Let us begin first of all with the important news that “Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties,” is out tomorrow! Go follow Kellie on Twitter so that you don’t miss it. If you can’t wait, there is a sneak peek available here.
I had the absolute pleasure of reading the book in advance of its release. Although I have a reviewer copy, all the opinions below are mine. They are in no way influenced by the author. This is the chance they take when they ask someone to review.
That being said we can begin without the worry of bias.
This review will be spoiler free, however, there will be some pieces of information trickled through where I think an explanation is required.
Sometimes the eyes we get to see through, aren’t the one we might have picked. The character Dylori is wonderfully interesting. Beautiful, strong, independent, yet kind and fair. She is a natural leader and her abilities as a Moon Knight have propelled her through the ranks. We cannot help but love her as soon as we meet her.
Yet Misti is our protagonist and from the outset, we can see she is quite flawed. It is in her flaws, however, that makes her accessible to us. She is nuanced, messy, and struggling with her role as a Moon Knight. In the first few pages alone she lets herself down more than once. She also implies she abandoned her younger siblings. She could no longer live with her parents and leaves on her 18th year to join the Moon Knights.
Misti, our delicate yet resilient champion, struggles throughout with inner turmoil. Her feelings for her friend and superior Dylori often get in the way. Making her decisions and judgement muddled. Misti is afraid of both ruining the friendship they’ve built, while also appearing weak.
In the opening chapter, Misti is affixed with a pendant by the adversaries of the book. This orb sucks the life out of all night creatures that venture near her, and she blames herself. She also possesses magic. The Vagari, of which she is a member, have orange crafting magic and a connection with animals.
The story has undercurrents of animal rights, and vegetarianism is dealt with in a gentle way. Animals are treated with the highest respect in the Vagarian culture. Aluriahian law (the law of the land) prohibits cruelty. Throughout the book, we are treated to different kinds of creatures with fierce loyalty and sentient intelligence. We see each Vagari is paired to an animal companion, and Misti is no different. Her companion Zora (pictured above), fights alongside her. Zora is missing when we meet our hero first, and she Misti carries around an orange feather of hers for comfort.
Doherty’s writing style dangles just enough world information dotted throughout conversations, to intrigue the reader without burdening you with the details. The campaign we follow grips us, holding us hostage to the end. The world assembled is one of literal night and day. Where the creatures and people of the night are harmonious. While the day is filled with despicable banished souls and vicious versions of otherwise tame animals.
Misti is the underdog. In relation to all the bloodlines within the Vagari race, hers does not have the brute strength of the others. Yet she has endurance and stamina. These qualities make her engaging and we long for her to redeem herself. The hero’s journey, of finding what she needs to survive, inside herself.
You will love this story, so don’t forget to get your own copy when it’s available tomorrow!
Yes, it’s wonderful news actually. Kellie Doherty has written 2 other books, she is the author of the ‘Cicatrix Duology.‘ I have linked this down below so you can easily grab yourself a copy. You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. You know, the usual places.
A big thank you to Kellie for letting me use her images and for giving me a chance to review this book. What a ride it was.
Also, don’t be disappointed there are no Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters in my tag below. I intend on doing a whole separate post for them! Yay! So dem rules are pretty simple and they are seen below.
Choose female characters from books, movies, TV, anime, Webtoons, etc.
Tag as many people as you want, but at least one person.
Name a heroine you like, but whom you feel is always overshadowed by the male characters in the story.
Quinn Airgon (Tika Sumpter) from Final Space. This show hit us with real feels, crazy antics, and the unforgettable baby green squish. Yet I rarely talk about the amazing character of Quinn. She is intelligent, tough, beautiful, and loyal. Throughout the series, she is surrounded by male energy which is equal parts ridiculous and reckless. Without her, I’m pretty sure the whole team aboard the Galaxy One would have perished.
As you can see, her facepalm game is real.
For that matter, name a heroine whom you feel is always overshadowed by the other female characters in the story.
Donna Moss(Janel Moloney) from The West Wing. This show had wonderfully powerful females, from press secretary C.J Cregg (darling Allison Janney), to First Lady Abigail Anne Bartlet (the incomparable Stockard Channing). Yet Donna Moss was always my favourite.
She was tough, funny, and infinitely capable. Her role to offer comic relief in a show known for its heavy topics, but boy was she a great character when the chips were down. Her relationship with Josh Lyman(Bradly Whitford) resulted in some of the best scenes in the show.
Although she was ‘only’ an assistant to Joss (and I say ‘only’ lightly), she ran a tight ship, anticipated her boss’s every move, and was a sharp as a tack. Her full title was Senior Assistant to the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, for many seasons. I won’t spoil the show for you (but if you haven’t watched it what are you doing with your life), she gets bigger and better jobs.
Name a character who had potential but was greatly underutilized in her story.
Kaywinnit Lee Frye (Jewel Staite) know affectionately as Kaylee is one of my favourite Firefly characters. (Yes I am still salty Firefly was cancelled). Throughout its short run Firefly grasped us by the heart and never quite let us go. Of course, Joss Whedon would have said there were no main characters, but for me, Kaylee always got the back seat.
Mal was the Captain (loveable rogue Nathan Fillion), and his first mate Zoe Washburne (Gina Torres) badass extraordinaire, usually took centre stage. Kaylee, while essential to the upkeep of the ship, rarely went on missions. That was left to the captain, his first mate, and their hired hand Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin, no not one of THE baldwins) who got to be centre stage.
Along with that, you had the transcendently beauty Inara Serra(Morena Baccarin), the ever more mysterious River Tam(Summar Glau), her brother Dr Simon Tam (Sean Maher) who with his medical training was thrown front and centre, finally the enigmatic Derriel Book (Ron Glass). This leaves Kaylee in the back seat.
Now I’m sure if we’d gotten more Firefly the character of Kaylee would have been expanded. She is fiercely funny, loyal to her space family, regardless of their less than above board activities, and a brilliant mechanic. We may not have gotten much time with her, but she knew how to get into our hearts regardless.
Name a female character who you either find better in her book than her movie, find better in her movie than her book, or whose portrayals you find equal.
Minerva McGonagall (portrayed by the legend Dame Maggie Smith in the movies) is my favourite Harry Potter character. There is very few who even come close to her, in both the novels and the movies. Her name is the same as the Roman Goddess of wisdom, and like Hermione Granger(Emma Watson), was almost placed in Ravenclaw. Ultimately we see her courage and integrity which to me, means she was correctly placed in Griffyndor.
She is an exceptionally brilliant wizard, even beside Albus Dumbledore she holds her ground. She is warm and loving, yet tough. Her obvious concern for not only students of her own house, but for all the students, endears her to me.
Even though Harry was not her child, she bought him his first broom in first year. A child who never had anything was given a broom which put him in touch with a talent that gave him pure joy.
She defends the unfair removal of Hagrid in book 5, in which she fights back, but is ultimately put in the hospital. We must remember she was an elderly woman at this stage. During the battle of Hogwarts McGonagall is fighting alongside the rest, loyal to magic, Dumbledore, and good to the very end. When the fighting is over she is made the Headmistress of Hogwarts.
Name a character who you want more backstory on.
Emily Gilmore(Kelly Bishop) from the Gilmore Girls. Although her life is alluded to in the show, really the focus is on Lorelai(Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel). Of course, I love both Lorelai and Rory for different reasons, but I feel Emily’s hard done by. We are given her story from Lorelai’s perspective and of course, that’s going to be of an overbearing mother.
In some cases, we get a glimpse of maybe how difficult it may have been to be Emily. Richard Gilmore(Edward Herrmann) her husband, while he adored his wife, had a mother (Lorelai the first portrayed by Marion Ross), appears in several episodes and is quite cruel to Emily. I can only imagine what that was like when Emily was young and newlywed.
Also, Lorelai ran away from Emily and Richard’s controlling hands, but this hurt Emily more than she’s ever cared to admit. She adores her granddaughter Rory but loves her daughter no less. For me, the Gilmore Girls needed to include more about the eldest Gilmore Girl, Emily.
Name a character with traits you feel are sadly overlooked by everyone.
Paige Matthews (Rose McGowan) in Charmed. My love affair with Rose McGowan has only grown over the years, and her acting skills were what first lead me to her. After the death of my favourite Halliwell when I was a teenager, Paige was introduced to fill the huge shoes of Prudence Halliwell (Shannon Doherty).
Although Piper Halliwell (Holly-Maire Combs) was my favourite sister (I think she was everyone’s favourite, to be honest), I felt Paige was always overshadowed by her older sisters. Piper had reason to be front and centre as her powers were great but Paige’s powers were just as defensive. Somehow though Phoebe(Alyssa Milano) always got more attention, and I think that may have been directors choice somehow.
For me, even taking Piper’s powers of freezing, combustion, and her talents with potions, Paige’s powers were arguably the best out of all four sisters. As she was a mixture of White-Lighter and witch, her powers of telekinesis were therefore enhanced, she could orb anywhere at will and eventually learns how to heal.
She was also very level-headed for her age, kind when it came to those in need, hence her career in social care when we meet her first, and finally her fire. She did not grow up with the Halliwell sisters, and her adoptive parents died quite young. She didn’t have the attachment issues the other sisters had, and this worked to her advantage sometimes when it came around to making hard decisions.
It was toyed with a bit, showing her first as an active social care worker and then White-Lighter. Ultimately this was abandoned for one reason or another, but when watching Charmed, I found myself enjoying Paige’s stories more than those of Phoebe.
Name a morally grey character. (Villain or anti-hero!)
Louise Belcher(Kristen Schaal) is the youngest member of the Belcher family and my personal favourite. Each and every member of the Belcher’s is funny in their own way, but Louise has a special place in my heart. For someone so young and adorable, she is quite evil.
For me, I love a girl with a bit of spunk and Louise Belcher has malice in her that makes me chuckle every time. Her parents are wonderfully accepting of their children and their various quirks and let them all be themselves. Louise is highly intelligent but uses her smarts for evil instead of good. You go Lou, we love you.
A character you’re stunned isn’t more famous.
Ouiser Boudreaux (Shirley McClane) from Steel Magnolias. I know she probably is famous to some degree, but she doesn’t appear in enough gifs in my opinion. Steel Magnolias is one of my favourite movies, and I’ve cried more times then I can count at that movie.
Overall the female power in that movie is incredible with the cast consisting of Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, and Daryl Hannah. Feel good isn’t even the word to describe the character of Ouiser’s throughout the movie. She does and says things we all wish we had the balls to.
She is the grumpy old lady I aspire to be and spends her time not giving a shit about who she insults or what she says. Although abrasive, she is the best friend of Clariee Blecher(Olympia Dukakis) who appears ladylike and demure but is just as twistedly funny and Ouiser.
They also have one of the best friendships immortalised in the history of the big screen, and one of the best lines. “You know I love you more than my luggage.” I demand more Ouiser gifs and appreciation!
A character from a piece of fiction you’re amazed isn’t more famous.
Ellen Riley(Sigourney Weaver) from the Alien franchise. I can hear you yelling at the screen, “but she is famous, she’s in four of the movies, blah blah blah.” Ok, can you whist for a second and let me explain myself? Please and thank you.
When you watch Alien for the first time, you don’t know who the protagonist is going to be. That’s the beauty of that movie. Each character is carefully drawn with their own limits and flaws.
Ellen is no different and in fact, she’s not a kind or soft female character. She’s tough, pedantic, and not particularly well liked. Perhaps this is the reason she survives, but for me as a young girl, it was wonderful to see someone who wasn’t the typical female in a horror movie.
She never has makeup on, she’s filthy by the end of the movie, and covered in a film of greasy sweat. She wore baggy ship clothes, wore her hair naturally, and didn’t spend 90% of the movie smiling to show off her beautiful teeth.
Don’t get me wrong, Sigourney Weaver is a beautiful woman, but she wasn’t the typical Hollywood beauty, and that’s what made her so amazing. She was one of the first proper female badasses, written like a real person, portrayed like a real person, and gave zero fucks about what she looked like while fighting for her life. Along with being one of my most favourite movies of all time, Alien gave me one of my first strong females. She paved the way for many more, and I’m arguing that she isn’t given enough credit as far as heroes on movie franchises go.
Captain Marvel might have been the first Superhero movie about a woman, but Ellen Ripley was out here being a badass since 1979. I think I feel a tattoo coming on ladies…
A mixture of everyone because anyone can be a feminist and support women! Don’t feel obligated, but I would just love to see all your takes on it!
Nicole from Mullen Crafts – Another strong female who surprises me time after time.
Lee from Lee’s Hall of Information – I feel this would be right up your alley, maybe even some strong female characters of your own?
Jennifer L. Place is a native of the Hudson Valley in New York. Her most recent book ‘Building 51‘, is based on a real abandoned asylum, in which the titled ‘Building 51″ is part of.
Having grown up in an area with this forgotten hospital Jennifer confesses she’s had an interest in it since childhood. It loomed in the background, and although she’d written 3 other successful books, the time came to invest in her curiosity.
She organised a tour of the sprawling campus and this shows throughout the book. Her knowledge of the grounds enhances the atmosphere of the novel. This is further boosted by accurate historical information displayed throughout. Evidence from the hospitals 140 years of life and beyond provides us with the chilling truth. Nothing that despicable ever dies.
If you are interested in learning more about the author herself, please feel free to head over to her website which can be found here.
As a lover of the horror genre, my initial approach to any novel within its scope is tentative. Unlike softer genres such as comedy or romance, when horror is bad, it’s awful. Therefore I was delighted to find that this story, while formulated in a classic trope, has new ideas and scares to offer. The opening shot sets group dynamics of 7 friends. They’re young, carefree, and mischievous, perfectly positioned for pain. Place jumps right into the guts of the matter as they plan to explore the abandoned hospital.
While you may make some predictions, you will not fully guess the ending. We are treated to complex character arcs, without an over indulgencing in flashbacks. You can tell the author’s imagination is well-developed and her days pondering over the dilapidated hospital is apparent.
*Ahead there be spoilers!!!*
The ‘love’ triangle’ which plagues 3 of the characters adds to the story agreeably. I have often found this tool to be cumbersome, however, without it, the characters may have behaved differently. Place directs her characters and ultimately people break off into groups. Which you should never do in a horror story, don’t they know they’re in a book?! Although Place dips into classic horror analogies there are times the characters poke fun at this and do not make the decisions we would expect them to make.
Another theme I really loved was the classic blood ‘wakes’ the beast. It shows Place really thought about ‘the why’ when she wrote this book. The 7(also a classic horror number) friends are not just attacked because they dare to wander the grounds of the hospital. It’s is an incident where blood is spilled which causes the hospital to rouse from its slumber, and welcome its new guests.
The grandmother’s introduction was seamless and the throwback to her at the end was inspired. I think this is a sensational read and you won’t want to put the book down. So make sure you’re sitting comfortably with your beverage of choice before you embark.
Yes, you can find Jennifer L. Place on all the usual platforms, and I’ve linked much of her media below. She has other books if horror is not your fancy, as you can see, so go buy one of those. You won’t be disappointed, and once again, thanks for reading Moonlings!
In the past, I have offered you poetry written by yours truly. Some poems are written out of joy and some out of sorrow. Often I think what would happen if I turned them into songs?
Honestly, I think that’s what happened with The Shin’s album Chutes Too Narrow. So as a change from offering you my own poetry, I thought I would discuss my 5 favourite album tracks from Chutes Too Narrow.
There are 10 tracks overall, all are brilliant. The album is a millennium classic. The sound of my teenage emotions. Some of the tracks resonate with me more than others, so I must be true to them, and how they made me feel.
This is a contender for my favourite Shins album. I love the fast paced guitars, Mercer’s high voiced pleading, and the absurdity of their lyrics.
5. “Kissing The Lipless” – Chutes Too Narrow (2003)
This track kicks off with desperate strumming and a scene with Mercer calling to see if his friend’s sheets are growing grass out of the corner’s of their bed. Talk about jumping right in there and calling your friend out.
When I was younger I thought it was a break-up song, now I think it’s about dealing with your friend after a break-up. There is only so much patience you can have, especially if the person isn’t recognising their own part to play.
“Called to see if your back, is still aligned And your sheets, are growing grass out of the corners of your bed.
And you’ve got too much to wear on your sleeves, It’s too much to do with me,
And secretly I want to bury in the yard, The grey remains of a friendship scarred.”
This song is 1 part bitterness, 2 parts sass, and 9 parts salty. It kicks off an album where we see our narrator, James Mercer, disgruntled and confused about many topics. His way out he just wants to bury the friendship in the yard. Yeesh how much was his friend moaning?
4. “Pink Bullets,” Chutes Too Narrow. (2003)
This is a beautiful poem, to his first love, before he really knew what love was. I’ve included some of my favourite lines from the song below. James sings about a girl who was warm and kind to him when he needed it most.
They became inseparable yet, their parting was swift and painful. He said to finally fly apart they had to cut the kite strings. Not a very sentimental scene of departure.
“We fell in a field now it seems a thousand summers passed.”
My tender young fingers held, a decent animal.
“The years have been short, but the days were long.”
When the kitelines first crossed, we tied them into knots, to finally fly apart, we had to cut them off.
Since then it’s been a book, you read in reverse. So you understand less as the pages turn.
He finds it hard to look back, because life has only got more confusing since then. Sometimes he wishes he could just stay warm in one of those memories. However we all know how life goes, we cannot look back of we ever have any hope of looking forward.
Put the exquisite rose-tinted memory in a song, and learn to live without it’s heat.
3. “Mine’s Not A High Horse,” – Chutes Too Narrow. (2003)
This song is brilliant. As soon as you accuse someone of being high and mighty, you end up sounding like you’re on your own high horse. Maybe that’s not necessarily the message Mercer was going for when he was pleading to be left to his own devices.
He’s aware of his affectation styled as a musician. Regardless of what anyone may say, your position in society when you are the artist is one between perdition and exoneration. Some will love you and some despise you, so why not keep your opinions to yourself?
“You were so poorly cast as a malcontent.”
“Will you remember my reply, when your high horse dies?”
“These are the muddy waters I am swimming in To make a living were I to drown in them It should come as no surprise.”
“Will you remember my reply one finger parallel to the sky?”
However, you cannot deny Mercer’s own sweet hypocrisy when he asks: “Will you remember my reply when your high horse dies?”
2.”Saint Simon,” – Chutes Too Narrow. (2003)
What a wonderfully silly way of looking at the world. The absurdity of collective consciousness, throughout the annals of humanity. Our reliance on words and laws created not only by those we’ve never met but some dead millennia past.
I still can’t get over the lyrics in this song as Mercer mocks both the insanity of the written word in its complexity yet never really revealing anything.
“After all these implements and text designed by intellects So vexed to find evidently there’s still so much that hides.”
It’s wonderful when he comes to the conclusion that it is in Mercy we find safety, whether that be from faith or the love of another, and that Nothing, in all of its infinite wisdom, is warm. Could ignorance truly be bliss or has meditation slowing wormed it[‘s way into Mercer\’s world view?
“Mercy’s eyes are blue When she places them in front of you Nothing holds a roman candle to The solemn warmth you feel inside.”
Either way this song makes me smile as the anthropologist in me remembers that money only works because we believe it does, there is nothing to say we are the only intelligent beings on Earth, and I’ll allow myself no mock defense, I’ll step into the night.
1. “Young Pilgrims,” – Chutes Too Narrow. (2003)
When I have moments of pure despair, my mind begs the universe to erase me from it. This may seem like a frenzied demand of a troubled soul, but it was better than the alternative. (By alternative I don’t mean life, but death at my own hands).
My depression has always provided me with an absolute truth pill of another person’s experience. When Mercer sang that he wanted to “fly the whole mess into the sea.” I didn’t just understand, my empathic nature felt his despair.
“A cold and wet November dawn, and there are no barking sparrows, just emptiness to dwell upon.”
“But I learned fast how to keep my head up ’cause I Know I got this side of me that Wants to grab the yoke from the pilot and just Fly the whole mess into the sea.”
Once I heard this song, for the first time, I listened to it on repeat. It’s not a single, but it’s my favourite track on the album.
Trust me, if you’ve never listened to The Shins, give this album a spin.
Yes Moonlings, you read that right. The title of this blog is “My Baby Green Squish.”
I have not in fact, lost my mind. I have found it. It is my sentiment that we should follow where our passions lead us. That which fills our hearts with joy, and there is no bigger joy for me, than my baby green squish.
Ok so some context before I lose myself in the charm of him. There is this animated show created by YouTuber Olan Rogers called “Final Space.” It is a very excellent show frens. It is quirky, funny, and emotional. It is superbly produced and the performances are amusing.
Now here is a photo of the show.
Now. Let us zoom in closer:
Do you see that sweet little green squish? Yes, I have one of those. Now we all have passions and hobbies. This blog is so joyful for me, and it is a wonderful website filled with phenomenal people. However sometimes your heart asks you to create something unorthodox and that becomes art.
He has made me so happy, like look how sweet his little face is. So without further ado, I am indulging my glee. I felt that the internet needed a YouTube channel to document the loveliness of the baby green squish.
Please have a look at the 30-second trailer for the channel. If you are interested in the adventures of a baby green squish, please head over. Have a look. Maybe subscribe. This is literally a fun little project for me because I needed to blow off some steam.
Hello friends, I am back. My recovery took much longer than I expected but I am grateful for my family because, without them, I would have starved. This includes Le’Boo who was called my husband by one of the nurses and it made him happy! Who’d thought?
Anyways I’m a huge book worm, and I really enjoyed using Goodreads in 2018 to challenge myself. Plus joining groups like Emma Watson’s “Our shared shelf,” or “Books Stephen King has recommended,” makes you feel like you’re part of a community and gives you book ideas you might never have thought of yourself.
Review of 2018:
I think I was over ambitious last year with my target of 80 books, however. Although I managed 77 of those 80 it stressed me out near the end. I also exclude academic books so I probably read closer to 100 books last year. I didn’t want to include them in the books I read ‘for pleasure.’ I say it like that because all reading is pleasurable for me.
So this year I will be pledging 70 books and I have some criteria which ones I choose. I do not want to choose them willy nilly:
I want a 50 / 50 split down the middle of female and male authors. I did pretty good last year but I’m not sure I made the 50 / 50 mark.
Read more fiction. As a fiction writer, I need to read more fiction in order to learn and improve my own writing.
Read more indie writers, and if you are an indie writer whose struggling to get Amazon reviews, give me a shout in the comments or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d be happy to read your book!
Join me in the Goodreads challenges, and tell me about your pledges.
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all my fellow Christmas celebrators.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS to those who opt out of Christian celebrations.
Here’s to the future.
Friends, this year has been stupendous regarding the blogs I’ve discovered and followed here.
I had an idea. Why don’t we each find our own favourite post from this year or the one we’re most proud of and share it in the comments below, with a short synopsis.
Then we can all click on each other’s links and leave a like or comment. This will help each other out, and we may find new blogs we didn’t even know about.
It will also make us think about what post (or posts) we are most proud of so we can actually pat ourselves on the back for once.
Also if you are feeling isolated as a writer or creator and you’re a member of Twitter check out the #writerscommunity hashtag. It’s a wonderful community, people are so supportive, and it’s a mix of agents, publishers, and writers.
Here is the post I’m most proud of this year. It’s my first anxiety post. It got such a wonderful response and people were so supportive.
I look forward to reading (or re-reading) your most cherished post.
Hello friends. It’s been a mad couple of weeks. I overdid it and now I am sleeping over 12 hours a night. Does that happen to any of you with mental illnesses? If I don’t look after my energy levels I crash completely.
I also am a divil (Irish Slang) for over-committing. As you all know I’m doing my Ph.D., maintaining this blog, writing part-time. Don’t worry I’m not complaining I’m blessed with my work, but I have to learn to say no better than I am already.
However on to greater things, here is a picture of my tattoo when it was first revealed. I love it so much, I am so grateful to my tattoo artist Pat, owner of Tattoo Heroes in Dublin, Ireland.
Also a huge thank you to Le’Boo for a wonderful Christmas present.
I promise to show you more when it has healed better but until then: