Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, The Writing Life, Uncategorized

S.J. Penner: a writerly vlogger you should totally watch

When I hear the word “vlog,” YouTubers like Casey Neistat, Elise Buch, and Alyshia Ford (PsychoTraveler) Presley Alexander (ActOutGames) come to my mind – YouTubers who frequently document themselves doing things.  Things which require moving around and going places and opening things.  But a vlog doesn’t need to be those things – it can involve sitting-down things too.  Like writing.  S.J. Penner does just that.  I’ve recently become Twitter-friendly with S.J., and when she started vlogging, I subscribed to her YouTube channel right away because I was hooked!

Vlogs like Mr. Neistat or Ms. Ford’s take me to places I’ve never gone and show me adventurous things I don’t see myself doing – things that are beyond me, way out of my league.  S.J.’s vlog shows me things I do do (or try to do) on a tri-weekly basis, things that I see as attainable and doable, like editing one’s manuscript, and it motivates me to get those those things done in my life.  (Also, can we talk about S.J.’s adorable pet bird, Marvin?  He’s quite the character, and S.J. often adds subtitles to his “Musings” whenever he chirps in the background. 😀 )

I’ve been working on putting the finishing touches to my WIP, Cliche, but there have been countless times where I had time to work on it, but simply didn’t feel motivated.  While watching S.J. write / edit her projects in her videos while trying to work on my own helped a ton – it made it feel like we were hanging out and doing these writerly things together.  S.J. shows us we’re not alone in the writerly world, with its ups and downs.

If that sounds at all interesting to you, I highly recommend checking out her YouTube channel.  Happy writing! 🙂



Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Uncategorized

Allison Reads Bronte: Jane Eyre, Part Two

And now for another edition of the Brontesaurus.  (Yeah, I don’t think I’m keeping that name….)  I don’t know why I’m sharing this blow-by-blow reaction to Jane Eyre, but I think this blog’s the best place to do it.

I finished the Lowood School story arc in Jane Eyre.  One thing that really jumped out at me at the final chapters of this arc is the irony of the spring season at Lowood.  Inside the school’s walls, the students are stricken with a devastating plague, but on the outside, Jane vividly describes the beautiful changes in nature, the renewal of plant life, that comes with the new season.  Oh, and Helen Burns dies from the plague.  That’s pretty tragic.

Following the plague, people in power take note of Brocklehurst’s corruption, and start making improvements in the students’ living conditions.  Things take a turn for the better in this regard. Continue reading “Allison Reads Bronte: Jane Eyre, Part Two”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Reviews

Review: Jelly Bean Summer by Joyce Magnin (courtesy of NetGalley)

I recently joined NetGalley, a website which provides professional readers (I guess I’m one now) and bookish bloggers (I guess that’s more like it) with advance reader copies of upcoming releases.  By the time I got my Jelly Bean Summer ARC, it was already a few days after the book was released (May 2nd, 2017), but I suppose reviewing it can’t hurt. 🙂  (In case it wasn’t obvious, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Publisher’s Details:

Age Range: 8 – 12 years

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Hardcover: 272 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (May 2, 2017)

Description: Set in 1968 during the height of Vietnam War, Jelly Bean Summer is the story of the unlikely friendship that forms between two lonely tweens during an unforgettable summer of camping on rooftops. 

Joyce has had it with her family (especially with UFO-sighting Elaine who loves her guinea pig more than her own sister). Her solution? Move out of the house and pitch a tent on the roof for the summer. But when she spots a boy watching her from a neighboring roof she’s stunned—and intrigued. 

Brian recently lost his brother, and the two instantly bond over their messed-up families. To help Brian repair his brother’s truck, they concoct a scheme to build and sell tickets to a UFO display. Even Elaine agrees to help…until unexpected events test the limits of Joyce’s family ties.

Reader’s Score: 3.75 / 5 stars

Continue reading “Review: Jelly Bean Summer by Joyce Magnin (courtesy of NetGalley)”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Reviews

Allison Reads Bronte: Jane Eyre, Part One

Reader, you could say I’m a little obsessed with the Brontes.  I’ve been rereading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, mostly after having written a “LEAVE MR. ROCHESTER ALONE” rant based solely on memory and Wikipedia. Since I love ranting about Bronte books, I think I’ll use this as an opportunity to post a long, blow-by-blow review of Jane Eyre as I read it.  I’d apologize for boring and inconveniencing you all, but I’m not sorry in the least. 😛

At the moment, I’m in the book’s early chapters.  So far, the story’s chronicling Jane’s unhappy childhood.  She is bullied frequently by her cousins and aunt-by-marriage, and the servants tend to turn on her in any familial conflict.  (More on that later.)

In these early chapters, we’re introduced to a shy, quiet girl who loves to read and has some really novel perspectives on the world she lives in.  This is the Jane whose character captivated me as a reader.  At this point, I’m seeing the beginnings of the proto-feminist “strong female character” modern analysts praise (despite the book and character’s seemingly counter-feminist shortcomings later on).  When I read about this young Jane, I want to be this kid’s friend so badly.  I want to be a superhero trio that smashes injustice with her and Helen Burns (her friend you’ll meet later). Continue reading “Allison Reads Bronte: Jane Eyre, Part One”