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Books

Here you'll find the full list of books I have reviewed.

Fin's Revolution by A.S. Peterson 

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton 

Christy Miller: Volume One by Robin Jones Gunn 

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald 



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Review of The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic

This was the very first book written by Jennifer Trafton, an illustrator and elementary school writing teacher. She was unmarried at the time, but has since married A.S. Peterson, as in, the military man who wrote the miracle that is Fiddler’s Green. I came into The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic with no expectations whatsoever. I didn’t even know what it was about. The only reason I got it was because I had become such a huge fan of Jennifer Trafton’s husband. However, the title is one of the best I’ve encountered lately. It has a rhythm if you say it to yourself. And like only the best titles, it immediately had me asking questions. What is Mount Majestic and how does it rise and how does it fall?

The answer to that question is so clever, so utterly and fantastically unexpected, I’m not even going to mention it here. You’ll have to discover it for yourself. The story centers around a 10-year-old named Persimonny who finds herself lost in the woods and ends up overhearing a plot t…

Review of A Monster Calls

Today I'll be mixing things up and reviewing a movie. And not just a movie, but a movie I watched before reading the book. It happens. A Monster Calls was released in theaters Christmas 2016, and while critics loved it and raved about it, audiences paid little attention. At the box office, it barely broke even. I knew about it only because I regularly read Roger Ebert reviews, and after seeing that author Patrick Ness wrote the screenplay and Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayona (of The Impossible) directed it, I knew it held promise. But I didn't know the story. I didn't pay much attention.
Then, a few months later, I shelved this movie at the library the second it came in on DVD. But the cover stopped me.
Everything about it drew me in. The colors somehow soft and vibrant at the same time. The sleeping little boy. The hand of the tree. Why was the boy asleep under this tree? What was the monster, and why did it call? I was struck so deeply, I knew I would not be able to die hap…

The Five Actual Rules of Writing a Female Character

Today I’m discussing a phrase you see absolutely everywhere in the world of reading and writing: “strong female character.” When it really boils down to it, what the heck does that even mean? I’ve never in my life heard the phrase “strong male character.” So why is crafting a woman so different from crafting a man? Well, countless people have attempted to interpret this debacle. You know what I’m talking about it. Particularly in the movie world, we ended up with a slew black-haired, gun slinging females wearing tight leather clothing--even in Big Hero 6, for crying out loud. Or, on a much, much larger scale, all those countless female characters who throw out sassy one-liners, possess enviable fighting skills, and punch men in the face. Those three traits alone are supposed to qualify them as “strong.” Like, “Oh, look, we can beat up a man! Who needs men?” Okay, but tell me something else about them. That’s just the thing—there is nothing else about these characters. They exist to f…