Tea & Book Chat: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (Fairyland #1)
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente is the first book in the Fairyland series and is quite possibly, the book with the longest title I have ever read to date. I’m always game for a good fairytale and since the cover displays a wyvern and a little girl with a giant key, I didn’t need much convincing to start this series. Plus Cassie raved to me about how fantastic it is and if there’s anyone I trust for book recs it’s her! The main character is a little girl named September who is invited on an adventure by a Green Wind to Fairyland. Fairyland seems to be in trouble and needs her help to fix things. How could any child resist an offer like that, right?
The writing in The Girl WhoCircumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is so incredibly whimsical and clever. It almost reads as poetry and it’s full of wordplay which for some readers can be difficult to get into but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story is clearly inspired by Alice in Wonderland and there are many paralells that can be drawn between the two works. I love all of the imagery Valenete portrays in her descriptions of Fairyland and I found myself getting very hungry while I was reading about the landscapes of certain areas. I will admit that the beginning of the story after September accepts the adventure proposal took a little while to hook me but once I got into it I was addicted! And the last couple of chapters were so amazing. This story is definitely for anyone who enjoys the journey before the payoff.
On her journey to stop the evil Marquess and help right Fairyland, September meets my favorite character, a red wyvern who she travels around with named the Honerable Wyvern A-Through-L, or Ell for short. He’s named as such because he spent his childhood memorizing encyclopedias A-through-L which is very helpful at times unless they run into a problem beginning with M-through-Z. Throughout the course of the story, September and Ell encounter many interesting and mythical creatures. Some are nonsensical and others are rooted in fairytale lore but each has a unique and modern twist. The only creature I will specifically talk about (because part of the fun of the novel is meeting everyone along with September) is Death who is individual to each person and whose size depends on the age of the person. Death has nightmares and is unable to sleep and September befriends Death and tries to help it get peace.
Final Thoughts: The Girl WhoCircumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valenete is an Alice-in-Wonderland-esque fairytale about a child named September who emarks on a strange journey through Fairyland in an effort to stop the evil Marquess. The book is full of flowery language and clever wordplay and you will be intrigued by Fairyland but it’s the ending that will stick with you forever.
I’m back with another BookTube video! I filmed this Mean Girls book tag a couple of months ago, but luckily it’s still relevant :-) As I’ve stated in other posts, I just love this movie to pieces so I was really excited to answer all these questions.
This is the first month I’m taking part in 6 on 6 which was created by Scruffy Little Nerf Herder. Basically, you’re encouraged to take 6 geek themed photos and post them on the 6th of each month. Each month is assigned a different color and fittingly enough, October is orange. I’m kind of shocked to see just how little I own that’s actually orange but I’m really pleased with what I came up with!
- Smaug + Fantasy – I love my Smaug Funko! He’s taller than a giant stack of thick fantasy books which is pretty cool IMO. This photo shows some of my fantasy favorites and one (well, three because it’s a bind up) that I’m really hoping to get to soon, The Sword of Shannara series by Terry Brooks. The MTV show looks incredible and I really want to read it before it premieres early next year!
- Currently Reading – I’m currently reading the 4th and final volume of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye which I was so sad to see come to an end. I really love Jeff Lemire but I haven’t picked up his reboot just yet. I’m also really addicted to Ranma 1 / 2 lately! I love that they’re reprinting the original in such a pretty new collection. The 3rd volume is pictured and I’m pretty in love with the cover.
- Pumpkins! – These are from a recent trip to Trader Joe’s to stock up on all of the pumpkiny goodness I could find but I’m going pumpkin and apple picking this coming weekend so looking that them is getting me even more into the spirit of Fall!
- Halloween Mickey Jewelry – When I saw this beautiful set from FemmeDeBloom on Etsy, I knew I had to have it. Disney and Halloween are two of the best things so combined, it makes me so happy. Plus, it’s really reasonably priced for a set that includes a necklace and earrings.
- Compilation of Orange Things – As I mentioned, I seem to be lacking things in the orange department so I started by grabbing some ginger Funko’s as a starting point, added my PSL #OrangeSleeveSociety cozy that Megan tweeted to me, a pair of pumpkin earrings I got on Etsy some time two years ago and my favorite pumpkin tea plus a pumpkin pie candle from Bath and Body Works.
- BB-8 – I preordered my Sphero BB-8 from ThinkGeek on Force Friday but I am still awaiting his arrival to my home so I visited one in the Disney Store in the meantime. He wasn’t for sale, otherwise I would’ve cancelled my preorder and picked him up on the spot!
I was so excited when Joana of Metal and the Geek tagged me for this Ultimate Harry Potter Tag because obviously (you can check out her post here)! Harry Potter is everything. I’m terribly behind on tags but I knew this one and the My Hogwarts Story tag LINK which I posted last week were the two that I counted as my top priority. I’ve been re-reading the series this year (I’m currently up to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix so I have to get moving!) and it’s been so much fun to reflect on my opinions as a child and compare them to things I see differently now as an adult. One thing is for sure, the magic of the series has not disappeared for me and I know for sure that it never will<3
As a child, I would’ve said Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire because it’s one of the first times I remember ever feeling seriously affected by a book. Cedric Diggory man. As an adult and through numerous re-reads, I can say that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite. I love that it includes an element of time travel known as retro causality and I absolutely ADORE the Marauders (plz write more Jo k thx). Luckily Alice LINK has introduced me to this Marauder’s fanfic LINK so I’m getting by really well these days.
Least favorite book?
UGH this is so hard. If Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone wasn’t the beginning of everything in life for me I would say that one since the Harry-Ron-Hermione trio is so young and it’s a big introduction to the world and the magic which allows for less action overall. But it is first. Right now I would say Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix because I remember not loving how angsty Harry became even though it was warranted. My mind might change after I re-read it though which should be happening really soon. I will not keep you updated because then I’d have to chose a different least fave.
My favorite movie is the same as the book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s my go to for when I feel like watching the Wizarding world. Again, I love the time travel and the Marauder’s but I also feel like the third film is last one to encompass all of the story. Goblet of Fire is when things start getting really lengthy and every little detail cannot be included or we would’ve ended up with 4-5 hour films (which let’s be real, I want those in my life and I would devote the days necessary to watching them).
Least favorite movie?
The movies are nowhere near as good as the books and I do struggle with some of the major changes (especially the Ravenclaw liberties that were taken) but I have grown fond of them in their own way. As for least favorite, it would have to be one of the latter films (Order of the Phoenix or Half Blood Prince) because of all the detail that’s missing. I definitely had to attempt the most explanation to my parents during these because they were VERY confused.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore. A classic but it’s my absolute favorite. I try to think of this quote whenever something minor is getting to me more than it should.
This is actually a toss up between Molly and Arthur for me! Molly is so caring and organized and the fact that she manages to take care of so many kids is really inspirational. I hate that sometimes stay at home mom’s aren’t given proper recognition since it’s not a traditional career but really it’s one of the most important jobs there is. Each of her children grew up to be extraordinary and it’s in no small part because of Molly’s guidance. I also love Arthur beyond belief because for several reasons. He’s friendly and interested in things and unabashedly himself which leads to so much entertainment. I love when he has to pretend to scold the boys for stealing the stolen car and I’m betting that’s exactly how Andrew would be as a dad. Arthur’s just so good natured and he and Molly are the perfect pair.
Favorite female character?
There are so many amazing female characters in Harry Potter which makes this question the hardest one on the list. There are logical reasons why Hermione should be my favorite but I’ve always loved Luna Lovegood the most. She’s quirky and loyal and embraces her inner weirdness. I wish we could be best friends IRL.
I do really love Draco Malfoy. He underwent a lot of character development throughout the series and by the end you could tell that he was growing comfortable enough in his own skin to reject some of his parents expectations (ie. Dumbledore). I think adult Draco will have made very different choices than naive young Draco and I would love to read about his experience after Hogwarts.
Favorite male character?
I’m going to be a little controversial here and say Dumbledore. A lot of readers criticize many of the choices Dumbledore makes throughout the series but to me he always seemed so wise and I think he’s a great leader. I would love to learn more about his past and how be came to be headmaster. A young Dumbledore series is the prequel I want second most after the Marauders of course.
If this were least favorite Professor I would easily choose Trelawney but alas it is not. My favorite Professor is definitely Lupin! It’s so sad that he was only able to teach for one year because I think he would’ve been an amazing mentor to future students. His method of teaching was hands on and would get kids interested and Defense Against the Dark Arts is also really relevant for real life application.
A, Wash Snape’s hair, or B, spend a day listening to Lockhart rant about himself.
A, wash Snape’s hair. Lockhart is simply intolerable.
Duel A, an elated Bellatrix, or B, an angry Molly
Definitely Bellatrix. Molly is such a good person that I could never duel with her in good conscience. And I would never try to hurt any of the Weasley’s so she would have no reason to be angry enough to duel with me.
Travel to Hogwarts via A. Hogwarts Express or B. flying car.
A. Hogwarts Express without any hesitation. I love trains. I love Wizarding World snacks. I would love getting to catch up with friends about our summer holiday as soon as possible!
A, Kiss Voldemort. Or B, give Umbridge a bubble bath.
Umm, are we talking the early days Tom Riddle Voldemort or the fallen from power and barely a human Voldemort? I just rly don’t want to be near Umbridge ever.
A, ride a hippogriff, B, ride a firebolt
B, Firebolt! And there would be some type of parody singing involving Aladdin’s A Whole New World.
Is there a character which you felt differently about in the movies vs books?
Bellatrix. I HATED her in the books and while I also hated her in the film, Helena Bonham Carter did such a wonderful job of portraying an insane villain that I also felt more intrigued by her character.
Is there a movie you preferred instead of the book?
Richard Harris or Michael Gambon as Dumbledore?
They were both good! Although Gambon spoke more quickly which appeals to my New York pace.
Your top thing (person or event) which wasn’t included in the movie that annoyed you most.
I’m going to have to agree with Joana on this one and say the truth about Neville’s parents. Neville is a great character and I think it’s vital to the story to know the complete story of his past and what he’s been struggling with his whole life. It explains a lot about him as a person and I think that cutting it from the films is a disservice to those who may not have read the books.
If you could remake any of the Potter movies, which would it be?
I would split Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince into two films each which would probably be an adequate amount of time to include what’s missing.
Which house was your first gut feeling you’d be a part of?
When I read the first 4 books I identified with Gryffindor because Gryffindor and Slytherin were the most prominent houses and if there’s one thing I am not it’s a Slytherin (no offense to my best friends because the majority of them reside there).
Which house were you actually sorted into on Pottemore (or another online sorting quiz)?
Ravenclaw! And all was right with the world. My sorting happened after I continued reading and put a lot of thought into which house I actually belong in.
Which class would be your favourite?
Which spell do you think would be most useful to learn?
The Summoning Charm because I’m lazy and I hate when I sit down to watch TV and realize I left the remote across the room. As you also might know, I own a lot of stuff. The Summoning Charm would be great when I can’t find a specific book or if I just don’t have time to dismantle the organization of a particular bookshelf to grab it.
Which character do you think at Hogwarts you’d instantly become best friends with?
Hermione. I love being around intelligent people and picking up little tidbits of information here and there. It would be a privilege to befriend Hermione and I would hang on to each piece of her Hogwarts, a History trivia.
If you could own one of the three Hallows, which would it be?
The invisibility cloak. I learned the lesson that The Tales of the Beedle Bard was trying to send thank you very much.
Is there any aspect of the books you’d want to change? This can be a character, and event, anything.
NO THEY’RE PERFECT. (Although maybe there would be more of a revolution from S.P.E.W. and Fred / Lupin / Tonks / Sirius could live? I’m sure that’s not too much to ask)
Lupin! Favorite teacher, favorite Marauder. He has a good heart and he tried to always keep James and Sirius in check.
Cedric Diggory. Cedric was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I think his death was really unfair. He was so young and he had so much life ahead of him. I’m sure he would’ve helped at the Battle of Hogwarts if he had been given the opportunity.
Hallows or horcruxes?
Hallows! Horcruxes are just plain terrifying to me.
And now for the tagging part! I’m going to try to tag bloggers who I know are also Harry Potter enthusiasts. So I tag Sara from Sincerely Sara, Kristin from My Life as a Teacup, Alice of A Nudge in the Right Direction, Alice of The Geeky Burrow, Gwen of Like Gwen Stacy and Travis of Travis the Grimm.
And for no good reason here are some Halloween themed Hogwarts gifs.
Some of my favorite types of stories are fairy tales so I have been loving that retellings have grown popular in past few years. And when it comes to fairy tales, Disney is the ultimate master of preserving classics and piecing together a story that is both accessible, enjoyable, and an instant classic which is why I am so excited to be a part of their Fairy Tale 2.0! The three books Disney Hyperion is celebrating on this blog tour are A Whole New World (an Aladdin retelling where Jafar finds the lamp first), A Frozen Heart (the backstory of Elsa and Anna told in alternating perspectives), and the book I’ll be focusing on, Once Upon a Time: Red’s Untold Tale by Wendy Toliver (which tells the popular character Red’s story while she wasn’t on Once Upon a Time). If you follow the #FairyTale2pt0 hashtag, you’ll be able to enter giveaways for the other books as well! Here is the synopsis to Red’s Untold Tale:
Red is 16 and lives with Granny in a cottage in the village, where boarding up the house and hiding during Wolfstime is a means of survival. Red help’s Granny with Granny’s baked good business, catering as well as door-to-door sales. Red has a constant internal battle between her wild side and her strict, overprotective upbringing, and the issue of “control” as she discovers she has a hot temper when the “mean girls” push her too far. (“When we learn to control it, we needn’t fear it,” Rumpelstiltskin says in the series.) She has flashbacks to her 13th year when she received her cloak and the nickname “Red.” She is plagued by nightmares that she doesn’t understand, but the Once Upon a Time fans will recognize them as her wolf side coming out. Red balances the difficult times with Granny at home and the girls at school with an emerging and satisfying romance with Peter.
One winner will receive 1) Copy of Red’s Untold Tale 2) plus FAIRY TALE 2.0 tank, notepad, cosmetic pouch & pillow. Prizing is courtesy of Disney Hyperion and open to US Residents.
I spent some time this week catching up on tags but the two I was most excited to complete were this one, the My Hogwarts Story Tag (I was tagged by Kayly of myopensketchbook) and The Ultimate Harry Potter Book Tag (tagged by Joanna from Metal and the Geek) which I’ll be posting next week! It’s so much fun to imagine hypotheticals about my favorite world and now I just want a Hogwarts series about a blogger in a book club.
And I tag Megan from The Nerdy Girlie and anyone who wants to do this that hasn’t yet!
Are you Pure Blood, Half Blood or Muggle Born?
I’m definitely Muggle Born.
Which wand chose you (what is is made of)?
According to Pottermore, my wand is 13 3/4 inches long, made of Fir wood and as everyone should expect, the core is Unicorn. Flexibility: hard.
Did you take an Owl, Cat, Toad or Rat with you?
I absolutely would take an owl with me. I’m always ordering things online and to be able to have my own personal mail service would be most beneficial. Also I’m really family oriented so I imagine I would be writing VERY often since texting / phone calls would not be an option.
Where did the Sorting Hat place you?
Ravenclaw of course!
What house did you want to be in?
After reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time, my answer would have been Gryffindor. Then several years passed and along came Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the epiphany that I am indeed a Ravenclaw. We didn’t get to see too much of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff in the first three books, so I think it was natural for most readers to feel the strongest connection to Gryffindor or Slytherin. I wish the books offered even more time to exploring the other houses but once I realistically compared the House traits to my own, I knew Ravenclaw was where I belonged.
Which lessons are your favorite and least favorite?
My favorite subjects would probably be Charms and Herbology. I would love to be able to grow my own tea and, being a vegetarian, I’ve always been into eating fresh vegetables so I think the gardening skill would be one I would use for the rest of my life. Charms would be a close second because there are so many handy spells that fall into this category. For instance, Hermione’s charm that allows her to carry everything she needs in her purse, and the dancing feet charm for when I have to attend weddings. My least favorite subject would be Potions. Kayly’s baking analogy works perfectly for me for the opposite reason. I love baking but I rarely ever follow recipes exactly. I’m always liberal with ingredients and I prefer to use my own measurements. Something tells me Snape would take issue with that!
The form your Patronus takes is…
A kitten. Tiny, cute and sweet until you do something to anger it, in which case you will incur it’s wrath =^.^=
When confronted with a Boggart, what does it look like to you?
Oh my, this could be so many things because I’m basically scared of everything. Probably most of all would be anything bad happening to Andrew or my family because I am a serious worryer. I’m trying to get better about it and I should probably just stop reading the news.
Do you partake in any school sports or magical hobbies?
I would love to run a Hogwarts blog and start a Wizarding network! It would be so much fun to share everything exciting happening for students in the magical world and I love to write so this would be my ideal activity. I also have to copy Sara’s answer and say that being part of a Wizarding Book Club would also appeal to my interests! Ooh and if there were some type of magical tabletop gaming club, I would be all about that!
If you have free time, where would you be found hanging out?
I would most likely be found in the library reading or writing or the common room. And I would take a page out of Fred and George’s book and sneak down to the kitchen every chance I could for some extra Wizarding sweets.
You are most likely to get detention for what?
I would probably get detention for sneaking around the castle to explore after hours. Hogwarts is fascinating to me and I can’t imagine seeing everything there is to offer if you’re restricted to certain areas during the school day and spending so much time in class.
What career do you want after leaving Hogwarts?
I could see myself writing a fashion column or writing book reviews for The Daily Prophet. I would attend Wizard fashion shows and let everyone know about which robes will be most in for the season and which books they should pick up at Flourish & Blotts on their next visit to Diagon Alley. OMG could you imagine if comics were a thing in the wizarding world? Now those would be exciting!
Last night, I had a little get together so I could ask all of the girls I’m closest with to be my bridesmaids! I have 12 girls in all which is actually a pretty big number but I can’t help how many wonderful people are in my life! I decided I wanted to continue along with the Harry Potter theme of our engagement and luckily, Andrew is an amazing artist who helped make it happen! He created the design below for me to use as mini art prints to give to each of the girls when I asked them. He also customized each one depending on the girls hair color and Hogwarts house! I cannot stop looking at them and I’m so glad he printed a few extra so I could keep some as a remembrance for myself<3
Luckily everyone I asked said yes! Here are a few photos from last night (before they’ve been properly edited because I’m too excited to wait to post them)! I’m having two Maid of Honors (although one is a Matron of Honor). Two of the girls live in Florida so they’re not in the bridesmaid photo but I’m thinking of photoshopping them in<3 Some of the girl you may recognize from the blogging world are Melissa, Cassie and not pictured because Florida, Kristin and Rachel! There’s also a photo of me with my wonderful parents! Yesterday was their 38 year wedding anniversary and they’re still the happiest couple I know. Seeing their relationship over the years has set the bar high and helped me determine how wonderful love can truly be (so cheesy but true!) which is why I know that marrying Andrew is the best decision ever<3
A few weeks ago, my two best friends Melissa and Cassie joined me at my house and after eating brunch, Andrew helped us film a few videos together. They’re both so hilarious and I wish they had their own BookTube channels because I just know they would do so well! The first video I’m sharing is called the Back Words challenge which is when you say a book title into the Back Words app and someone has to guess what the title is. It’s REALLY hard. Not as hard for the other girls as it id for me apparently. But still!
The season of pumpkin spice has arrived and I couldn’t be more excited! Even though my enthusiasm for my favorite flavor comes along with incessant mocking from my much cooler friends, I couldn’t care less. I am a proud pumpkin spice lover and I truly wish it were available year round. Today’s outfit of the day celebrates the waiting period until September finally hits and the wish that I had magical powers to summon the necessary foods to satiate my cravings. Outfit details below ^.^
Photos by Andrew Gallagher
I am so beyond excited to be part of the teaser tour for Brian Selznick’s third novel, The Marvels. I absolutely ADORED his previous work The Invention of Hugo Cabret and I cannot wait to dive into his latest book. Just like his previous novels, The Marvels includes the beautifully sketched artwork Selznick is known for but this time he’s doing it a little bit different. The Marvels actually tells two stories, the first is over 400 pages and is told exclusively through illustrations and the second is told through prose but we’re pretty certain those stories will interconnect. The first takes place in 1776 and follows Billy Marvel who is the sole survivor in a shipwreck aboard The Kraken. He becomes involved in a theater in London where generations of his family star in a plethora of Shakespeare plays. The second story take place in 1990 and follows a young runaway named Joseph Jervis who travels to his uncle’s home in London and begins searching through his uncle’s belongings in an effort to uncover the truth about his history.
I was sent a box of clues to help decipher the mystery of the interconnected stories as well! The first clue is an audio recording read by Brian Selznick himself. There’s so much information in it! The clip talks all about different generations of actors with the last name Marvel (who I’m assuming are related to Billy Marvel) and the lives they led playing different roles in Shakespeare plays at the Royal Theater. The clip is three and a half minutes long and I couldn’t help wishing it were longer!
The next clue I pulled out of the box is probably the coolest thing I have ever received because it’s a PIRATE SHIP or a regular ship but who knows. Since The Marvels synopsis tells us that Billy Marvel survived a shipwreck aboard The Kraken, I’m hoping for pirates of some kind. This clue is an item found in Joseph’s uncles house so I’m mostly curious how he’s connected to the shipwreck and presumably to Billy Marvel. Maybe he’s one of those guys obsessed with history? Or maybe that history hits close to home and he’s related to Billy Marvel? Only time will tell!
Lastly, I also received a framed print of The Kraken which is signed by Brian Selznick himself (MAJOR FANGIRLING ENSUE). The waves in the photo look very unsettled so I’m guessing that this print is a still of the ship during the storm responsible for taking it down. Another big hint is the giant bolt of lightening striking the boat on the starboard side. I also love how the ship is named The Kraken. It makes the mystery of all these interconnected lives that much more intriguing.
One winner will receive 1) a hand-signed print 2) custom The Marvels jigsaw puzzle, and 3) a copy of the book. Prizing is courtesy of Scholastic and open to US residents.
Brian Selznick will be doing a book tour for The Marvels in case you’d like to meet him yourself or get a copy of the book signed and the full schedule has just been posted here! You can also view the book trailer (which is really beautiful and whimsical) below.
And don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more clues!