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Farewell Stan Lee

Today the world mourns.

It is not the first day that we have done so, nor will it be the last. Sadly the time is coming where mourning will be quite frequent. It is the sad truth of the world as it spins and moves through space that we humans must grow older. Eventually, we all must die, and return to the Earth. Today, the Earth has welcomed back much-beloved Stan Lee.

I have never read a comic book in my life. I appreciate the art. I admire the story-telling. I love the characters. I just have a thing where I always feel the need to start at the beginning. A horrible thing to think about when it comes to comic books, but it’s something in my head nonetheless, which I can’t seem to get past. While I may never have read his works, I’ve fallen in love with the man’s creativity all the same.

I’ve preferred Marvel to DC for longer than I even knew the two were different. Watching superhero movies as a kid, I may have enjoyed Batman more than Superman, but it was Spiderman which really made me enjoy the genre. Then, of course, came the X-Men. Then Iron Man, and the current Marvel Cinematic Universe which we all know and love.

Since before I even knew who he really was, I enjoyed Stan Lee’s work. When I was younger, I was unaware of all the cameos he made. Now, every time I go to see a Marvel movie, I keep my eyes open, eager to spot him. I think the next few Marvel movies to come out will be the hardest to watch. Stan hasn’t been a spring chicken for a few years now, and has outlived many other much-loved celebrities. There have been rumours for quite a while now that even after his death, his cameos in Marvel films will be continued. That they have enough recorded footage of him to be able to keep him in his creations with the help of technology. I don’t know if this will happen, but I do know that it will be hard to watch regardless. Whether it’s a movie he’d finished filming his cameo for before passing away, or a technologically implanted Stan Lee cameo, or no Stan Lee cameo at all, the first movie will be the hardest.

Stan Lee isn’t the only notable name we have lost in recent years. We have lost many big names in the creative circles. From Robin Williams, to David Bowie. Alan Rickman, to Prince. These are people I grew up with. Watching. Listening to. I knew their work before I knew who they work. I was singing “Magic Dance” before I knew it was David Bowie who sang it. I was quoting Professor Snape before I knew Alan Rickman’s name. Hook, and Aladdin are both among some of my most beloved movies, before I ever understood who was playing my favourite characters.

It’s truly tragic, when we lose someone who has influenced the world so much in such a way as this. We have proved, however, time and again, that we can move on. They may not ever be replaced, not truly, but their work will live on forever. Much like Shakespeare’s works are still around today, and Beethoven’s music still celebrated.

I’d like to take the rest of this blog to have a moment of respect for the wonderful creatives we have lost. And to appreciate the ones we still have. Deaths can be unexpected, like Robin Williams’, or Kurt Cobain’s. Sometimes, you know it’s coming for a while. It’s still a shock, regardless. We need to love and appreciate the creative artists that we still have.

For today, farewell, Stan Lee, and thank you so much for everything you have given to the world. You have been so lucky to share your stories with the world as you have, and to have felt the love and appreciation that the world has for you.

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Welcome to October

It’s coming into October, my favourite month of the year. Ever since I was a child, I have always loved Halloween. Imagine my disappointment to have been born in Australia, one of the few big Western nations that doesn’t particularly celebrate Halloween. Naturally, all the Australia’s love for all things American when it comes to TV just made everything worse. After all, is an American TV show without a Halloween special actually an American TV show? I don’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong, Halloween not being overly celebrated in Australia never stopped me from trick-or-treating. My Mum and Nana would help me with a costume, and then my god-sisters and myself would walk around my Nana and Grandad’s neighbourhood. I have no idea how Americans always seem to have pillowcases filled with candy by the time they walk around a neighbourhood. I mean, sure, perhaps the neighbourhood I would walk around wasn’t quite as big as the American neighbourhoods, but that wasn’t the real problem. The problem was that no one was prepared for trick-or-treaters to come around. Not when I was growing up. Well, no one is an overstatement. A few people had some candy or chocolate bars. The vast majority, however, would just shrug and say “Oh, it’s Halloween? Sorry, I don’t have anything for you.” A couple of people were really nice, and they would give us two dollar coins instead.

The world is changing, and I like the way it’s changing. Now it’s becoming common for children in Australia to trick-or-treat. We still have a long way to go before it’s as normal as it is in other countries, such as America, but we have come quite far from when I used to be the only child in the neighbourhood to go trick-or-treating. There’s even a set of rules that are being generally acknowledged by parents, children, and just people living in houses. If you wish to participate and have trick-or-treaters come to your house to give away candy, you just leave your outside light on. So parents will take their children around neighbourhoods, going to houses with their lights on. One day it may even be as common here as it is in the United States.

I don’t go trick-or-treating any more. I’m a bit too old for that now, sadly, and don’t have any children to escort around. Maybe one day I might steal a child from a friend. That’s not to say that Halloween is any less boring as an adult. Now, I can just buy all the candy I want to eat and binge-watch Halloween movies.

Which is, of course, my plan for this Halloween. I have a bunch of friends who I plan to voice call while watching the wonderful world of Halloween movies. The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Hocus Pocus are naturally two of the first movies on our list. Of course we’re also going to be watching some Beeltejuice as well. There are just so many other good Halloween movies out there as well that I don’t know what else to add to our list. Especially since I’m trying to educate a couple of my friends, who haven’t seen some of these movies before. (I know, believe me, I’m just as shocked as you are. Don’t worry though, they have agreed to being educated.) Any particularly important must-see Halloween movie suggestions would be more than welcome.

There are three other things that I’m particularly looking forward to this wonderful spooky month. Firstly, there are Halloween events. I don’t necessarily mean at bars, or places like that. Although if I can find any events like that, I may very well do just that. However, what I am talking about is the wonderful world of gaming events. Okay, so, the one game in particular, although I can hope that other games might also have events. For example, I’m hopeful that the Harry Potter mobile game, Mystery at Hogwarts, might have a Halloween event. Given that it’s still a growing game and mostly in development, I would not be surprised if such an event didn’t happen this year, however they are doing some events for unique skins fairly regularly, so I think my hope may just pay out.

The game I’m particularly looking forward to, however, is Overwatch. Now, I haven’t been playing this game since it came out. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not good at it. I’d like to be, but I’m only a lowly bronze player. (In comp as well as border). Maybe upgrading to a better mouse and keyboard might help with that for me. Or maybe I’ll just find out that no, I’m still horrible at it. Though, my skill level isn’t the point I want to talk about right now. Instead, I want to talk about the Halloween event. I had so much fun last year when playing Junkenstein’s revenge. It was the first special event arcade mode that I played, since I joined at the end of the Anniversary event last year.

Overwatch is great, I’ve been enjoying playing it a lot lately. Although it’s one of those things that’s definitely better with friends. Even better when it has those Player vs Environment events, as opposed to constantly Player vs Player. I’m just going to ignore the whole trend towards Battle Royale that games seem to be going to at the moment due to the popularity of some certain free to play ones, because let’s face it, those modes are undoubtedly my least favourite. The PvE modes, however, Junkenstein’s Revenge, Uprising, and Retribution are some of my favourites. Let’s face it, Overwatch players can get quite salty sometimes, whether you’re playing with them or against them. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing competitive, quick play, or arcade, unless you’re playing with a six stack, you’ll almost inevitably find a teammate who doesn’t co-operate. That’s not to say that you don’t find that in those PvE modes. In fact, sometimes you get players who either disconnect or purposefully leave, which results in a very unbalanced group, since unlike other game modes, there isn’t any back-fill for these PvE games, which are designed for four players to work together.

The game mode isn’t the only thing that’s got me excited. I’m a pretty big fan of some of the skins that already exist in the game, but Halloween skins will always be among my favourite on any game that has such a mechanic. Some of the ones that I got last year during the event are still up there among my most-used skins. The Dragon Symmetra skin, and the Cultist Zenyatta skin in particular are absolutely wonderful. As someone who currently “mains” Moira, I’m naturally hoping and praying for a Goblin Queen Labyrinth-style skin. If not this event, perhaps I’ll be lucky next year.

The second exciting thing about this month is that it’s going to be my last month at university. Now, I’m not going to say forever, at this point. I know myself too well to say that. Maybe one day I’ll go on to do a Masters. For the moment, however, with what I’m currently studying, I am nearly done. This is both exciting and absolutely terrifying for me. Having to go out into the real world as an adult with a degree? What on Earth will I do? It doesn’t help that it’s a Fine Arts degree. I’m just going to be so employable!

The third thing that’s happening this month is connected to the second, and is essentially the main reason I’m writing this whole thing right now in the first place. I’ve just spent the past three years working on a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing. Naturally I want to go on to do something with this. Which is why I’m starting this blog. The blog is just a small part, of course. I’ve also taken steps to become a sole trader, so that I can begin getting paid for writing and editing. It feels like a big step for me, quite possibly because it is. I’m going to be putting myself out there, which hasn’t always ended well for me in the past. Not that such things have always ended horribly for me, but when you have anxiety, you always begin to expect the worst.

So here goes, the first blog for my site, talking about my favourite month, and letting everyone know that Marlee McDougall, writer and editor, is officially open for business.

Blog Posts

Fantastic Beasts, the Crimes of Grindlewald (Spoilers)

I’m going to take a break from book reviews today, to give a movie review. It’s also going to be quite heavy with spoilers, so fair warning, if you haven’t seen Fantastic Beasts, the Crimes of Grindlewald yet, don’t read any more of this blog. Instead, go see the movie, and read when you’ve watched it, and feel you need to see the opinions of another person who’s watched it.

I’ve mentioned before how I’m a big fan of Harry Potter. I grew up with it, and the story is a huge part of me. Which is why when the first Fantastic Beasts movie came out, I made sure that I was seeing it as soon as possible, in a special screening. The same for the second film.

This won’t be me arguing about the casting choice for Grindlewald. I know it’s a very controversial topic right now, so I’m just not going to touch it. Instead, I’m going to talk about the film itself.

To start off with, I loved it. It was visually stunning, with great effects. Newt was just as adorkable as ever. Tina was wonderful. Jacob and Queenie were absolutely beautiful. Then of course, there are the stars of the film, the beasts themselves.

Everyone’s favourite niffler returns, this time with some babies who cause havoc in Newt’s home. The baby nifflers are absolutely adorable, and I’m not afraid to say that I’m probably going to buy plushies of them as soon as I can. I remember walking away from the first film talking with my friend, excitedly talking about how we needed a niffler plushy. Of course, they delivered. I have one sitting right behind me now.

Nagini is wonderful, although I can definitely understand the controversy surrounding her. The idea of a maledict is great, and of Nagini, the snake we’ve all grown to love/hate in the original series, being one is wonderful. However, I am somewhat worried because I instantly fell in love with her. Nagini is a lovely person, who’s clearly been hurt in the past. She spends most of her time in the film trying to help Credence on his quest to discover who he is. However when the time comes to choose whether to follow him and join Grindlewald, or to stay with the chance to fight against Grindlewald, she chooses to stay. This is where I have my problem. Well, let’s just say, potential problem. It will take a great amount of fantastic story telling to get this beautiful character to join Voldemort. Certainly, there’s an element of Voldemort having control over her due to her being his horcrux. However, Harry was able to resist, without even being aware he was a horcrux.

There are other wonderful creatures, of course, though many we only see briefly. There’s the augurey, who I would have loved to see more of, after everything in Cursed Child. Pickett makes another appearance, with his beautiful bowtruckle nature. We see some firedrakes in a cage, and a kappa in a bath. Of course we see the kelpie, who Newt and Bunty are helping with healing. We catch a glimpse of a leucrotta, and there are the matagot’s in the ministry. Thestrals make another appearance, driving the cart where Grindlewald makes his mistake.

Finally, a new star appears to try to steal the show with the zouwu. A beautiful creature, it is very reminiscent of a cat, with the way Newt manages to befriend it and calm it down. I feel one of my favourite moments may have been when Tina took the toy and caught its attention.

Now it’s time to talk more story things that I may or may not have been happy with. I loved how charismatic they showed Grindlewald to be. This was what made him such a dangerous person, how he managed to convince people that he was working for the greater good. It wasn’t that he hated muggles, but that wizards were better. He even convinced Queenie, a character who loves a muggle, to join him, for the betterment of wizard kind. They didn’t even shy away from showing how Albus loved Grindlewald, which made me quite happy.

Leta was wonderful. I was curious about how she would fit in with the story, and particularly with how she was going to fit in to Newt’s story. I was a little worried, after the first film, that perhaps she would be a Bellatrix clone. Instead, she was a lovely person, set to marry Theseus, Newt’s brother. Theseus was also quite an interesting character. Not gonna lie, there may have been some tears on my part when Leta died. Her story was beautiful. I loved how she was a perfect example of a Slytherin, without being evil.

I have saved what I feel as the most controversial and spoiler filled thing for last. At the end of the film, after it is revealed that Leta swapped her brother for another child on the boat, we (supposedly) discover Credence’s true identity, as a long lost brother for Aberforth, Albus, and Ariana. I was so angry when this was revealed, because it seemed like lazy writing and story telling to me.

Then I thought about it some more, and realised that it could be amazing story telling instead. The so-called proof that was offered up was a phoenix, (presumably Fawkes) who Credence had been taking care of as a baby, and was revealed to be a phoenix at the end of the film, when Grindlewald reminded us of a story that had been briefly foreshadowed earlier about a phoenix coming to a Dumbledore in need.

At first, I was angry, because of how this contradicted what we know about the Dumbledores. Of course, that’s when I started to really think about it more. Because it does in fact contradict what we know. Here’s what we know.

Ariana Dumbledore was an obscurus, much like Credence. She became one after muggles teased her furiously. This is when Percival Dumbledore killed the muggles who had hurt her, and was locked up in Azkaban for it, where he later died. Even in the wizarding world, it takes two to make a baby. Then there’s the little fact that Credence couldn’t have been more than twenty years old in the first film, which took place in 1926, a solid 27 years after Kendra passed away.

Sounds very contradictory of course, when you lay it all out like that. However, what if it is supposed to be? And this is where I decided to accept (at least for now) what happened at the end of the film. It’s yet another example of Grindlewald using his charisma to get others to do what he wants. He explained previously how he wanted Credence to join his side so that he could kill Albus for him, something Grindlewald couldn’t do himself because of the blood oath he and Albus swore.

Kendra Dumbledore was killed by her obscurus daughter. Grindlewald, being close to young Albus, and part of the cause of Ariana’s death later on, was well aware of this fact. Which further explains why he might want Credence to be the one to kill Albus, to hurt him all the more. No one ever said he wasn’t a cruel man. So, Grindlewald simply needed Credence to be uncertain about his heritage, and to prove that he couldn’t be Corvus Lestrange, in order to convince Credence to join him. Once there, he lies about Credence’s parentage, in an effort to make Credence hate Albus, so that he might kill him.

Of course, there’s always the chance that my theory is wrong, and that it simply was lazy story telling with an attempt at a shock factor. I suppose the only way to find out will be to watch the next film, when it comes out in two years time.

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Books Books

Eliza and her Monsters

I’ve mentioned earlier in a previous Books Books how I was subscribed to Owl Crate, a service which would deliver a book to my door every month. Unfortunately, I’ve had to cancel my subscription for the time being. However, while I was subscribed I enjoyed quite a number of the books I was sent. It is one of those books that I’d like to talk about and share with you today.

I had no idea what I was in for when I first held Eliza and Her Monsters. I was definitely not expecting the roller coaster that Francesca Zappua took me on.

Eliza was a wonderful character, who suffers from anxiety and depression. It didn’t take me long at all before I connected with Eliza. An artist first and writer second, she had a blog she updated regularly with a story of her own creation, which had become quite popular. Of course, no one knew that it was actually shy little Eliza who was the artist in question. No one, save for two of her best friends, who she only really knew online.

I related to Eliza very heavily. Even if I’m miserable at art, and don’t have a crazily successful webcomic. I relate because like me, Eliza is a creative person, who uses her creativity as a way to get away from things sometimes. An escape from the world. Like me, she has created a world that she knows backwards and forwards, and characters she knows better than the people she lives with.

As a writer, I could definitely relate. Much as, as an anxious and depressed person, I could relate with her on that level. Eliza wasn’t diagnosed at the start of the book, but France wrote her so well that it came through clearly anyway. At least, it did for me.

Because I related so much to Eliza, I soon became desperate to finish the book, to find out what would happen, how this was going to go. Not going to lie, I had a bit of a sleepless night, with a fair bit of gross sobbing as certain things went down.

[Spoiler alert] When it came out without Eliza’s wishes that she was the author that everyone was obsessed with, she broke down. I also felt like I was breaking with her. The writing was so beautiful that I felt as though I were there, that my boyfriend and friends suddenly hated me. [End spoiler]

I was sobbing in the middle of the night, because the writing and characterisation was so perfect. I related so much to Eliza at that point. I understand how hard it can be to open up about things. Particularly big things. It seems easier to just keep it close to your chest, to never let it out. I’ve never had a secret as big as Eliza’s, but I’ve had moments where things have come out that I’ve been trying to keep in. It can be devastating, no matter how small it is, no matter how supportive people around you might be. It can be hard to have something like that come out.

Eliza wasn’t the only character I came to love in this book. Wallace was an absolute sweetheart. Then there’s Eliza’s family. Her brothers were wonderful, but I think I have to give some parent of the year awards to her parents. Certainly, they weren’t the best to begin with. They had some typical problems that parents of teenagers in Young Adult novels seem to have. They didn’t really understand their child, for one. However, when shit went down, they soon realised their mistakes. They fixed their ways, and worked hard to understand their child more. Zappia also did well to make it quite clear that it wasn’t purely the parent’s fault. Eliza wasn’t particularly open to her parents, to begin with. Yes, this is one of the things that a good parent aught to be aware of with their teenage children, and try to work around. Because, let’s face it, teenagers rarely talk to their parents. They’re almost never completely open with them about how they feel. I know I certainly wasn’t.

The ending was absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t have asked for more. It was so real There was no “she was fixed, everything was perfect.” Instead, Eliza started working on her problems.

Another thing that made this book so beautiful and special was the art that Zappia shared throughout it. Art from Eliza’s webcomic Monstrous Sea. With it, there was also shared some of the backstory and facts about the webcomic. There were some beautiful quotes which had meaning not only within the webcomic and the novel, but which has more meaning beyond that.

“There are monsters in the sea,” and “You found me in a constellation.” There are so many other beautiful quotes, both those that were in the webcomic which Eliza and other characters reflect on throughout the book, and in the book itself. These two are simply some of my favourites. And I may need to choose between them one day as to which will be inked permanently upon my body. One day.

I will most certainly be reading this book again, and I cannot possibly recommend it enough for everyone else to read. I cannot understate how much I loved it. It was positively beautiful. It made me ugly cry late at night while desperate to finish. I loved the art, the characters, and the story telling so much. Everything about this book was absolutely beautiful, and even though I know I’ll cry when I read it again, it’s going to happen.

Blog Posts

We Can’t Be Friends

Today I saw Bohemian Rhapsody, and oh boy was it amazing. I had goosebumps. The casting was absolutely spot on—couldn’t possibly be more perfect. There were moments I had to laugh—when Mike Myers’ character was saying how no one would crank up the movie’s namesake song and sing along with it. Especially given the first time I remember hearing the song was when I watched the movie Wayne’s World. As amazing as the movie was, it’s not what I particularly want to talk about in this blog. Instead, let me talk about one of the advertisements that came on before the movie.

A family were sitting in a car. Two boys, their father, and a little girl. The oldest boy had just received detention, for flicking a girl’s skirt up. The father said that was such a small thing to get detention for. His brother said that it’s silly, cos boys will be boys. The young girl explained how she was already well aware of how she was basically an object, and how she was expecting to be harassed like that for the rest of her life. Needless to say, I fell in love with this ad. For such a simple thing, it captured one of the most problematic things about our society’s view of men and women so perfectly.

While I’d love to continue about the “boys will be boys” problem, it has been done to death on the internet—and for good reason. Today, instead, I’d like to share my views with you about another issue our society faces. One which I don’t see as much discourse about online. What I’d like to discuss today, is the myth that adult men and women can’t just be friends.

This is the big myth, of which so many others stem. The myth of the friend zone, for example, comes from this. Well, I say myth of the friend zone. It’s not entirely a myth. It does exist. Though for the most part it’s for good reason. Personally, I would like to blame a hetero-normative society for the beginning and continued propagation of this myth.

It annoys me, for example, when it becomes obvious when reading a book who the love interest will be, simply because they’re the person the main character is closest to of the opposite gender. Or, worse than that, those books (movies, TV shows, media of any sort) where there’s a schism between friends, or a relationship, because of a girl or a boy. For example, Twilight. Yeah, I’m not a fan, I’m just using it as an example because it’s popular and was for some reason the first thing that jumped into my head.

Bella was friends with Jacob, but he was in love with her, even though she was in love with Edward. Obviously the whole thing gets awkward, and gross, but… let’s ignore that. Instead, I’ll look at Vampire Academy (a far better teenage vampire series, in my opinion). In the first two novels, Rose is friends with Mason, who was in love with her. It’s one of the reasons why I love books that break this tradition. And books where you can honestly find yourself uncertain as to who the main character is going to end up with at the end.

There are book series which I love, and still have the same or similar problems. For example, The Darkness Rising trilogy by Kelley Armstrong, Maya’s best friend, who seems to be firmly her best friend throughout the series, ends up being the love interest. Not that I’m complaining, I loved the series, and Dan was a beautiful person, but it still has that sense of “boys and girls can’t just be good friends” to me.

Even in Harry Potter, I remember everyone shipping Harry and Hermione, before the last book. Everyone was certain they were going to end up together. Then there’s Ron being the one to end up with Hermione (not to mention his moment destroying Slytherin’s locket where he’s worried Hermione and Harry might have ended up together).

It’s so annoying to me when people are jealous of anyone talking to their partner. A girl wouldn’t be worried that her partner was going to leave her for another boy. Even if the boy is bi (I imagine I’ll discuss bi-erasure on another blog one day. Perhaps. Not today’s topic, at least) she won’t be nearly as jealous of a boy talking to him than she would of a girl.

This is just a big pet peeve of mine. In any case, I shall leave you to contemplate the subject, and maybe reevaluate any friendships you may have. Blogs and reviews will likely be rather short from me for the moment, as unfortunately I am almost entirely drained. Certainly, uni is finished for now. I just wish my anxiety might listen to that fact, and calm down.

Books Books

The Selection

I had seen The Selection series by Kiera Cass around for years. Not going to lie, for a good while I judged the book by its cover. The beautiful girl in the lovely dress—it looked beautiful, but rather turned me off of the series. Until, one night, unable to sleep, I decided to purchase the first book on my phone while I was sleeping over with no books. I didn’t end up sleeping at all that night.

The first book surprised me by how much I enjoyed it. The story was wonderful, the characters were engaging, and the romance? It swept me off my feet. It was a weird story to read for me. Not because I had spurned it due to its cover for so long. Or even because I read it on my phone, when I’m a firm believer in reading physical books for the most part. The weirdest part about reading this book for me was the main character’s best friend.

America Singer, the protagonist, became friends with Marlee, another girl up for the selection. This was the first time I had ever read a book where a character had the same name as me—and spelled correctly, too! That may have even been one of the reasons I ended up finishing that book that night. That, and it was honestly just a wonderful book.

After reading The Selection, I naturally had to go out and buy the rest of the series. Each book was just as engaging. It amazes me how a book series that is almost entirely based on romance can remain as engaging as this series did. Don’t get me wrong—I’m no stranger to romance novels, or series. I can be a fan of them when done well, like this one was. However, I usually prefer my romance to be more of a background thing.

I prefer an element of suspense with my romance, which some books purely dedicated to romance take away. Your main character and their love interest are introduced, and it seems incredibly obvious that despite whatever else might happen, they are going to end up together.

There was an element to that in this series, of course. However, the character dynamics, and everything else, still had me absolutely hooked, desperate to finish the book, and the series, to find out what is going to happen next.

The concept of rags to riches is an old one, prominent in many of the world’s favourite stories and fairy tales. From Cinderella, to Harry Potter, going from a poor background, a nobody, to something else, has fascinated people for many years. No wonder, when so many of the world are among the poorer class. The fantasy of being able to wake up one day and find yourself pampered, and cared for after years of looking after yourself (and others) is one that many people hold onto. Inevitably, we all seem to strive toward this dream. Whether it means working hard, buying lottery tickets, or reading whatever we get our hands on in the attempt for some brief respite.

It’s a beautiful dream, and one that Cass realises wonderfully. The cast of characters are all wonderful and engaging. The romance was wonderfully written. The whole series was stunning.

I will definitely be re-reading these books one day.

Blog Posts

Happy Halloween

There’s a cauldron with a cat’s face near my feet which is filled with many delicious sugary treats, and while I am happy to give it away to trick-or-treaters, I imagine that come tomorrow the only subtractions made from its insides will be when I crave something sweet.

I talked about Halloween in my first blog post on this site, and now it’s time to revisit the subject. Today I plan to talk about how things compare now to then, as well as give a brief overview of my October.

Unsurprisingly, given I only just started this whole thing up, I haven’t exactly had an influx of people demanding my editing services. Although even one little email might have been encouraging. I’ll get there one day, I’m sure. At least I have had the chance to further practise my editing skill with one of my assignments at uni. So far I’ve edited eight short manuscripts, with two left to do by Friday. Definitely getting there. Similarly, I have only a few edits left of my manuscript, and once that and my peer reviews have been handed in, I am officially done for the year.

I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely terrified to be leaving university. Of course, there’s still a part of me that’s worried that I might fail or otherwise not do as good as I might want to. Overall, however, I’m far more scared of what’s to come. I’m sure I mentioned before that I plan to move down to Melbourne eventually, where the publishing houses are… well, more. It’s not going to be an easy thing though. Which definitely sucks, because I’m actually really looking forward to being down there.

Moving is going to be hard. My whole life is up here, for starters. Not to mention, due to a certain four legged being covered in fur, and a bit of a hoarding mindset, I’m going to have to drive down. (The license is something I’m in the middle of working on. It will get there.) The move itself is going to be hard, but before that I’m going to need a job.

It is so hard to get a job today. It’s ridiculous. And getting a job that you can hold down? Don’t get me started. Recently, a friend of mine moved up from Sydney. Her area of work was in hospitals, but she didn’t really have an “in” up in Brisbane. Thankfully, I had that in for her. All I could really do was send through expressions of interest, passed on from someone who works in a hospital. But it was enough. She got an interview, and she got the job. That’s not exactly the end of her worries, however. She, and the vast majority of people she works with, are on 3 month contracts. Sooner or later, there’s a chance that her job might not be her job anymore, if she doesn’t get a permanent contract. Those aren’t exactly easy to get.

My friend was lucky that she had me. Sure, I have some friends down in Melbourne, but none of them are exactly in the position where they could help by sending me expressions of interest for jobs in my field. Or even any job, really. Which means that I’m going to be relying on Seek. Which is fine, I’m sure many people manage to get jobs through job sites. Or else the sites would no longer be active. Right? My biggest problem is that I might not get many places willing to do Skype interviews.

I’ve also recently had some fun determining how I’m going to continue getting Centrelink payments after uni is finished. To cut a long story short (perhaps I’ll get into the longer story one day) the Centrelink app was telling me to do something which it wouldn’t let me do, which apparently I didn’t need to do. Instead of sorting out to switch my payment over from Austudy to Newstart now, I simply have to wait until my Austudy expires, then make a claim for Newstart. At least hopefully that person was right, and I’m not going to have several weeks or months waiting for Centrelink to give me a payment.

So yeah, I’m not particularly confident about my future right now. But, for now, enough about me, and the void of uncertainty that I’m currently looking at. It’s my favourite holiday!

Not that I’m doing much for it. I have the aforementioned cauldron of sweets, should anyone appear at my door and utter the correct password. Otherwise, it has been and will continue to be, a relatively chill day for me. I have, however, seen some wonderful costumes today. There was an absolutely stunning Emily from Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride when I went to buy my sugary treats earlier. Worm coming out of her eye and everything. There was also a lovely zombie there. I even saw a witch at the News Agent when I topped up on sugary liquid (vanilla coke) to get me through the day. Okay, so not that many, but all the ones I’ve seen were absolutely wonderful. Not to mention, I saw a Ravenclaw, and any Harry Potter costume will always manage to bring a smile to my face.

Now, costumes and trick or treating aren’t the only things that I have been excited for this spooky season, as those of you who read my first blog will no doubt know. Halloween events have abounded. I definitely enjoyed the Overwatch event while it was up. (Okay, so it’s still up for now. Technically. It will be down sometime tonight though, I believe).

The Mystery at Hogwarts app event, however, hasn’t really been inspiring me. I was right when I thought there would be one. Of course there would be one. The problem, in my mind, however, is that there were so many of them. I feel as though I can barely continue with the story line itself, lately, due to how many events they have had. Instead, I spend all of my time on the game just in lessons, earning whatever I need to at the time in a desperate attempt to obtain all of the limited edition pets and skins that they have on offer.

This isn’t necessarily possible for someone who sleeps, goes to university, (I can only imagine how a job would intervene) and isn’t willing to shell out money for the in-game premium currency which refills energy. At the moment, I am also particularly annoyed at the app developers who put a bunch of people against a bunch of other people for a single limited edition item. I can certainly understand the idea behind it, don’t get me wrong. However, the annoying thing is that some people who particularly care are bound to be grouped up with people who don’t, or even people who are no longer playing the game.

Okay, so maybe I’m just salty that I’ve been screwed over twice. I even did end up using gems to refill my energy a couple of times to try to get the exclusive spider pet. I didn’t bother with the cool goth skin, however, not when there was one person in my group of Slytherins who hadn’t earned a single house pride point. I’m rather disappointed in some of my fellow Slytherins right now, not going to lie. Most of my disappointment, however, is reserved for the developers who seem to just be happy with the money they’re getting from people desperate to get all of the exclusive items.

There have been some other games I play which have had Halloween events. Sadly, however, I haven’t been playing many of those games. Mostly due to a combination of university assignments, and my determination to collect all of the event exclusives in Overwatch. (Achievement successfully unlocked, by the way.)

So, this has been an update on October from your friendly neighbourhood book addict. Coming up next is November. The lovely month of NaNo. I would imagine anyone who is likely to read my blogs in this coming month should expect a lot of exhausted posts about writing. Or perhaps a continuation of the random blogs of whatever passes my mind at the time. Hope everyone who reads this (and, well, everyone who doesn’t as well, I’m not going to discriminate) has a happy Halloween. A truly wonderful Samhain for those of you who celebrate it in the Northern Hemisphere. And for those who celebrate such things in the Southern Hemisphere, happy Beltane.

Books Books

The Witch’s Kiss

Just a quick book review for today. I do promise that they won’t always be quick. I often stroll through bookstores, either looking for something specific, or simply looking, and picking up anything that catches my eye. The Witch’s Kiss, by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr was one such book which happened to catch my eye, once upon a time.

The book was… Interesting. I loved the premise, however I found that the romance was quite forced. At least, that’s how it felt to me. There were some times as well when some of the characters felt a bit flat to me in general. I found this quite unfortunate in what was otherwise a very promising book for me.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The story was intriguing, and when they weren’t a bit flat I did quite like the characters. So, naturally, when I finished it, I bought The Witch’s Tears as soon as I saw it. Likewise, I bought The Witch’s Blood as soon as I found it, which is the third and final book of the series.

It seemed to pick up for me in the second book, with the introduction of more characters, and a romance which seemed to progress more naturally in my mind.

Overall, I did enjoy the story. There were some lovely twists and turns in each book, which actually surprised me, and that doesn’t happen as much as I would like it to.

However, due to the flatness that some of the characters express sometimes, I think I’m going to be classifying this series under one that I may not necessarily read again.