentalist ideas coming to prominence. There’s three major points that people who held to this worldview believed in- all of which are completely unscriptural, yet we still see them around us today. 

The first is the idea that God is in nature, and is essentially nature. And since we as Christians believe that the Bible is the ultimate authority, let’s go ahead and take a look at what the Bible has to say about this. 

Nehemiah 9:6 Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the Lord that created the Heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. 

Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. 

I think the consensus is pretty clear- God is most certainly not nature. Instead, He created nature to glorify Himself.

The second idea is that nature is the ultimate source of truth. Which, seeing as we just saw what they believed about nature, isn’t very surprising. They glorified nature to the extent of making it God, so naturally they believed that they would find truth from nature. Their view of God was that He’s the “Over-Soul,” and that the God of the Bible is the same as any other god. But I would say that the one true God disagrees with this view.

Romans 1:20-22 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 

So yeah, nope. Nature is meant to point us to God, but it’s not God, and it’s not the ultimate source of truth. When we look at nature, we can choose to glorify God for who He is. But if nature isn’t the ultimate source of truth, then what is? 

Oh, yup. I mentioned that earlier. It’s the Bible. 

Psalms 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth; for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. 

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 

If you want to find truth, don’t turn to nature. Turn to the Bible.

The third and final main belief was that man is naturally good. They wouldn’t have believed in sin. And honestly, to me, this is almost laughable- it just doesn’t make any sense at all. If man is naturally good, then why do we have so many problems plaguing the world today?

Transcendentalists believed in something called “the green apple theory,” which basically states that man is ripening towards some sort of perfect ideal. This is in direct contradiction to Scripture. 

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 

Romans 3:10-13 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 

Man isn’t good on his own. He needs a Savior- Jesus Christ. 

Any of these ideas sound familiar? Most likely. The Transcendentalists believed in a sort of subjective, personal truth. And while this ‘religion’ is more historic than contemporary, it has direct parallels with the New Age movement. These ideas are still relevant today, even if they're not necessarily called Transcendentalism. 

Romans 3:3-4 For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. 


So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? And I'm going to be brave and ask what grade you would give me... but ONLY IF YOU READ THE WHOLE THING. xD 

~ Jonathan 

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