I Did A Reading Thing | Motley Monday

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Over the last month, I have been participating in a readathon. This readathon is aimed at people who don’t have school all month or mock exams starting a week from the end date. But I participated anyway. Because why not?

I read a total of twenty books over the month, which added up to over 6300 pages. As well as a couple of half books that I had already started, and one really bad one that I gave up on.

These are the books:

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I am clearly a professional photographer.

And these are the ones I was going to read but ran out of time for: (although I might stay up late and try to finish Little Women)

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Right. So this readathon was made up of challenges, and you were required to complete as many as possible within the month. There were regular challenges, mega challenges, and fun challenges. And this is how I completed them.

Regular Challenges:

1. Read a book with a book on the cover: The Poetry Girl and It’s Not The End Of The World both have some sort of book on the cover.
2. Read a book with something shiny on the cover: That was going to be The Quiet Little Women. Which I didn’t read.
3. Read a book with a character name in the title: Rachel. That is the name of the book.
4. Read a book your mum/dad/important family figure loves: This Side Of Heaven. Also Little Women, which I haven’t finished. My mum loves both of them.
5. Pick a number, go to the library, find a shelf, count from one end, and get the book that the number lands on: I picked eight, and, on my third attempt at finding a decent book, landed on By Any Other Name. Which was very good.
6. Read a book you almost forgot was even on your shelf: Daddy-Long-Legs. Oh, and The Secret Garden and A Little Princess.
7. Read a book you’ve been meaning to read but keep putting off: The Noughts & Crosses series. And Insurgent, which I didn’t actually read. And Little Women, actually. And The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, which I did read.
8. Read a classic: That was going to be Little Women, but I suppose The Secret Garden and A Little Princess could be classics as well.
9. Read a sequel: Knife Edge, and Learning. And Insurgent, which, again, I didn’t read. I’m very repetitive here.
10. Go into a book without reading the synopsis: I think I did that for The Poetry Girl.
11. Read a book you can finish in a day: Ha. That was basically all of the ones that I read in the first two weeks. Not even kidding. Most of them, actually, were finished in a day. I’m a fast reader.
12. Read that book that your friend has been threatening you to read for ages: Paper Towns. Rachel wanted me to read it so we could go watch the movie. And then, because the library was stupid and slow, we didn’t get to see it, because it finished three days before we were going to go see it.
13. C’mon, it’s summer. Read a romance: Actually, it’s winter. But Rachel is a romance, and the Bailey Flanigan series is as well. And a couple of others could possibly be classified as romances.
14. Read a book by an author you’ve never read: Noughts & Crosses series. The Poetry Girl. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Born Ugly. On The Night Of The Seventh Moon. By Any Other Name. I really branched out with my authors this month.
15. Pick out a book at the library just because of the cover: Well. My first attempt at that failed, because the book sucked and I returned it before I finished it, which never happens. My second attempt was Born Ugly. Because everything else just looked blah.

Mega Challenges:

1. Read a book over 400 pages: I actually read four of them. All of the books in the Noughts & Crosses series are at least 400 pages. And three of the ones that I didn’t read were over 400.
2. Read a whole series: How about two whole series? Noughts & Crosses, and the Bailey Flanigan series.
3. Read a book set where you live: Well. There ain’t much written around here. The closest I could get was The Poetry Girl, which is a New Zealand book. And really weird. Someone needs to write a good book set in New Zealand.
4. Pick out two or three books where the titles make a sentence: Hmm. Haven’t thought about this one. On this side of Heaven, learning the perks of being a wallflower double cross. I have no idea if that makes sense. Also, that’s more than two or three books. That’s four. Anyone able to come up with something better?
5. Reread a book you read last summer (ie winter), or read a book or sequel by the same author: I can’t remember what I read this time last year, other than TFIOS and Divergent. So if I had read Insurgent, that would’ve completed this challenge. ACTUALLY. IT SAYS BOOK BY THE SAME AUTHOR. I READ PAPER TOWNS. I WIN.

Fun Challenges:

1. Make a book rainbow: This is my pathetic attempt:

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Also I didn’t even read one of them. But oh well.

2. Arrange your TBR for the month super artfully: Well. I’m not super artful. And I did this when I had already read most of them. But this is my again pathetic attempt:

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You can’t argue with a smiley face. Also, the eyes are made out of series, because I’m awesome. Also, I didn’t even read some of these. Yay me.

3. Reenact a scene from a book with a friend: That didn’t happen.
4. Make a fort and read in it: I was going to do this in my younger brother’s room with him, because my room is too messy. But then he was too busy. So that didn’t happen either.
5. Dress up like a book character: I’m sure at least one of them wore jeans and a hoodie at some point. Boom. Done.
6. Match up the perfect beverage to go with your book: Right. I’m going to go drink a hot chocolate while I read a bit more of Little Women. They match perfectly.
7. Treasure hunt: poke around your house and find a book that sounds good (and will complete one of the challenges while you’re at it): That was the two not-Little-Women-but-Little-Women-related ones. That I didn’t read. But I will read them, eventually.

There you have it! That was my attempt at completing the August Readathon, while I had school and camp and general life-ness going on.

Now, you may be wondering why on earth I read so many books, and yet didn’t review any of them for Wordy Wednesday. My reason is that I wanted to wait until I had completed the challenge and read all of them, so that I could start doing mini reviews. I didn’t want to review them all individually, but I did want to review them all, so I was waiting until I had read them all, so they could be properly grouped into groups of 3-5, and reviewed. And that is what I will be doing over the next few weeks for Wordy Wednesday. Mini reviews on all of the books that I read this month. Should be pretty fun.

Please try and come up with a better sentence thing that I did. And be on the look out for the first mini reviews, starting Wednesday! This was a fun month, and I can’t wait to tell you all about the books I read.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

World In Union | Song Of The Week

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This week’s song is another song that we are doing for choir. I know absolutely nothing about this song, and I hadn’t even heard it before Tuesday. But it is a great song.

So, at the end of next month, we (the school choir) are taking part in Night at the Proms, which is apparently a really big deal. I’ve never even heard of it before, but oh well. Basically, all of the schools taking part will be singing all these war related songs, and one of them is World In Union by Hayley Westenra. I have no idea if she originally sang it, but that’s the version I know. On Tuesday, we heard it for the first time, and my friends and I got really into it. In the four days since then, it has become our anthem. Imagine four or five teenage girls who are semi decent singers, belting out this song with as much passion and volume as they can muster. That’s us.

Also, it really is a great song to listen to as well. And there is a Māori version, which I think is pretty awesome. And the lyrics are quite inspiring and powerful to think about. So really, it is a great song.

Here you go. World In Union by Hayley Westenra. Listen to it once, then listen to it again and sing along as loud as you can, without a care in the world. You won’t regret it. (Unless, of course, everyone else is in bed and you start singing as loud as you can… Probably not such a good idea.)

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

The Sequel | Flashback Friday

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So apparently I was great at writing stories that didn’t have actual titles.

This week’s Flashback Friday is a follow on from last week’s, which was about Amelianta. I’ve linked it so that you can go back and read it if you want. But you aren’t missing much. The quality of the writing is awful. Anyway, I wrote this one a couple of months after, when I was still eleven. Hopefully it is an improvement from last week. Again, I am copying this almost exactly as it is written.

The Sequel

George, Martin, and Alana stepped into the cave. They were hunting for treasure. When Martin had suggested it, George had tossed her long, blonde hair. Alan had stopped sucking her thumb. She had never looked for treasure. And now, here she was, standing at the entrance of the dark cave in the middle of the forest. George stood on one side of her, Martin on the other. This was quite a big thing for Alana’s five-year-old mind. She was glad she had nine-year-old Martin and 14-year-old George.

“Come on, Lana.” Martin’s voice interrupted her thoughts.

“Coming, Artin.” Alana gave her black hair a stroke, which always made her brave. She stepped inside and grabbed Martin’s sweaty hand. But then she stopped. There was a big rock blocking the entrance. To Alana, it was huge. ‘It must be at least a million metres high, ‘ she thought. She stepped forward to touch it, but she tripped on her untied shoelace. Instead of crashing into the rock, she fell straight through.

“Lana!” screamed Martin, as he lunged forward, his brown hair flying everywhere. He too, fell through the rock. George jumped in after him.

Alana was flying through the air. Worlds were blurred. She was suddenly slammed onto the ground into a patch of soft moss. She thought she would be sore somewhere, like when she fell off her tricycle, but she wasn’t. Alana gasped. Was she dead? Was this Heaven? Oh, how she would miss her kitten if she was dead! Suddenly, she heard screaming. She jumped up. Martin came out of nowhere and landed on the moss. George came after him. Alana smiled at them, but then she frowned. “Are we dead? Are we in Heaven? Mummy said there is no pain in Heaven. I did not get sore when I landed,” she babbled. George got up.

“I don’t think we are in Heaven,” she replied. Martin got up after her.

“If we aren’t in Heaven, where are we?” he asked.

“In Zolooneyonopia.”

Alana, George, and Martin jumped. Then they turned to find the source of the voice. A girl stood behind them. Alana thought she was the prettiest girl she had ever seen. She looked about 16 years old. Her hair was like gorgeous gold thread, so fine and smooth and silky. It was so shiny and long, flowing down her back. She had a slight tan, and looked beautiful. Her dress was the most gorgeous thing Alana had ever seen. It shone with all the colours of the rainbow. Her eyes did too. Alana watched in awe as the girl opened her beautiful mouth and said, “I am Mary, Queen Amelianta’s special helper. Welcome to Zolooneyonopia. What brings you here today?”

Martin spoke up. “We were hunting for treasure when Alana tripped and fell through the rock. George and I dived in after her. I’m Martin. That’s George and Alana.”

“You must be tired,” said Mary. “Come have a rest.” The kids followed Mary and yawned. They were tired!

I think I’m going to stop it there. That’s four pages, and there’s another five to go. And it’s late. And I’m tired. So you’ll have to come back next week to find out what happens! Just to keep you somewhat interested, there is a character called Dr X, and some magic, and tragic events with people maybe possibly dying.

The plot thickens.

Oh, but before I go, I just want to do a quick shout out to Liz from Out of Coffee, Out of Mind. It is her blogversary around about nowish, which is awesome especially since she listed me in her list of blogs she’s enjoyed this past year, which is even more awesome and means a lot to me. That was a long sentence. Anyway, congrats Liz! *blows trumpet* I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts over the last however long I’ve been subscribed, and I’m extremely excited for you. (This is my replacement instead of commenting on your post, since we all know that technology hates me.) If you haven’t read Liz’s blog before, you definitely should. Like, right now. This post is finished. Click on the link. Now.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Vanilla Chai Tea (Or Why You Shouldn’t Do Nice Things For Me) | Motley Monday

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I thought it would be appropriate, after yesterday’s tea related tag, to tell you a tale about an unfortunate incident that occurred with some vanilla chai tea. This is, unfortunately, a true story.

In May, I attended and helped run an event for the older Girls’ Brigaders in my area. Before the girls arrived, the girl who was mainly running the event pulled out everything from her stash, to show me what we were doing that evening. Face masks, makeup, chocolate… All of these appeared on the table in front of me. Finally, she pulled out a box of Healtheries Vanilla Chai tea. She explained how you make it, and handed it to me to put on the bench behind me. Before putting it down, I sniffed it, as any normal person would. I like to know what I’m getting into before I try new things, you see.

There are no words to describe how amazing that tea smelled. It was divine. I could not wait until we opened that box and made that tea. I knew it had to taste even better than it smelled, and I was so excited.

But the other girls arrived, and the tea was forgotten. When I arrived home after the event, I realized that I never tried the delicious smelling tea.

The next morning, I mentioned the tea to my parents. I asked them to look for it in the supermarket, and they promised that they would.

A couple of months passed. Supermarket after supermarket didn’t seem to have the tea anywhere. Until finally, one Saturday morning, my mum walked in the back door, calling me. I entered the kitchen, saw the grin on her face, and I knew. She had found it! My delicious smelling, elusive tea was finally within reach.

I rummaged through the shopping, and pulled out the box. Bringing it to my nose, I took a big whiff of the amazing scent.

And I started gagging.

What? This was the right packet. This was my tea. Why was I gagging? Something wasn’t right. But to this day, I still haven’t figured it out. The packet is the same. The name is the same. But the smell is not.

All of that effort, wasted. However, I couldn’t give up hope. I tried it, just once, to see if the taste was at all like the smell that brought me into this predicament in the first place. But it was not to be. Getting down a whole mug of the stuff was almost physically painful.

So, after months of dedication and effort made by my parents, the tea sits in the cupboard, one tea bag missing, making the whole kitchen smell strange, and making me gag every time I open the cupboards. And this, my friends, is why you shouldn’t make the effort to do something nice for me. Something will just go wrong, and we’ll all end up worse for wear.

I’m kidding. Do nice things for me, please. Just don’t buy me tea.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

The Milk Tea Book Tag

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I have been tagged! Thank you to Aimee, for tagging me in this fun looking tag. I like one type of tea, and I love books, so this looks promising!

However, I’m going to put my own little spin on this one, and just use books that I’ve read so far this month. You will be hearing a lot more about these books in the near future, just letting you know.

I have plans up my sleeves, peoples. Lots of plans.

Tea: the foundation of your reading life

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The Bailey Flanigan series by Karen Kingsbury

Basically, Christian fiction. I know that there is quite a bit of judgement on Christian fiction around here, but I love it, so I read it.

Milk: a rich, smooth book

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By Any Other Name by Laura Jarratt

This one was great. I had never heard of it, so I had no expectations. And I loved it. It flowed nicely.

Sugar: a book (or series, in my case) that you love but is controversial

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The Noughts & Crosses series by Malorie Blackman

I generally don’t read controversial books. Looking at the stack that I’ve read this month, these would be the most controversial, if I was going by content. I don’t know if they actually are. I’m just making things up.

Ice: a book just for fun

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A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

One of my favourite childhood books. I realized the other day that I hadn’t read it in years, so I read it again yesterday. Still love it.

Silk Stocking: a book that is much better than it sounds

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Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

I have to confess that I completely misread the question, and thought it was a book that sounds much better than it is. I was going to have a rant about certain popular YA books that weren’t nearly as good as everyone said. And I was quite looking forward to it. Oh well. That can wait. Instead, we have this one, which is about a girl in the early 1900s (I think) who is writing letters to the mysterious man funding her schooling. It sounds boring. It was boring, the first time I tried to read it, many years ago. But this time, I loved it. I was laughing the whole way through.

Yinyang: a book with foreign influence

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On The Night Of The Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt

This also could have gone under silk stocking, since it sounds awfully creepy and weird. But I put it under this one instead, since 80% ish of it is set in Germany, and it contains a lot of German words and folklore and stuff. I actually could have put basically all of the books under this category, since I don’t live in America or England like apparently every single person in books does. Also, that sentence made absolutely no sense.

There you have it! My comparison of books I’ve read so far this month to different elements of tea!

Question. What on earth do silk stockings have to do with tea?

Righty-ho. I tag:

Rachel @ Stained Glass Windows
Liz @ Out of Coffee, Out of Mind
Adriana @ The Librarian Files

Enjoy the tag, guys! And come back tomorrow, because I’ll be continuing the tea trend with an unfortunate tale about some particular Vanilla Chai tea.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Africa | Song Of The Week

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This week’s song is a cover of the song Africa, originally by Toto.

Up until Thursday, I hadn’t heard this song in ages. It used to be my brother’s text tone, and every time he got a text, he’d let the whole song play before reading the text. Because it is a great song.

I rediscovered it the other day because my friend was listening to the album that this cover is off, K is for Karaoke. I listened to it as well, and instantly remembered why I used to love it so much. I don’t know if I’ve ever actually heard the original, even though it is pretty well known, but I’ve heard this cover hundreds of times.

Here you go. Africa, covered by Relient K, an amazing band. Enjoy it.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

The Alphabet Story | Flashback Friday

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Rachel requested this one, after reading the list that I posted in last week’s post. Which, by the way, you should read, and let me know which story you’d like to read next. This one comes with a sequel, which I’ll post next week, but otherwise, the choice is yours.

The description I gave for this one was something along the lines of Amelianta discovers a new land. (In case you are wondering, Amelianta is a name I made up, pronounced like Amelia without the a, and anta from words like Atlanta.) However, this story is written in an interesting format, because we were required to start each sentence with the next letter of the alphabet. I was eleven at the time, and I was quite proud of my story, as not many people finished the whole alphabet in the time given.

And so, without further ado…

The Alphabet Story

Amelianta stood before the door. Behind it could be anything. Could she risk everything? Did it contain something that important? Everything in her hands, she reached out slowly and grabbed the handle. Forgetting everything on her mind, she twisted the gold door handle. Gold that was brighter and more beautiful than anything else. “Heavy door,” she thought. Imagining what was behind the heavy brass door distracted Amelianta. “Just pull,” she told herself. Kicking herself, she pulled hard. Looking inside, she was amazed. Mountains and valleys, fields of flowers, lakes, oceans, and rivers. Never ending blue sky. Overexcited, she stepped inside. Power flowed through her. Queen Amelianta. Rowing boats came to her. She squinted. The people and animals of the land welcomed their new queen. Using her newfound powers, she made a rainbow. Violin music filled the air. “Wow,” Amelianta whispered. Xylophones played in her honour. “You are queen,” they said. “Zolooneyonopia is yours.”

Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who cringed the whole way through that. Also, you should see the terrible spelling and handwriting. And those sentences? So many of the same structure. I can’t believe myself. I swear my seven year old writing was better than this.

Oh, and Zolooneyonopia? Made that up too.

Right. Next week’s one should be better. The characters have real names, to begin with. Hopefully there’ll be a bit less cringing.

And make sure you go back and let me know which story you’d be keen to read in the near future!

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann