Wednesday With Words: Invention

Hello, everyone! I’m back today with a quote from Mary Shelley’s introduction to Frankenstien, of all things. I’m reading Frankenstien for school this year, and so far its really interesting and way different than I expected. But I actually found this quote in the author’s introduction to the book, and I thought it was a really neat quote about writing, or any creative art for that matter:

Mary Shelley

On my reading list this week:

  • Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery: I reread Emily of New Moon for the Back to the Classics 2018 Challenge, and I’ve moved on to the second book just because I love this series so much! You can read my review of  Emily of New Moon over on Goodreads.
  • A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett: Another book I’m rereading for the Back to the Classics Challenge. My mom read this to me years and years ago, and I don’t really remember much about it, so I’m looking forward to reading this again.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: I’m also reading this for the Back to the Classics Challenge. I know basically nothing about this book, and I’m really interested to find out what it’s all about…

Thanks so much for reading this week’s Wednesday with Words post! I hope you enjoyed it.

See you again soon!


TV Review: Marvel’s ‘The Gifted’ (Season 1)

The Gifted

A fresh look at an old franchise, with family values in focus.

It seems like both Marvel and DC have been doing so many spin off TV shows recently. And many of them are set withing the same universe as famous characters like Batman or the X-Men and yet… don’t contain any of those well known characters. Maybe this seems like a rip off, but I find the concept to be very interesting, and refreshing after so many movies and reboots and whatnot. What about the lesser-known characters, the minor characters, or brand new characters set in these universes. What kind of lives do they lead?

That’s the sort of show that Marvel’s The Gifted is. Well it does contain a few established mutant characters, such as Polaris and Blink, it is centered around a seemingly normal suburban family with two teenage children, who —spoiler alert— just so happen to have mutant abilities. Set in a world where the X-Men have disappeared and most humans are totally hostile towards mutants, The Gifted follows the story of this family, the Struckers, as their lives are torn apart by the discovery of their children’s powers.

For the most part, the show is very well written, and features a large cast of diverse and interesting characters. While there are quite a few major characters to keep track of, I found them all to be distinct and well written, and didn’t mix any of them up or forget who they were. There weren’t any extraneous characters; everyone was there for a reason. If there is any problem I have with the characters and writing, it’s that in the first episode or so, some of the dialogue felt poorly written and some of the acting wasn’t that great. But the writers and actors quickly warmed up to their parts, and by the end of the show I didn’t have a complaint to make about the acting or dialogue.

The Gifted has a tightly knit plot, and most of the writing is very good. While the show sometimes goes off to follow various characters or character groups, we always come back to the story of the Struckers, and none of the subplots or extra storylines seemed to drag. Everything was woven very tightly together, and well contained within the season. While the ending leaves me wanting very much to know what happens next, it wrapped up this first chapter of the story nicely, which is more than I can say for many cliffhanger endings. Once again, I do have a few very minor complaints about the writing; sometimes I found the internal conflict between various characters to be kind of annoying and not well written. It was almost as if the writers were like, “Well, it’s coming up on another big moment! We need to have internal conflict between our main characters,” and then they picked a couple of characters at random and made up a conflict about whatever Big Decision or Big Event was happening. I understand having conflicts between your main characters to make things interesting, but it just became so formulaic by the end that I found it annoying. It felt like lazy writing, as quite a few of these inter-character conflicts didn’t seem to stem from the plot at all, and were just put in for drama. I’ve noticed this formula with other shows as well, and I just don’t like it.

The show is very well produced; well shot and fairly well edited, and I personally find the sound design to be very immersive. The music is good, although some tracks are reused in multiple episodes, as with most TV shows, and I don’t really think that’s an issue. An issue I do have is that some of the editing, mostly near the ends of episodes or scenes, can be a bit choppy. The visual effects aren’t as stellar as those you’d see onscreen at a big Marvel movie, but they serve their purpose and there wasn’t any glaringly bad CGI that I remember noticing.

One of the things I like best about this show is that it puts a strong emphasis on family and family values. Even though the Strucker family faces a lot of difficult situations, and often disagree between themselves about what to do, a focus is put on their relationship as a family. Family is portrayed as a good thing, a healthy thing, which is just so refreshing.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable show which, to my surprise and delight, was kept at a mostly PG level throughout. There were one or two off-color comments, and some foul language, but definitely less than in some shows I’ve seen (or Marvel movies, for that matter). I really enjoyed The Gifted, and I will definitely be looking forward to the next season.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Could have been a bit better, could have been worse, but honestly it was pretty awesome.”

Thank you so, so much for reading my review of Marvel’s The Gifted! Have you watched the show yourself? Did you enjoy it? What do you think about spin off shows that focus on original or lesser-known characters? Let’s chat in the comments!

See you again soon.


February Wrap Up Post (2018)

Heyo, friends! Wow. I can hardly believe February is already over! January felt at least a year long, but February 2018 went by in seconds, and suddenly we’re five days into March and I hadn’t yet posted my monthly wrap up post because I didn’t even realize the month had ended. Well, no more waiting! Let’s jump right in to what’s been happening this month…

February Monthly Wrap Up


  • I published a new story! It’s set in the same world as Behind Her Mask was Death, and takes place about ten years prior. The story is a novelette called Empty Little Heart: Esmeralda’s Story and has some backstory on everyone’s favorite Princess Esmeralda. You can pick up an ebook copy over on Amazon (it’s currently available exclusively on Kindle), and take a glance at the gorgeous cover art created by Jenna Paddey:

Empty Little Heart (Cover)

  • I became the co-creator of the dankest meme on the internet. Well, maybe not really, but it is a pretty great meme! The meme is called “John Green Red” and was created in honor of my YouTuber/author/awesome-creative-person friend Hannah Marie. I’ve mentioned Hannah a few times here on the blog, and if you’re interested in learning more about her, make sure to check out her Twitter, her YouTube channel, and visit her Fandom Wiki page! To learn more about the meme I helped create, and what it means, you can visit this page.

The original “John Green Red” meme created by yours truly. *dabs unironically*

  • I completely quit YouTube and have decided to focus more on blogging and writing. In the January Wrap Up Post, I said that I was going to try and make some more YouTube videos for my channel. But I realized, after several fruitless attempts at filming, that this was just a total drain on my mental health and creativity, and I’ve decided to drop that idea and focus on doing what I really enjoy. I’m going to try to do a lot more original, interesting blog posts on here, including recommendations, essay-type-things, more poetry (maybe?), and more reviews.
  • I’ve started learning to drive! I actually got my permit back in January I believe, but what with sickness and crazy schedules and work and what not, I wasn’t actually able to start learning to drive until Saturday of last week. Let’s just say that I still need a lot of practice before I’ll be driving anywhere except empty parking lots…

Posts from February 2018:

Looking Forward:

I have a couple of fun posts planned for March, and I’m going to try to finally finish up Season 1 of Marvel’s The Gifted and write a review of that as well. I’m playing through the 2017 rage game Getting Over It, and if I ever do, in fact, get over it, I’ll be reviewing the game on here. I’m making some progress on a couple of writing projects, which is good, as I haven’t written anything at all in the past few weeks (Yes, I know, I’m the worst…) and I’ll be sure to keep you updated if I have any breakthroughs with that.

I’m toying with the idea of doing some Instagram livestreams sometime in the future, just super casual, chat-about-your-day kind of stuff. If anyone would be interested, please let me know! (You can follow me on Instagram here, if you like.)

Thanks for reading my February wrap up post! How was your February? Are you as baffled as I am at how short it seemed??? Did any cool things happen to you this month? Let’s chat in the comments!

See you again soon.


ipsy’s Monthly ‘Glam Bag’: Is It Worth It?


So, before everyone starts shouting at me in the comments, yes, I know this is not a beauty or style blog. But, as a youngish lady experimenting with style and all that good stuff, I’ve found that I really enjoy trying out makeup and different makeup looks every once in a while. Now, I’m not super knowledgeable about all the different products and techniques, and, let’s face it, makeup can be expensive, and even if something looks cool in the store, you probably don’t want to spend money on it if it might not work for you.

So in October or November of last year, I purchased three month’s worth of Glam Bags from a service called ipsy. ipsy is supposed to help people discover new makeup products by sending you five curated makeup and skincare samples or products every month for you to try out. Like I said, I’m not always confident in committing to different products, for fear of spending hard-earned money on something that will look horrible on me (which has happened before), so this seemed like the perfect solution. The bags are only ten dollars a month, so trying them out for three months seemed like a safe plan.

Now, the three months are over, and I’ve received all my ipsy products. There have been some I like, and some I don’t, and overall I have enjoyed the service, and might consider using it again sometime. But all this time, there’s been a little question nagging away at the back of my mind.

Is ipsy worth it?

How many of the individual items in each bag are, in fact, only sample sizes? How much would you pay for a full size item? When you break down the numbers and add everything up, factoring in what products you like and use, and what products you didn’t, are the ipsy Glam Bags really worth that $10 fee? I’ve had my suspicion from the beginning that ipsy might be just sending everyone cheap sample-size products. But is that really the case?

To find out, I’ve decided to do a little bit of sleuthing through online makeup retailers, Amazon, and ipsy itself in order to find out, so that I can definitively tell you whether or not ipsy is worth it…

Let’s dive right in!

December Glam Bag

photo 2 (2)

My December Glam Bag and its contents. Please excuse the low res photos; I’m hopefully going to get a new phone with an actually usable camera soon, but this is what I have to work with at the moment.


  • Promise Organic Nourishing Coconut Milk Daily Facial Scrub with Walnuts and Sugar: A cute little travel-sized exfoliating scrub. I already own a black sugar and activated charcoal scrub which I absolutely love, but this product is also very nice, if it does have a bit of a sticky consistency, and good for travel when you don’t want to lug a big bottle of scrub everywhere. I did find out that this is a sample size and contains 0.75 oz of product. The full size bottle contains 3 oz of product and retails for $9.99 at CVS.

  • Smashbox Cosmetics Be Legendary Lipstick in Legendary: I know Smashbox is a more expensive brand, and so it was neat to be able to try out one of their lipsticks without having to pay an arm and a leg. The lipstick is actually a rather bright, orange-red shade, which isn’t really my thing, but it lasted very well and didn’t fade when I wore it, even when I ate a couple of cookies, so it definitely stays put! Sample size, and the packaging does feel a little flimsy, but this weighs in at 2.4 grams, whereas the full size is 3 grams and retails for $21.00(!) on the Smashbox website.
  •  Pixie by Petra Mesmerizing  Mineral Duo in Orchid Ornament: Both these eyeshadows look gorgeous in the pan, but unfortunately the darker purply one doesn’t have very much pigment at all. I do love the champagne shade, however, and have been using it a lot. This is definitely my favorite product from this bag. Unfortunately, this little duo is an ipsy exclusive sample, so it was difficult to find the shadows on Pixi’s website in order to compare sizes and prices. I did find this Mesmerizing Mineral Palette in Plum Quartz, which appears to contain both these shades. The Mineral Duo is sample sized, and weighs in at 1.5 grams. The palette contains an additional four full-sized shadows, weighs in at 5.76 grams, and retails for  $12.00 on the Pixi website.
  • Luxie Beauty Precision Shader Onyx Brush 239: A simple, nice eyeshadow brush, meant for working shadow into the crease of the eyelid. Unfortunately, the ‘super soft’ synthetic bristles aren’t quite as soft as they seem, but the brush seems to work well with most of my shadows. The Onyx colored brush seems to be exclusive to ipsy, but the same 239 brush in Rose Gold retails for $14.00 on Luxie’s website.
  • Lottie London Lottie Lacquer in Riot: A gorgeous, slightly metallic blue nail polish. I love the color, love the finish, and next time I do my nails I’m definitely using this color. Unfortunately, this lovely shade appears to be an ipsy exclusive, but most of Lottie’s polishes retail for £5.99 on their website (or $8.33)

Was This Bag Worth It?

Just by looking at some of these prices, you can already see that I saved a bunch of money by paying the $10 for an ipsy bag instead of buy all of these products individually. In fact, paying for all these products individually would have cost me $65.32! (That’s factoring in the $12.00 for the whole Pixi palette.) Even cutting out the bright red lipstick and the scrub, which I probably wouldn’t buy of my own volition, I saved over $20.00 and got a couple of exclusive colors thrown in. With 3 out of 5 items that I enjoyed and would consider purchasing again, and several products from good quality, well known brands, it looks like ipsy is off to a good start…

January Glam Bag

photo (36)

My January Glam Bag and all its contents.


  • Ciate London Fierce Flicks Liquid Eyeliner: The sad thing is that this is a super nice liquid felt tip liner, but… I just cannot for the life of me apply eyeliner properly. I’m probably going to be gifting this to one of my friends who loves experimenting with makeup, as she’ll get way more use out of it than I would. I was quite surprised to find that this full-sized liner retails for $19.00 on the Ciate London website.
  • Global Beauty Care Charcoal Wash Off Mask: love this mask. It’s a really nice, gentle cleansing mask for days when I just need that little skin pick-me-up, but don’t want to use a harsh scrub. I would definitely consider purchasing a full-size when I run out. This sample size sachet and contains a pretty generous 1 oz of product, which I have yet to run out of. The full 5 oz size retails for $9.99 on the Global Beauty Care website.
  •  Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Sangria: This was probably one of my favorite items from this month’s bag. Sangria is  a super intense, shimmery pink shade, and while maybe not something I’d pick out for myself at the store, I’m glad I got to try it because I really like it! This full size eyeshadow single weighs in at 1.5 grams, and retails for $12.00 (!) on the DSL website.
  • Vasanti Cosmetics Professional Contour Eyeshadow Brush: A very nice, slim eyeshadow brush for blending and fluffing out color. All the brushes I received in my ipsy bags seem to be very good quality, and haven’t broken up or shed any hairs. This itty-bitty brush retails for a whopping $22.00 on the Vasanti website.
  • Hola Neon Velvet Liquid Lipstick in DF: This is the first liquid lipstick I’ve ever owned and… I don’t like it. I’m not a fan of the color (it has odd brownish-purple undertones that just don’t look good on my face) and the lipstick itself goes on unpleasantly oily and dries down sticky. The formula also smells a bit like rubber or plastic, which gives me a headache, and the packaging feels super cheap. This is just a no-go for me. This product retails for $17.00 on the Hola Neon website.

Was This Bag Worth It?

There were several products in this bag that I love, and several that I just don’t like. However, it is interesting to note just how much this $10 bag was worth: it would have cost me $79.99 to purchase all these products myself. Some of these individual products do seem over priced, however, and there are only two that I would consider buying again; namely the DSL Eyeshadow in Sangria and the Charcoal Wash Off Mask from Global Beauty Care, meaning that I only saved about $12 (and probably more like $9, as the Charcoal Mask is only a sample size). Even though I enjoyed three of these products, and would consider purchasing two of them again, this definitely wasn’t my favorite bag.

February Glam Bag


My February Glam Bag and all its contents.


  • Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator: I was pretty excited about this product, but when it came I saw that it was a teeny-tiny little sample size tube, and felt a little disappointed. This product’s claims also seem kind of gimmicky; there was no way I could tell if it was still moisturizing my skin after 72 hours. The product is okay; it feels nice on the skin and sinks in quickly, but there’s no way it can replace my Nature’s Aid Skin Gel, which I use all the time and would highly recommend if you’re looking for a nice, natural moisturizer. The Clinique Hydrator is a 7 ml sample size. There are 4 different full-sized products, ranging from a 15 ml jar for $12.00 to a 75 ml jar for $52.50.
  • F. A. R. A. H. Brushes Large Angled Contour Brush 30F: A very cute, high quality brush with nice soft bristles. I don’t do a lot of contouring, and I’m not very good at it, but this brush honestly seems a little too round and fluffy to really lay down a precise line of contour. I think it might work a little better as a powder or blending brush. The bristles just aren’t packed tight enough to do a good job at contouring the face. This brush retails for $12.00 on the F. A. R. A. H. Brushes website.
  • Sand and Sky Brilliant Skin Pink Clay Mask: I’d actually been seeing this mask all over Instagram, and I was very excited to try it. Unfortunately, the little sample-size bottle arrived only half full of product. I’m not sure if this is intentional, or if it just wasn’t filled up quite enough by accident? Either way, I didn’t want to use the whole thing up by trying it out on my entire face, so I just used a bit on my nose, and actually saw immediate results. The mask dries quickly and washes off very easily, and left my nose smooth and brightened, and also got rid of a bunch of pesky little blackheads, which was very nice. I’m not sure if I’ll be purchasing a full size of this mask, as unfortunately it is quite expensive, but it was very nice to be able to try it out, even though I didn’t get a full tube. This sample size Pink Clay Mask contains 0.45 oz, while the full size jar contains 1.96 oz of product and retails for $49.00(!)
  • Beaute Basics Eyeshadow in Sweet Taffy: I was really excited about this eyeshadow, as it looks absolutely gorgeous in the pan. But it was somehow very difficult to get any color on the eyelid. I had to use a damp brush to get any results at all, and even then it doesn’t show up very much. I’m wondering if it would be better to pat this shadow on with your fingertips in order to get more color out of it? The formula is very smooth and buttery to the touch, but it just doesn’t have enough pigment on the eye when used with a brush. This eyeshadow single retails for $14.99 on Beaute Basics’ website.
  • Pink Pewter Lash But Not Least Dual Sided Mascara in Black: It’s honestly kind of hard for me to figure out what to say about this mascara, because there are things about it that I love, but also things that I really don’t like. Let’s start with the dual sided thing: I honestly think it’s a gimmick. Yes, the ‘curling mascara’ side does give my lashes a bit of a curl and a nice coat of color, but the ‘voluminous mascara’ side doesn’t really seem to do anything. The wands you use to apply the mascara are also really fat and kind of unwieldy, especially on the voluminous side, and I get little flakes of mascara on my eyelid near the lashline, which is kind of annoying. The mascara doesn’t transfer to my lower eyelids, though, which is a problem I have with my other mascara, but the formula on Pink Pewter’s product is just… inconsistent. Sometimes it’ll apply really nice on one eye, and terribly on the other. I think there are better products out there, and I wouldn’t repurchase this mascara, but it does okay, and the formula, when you can get it to work properly, is quite nice. This Lash But Not Least Mascara retails for $20.00 on the Pink Pewter website.

Was This Bag Worth It?

To get full-sizes of all the products in the bag, it would cost at least $107.99, and even more if you got a larger jar of the Clinique Hydrator. But, honestly, some of these products just seem very overpriced considering their quality, and the only thing I would even consider repurchasing would be the Pink Clay Mask, which is the most expensive thing on this list (and probably rightly so, because it does actually work). So while I do kind of like some of the things from this bag, I don’t like most of them enough to buy them again, which is… kind of disappointing. I did notice that ipsy listened to my feedback with this bag, and didn’t send me any lipstick or eyeliner, so it looks like they do listen to your reviews and ratings. However, the quality of some of the products, and the amount that ended up in the samples, leaves something to be desired.

Conclusion: Is ipsy Worth It?

From a purely monetary standpoint, ipsy’s $10 a month fee is absolutely worth it. I paid $30 for three months of Glam Bags, and received 15 product worth well over $200. In all honestly, I really expected ipsy to send cheap little samples from low-quality brands I’ve never heard of. I didn’t expect full-size products or anything from well-known brands like Smashbox or Sand and Sky. But ipsy really lives up to their promises. Nothing I received was worth less than $8, (except maybe for that tiny Clinique sample) and much of what I received I enjoyed and will continue using, even if I don’t end up repurchasing the item later on. While researching the costs of these items, I kept getting sticker-shock from just how much this makeup costs. You really have to wonder just where and how ipsy makes their money. Paying $10 for bags consistently worth over $50 just seems too good to be true, even if it isn’t.

But how much did I enjoy these bags? Was it worth it for me?

I don’t really know. The excitement and anticipation of receiving five new products every month is, of course, enjoyable, but there’s always that let down if what you get doesn’t work well for you. And I don’t think I would get ipsy all year round. If you want to treat yourself for a few months, or if you’re kind of new to makeup and want to try out a bunch of different things without having to spend tons of money on stuff you might not like, I would definitely recommend ipsy as an inexpensive way to do that. I may treat myself to one or two more bags sometime in a future, but I think it’s more of a ‘treat yourself’ thing than an ‘every month, all year round’ kind of thing.

Thanks for reading my little review of the ipsy monthly Glam Bags! Have you ever tried ipsy? Are you considering trying it in the future? Are you as shocked as I am at those crazy makeup prices??? Let’s chat in the comments!

See you all again soon!


Wednesday With Words: The Act of Writing

Heyo! It’s break week, and I’m officially back from my little haitus with a new Wednesday With Words post! Today’s quote is from William Zinsser’s famous On Writing Well, a fabulous book about writing that I’ve been perusing this week. While the book focuses on nonfiction writing, it does have quite a few tips that can be applied to fiction writing as well, and also this little description of the writer at work, which I thought was too good (and way too true) not to share today:

On Writing Well

On my reading list this week:

  • Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor: A novel based on the hit Welcome to Night Vale podcast about a weird little town in the middle of nowhere, where paranormal happenings are everyday occurrences and every conspiracy theory is true. I love the podcast, and I’m greatly enjoying this book, but I’m not a fan of the super liberal worldview…
  • Cyndere’s Midnight by Jeffrey Overstreet: The second book in the Auralia series. I started reading this back in July of 2016, and then eventually dropped it when my reading pile grew too big for me to manage. I picked it up again recently, as I own the entire series and would really like to finish it. The book is kind of slow, which might have been part of why I originally dropped it, but it’s picking up a bit now that I’m nearing the end.
  • Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery: Rereading this old favorite for the Back to the Classics 2018 challenge. It’s one of my favorite books by L. M. Montgomery! I just identify with Emily so much.

Thanks for reading this week’s Wednesday with Words post! See you again soon.


Movie Review: Black Panther

Black Panther

A groundbreaking superhero romp with all the action, humor, and heart you’d expect from a Marvel film.

SPOILER WARNING: There are a few major spoilers ahead in this review, as I wanted to talk about some character arcs and plot points as in depth as possible. If you haven’t seen the film and don’t want spoilers, please go watch it before reading this review! 

I have to admit, I had my doubts about this film. When something gets this much hype, when people are calling it the best Marvel film ever made (or maybe even the best film ever made) and when it carried a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, if only for a little while, that’s an awful lot to live up to. But I understood the hype, and I hoped that this film would live up to most of it, because here’s the thing: Besides Angie Thomas’s fabulous novel, The Hate U Give, I cannot remember the last book I read or movie I watched that had a black protagonist, much less an almost entirely black cast. And I’m certainly not saying that it’s bad to have a white protagonist; not at all. But there are so many awesome white protagonists and not nearly enough awesome black protagonists, especially not in more mainstream media, and so I totally understand the hype for this movie, and I was hoping against hope that people weren’t exaggerating, and that Black Panther would be a genuinely good film.

Marvel took a risk with this film, because many big studios in Hollywood won’t make films with POC or female leads, as they think those films won’t make enough money at the box office. But, obviously, that risk paid off: as of this writing, Black Panther has earned over $404 million dollars worldwide, breaking multiple box office records, including becoming the highest grossing film with a predominantly black cast ever.

The numbers don’t lie. But what about the reviews? I personally try not to judge films off of popularity, or how much money they make, or other peoples opinions. And so I was very eager to see this film for myself and find out whether or not all the hype was warranted.

So let’s dive into the review.

First of all, Black Panther is visually stunning. Much of the film takes place in the fictional African country of Wakanda, and the landscapes shown in the film are gorgeous and utterly unlike anything I’ve ever seen onscreen. We all know the standard fantasy/sci-fi locations, which have all been done and done to death: the forest, the fields, the mountains, the futuristic city. But Black Panther‘s African-inspired fantasy/sci-fi world breaths new life into these tired settings, by transporting us straight into Africa itself. I’ve seen so much sci-fi and fantasy set in America or Europe, or American-like and Europe-like worlds, and it is so refreshing to see what a high-tech, futuristic African city would look like, or to watch T’Challa, the Black Panther himself, fight his rival for the right to the throne on a sheer rock ledge beneath a waterfall, while his people cheer him on.

It was endlessly cool to see an entire fictional culture inspired by Africa on the big screen. From the colors and cut of the clothes to the design of the city and the flying ships that transport T’Challa and his friends, to the technology created by T’Challa’s genius sister Shuri, everything just felt so fresh and new and exciting and, yes, groundbreaking.

In another reversal of what you so often see in mainstream media, the only white characters in the film are villainous Ulysses Klaw (played by Andy Serkis) and the bumbling General Ross (played by Martin Freeman), who acts as a foil to the main characters. I found myself laughing right along with T’Challa and co. at Ross’s total confusion in the face of this highly advanced but hidden African society.

But the film itself, the story, the characters, the ideas; are they any good? This film has been touted as such a huge leap towards diversity in storytelling, and especially in big budget films, and that is certainly the case. But does Black Panther also stand on its own merits?

I would have to say yes. Well it may not be the best film ever made, Black Panther gets a lot of things right when it comes to storytelling, plot, action, and character development. It is actually one of the few Marvel films to have a well developed villain: Erik Killmonger, an exile and heir to the Wakandan throne who returns to his country to claim his rights and remove T’Challa from power. Erik’s father had left Wakanda to live in America with his son, but when he turned out to be a traitor, he was killed, leaving Erik all alone with only the tales his father had told him of his native country. When Erik returns to claim the throne, he brings with him an agenda: he resents how Wakanda has hidden their strength for so long, and wants the country to use its wealth and military might to stop the oppression of black people all over the world, by force.

While Killmonger brings up valid points about oppression and the need for action, I appreciate that the filmmakers do show his viewpoint —that violence can and should be used to end oppression— to be wrong, and that T’Challa decides in the end to use the wealth and strength of his country to help others peacefully. Sometimes, I almost found myself cheering for Killmonger, because the filmmakers do such a good job of developing him into a well rounded, flawed-but-nevertheless-admirable human being. He’s such a well developed character, and it’s almost a shame that T’Challa isn’t quite as well developed in the film. He is still a good hero, but I wish the filmmakers had spent just a little more time on developing a better story arc for him.

The other major characters in this film —namely Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, Nakia, T’Challa’s love interest, and Okoye, the general of an all-female group of Wakandan warriors— are all brilliantly played and fantastically developed characters. I love Shuri and T’Challa’s sibling relationship; it’s super authentic and very funny, as Shuri teases and makes fun of her brother even as she’s helping him catch the thieving Klaw. Nakia also gets tons of moments in the spotlight, not just as T’Challa’s love interest (although they are adorable and very, very shipable ❤ ) but also as a magnificent warrior, and a kindhearted, caring woman who’s greatest wish is to help those less fortunate than herself.

The story itself is very coherent and well plotted, and could pretty much stand on its own even if you’ve never seen a Marvel movie, which is nice after such a long line of sequels and sequels of sequels. The visual effects and action scenes are well done, as is all of the acting, and I just really enjoyed this film. It ranks very high on my personal list of ‘best Marvel films’. It just seemed to have a bit more heart than some more recent Marvel flicks, specifically Thor: Ragnarok, which was a very funny and well made film, but somehow seemed to lack any real emotional depth. Is Black Panther somehow going to fix every racial or social problem ever, as some people seem to think? Probably not, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“Wakanda forever!”

Heyo! I hope you enjoyed my review of Black Panther. Have you seen the film yet? Did you enjoy it? What do you think of T’Challa’s character development (or lack thereof?) I’m curious! Let me know in the comments.

See you again soon!


Esmeralda’s Story is Out Today! (Plus Hiatus Announcement)

Finally, after months of teasing and promising this release, it’s finally here! Empty Little Heart: Esmeralda’s Story is live on Amazon right now! You can buy it here, or add it to your shelf on Goodreads. I’ve been working super hard on this story, and I’m so glad that you can finally get to read it! If you do give it a read, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads or Amazon, wherever you review your books. I would be very grateful! 🙂



Empty Little Heart is available only as an ebook, but if you don’t have an e-reader like me, you can read it on your phone or computer with the Kindle app! ^_^

Hiatus Announcement

As you may have gathered from the title of this post, I’m going to be on a short social media and blogging hiatus over the next week, starting Sunday. There’s been a lot going on lately, and I haven’t been getting nearly as much work done as I’d like to, and next week I have to finish up a bunch of school before our break, so I think stepping back from social media and letting go of the pressure to blog for a week will be a good change. But don’t you worry! I’ll be back starting the 25th, and hopefully have a lot more awesome stuff for you guys. If you do need to contact me for anything, please feel free to send me an email through my Contact page.

Well, that about wraps it up for this post! I hope you have an amazing day.

Thanks so much for reading, and I’ll see you again soon.


Esmeralda’s Story is Almost Here!

Hey, everyone! You probably forgot all about the Behind Her Mask was Death novelette I’ve been working on and teasing for a while now, but I’m finally ready to actually release it this week! This novelette is called Empty Little Heart: Esmeralda’s Story, and I do finally have a cover and blurb to show you guys. This amazing cover art was created by Jenna Paddey. Definitely make sure to check out her other beautiful art on her Tumblr or her Instagram page.

Empty Little Heart (Cover)

Ten years before the events of Behind Her Mask was Death, Princess Esmeralda discovers another life beyond the high walls of her father’s palace. Her governess is bent on keeping her under control and acting like a proper princess, but Esmeralda wants nothing more than to escape the confines of her stuffy little world. Only William, her brother and best friend, can keep her sane. But she would still do anything to be free…



This novelette will be available on Kindle starting this Saturday, and you can preorder it over on Amazon, if you like! And, in case you’re wondering, you can read Esmeralda’s Story before or after reading Behind Her Mask was Death. It doesn’t really matter which. I’m always working on more stories about these characters and their world, so if you have enjoyed Behind Her Mask was Death, or if you read and enjoy this novelette, don’t worry! You’ll definitely be hearing more about Esmeralda and her friends in the future. ^_^

Thanks for reading this little announcement. I’ll see you again very soon!


Wednesday With Words: Puzzle Peices

I’m finally back with a new Wednesday with Words post today! This week’s quote is from Henry and the Chalk Dragon by Jennifer Trafton, which my little brother read aloud to me during the month of January. This book had us rolling with laughter at multiple points, but also had its fair share of touching or thoughtful moments, like the quote I’m going to share with you today:

Puzzle Pieces

On my reading list this week:

  • The Stroke of Eleven by Kyle Robert Shultz: My friend Daley Downing @ The Invisible Moth sent me several indie books, including the last two Beaumont and Beasley books. I read The Tomb of the Sea Witch already (it was so good I finished it in less than two days) and I’m starting The Stroke of Eleven as soon as possible, because I need to know what happens next!
  • The Blood Race by K. A. Emmons: Another book that Daley sent me. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, and I’ve heard tons of good things about this book. I can’t wait to read it!

Wednesday with Words is hosted by ladydusk.


January Monthly Wrap Up Post (2018)

“Aria???? Where in the world have you been????” you cry furiously at your computer screen, as you smack your desk repeatedly with the palm of your hand, “You promised that this year you were going to actually write more blog posts, and then you just… disappear into thin air! What’s up with that??? Are you lying to us to our faces???????

Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m sorry. One month into the year and I’ve already failed one of my goals, which was to post at least one blog post a week. I got off to a pretty good start and then… stuff happened. School. Work. Dare I say… procrastination? But that should have only been for last week! I was all geared up to try and get some posts out this week, and then disaster struck, in the form of a very nasty strain of the flu.

For multiple days I have been laid up in bed, basically unable to move, much less to write a riveting blog post. But, at last, I have returned. I’m still a bit sick, but I think I’m well enough to recount all the stuff that happened this month. Hopefully…

January Monthly Wrap Up

(Yes, I am making new banners without the year on them. I figure it’s way more efficient than making a whole new set of banners every single year!)


  • I went to see Secret Midnight Press on tour with indie musicians Tessa Violet and GiveMeMotion, and it was amazing! There were more people there than I expected, but I thoroughly enjoyed both parts of the show (they had the musicians do their sets first, and then Jesse and Ashley from Secret Midnight Press came and read their poetry). It was at a smaller venue, which was nice, and the atmosphere and ambiance they created was very cool. I even got to talk to Ashley a bit after the show, and she signed my copy of Smoke Signals! 10 out of 10 would see a Secret Midnight Press show again. I had an awesome time.
  • I discovered some amazing small YouTubers during this month/the end of last year, and I wanted to give them a little shout out because they’re all super cool, and you should go check out some of their videos. I don’t normally watch smaller YouTubers, because it’s difficult to find ones with good quality content, but a while back a couple of my internet friends started YouTube channels, and they are through-the-roof-amazing. So make sure you check out That Girl with a Blog (My friend Hannah Marie’s channel. She does vlogs, storytimes, and is just generally hilarious and relateable) and also Jeneca Zody, Bethany Stevenson (they’re both amazing artists) and MasterEth (he makes hilarious clean comedy videos and is a friend of Hannah’s)
  • I started listening to Welcome to Night Vale! You may have heard of it at some point or another on your journey through the internets. It’s a fiction podcast about a tiny desert town somewhere in America where really weird and random paranormal stuff happens. The podcast is super bizarre and a little creepy, but I actually find it quite funny, mostly because of just how random it is. I’m almost finished season 1, and I’m loving it so far! The creators of Night Vale have also made another podcast called Within the Wires, which has a totally different vibe and is super suspenseful and exciting. I listened to the first season, and highly enjoyed it. Until recently I didn’t really know fiction podcasts were a thing, but Aimee Meester’s Bright Eyes Project sort of introduced me to the format, and I love finding new podcasts to enjoy. ^_^

Posts from January 2018:

Looking Forward:

Yes, I am going to try to do better about actually making blog posts in the future. But, I mean, hopefully I won’t have any more surprise attacks of the flu, so we should be good. I’m also hoping to make a YouTube comeback as soon as my voice doesn’t sound like a dying rat! I made a channel a while back and posted like one video… and then I never posted anything again. I have a couple of super cool ideas, though, and I’m hoping to make at least a few more videos very soon! I let you know if/when that happens.

Thanks so much for reading my January wrap up post! How has your January been? Have you discovered any cool new YouTubers, podcasts, TV shows, books yet this year? Do you have any favorite small YouTubers? Let’s chat in the comments below!

See you again soon.