The Three Billy Goats And The Unicorn | Flashback Friday

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I mentioned on Wednesday that I was all prepared to do Top Ten Tuesday, when it turned out it was next week’s one. The topic is fairytale retellings, and I realized that I’ve written a few of those over the years. So, for the next three weeks, Flashback Friday will be fairytale retellings that I have written, beginning with The Three Billy Goats And The Unicorn, which I wrote when I was six. I hope you enjoy them! I’ve added in paragraphs for this one, since it was previously just one big chunk.

The Three Billy Goats And The Unicorn

One day, not so near as yesterday, but not so far as a long time ago, I was taking all our smelly rubbish to the smelly dump. As I was putting the smelly rubbish down, I saw the Three Billy Goats Gruff looking very sad. I asked “What’s the matter?”
The big billy goat said sadly “We are very hungry and the water is the only thing we can have, but it is not good at all for us.”
I thought and thought, then I said “I can go to magic fairyland to get a magic unicorn.” So I got a magic unicorn and it magicked them across. Then the Three Billy Goats Gruff were so happy.

One year later, the Three Billy Goats Gruff had eaten all the food and drunk all the good water. Soon after that, I came to see how they were and then I saw the Billy Goats, all sad, hungry and miserable again. By then, my family had bought a farm and we wanted three goats with no home and food. I rushed back home and to my mum and dad “I found some goats. It is the Three Billy Goats Gruff.” Then I went to magic fairyland with my mum and dad, got the magic unicorn and went to the smelly dump. Then, they saw the Billy Goats. Just then, the magic unicorn magicked them over to the smelly dump. Then we took them to their new home, and we lived happily ever after forever.

The end.

Oh man. I was a creative child.

Come back next week for a retelling of Cinderella!

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

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Book Review: Eleanor & Park | Wordy Wednesday

Today has been so productive. Kind of. I photocopied the music for 14 songs – 7 Disney, 7 Sound of Music – to add to my ever-growing repertoire. That doesn’t mean I can play them. But I can try. I then spent the last twenty minutes sorting through four different folders and the random assortment of papers that had collected in my bag. I am seriously exhausted after all that. But I feel so accomplished.

As to why I didn’t do Top Ten Tuesday yesterday: I was all prepared. I had a game plan in mind, I was going to get it done, and it was going to be awesome. I got home at ten past eight last night, after Parent/Teacher Interviews and Girls’ Brigade, and I was kind of over everything, but I was really excited to do this Top Ten Tuesday. I went to the blog to copy the wording for it, and discovered I had been all prepared for next week’s one.

I gave up after that.

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Book review time!

This week, I am reviewing Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

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I finished this one on Friday, after actually taking my time with it and making it last about a week. This was yet another one that Rachel found and recommended, although I’m pretty sure she hasn’t actually read it yet.

Let’s begin the way we always do, with the blurb.

Except I’ve found approximately four different blurbs, none of which match the one on the back of my copy. I always seem to end up with the copies of books that have the less common covers. But let’s find an interesting blurb.

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

This book has raving reviews. Four and a half stars on Amazon, a 4.16 rating on Goodreads. The front of my copy has a recommendation from John Green. I had heard a lot of good things about this book. I was expecting a lot from it. For once, I had no idea what was going to happen, and I was so excited, because that meant that I would be surprised, no matter what happened.

After reading it, I have to say that I was extremely disappointed.

It was an enjoyable book, yes. It was different, and not completely clichéd. But it just fell flat for me. It didn’t seem to climax at all. There was something in it that, from the start, you knew was going to happen, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when it did. But that was the climax. And it wasn’t very exciting, since you knew it was coming throughout the whole book. It was obvious. The book would have been more interesting if this event hadn’t happened. Let me tell you, that would have caught me by surprise.

As I said before, I had high hopes because I had no clue what was going to happen, and that meant that I would be surprised no matter what. But I was wrong, because honestly, nothing really happened. The book just kept going, following a fairly smooth and straight path. There didn’t seem to be any twists and turns or sharp corners. There were no steep hills or sudden drops. It just kept trundling along slowly, without much happening. I mean, sure, things happened, but nothing huge or unexpected.

While I was reading the book, I did mostly enjoy it. After finishing it, though, I was left feeling disappointed, kind of like I had wasted some of my precious reading time.

If I was to rate Eleanor & Park out of five, I’d probably give it a two. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from reading this, as there has to be something in it since it has such good reviews. But I must also add that I’m not the only one who felt this way about it. A friend from school saw me reading it, and told me to message her with my opinions once I had finished. I did just that, and she said that when she read it, she felt exactly the same. So I’m not the only one thinking these things.

However, if you have been thinking about reading it, go for it. It doesn’t have great reviews for nothing, right? And if you have read it, let me know. Do you agree or disagree with what I’ve said? Why?

I just want to finish this off by saying that it was so difficult to write a negative review, and I feel quite terrible about it, but I also feel like I have a somewhat interesting perspective, amongst all of the glowing reviews. So I’m sharing it anyway. Even though it hurts me. But not everyone can love the same book, right? At least, that’s what I’m trying to tell myself.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

I Like Bubbles | Motley Monday

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I’ve discovered over the last few months that I really like bubbles.

I help out in the creche at church, and a couple of months ago, we brought out a bubble machine.

I was more excited about it than the kids were. And I’m 16.

Another time, I was washing the creche dishes with another one of the helpers, and I was so excited by how many bubbles there were that I was given the nickname Bubbles by the other helper.

So. I like bubbles. A lot.

The thing that I’ve also discovered is that I don’t just like the soapy kind of bubbles. I also like a different kind. The genre bubbles.

Yes, I just made that term up. So what on earth are genre bubbles?

Genre bubbles occur when a person only reads/watches books, movies, and TV shows in certain genres. These people aren’t very open to exploring other genres and getting out of their comfort zone when it comes to books etc.

I am one of these people.

I realized this a few weeks ago, at the end of last term. We were watching A Few Good Men, the film we are studying for English this year. A Few Good Men, for those of you who haven’t seen it, is a military courtroom drama.

I don’t even know if that is the right term, but it sounds about right to me. And what do I think of military courtroom dramas?

Bleh. No thank you.

So at the start of the movie, I had already decided that I wasn’t going to like it. It sounded boring and “not my cup of tea”.

But then, the unthinkable happened.

I enjoyed it.

I haven’t actually admitted this to anyone. I am the kind of person who is very vocal about her opinions. So, to begin with, I told everyone that I didn’t enjoy it so far, and that it wasn’t my cup of tea. Yes, I actually said that. So many times, in fact, that someone quoted me on it.

So for me to admit that I enjoyed it would be going back on everything I’ve said. Which isn’t happening.

But it has made me realize that I like bubbles so much that I won’t even take a tiny step outside of my genre bubbles without already deciding how much I’m going to dislike whatever it is.

So. I have a challenge for all of you. Help me to pop my bubbles!

I would like recommendations of books that are not in a genre that I would normally read. I want to take a leap of faith and stop feeling so safe inside my bubble, but instead discover the wonders of other genres.

What do I normally read?

Hmm. I like contemporary, especially with romance in it. I also like some historical. I do read mostly Christian books, but lately I’ve been branching out a bit more in regards to that as well. So recommendations for fantasies, dystopians, that kind of thing. Although no horrors. That is one genre that I am not willing to read. And nothing too creepy or out-there. Baby steps, people.

These recommendations come at a perfect time, since I’m planning on doing a reading challenge thing in August, and to do that, you need things to read. But I’ll probably talk more about that at a later date.

So, fire away people! Recommendations for books that are out of my comfort zone! I promise to at least look into every single recommendation that is made. And thank you in advance!

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Do You Hear The People Sing? | Song Of The Week

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So I decided to stick with my only idea for this segment. Nothing greater emerged from my brain.

Anyway. This week’s song is my anthem. It’s from one of my favourite movies, Les Miserables, and is absolutely amazing. Awesomely enough, we are currently learning it in choir. When my teacher told me, I started jumping up and down and yelling. No kidding.

The song is Do You Hear The People Sing? from the 2012 version of the musical Les Miserables. And seriously, this is an amazing song. It is all about coming together for something you believe in and trying to make the change that is necessary. These people knew what they wanted, and this song tells how determined they were to get it.

Here we go. Do You Hear The People Sing? from Les Miserables. Enjoy it with all your might, the same way I do.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Everything Has Changed

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but things are looking a little different around here. So I thought I’d do a random post explaining what has changed.

The first thing is the name. We are no longer T. A. Christensen Writes. Nope, that is a thing of the past. This blog is no longer about doing a writing challenge, so I don’t think that name really works anymore. The new name is Books, Bubbles, & Arohanui. This will be explained later. I’ve also changed the tagline of the blog, again to make it more relevant.

Then there’s the design. I wanted something that fitted with the name more, and I really like this one. I think it fits the blog and my personality.

With this new design comes a new layout. The first thing you’ll notice is that some of the widgets are gone. I don’t really have much of an explanation for that. I may add one or two back in at a later date, but for now, I’m happy with the couple that are there.

This is where things get interesting. On the top black bar, to the right, you’ll see two circles. One is just a searching thing, which is pretty self explanatory. If you click on the other one, it should drop down with a list of pages: Home, About Me, Awesome People, and Behind the Name. Home is this main post screen. About Me is exactly what it says it is (and it has also been updated). Awesome People is a list of blogs that I think you should read. The only new page is Behind the Name. If you click on this, it will explain why I chose the current blog name and what on earth arohanui means.

There you have it! The new blog! I’m quite excited about all of these changes.

But there is one more change.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that my name, T. A., doesn’t really stand for anything. I mean, it does, out of context, but in relation to it being my name, it doesn’t really stand for anything. This is better explained in this post. However, I’m kind of sick of being represented by two letters. So, after a bit of pondering, I have decided what I want T. A. to stand for.

Drumroll please…

Tessa Ann.

I don’t really have an explanation for why I chose that name. It just fits. I kind of have a reason, but at the same time, I don’t. I just like it.

There we go. A new blog design with a new name, and a whole new name for me. How exciting!

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Book Review: All The Bright Places | Wordy Wednesday

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I was bored the other night, so I found an app that would add text to pictures, and created some logo things. This is the first of four, which will all be previewed over the next week or so. I personally think it looks awesome.

Anyway. Today I will be doing a book review.

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This is another one of those books that Rachel heard about and recommended. I finally got it out from the library the other day, and read it on Thursday night.

Before I begin my review, here’s the blurb:

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Gayle Forman, Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

This was definitely a book that I was wanting to read. Ever since Rachel recommended it, I so desperately wanted to get my hands on it and devour it. And when I finally got it, I did just that. And I loved it.

This was a very good book. It was interesting, depressing (but in a good way, if that’s possible), thought-provoking, and well written. It had me sobbing and wanting to scream my head off. Which I didn’t do. Because I read it at one in the morning. So instead I messaged Rachel and screamed at her.

I’ve screenshotted the messages (blanking out the spoilery bits) so that you can see how I was feeling as I read.

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As you can see, I was a mess.

I did, however, have a couple of problems with this book. First, the language. There was a fair bit of swearing and whatnot, but I’m slowly discovering that I should probably try and get used to it.

My other problem was the predictability. Months before I read this book, I read the blurb. And while I was reading the blurb, I formed an idea of what could possibly happen in the book. And I was right. Now, I’m not sure if this is just me, because I seem to be having this problem a lot lately. But it is kind of disappointing to not be surprised by the ending of a book. I’m currently reading Eleanor & Park. I’m more than halfway through, and I have absolutely no clue what is going to happen. But with this book, the predictions that I made before I even opened the book were 100% correct. And that disappointed me.

However, I still enjoyed this book a lot, and I would definitely recommend it. It is a great book that is definitely worth the read. Jennifer Niven did a great job, and I’d happily read more from her.

I just had an idea. Maybe I should stop reading the blurbs of books before I read the books themselves. That way, I might be surprised.

Or maybe not. I like to know what I’m getting into.

We’re An Inconsiderate Bunch | Motley Monday

Three things before I begin:

1. Today is Rachel’s birthday! Yay! Everyone should go and wish her a happy birthday on her blog. Rach, I hope you have/had an awesome day.
2. I came up with a name for this segment thingymawhatsit. Motley Monday! I wanted to keep the alliteration, but be unique at the same time. So I looked up lists of adjectives starting with m, and came across the word motley. In case you don’t know, motley means that something is diverse and somewhat disorganized, not at all uniform or following a pattern or anything. And that’s what this is going to be. A motley mishmash of my thoughts, spewed out once a week on here.
3. The following post was not written to offend anyone. I’m not picking at specific people or anything, so please don’t take offense at what I am about to say.

I need to begin this by telling you a story.

About three weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, and came across an article from Stuff about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner getting a divorce. I have to tell you, I really couldn’t care less. I didn’t even click on the article. But Stuff had anticipated that a lot of people wouldn’t appreciate that kind of news, and so had I. This was one of those cases where I read the comments section, but not the article itself. I knew people would post some funny memes and whatnot, and I was in the mood for a laugh. Well, I scrolled through, past some genuinely funny memes and comments, before I found this lovely meme, posted by a man by the name of Phil.

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Forest Whitaker, in case you don’t know, is an actor. He’s also one of the very few famous people with ptosis. You know, that eye condition that I have.

I saw that picture and cried.

I then saw that it had seven likes and a comment from someone saying that they were going to steal it, and I got mad.

Looking back on it, I did overreact. There was no need to cry. It isn’t necessarily being rude about ptosis. I showed it to a friend of mine, and she cracked up laughing, before she looked at me and saw that I wasn’t smiling. Yes, it is kind of funny. But it is also inconsiderate. And ignorant.

I then did the stupid thing of Facebook searching and Googling Forest Whitaker’s eye. And I found three wonderful Facebook pages. I think you should all see what they say.

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This one looks harmless enough. However, some of the posts are less than stellar.

“I’m taking donations to fix my lazy eye. It’s a long time coming!”
“Remember when you were little? When you would pull a funny face, your grandmother would say, “If you pull that face for long enough, it will get stuck like that.” ….well…”

Hmm. Interesting.

Please note that I fixed the grammar.

Then we come to this beauty of a page.

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This basically just has the links to a couple of songs about being low.

Reallll funny.

And finally, we find the icing on the cake with a page titled “Forest Whitaker’s Broke Eye”.

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Please excuse the language used on the pictures.

Now, it’s bad enough that this page calls his eye “broke”. But I’d like to draw your attention to the About section of this page.

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The rest of the page is just rubbish that isn’t at all related to Forest Whitaker’s eye.

But that About section is bad enough for the whole page.

WHY ARE PEOPLE SO DARN INCONSIDERATE?

I mean, really. I can understand the meme. Just. It’s funny, yes. Phil thought that people would see it and laugh, and that they would like it. And they did. But Phil had no idea that posting that meme would cause a 16 year old girl to burst into tears and spend the next half hour looking at pictures and Facebook pages that made her feel even worse about herself.

And those pages? They’re inexcusable. They have no positive purpose. All they do is draw attention to something in a negative light.

Peoples, we need to be more considerate of other people and how they might feel. I’ve said and done things before without taking others into consideration, and trust me, it hasn’t ended well.

So, as someone who is hurting as the result of inconsideration, I beg you to try and be more aware of the feelings of others. Think about how people might feel before you say or do something that can’t be taken back. I know you can’t please everyone all of the time. I’m not asking you to do that. I’m just asking that you think before you speak. Words and actions can have a bigger impact than you would expect.