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Monday, October 31, 2016

October is Over

By On October 31, 2016
HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL YOU HUMANS WHO CELEBRATE IT. Because it's the last day of October, whaaaaat. I'm actually posting a monthly wrap-up on time, and I think last month's was on time also? THIS IS A GOOD SIGN.

Anyhow, I've been super busy and may or may not be drowning in novel things. Because of NaNoWriMo. Enough said.

(read in: if this post seems short I place every single ounce of the blame on NaNoWriMo. every. single. ounce. )

(that awkward moment when you already used orange pictures for August and September and hence can't really use an orange one for October even though it's the most orange-y month of the year.) 

favorite blog posts 

NaNoWriMo Survival Kit 2016  BASICALLY I FOUND ANOTHER GUY BLOGGER. CAN I PLEASE JUST SHOUT TO THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. (which is completely rhetorical because even if you tried to say no I would still do it anyways.) I think I now know... three. Besides myself. 

Keeping Sight of God Through the Busy Seasons Darn guys this just hit me super hard (in a very good way) and you should all go read it right now. 

Isaiah 6// So, What About You? Will You Go?  If you want your mind to be blown in all the best ways possible then go read this. 

It's Okay to Not Constantly Write  I'm going to just let you go read this one since the title is fairly self explanatory. XD

10 Thoughts Everyone Has Before NaNo (Warning: This May Terrify You)  This post is me basically. Read on at your own risk. 

blog happenings 

Basically this month I'm going to just use this section to throw in a bunch of miscellaneous things that are only semi-related to the blog. You have been warned. 

1) I became an official fanclub manager and I even have a cool button thing.
(click the picture) Basically it's a serial story about a villain with amnesia and superheroes and bombs and plots and all that good stuff. Also snark happens.  

[JonnyBoy T. is a username I use sometimes in case you were wondering XD]

2) I engaged in a virtual bake off (aka fight to the death) which you might hear more about in a future post. We shall see. 

3) I got to meet up in person with a blogging friend. 

Oh yes. Envy me. It's Amanda Beguerie. Which essentially just makes me famous now because she has like nearly 300 followers. (the one on the right is my sister so you should all go stalk her.) NEEDLESS TO SAY, IT WAS VERY FUN. XD

4) I hit 20,000 pageviews. 

I'm not hyperventilating you're hyperventilating. 

5) This happened: 

I have been proclaimed dead of laughter. I request that a jumbo sized bag of sour patch be placed on my grave. (photo credit goes to Hannah)

writing update 

I basically did one of these as the intro for a recent post. But mostly just NaNo. And plotting. And editing. (don't ask why I'm editing it's complicated) The 5k1Day is tomorrow (NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN) so I'm doing that with some other people (no I'm not linking to everyone's blogs there's literally like 20 XD) so we shall see how that goes. 

Yes that was a short section. 

Yes half of it was in parentheses. 

No I do not have any regrets. 


Moving on.

top nonfiction book 

Image result for 5 secrets of story structure

This was... kinda the only non fiction book I read this month. XD 

top fiction book 

Image result for the mysterious benedict society

#shocker Yup, it's gonna be this one. Surprise surprise. 

ramblings of the month 


Image result for the mysterious benedict society

AND THERE IS THE END OF MY WRAP UP, HUZZAH. I know it was rather short, but never fear. If NaNo doesn't fry my brain before my next post, I will return. 

So yeah. Anyways. I shall now leave you with that ominous message and the request (psshtt who am I kidding it's more like a demand) to leave a comment.

~ Jonathan 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Mysterious Benedict Society: A Very Long Review (with quotes)

By On October 26, 2016
I'M BACK WITH AN EXTRAORDINARILY LONG REVIEW. Which also happens to be full of quotes because apparently this book was extremely quotable. (actually spoiler alert: the review is probably about half quotes so that's why it's so long. #sorrynotsorry)

plot summary

Image result for the mysterious benedict society"Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" 

Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children-two boys and two girls-succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you're gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.

my review

In  short, The Mysterious Benedict Society was fantastic. Delightful. Whimsical. It starts off with a series of tests- or puzzles, whichever you prefer. But there’s only a few children who will pass the tests, and those children will be chosen for a dangerous task which basically involves saving the world and all that cool stuff. 

It starts off as the children are taken to the home of a man named Mr. Benedict, who essentially preps them for the task ahead (saving the world XD). Then, the children are sent to the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened (L. I. V. E. Kate, always the optimist, points out that at least it doesn’t say ‘die.’) as spies. There, they have to discover how to foil the dastardly plot of the Institute’s founder while pretending to be good students.

“It sounds like there are no rules here at all,” Sticky said.

“That’s true, George,” Said Jillson. “Virtually none, in fact. You can wear whatever you want, just so long as you have on trousers, shoes, and a shirt. You can bathe as often as you like or not at all, provided you’re clean every day in class. You can eat whatever and whenever you want, so long as it’s during meal hours in the cafeteria. You’re allowed to keep the lights on in your rooms as late as you wish until ten o’ clock each night. And you can go wherever you want around the Institute, so long as you keep to the paths and the yellow-tiled corridors.”

“Actually,” Reynie observed, “those all sound like rules.”

Navigating through the Institute’s tricky lessons, learning the Institute’s ‘lack of rules’, and rising through the ranks to learn the secrets of the Institute is going to prove harder than the children might have expected. 

The Characters (summed up in quotes as best I could) 


“And indeed I have been,” said a voice, and out from behind the desk where he’s been sitting, hidden by the piles of books, appeared a bespectacled, green-eyed man in a green plaid suit. His thick white hair was shaggy and mussed, his nose was rather large and lumpy like a vegetable, and although it was clear he had recently shaved, he appeared to have done so without the benefit of a mirror, for here and there upon his neck and chins were nicks from a razor, and occasional white whiskers he’d missed altogether. This was Mr. Benedict.


After a few more questions, all of which Reynie felt confident he had answered correctly, he arrived at the test’s final question: “Are you brave?” Just reading the words quickened Reynie’s heart. Was he brave? Bravery had never been required of him, so how could he tell? Finally he gave up trying to decide and simply wrote, “I hope so.”


There had been times in Sticky’s life when an important question would flummox him no matter how well he knew the answer; and times he had run away from his own problems; and times when he’d felt himself paralyzed when action was most needed. He’d never understood this tendency of his- he knew only that he rarely live up to expectation, and for this reason had clung to fiercely to his nickname. Any boy with a name like George Washington must surely have great things expected of him. 


It took Kate Wetherall about three seconds to embrace her new role as a secret agent. While the other children gaped, blinked, and pinched themselves to be sure they weren’t dreaming (actually, Constance pinched Sticky, who yelped and pinched her back)- in short, while the other children were adjusting to the news, Kate was peppering Mr. Benedict with questions: What was their mission to be? Would they need code names? Was it possible to use a somewhat longish code name? 


[from Mr. Benedict] “Now then, where did I leave off? Oh yes, Constance. I take it you didn’t find her answers as amusing as I do. I’m not sure, however- perhaps you laughed while I was sleeping?” He glanced at them hopefully, but was met with blank faces. “I see. Well, perhaps you’ll find this amusing: Instead of answering the questions on the second test, she composed a poem about the absurdity of the test and its rules, particularly about the missing fourth step- which apparently reminded her of donut holes, because these were the topic of a second poem. She is very irritated, it seems, that every donut contains a hole. She feels she is being robbed. I remember a particularly felicitous rhyme between ‘flaky bereft’ and ‘bakery theft.’ Let’s see, where was it? I have it right here…” He began flipping through the test pages.


Before them stood a tall man in a weatherbeaten hat, a weatherbeaten jacket, weatherbeaten trousers, and weatherbeaten boots. His ruddy cheeks where dark with whisker stubble, while his hair (what little peeked from beneath his hat) was yellow as flax. If not for the alertness in his ocean-blue eyes, he would resemble, more than anything, a scarecrow that had come down from its stake. On top of all this, the man’s expression was profoundly sad. All the children noticed this at once.

While this book most definitely is a light-hearted rollick full of spies, humor, and good-natured fun, that’s definitely not all it is. The characters and the events of the plot come together in themes of friendship, bravery, teamwork, and doing the right thing no matter what. It sports a cast of extremely well-developed characters, characters who have fears and weaknesses just like everyone.

He was just turning from the window when he saw a distant flash, a pinprick of light among the trees of the mainland shore. Someone, at last, was signaling a response. Reynie heard his pulse pounding in his ears. He held his breath until the message was completed.

‘Remember the white knight.’

Reynie let out his breath. A long, slow release. He didn’t have to think very hard to know what Mr. Benedict meant by that. Though it seemed so long ago, he well remembered their conversation about the chess problem. The white knight had made a move, changed his mind, and started over.

“And do you believe this was a good move?” Mr. Benedict had asked.

“No, sir.” Reynie had answered.

“Why, then, do you think he made it?”

And Reynie had replied, “Perhaps because he doubted himself.”

They’re not superheroes, they’ve got their doubts. And it’s the villain who’s going to try to play off these fears and doubts, using his machine called the Whisperer, a machine that eases the fears of anyone using it with lies. 

“So it’s just a wonderful illusion!” Martina said. “That explains why the fears always come back later. I’ve always wondered about that- when I’m in the Whisperer they seem to have gone away forever.”

Mr. Curtain laughed. “Sadly, no. The only way fears truly disappear is if you confront them. But who in the world wishes to confront his or her worst fears?”

Mr. Curtain advocates giving in to your fears. Accepting them. Pretending that they aren’t even there. But in the end, the only way the children can defeat Mr. Curtain and the Whisperer is by confronting their own fears. And when faced with the ultimate temptation of giving in to the Whisperer- and having their fears eased, it’s only by working together that the children can hope to bring an end to it. 

The cuffs clasped Reynie’s wrists. The helmet lowered. Reynie closed his eyes, only to see the faces of his friends. He remembered the final question of Mr. Benedict’s first test: Are you brave? Now, at least, Reynie knew the answer. He wasn’t brave. He had only hoped he was.

No one said saving the world would be easy. But Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are the only ones who can. And although they’re given a chance to turn back, they’re still ready to choose what they know is right. With the help of Mr. Benedict and his motley crew, it’s up to the children to stop the lies for good.

SO WHO'S READ THIS ONE? Who's going to read it? :D

~ Jonathan 

Friday, October 21, 2016

10 Practical Tips/Resources on How to Write Faster

By On October 21, 2016
WELL GUYS. IT'S OFFICIAL. I'M ATTEMPTING NANO THIS TIME AROUND. Yes, I'm beginning to question my sanity, yes I don't know what I'm doing, no I am not prepared in the least bit. But then again, is anyone really? (Don't answer that.)

So confession time: I'm semi-cheating. I'm actually... not writing a whole new novel. #sorrynotsorry Remember that Prince and the Pauper retelling I told you about? Welp it's going to have to wait for another day because there's no way I'm finishing Library of Lies before November.

So instead, I'm planning on trying to add 50k to Library of Lies which should definitely finish it up. I don't know I'll probably finish before then in which case I shall crank out short stories or drabbles or something like that. The point is, I SHALL SOLVE IT.

Anyways. I'm doing another NaNo post since I'm actually for sure doing NaNo now. (You can find me here, even though I never created an account. Evidently creating a Camp NaNo account automatically creates a normal NaNo account, a fact which would have been helpful to know before Hannah Rodriguez and I started theorizing about government conspiracies involving a fake stalkerly NaNo account under my name. But yeah that's neither here nor there so let's move on to the actual post before this introduction becomes it's own post entirely.)

1. Word Wars

Obviously. I'm still including it though because WORDS WARS ARE MY LIIIIFE ALRIGHT. 

2. DO. NOT. EDIT. 

Don't even correct typos. I DON'T CARE IF YOU MISSPELL YOUR MAIN CHARACTER'S NAME. DO. NOT. EDIT. Focus on getting the words down, editing comes later. 

3. Plan it out. 

If you know where you're going it will be that much easier to write. Even for me, as a pantser, I'm still making a semblance of an outline (or at least trying to XD) to help guide me through the month. 

4. Stay on track. 

Try not to get behind, that will just stress you out. Schedule specific times to write so you can get in the habit of writing daily through the month. But don't freak out if even if you do get a little behind! You can always catch up. You've got until midnight on November 30th, after all. 

5. Don't be afraid of poor prose. 

Newsflash: IF YOU'RE WRITING 50K IN A MONTH, IT'S NOT GONNA BE FABULOUS. Alright? Alright. Now that we've got that settled, it's important that you're willing to put the backspace button into a one month retirement. XD

6. Don't sleep. 

Alright... fine. You can sleep a little. ONLY A LITTLE BIT THOUGH. 

7. My Write Club 

Basically this is a place where you set goals and your friends cheer you on by screaming things like "YEAH-YUHHHHH DUDE YOU GOT THIS *fist bump*" (yes that was an actual comment from Hannah.) Plus you can participate in word sprints which are super duper fun, they host one every thirty minutes I think? Or you can create a private one. It's extremely motivating because you can see the word counts of the other people going up.

8. The Most Dangerous Writing App

Read my entire post about this delightfully frightening app here. Only the strong will survive.

9. NaNoWriMo Website

Honestly I'm not entirely sure what you do on this yet but it seems super helpful so I'm including it anyways. XP

10. Join Abi's 5k1Day challenge

I think it's both a facebook event and a google hangouts... at least that's my understanding. Basically we're attempting to write 5k on November 1st. That's 1/10 of what you have to write, and all of it can be knocked out on the first day!

SO WHO'S DOING NANO???? Anyone else have some tips on writing fast? :D

~ Jonathan

Thursday, October 13, 2016

15 Writerly Excuses That Must be Crushed if You Want to Survive NaNo

By On October 13, 2016
In which Jonathan does a short, non-official NaNo prep post. Even though he may or may not be doing NaNo. This remains undetermined as he is currently in Washington D. C. without his laptop, taking a break from his novel and other life things.

So yeah. All that was to say that if he returns to find his blog exploding, he'll remain unsurprised. Hopefully this 'schedule post' thing even works. Otherwise you guys won't be seeing this for a while and may turn into an angry mob due to his lack of posts recently and his newfound (yet very strange) talent of writing introductions in third person. 

But anyways. Let's take a look at some of these excuses. Who's ready to chop 'em all to bits in perfect ninja style? 

'but I actually have a life' 

So do I. Actually... I thought all humans had lives by definition? Could be wrong on that though, I haven't googled it recently. 

'I just don't know where to take my story'

That's what an outline's for, dude. I've heard they help with this type of thing. although I wouldn't know because pantsing xP

'I have to eat'

Okay that's totally an excuse but at least you've got your priorities right. Kudos to you. If you pick the right food and you have the right amount of skill then you can eat while you type. 


actually this is more a valid obstacle than a true 'excuse.' so okaaaay I concede that this is valid. 

'I'm tired and I need sleep'

Puh-lease. I see right through this. YOU'RE A TEENAGER (okay so fine if you're not a teen then you can get away with this excuse), hence you automatically have the ability to stay up writing until at least midnight. Period. And no it has nothing to do with caffeine. Pssht, of course not.

'I need inspiration'

http://forgingofstories.blogspot.com/2016/03/why-you-shouldnt-wait-for-inspiration.html (Don't worry you can stalk this guy, he doesn't bite. Normally.) 

'my laptop battery died'

Alright fine. Time to whip out the pen and paper. Let's do this thing in old school style. 

'I can't type and eat pizza at the same time'

WELL YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO EITHER 1) develop superpowers that allow you to eat pizza with one hand while typing with the other or 2) grow another arm or 3) pick one or the other. 

'there's a cat walking on my keyboard'

Well great, hopefully it lands on the space key fairly often so that it can help you boost your count up. 

'my brain is fried'

It's a little known fact that fried brains produce the greatest art. Totally a verifiable fact. 

'my fingers hurt'

Welcome to the new normal for the rest of the month. 

'I hate my novel'

Welp, so do the other bazillion people doing NaNo. YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO EDIT, KID. KEEP WRITING. 

'nothing is legible any longer it just looks like mumbo jumbo' 

That's because it is mumbo jumbo, probably. DO. NOT. EDIT. RESIST THE URGE. 

'I accidentally killed off my main character'


'I don't know what my novel's about anymore'

THAT'S PERFECTLY ALRIGHT as long as there are words somewhere. 50k of them, to be exact. 

And seeing as I did a long introduction I'm copping out on the conclusion. (No, I am definitely not using the introduction as an excuse. Nope, don't go there. XD) Who's all ready for NaNo? :D


Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Rise Tour, aka Five Reasons You Need A Time to Rise

By On October 08, 2016
Yes, I'm acutely aware of the fact that the formatting to this post is more or less freaking out. It is the bane of my bloggerly existence right now but unfortunately I leave for Washington D. C. in two days and hence don't have the time to fix it. So brace your eyeballs, because for some reason the spacing decided it hates me. 


Yup, today is the day in which I'm posting as a part of Nadine Brandes's blog tour for A Time to Rise. I was super excited to get an ARC of the book so I could review it for all of you. So. Anyways. Moving forwards. 

about the book 

What more can you sacrifice than your life? Parvin Blackwater is dead. At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless. Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world? This is the concluding book in the Out of Time Series.

1. Parvin's character development is goals. 

Legitimately. She's changed soooooo much since A Time to Die, and she's still changing in A Time to Rise. Still reacting. Still learning. 

2. Wilbur's suits 

Guys this idea is so good and I love it so much. In the third book in the trilogy the suits come into play much more frequently, which is something I really really liked. NEEDLESS TO SAY, I WANT A BRAWN SUIT NOW. Start the petition guys, let's make this a thing. 

3.  Skelley Chase 

Skelley is easily one of my all time favorite villains of ever.  He's full of depth, and he's always got a surprise up his sleeve. (Plus, HE SMELLS LIKE LEMONS.) He's definitely NOT your cliche 'miles-beyond-redemption' villain, and I really really really really liked what the author did with him in this book. 

4. The Hawke family name 

(mild spoilers for the first two books found here so if you haven't read those two then SHOO) 

We get to see a lot into the Hawke family, and I especially liked how Nadine made Solomon struggle with whether or not he's 'truly a Hawke' type of thing. (since he's adopted). I thought that was really neat. Plus, we get a lot of insight into Jude which was awesome. 

(kay SPOILERS OVER anyone who skipped over can start reading here)

5. It's filled with great themes 

There were so many little gold nuggets scattered throughout this book, and they were all great. There's a lot about dependence on God laced in here, as well as trusting Him enough to rise up in faith and make a difference. Overall, it's an extremely encouraging and hope-filled book. 

There was some violence and such, so probably 14-15+. 

about the author

Nadine Brandes learned to write her alphabet with a fountain pen.

In Kindergarten.

Cool, right? She dealt with ink splotches before even knowing how to spell. She never decided to become a writer. Her brain simply classified it as a necessity to life -- like bathing, eating, and sleeping.

Nadine is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination.

When she's not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, Nadine is out traveling, finding new music, and pursuing active life.

Aaaanddd now that we're done with that let's move onto all the other cool things you might be interested in. 


A Time to Die

A Time to Speak

A Time to Rise

Epic Things to Participate in

Thunderclap: https://t.co/wTXZfTWF31 And no, don't ask me what a thunderclap is because seeing as I have little to no social media accounts I have no clue. 

Join the Thunderclap

Facebook Party: https://www.facebook.com/events/183601465406699/


So there you have it, now I'm off to get school done and fold clothes and clean and pack. XP (but just because I don't really have questions doesn't mean I'm letting you out of leaving a comment)

~ Jonathan 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

September is Over

By On October 01, 2016
WELL HEY LOOK I'M ACTUALLY POSTING A MONTHLY WRAP-UP ON TIME. Meaning it's actually the end of the month when I'm posting. Which can we all just acknowledge that 1) why is September already over I mean I feel like it's July and 2) FALL IS HEEERREEEE so pull out the warm clothes  and 3) candy corn is the best thing okay (other than sour patch but need I even say that? I didn't think so.) and lastly 4) I only posted three time this month. Oops. More on that later.

But yeah. Anyways. Let's move on to the wrap-up, shall we?

top fiction book 

Image result for a time to rise nadine brandes

A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes. OBVIOUSLY. Guys guys guys I got to be an advanced reader for this and it was fantabulous of course. And I would say much more but seeing as I was an advanced reader I've got a review up my sleeve for some point in the future. So stay tuned for that. :D

top nonfiction book 

Image result for stealing from god frank turek

Stealing From God by Frank Turek. I actually just finished this one up yesterday, but it was really good. I don't know if any of you have heard of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, but Stealing from God is by one of the authors of that book. My impression of it was that it was basically and abridged version of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, which was pretty cool. So if you've read either one of these and liked them than you might want to give the other a shot. :D

bloggerly news

Well for the most part this month was pretty uneventful. I think this was mostly because SOMEHOW I ONLY POSTED THREE TIMES? D: D: Well, that definitely wasn't supposed to happen. XP So yeah hopefully I'll do better than that this month even though I'm pretty busy. `

BUUUT I did get a page up for my most recent WIP which was like super exciting for me. So for those of you who didn't see it yet (tsk obviously we need to work on your stalking skills) it's there. Just so you know. XP

ramblings of the month

Heh even though there's only three: 

The Wisteria Writer Tag (at last) Image

Three Random and Easy Writing Tips Image

The Hole in Our Gospel: Faith... or works?  Image

writing update

Well my current WIP, Library of Lies (*shoves you towards the page about it*), is coming along smoothly but not as fast as I would like. I think this might be because I attempted to write an outline but then somehow ended up starting a random civil war like 17k into it? Yeah, don't ask because I don't know how that happened. 

But if I want to do NaNoWriMo I have to finish this thing. *furious typing noises* So yeah, that's going to be keeping me busy seeing as I have ONE MONTH TO DO THIS. 

But hey, the good news is if I do get this done then I'll have NaNo in the bag. XD So hopefully I finish it and go on to write my Prince and the Pauper retelling (hm yes I haven't told you about this have I? probably because I don't know much about it other than the fact that assassins are involved) for NaNo. Which may or may not happen, we shall see.

future posts 

Well I already mentioned that I've got a review for A Time to Rise coming. Maybe another book review this month, not sure on that though. Also I'm working on a post about joy, and then I've got a humorous post I wrote for a friend's blog that I'll post up here at some point. XP However despite my determination to write more posts this month this may or may not happen because. I'M GOING ON VACATION AAHH. 

Yup, my family and I are all headed up to Washington D. C. for a little bit and then driving down to Connecticut for my great grandpa's 100TH BIRTHDAY. Yes, he's actually turning 1.0.0. So yeah that's like super cool. :D I'm super excited about all of it, it's going to be so fun. (plus I love airports so #perks)  

Yes, I know that was a rather short wrap-up seeing as I took out a few of the categories. because lifing and Library of Lies and general procrastination and also the quantum model of the atom has fried my brain. so.

So yup that's all we got, folks. Tune in next time to hear Jonathan ask all sorts of questions like "How was your month? What did you read? Are you all ready for NaNo?" XP

~ Jonathan


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