The Aesthete Blogger Award! (#1, 2, 3)

Hey everyone! Today, I’m going to be doing the Aesthete Blogger Award. It is about time that I get to this award. I was tagged to do this quite a while ago, but you all know me, it takes me forever to get to any tags! I’m super excited to get to this one today, though!

A little bit about the award: it was created by Ashmita @The Fictional Journal, who also happens to be one of the person who tagged me to do it. Please please please head on over and check out her post because she just writes the most amazing blog posts and she’s totally the sweetest person! (Seriously, go look at the post introducing this award.) I was also tagged by Riddhi @Whispering Stories, twice, so I’m going to be answering a few more questions by her! This tag was created to honor every creative person out there in the blogging community because we all deserve to be honored for our creativity–which I totally agree with! So this is gonna be a totally awesome post!!! (I am using an excess of exclamation marks and I am not sorry at ALL)
Let’s get started!

Rules

  • Use the official logo/graphic of the award and display it on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Show some love to the one who nominated you!
  • Mention the creator (Asmita@ the Fictional Journal) and link it back to the original post.
  • Tell me a something about this world that you admire.
  • What is your favourite form of creativity?
  • Nominate 7 lovely people and notify them by commenting on their posts; spread some love!
  • Ask your nominees 4 questions.
  • Share something you created. (can be anything!)
  • And lastly, just so you know: I LOVE YOUR CREATIONS!

Something about this world that I admire

I honestly just think there are a lot of parts of nature that are really cool, and look really pretty. Like, mountains can be stunning, or waterfalls? Trees in the fall when all their leaves turn colors…there’s a lot about nature that is beautiful!

My favorite form of creativity

Writing. I mean I blog (aka write) about books (aka writing). I love the way that words come together to create sentences come together to create paragraphs and so on. And the amount of creativity that goes into coming up with plots and the way that words convey plots and characters and worlds so well in books is awesome!

Ashmita’s Questions

What color is your soul?

I honestly have no idea, like I know that people talk about this sometimes, but I just don’t know, personally. I think I have friends who say that my soul is purple so I guess I’ll go with that? I think I’d go with a deep purple.

Think about your happiest memory. Then tell me the book/song that you are reminded of

Making me remember something on a whim never works. As soon as I am asked to recall something, I immediately forget e v e r y t h i n g. Honestly, I just love being around people, and being near my friends, in which case the book I choose would be Loveless or Raybearer because both have great friend groups…and something else that makes me happy is going to baseball games/playing softball, and in that case I’d probably choose Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! or Fast Pitch.

Finish the sentence: once upon a time, there lived a turtle in…

A purple jacket, who had many friends and was only afraid of one thing in the entire world: its own shell.
(and can I just say you’re welcome for giving you that lovely sentence? Haha just kidding)

Do you have an aesthetic?/What is your favorite aesthetic?

Hmmm I don’t know if I personally have an aesthetic, I mean probably 90% of the clothes I wear are black, so if that counts…
And I feel like my blog definitely has a bit of an aesthetic I mean definitely a lot of blue and purple.

Riddhi’s Questions

Who do you think is the most creative person you know?

Okay I know way too many creative people so there’s no way I can answer this with one person (there’s actually no such thing as ‘too many creative people’ just saying). I think I’d say my two best friends (they know who they are, I’m not naming them, and the chances of them reading this are like .1%) and my sibling. All three are literally amazing artists and I am blown away by how good they are at drawing because I cannot draw. At all. I have tried, it does not work. (and I know there’s this thing called practice but like…)

If you could get just one tattoo, what would it be?

The first thing I have to say is that I am terrified of needles and have very low pain tolerance and do not want something that permanent on my skin, so I would never ever ever get a tattoo. This being said, if there was a way to get a tattoo that did not involve needles or pain and could be removed easily if I wanted it to be, I mean a tattoo of a phoenix might be pretty cool (very on-brand, I know). But a small one, I don’t want like giant wings stretched across my back or anything. Maybe one on my forearm or something like that.

What is your least favorite thing in the world?

My least favorite thing? Yikes. I mean, there are a lot of things I like in the world, but there are also a lot of things that I dislike. I mean, I’d probably say discrimination but there’s no way I’m choosing one kind of discrimination. Just the fact that people will act towards or treat someone so badly at times just because of something that is…who they are is awful. I always just want to get these people to UNDERSTAND like how do you not understand that what you’re doing is not okay? How are you able to hurt another person like that because of something like their skin color, or sexuality or gender or anything else?

What do you admire about a person you are living with currently?

All the people I live with are totally amazing and I admire so many things about them? But I really admire my sibling because of their artistic ability and also just…I don’t know…who they are. They’re an amazing student, too, I mean I’m a good student but this kid is literally magical I do not understand how someone gets the grades that they do.

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

I definitely consider myself an extrovert, I mean I just like…people? Like I like being around people. Big crowds, places like that, love them. But when I first told my friends that I was an extrovert, they were s h o c k e d, like I don’t understand how shocked they were. I think this is because we have this one friend who is basically the definition of an extrovert, like you look up ‘extrovert’ in the dictionary and you’ll find her name. She will literally walk up to strangers and ask them random questions. And since I’m not that kind of extrovert, (I actually do not like to talk to random strangers) my friends just…thought I was an introvert. Plus, most of my friends are introverts so I think they thought I was one of them.

How would your best friend describe you?

I mean, as we learned in the last post, she’d describe me as an introvert? But anyways, when I asked, we got, ‘Nice? Cool? Is smart?’
‘Doesn’t like it when I call her hair blonde’ (supposedly my hair is dirty blonde. I think it’s darker than dirty blonde. But apparently it’s dirty blonde and I just don’t know what color dirty blonde is)(by the way how many of you thought my hair was red because basically everyone I ask thinks that since I go by Phoenix)
‘Thoughtful’
‘Has glasses’
‘Reads a lot of books’
‘Likes purple sweatshirts and baseball’
‘Writing Goddess

So there you are, that’s how my best friend would describe me.

What would you name your boat if you had one?

Okay there are so many good boat names out there. And also, I am TERRIBLE at coming up with names (any kind of name) so I will probably read back on this post in a week and wonder what the heck I was thinking. But at first I was thinking ‘phoenix’ (once again: on brand) but I felt like ‘phoenix’ wasn’t totally right and then I thought of ‘firebird’ and for some reason I thought that fit better. So maybe I’d go with firebird. Or maybe I’d make a baseball pun name because my family has this weird hobby of naming things after baseball players, but with pun names (and these are names I can actually think up off the top of my head; I’ve already thought of two and they are wonderful).

What’s the most useless talent you have?

I have some really weird talents. Most of my talents have something to do with remembering things. Back in 2018, I could tell you the birthdays of every single baseball player on my favorite baseball team. Birthdays. Not anything useful, like batting average, or number, or anything like that. Their birthdays! Also in the 2018-2019 school year, I managed to figure out the school schedules of around 70 different people in my grade. This is more leaning towards creepy, not useless (actually it could be useful at times, like if someone needed to know what class someone else was at a certain time, there was a pretty good chance I knew it). I used to be quite proud of this fact (okay I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still just a little proud of it still) and would go around telling people, and then I realized that these people would be more freaked out than impressed so I stopped doing it as much. I’m still actually pretty good at figuring out and/or remembering people’s schedules, though I’ve never reached anywhere near 70 since then. But my friends find it very useful because they can ask me what class they have next and I know off the top of my head.

Something I Created

I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump lately (okay, or at least a writing slump, but I’m not very creative other than my writing) and when I say a bit, I mean I haven’t really written something that I’m super excited about since July. I did start writing a retelling (more of a continuation) of another story, and I wrote a bit of banter/an argument between two characters that I kind of enjoyed, so I’ll put it here (points if you can guess what story it’s based off–it’s based off a classic novel. Character names are the same as in the original book so it should be pretty easy).

She and Father surveyed each other for several seconds, both of them tense as they waited for the other to speak. An energy crackled between them, and I began to wonder if I knew this woman, just a glimmer of recognition hovering at the edge of my mind.
Finally, Father broke the silence, his voice stiff as he acknowledged her. “Jordan Baker.”
She inclined her head in return, her lips curving upwards in a smile. “Tom Buchanan.” A pause. “You’re looking…as rich as ever.”
“What are you doing here, Jordan?” Father was clearly past greetings.
“I’m paying my respects to my best friend, Tom. I know it’s been a long time, but that’s the girl that I practically grew up with. I’m going to miss her as much as you will.  More than you will. And I’d like to give her this, at the very least.”
“She’s dead now, Jordan. It’s been thirteen years, and you didn’t show up once, but now that she’s about to be six feet into the earth you decide it’s a good time to appear? You being here doesn’t help her any.”
“God, you think I don’t know that, Tom? What was I supposed to do, waltz into your house and expect you to accept me with open arms while Daisy was dying in a dark bedroom? We both know that you would never have let that happen. It was too soon, and neither you nor Daisy wanted to see me, anyways. But I couldn’t let my best friend’s funeral pass by without being here for a part of it. God, I can’t believe she’s dead.” That was the first real emotion I’d seen from anyone here, all afternoon, including from myself and father.
“Daisy’s death did nothing to my opinions about you. I didn’t want to see you when she was alive, and I don’t want to see you now that she’s dead, either. Go away, Jordan. You shouldn’t be here.” There was a fire in my father’s eyes as he spoke, and it was the father that I’d heard about but never seen standing in front of me; the commanding one, who wanted everything to go his way. The rich, entitled father that Sally was always trying so hard to keep me away from, before the Depression began, when Mother’s sickness was only recurring headaches and a weakness that he simply attributed with femininity. 
“I see that nothing’s changed of you since that summer. One would think you might have, with how things have devolved, but I guess you always have been too dense to see farther than your own stack of money. I’m not your wife, Tom, and you don’t get to decide where I should and shouldn’t go, like you did with Daisy. Thirteen years is more than enough time to move on, and I won’t let your thoughts on the past keep me from mourning in the present.”

So…what’d you think?

You all are lucky enough to get ANOTHER creative thing out of me today. The current companion quest in The Quiet Pond’s Pondathon is to design a rose representing my favorite book. Now, I certainly did not draw any roses because I’m terrible at drawing in the first place and I think that drawing a rose of all things would be worse, but here is a description of the rose (or several roses) that I have designed after the book Loveless by Alice Oseman.

There’s this quote in Loveless that’s this really long monologue from Rooney, Georgia’s friend. Basically, Rooney is explaining how she will ALWAYS be Georgia’s friend, and it’s just a long sappy (amazing) monologue. And at one point, Rooney says this: “…We’re gonna knock down the fence between our gardens so we have one big garden, and we can both get a dog and take turns looking after it.”

So because of this, the ‘rose’ that I am designing because of this book is not actually a rose, but actually a rose garden – basically, the garden that Rooney talks about here. It would be a big garden, because you know it’s actually two gardens combined, and I think that it would be really colorful. There would especially be the colors of pride flags, ESPECIALLY the aro and ace flags. Like, Georgia’s side would be a mass of green and purple. I have no idea if that many different colored roses exist, but you know what, it’s my design and I can do what I want. I think that Rooney’s side of the garden would be really disorganized like a whole jumble of different colors all over, and Georgia would take meticulous care of her side, even though Rooney would constantly tell her to let it grow wild, because now their garden doesn’t match but Georgia wouldn’t be a super great gardener anyways so it would end up looking kinda like Rooney’s side.

I tag:

My questions:

  1. What’s the most random, irrational phobia that you have?
  2. If you had to wear only one color for the rest of your life, what color would it be and why?
  3. Tell me the summary of the last book you read, but in the weirdest way possible (and then tell us what book it is – or don’t, and make people guess)
  4. Where would you like to go to write (blog post or something else) most? (eg cafe, library, etc)

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What tattoo would you like to get? Do you have any useless talents?

Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee

We have reached the last week in my ‘Beyond the Story Challenge.’ I know that not many people participated in the challenge but I had a lot of fun reading new books that I probably wouldn’t have found time to read otherwise. I hope that everyone else has found my book reviews just as fun as I have writing them!

Summary:
Sirscha is nothing. An apprentice to the Shadow, the queen’s royal spy, her whole life depends on coming the kingdom’s next shadow. But her plan is derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend, Saengo.
And then, somehow, Saengo is brought back to life and Sirscha is the first soulguide shaman found in centuries. She is summoned into the Dead Wood to appear in front of the Spider King, the keeper of peace in the kingdoms. But the Dead Wood, an ancient forest possessed by souls, are growing more wild and threaten to take over all the kingdoms. Only a soulguide can tame them and Sirscha must learn to control her power if she wants to save her world.

The Characters:
Sirscha: She has no life. Like actually, she admits it herself. Several times. Her only goal is to become the Shadow and she’s oftentimes like, ‘if I don’t get it…I don’t know what I’m going to do. I have to get it.’ She has exactly one friend and a whole lot of enemies because apparently not having parents or a home makes people hate you? And she’s very loyal to her friend but…she doesn’t have much else of a personality. She’s good with dual swords. And NOT good at following orders. That’s all I can really say about her.
Saengo: I liked Saengo much, much more than Sirscha. Unfortunately, with Saengo being sick most of the book and Sirscha going off and doing her own things…we didn’t get to see her much. But she is a very good friend and I hope that, if I read the next book, she’ll be in it more.
Ronin the Spider King: What a name, right? And imagine having a spider king basically controlling all the kingdoms in the world. He lives in the middle of a forest so dangerous that you can’t get through it without him controlling the trees to let you through…unless your name is Sirscha or Theyen, conveniently two pretty prominent characters in the book. All in all, I can’t describe much of Ronin’s personality but I will say that he reminds me a bit of the Darkling…just with less humor. And more mysterious or whatever…if that’s possible. But the similarities are definitely there.
Theyen: He’s the humor and the personality in the book. He’s really the only one with a defining characteristic: completely insufferable. But like, that’s part of the reason why he’s one of the best characters.

The plot:
I…really don’t don’t know to describe the plot. It was….a whole lot. There were a bunch of things that were mentioned once fifty pages ago that Sirscha was supposed to be doing so I didn’t actually know what she was doing most of the time? There were just so many things going on all at once. I also felt, despite the fact that the book is 400 pages long, that it was fairly short once it got going. I know I said there was so much happening at once but I’m going to contradict myself and say that not much happened. Sure, she usually has a goal and is doing something, which is why the plot is kind of confusing, but she spends like half the book in a giant building in the middle of this enchanted forest doing research on….something that was mentioned 50 pages ago, or trying to control her powers. Which she tried like once. The other times she just wandered around doing things. However, despite my harsh words on the plot of this book, I will say that it was still enjoyable to read, and the times that I did understand what was going on were really interesting.

The world building:
I think that part of the reason the plot was so confusing was because of the world building. There are so many places and things mentioned that it’s hard to keep track of everything. Sure, the world is extremely impressive. There’s a really complex magic system, there’s a bunch of kingdoms, there’s this cool-sounding and totally creepy forest…but if we’re not introduced to all these things gradually, it’s really really hard to keep track of everything. We get a few descriptions that border on info dumps at the beginning that describe the world and then we’re just…supposed to figure out what kingdom is what and where when they’re mentioned.

The magic system:
The magic system was info dumped and didn’t do an excellent job explaining it either? I get that there are five central different magics–or possibly six? Is shadows a magic? Sirscha said it wasn’t but then we met people who could magic shadows…anyways. But in those magics, you can do different things. So…Sirscha is a soulguide. She can guide souls to the underworld or back to life. But there’s also a soulrender, who can tear souls out of people and such. And both of those magics are light magics but when you develop powers you only get one specific power. And lots of different powers were mentioned throughout the book but I don’t know what they are or what magic they’re under or anything.

The romance:
Something I liked about this book was that…there was no romance! None. Nothing. Not even a, ‘he looks good in this shirt with his hair tousled,’ or anything like that. No, ‘a warm flutter starts in my stomach.’ It was completely focused on the characters which was a really nice change since I feel like some YA books really have a romance where…there doesn’t need to be one. Where it really changes the story because, ‘Oh, I love you *swoons*’ (no thank you).This was a very nice change.

The representation:
As far as race goes, I believe that all or at least almost all of the characters in this book are Asian. As far as sexuality and gender goes…well there was no romance and nothing about sexuality was mentioned and there are no characters whose pronouns were not she/her or he/him.

Final ratings: (out of five stars)
Characters: 🌟🌟🌟
Plot: 🌟🌟🌟
World building: 🌟🌟
Romance: N/A
Diversity: 🌟🌟🌟
I’m going to bump up the rating a bit because of the no-romance thing.
Final rating: 3 stars

Book info:
Title: Forest of Souls
Author: Lori M. Lee
Published by: Page Street Kids on June 23, 2020
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 400

Have you read ‘Forest of Souls’? What did you think about it? Do you want to read it? Did this review sway your opinion in any way? Have you read any of Lori M. Lee’s other books? What did you think of this review? I’d love to hear your opinion on my opinion as long as you are respectful! I’m always open to a bookish discussion in the comments–I don’t bite! And be sure to check out some of my other posts!
As always, thanks for stopping by. To take the time out of your busy lives to read this post means the world. Stay safe and keep reading!