Spent my birthday in this wonderful place for the second straight year.

Yosemite National Park, CA. January 2017. (Instagram)

I got to ban three people from Slate Star Codex today. That’s about half of my List Of People To Ban As Soon As I Can Find A Flimsy Excuse For Doing So. I am so delighted right now.

Here’s a painting I did of a tortoise. ^____^

He’s getting kinda old, but still wants to be useful, so they put him on guard duty. There hasn’t been conflict in over five hundred years though, so it’s more of a token position.

Still, he enjoys the quiet, the scenery, and the fact that he gets to nap a lot. In all honesty, he’s actually pretty bad at his job, but he doesn’t realise it, and everyone thinks he’s too cute to call him out on it.

Thanks to Adam Paquette for the sage advice he gave; the ‘finished’ piece (IS ANY ARTWORK EVER TRULY FINISHED) is a lot better for it! ^__^

BOOK THREE: Destined, Jessie Harrell (three and a half stars)

I’ve been fascinated by the story of Eros and Psyche since sixth grade, when our English and social studies classes did units on ancient Greece (which culminated with Greek Night, when we all had to do some presentation involving an aspect of ancient Greek culture; my group did a skit called Medusa’s Hair Salon). I’ve read a few books/short stories with this myth as a basis, and even attempted to write my own during NaNoWriMo a few years back.

Destined was not one of the best of the adaptations.

Oh, it was an easy read, and cute. I liked Psyche’s personality. She had enough moxie that it wasn’t grating and didn’t read like faux girl power. However, I didn’t like the POV change–Psyche’s chapters are in first person; Eros’s in third. It disrupted the flow for me.

If you’re looking for a light, fluffy reading of the story, by all means go with this one. But if you’re left dissatisfied by Destined, I’ll suggest one of my favorite retellings: Cupid by Julius Lester. I read it at the start of last year, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

Review: Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis

Genre(s): Sci-fi, Mystery, Romance

Format: Paperback

My Rating: ★★★½

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming. - via Goodreads

My Thoughts: I think this book is more of a 3.5 for me. My rating on Goodreads is a 4 because I round up.


For the most part, I enjoyed this book. I’m not much of a sci-fi reader - other than dystopian novels, I’m 99% sure this is my first sci-fi novel - but it wasn’t too bad! What I enjoyed the most was how dark the story got. Originally, I didn’t think it was that creepy but the further into the story I got, the more I realized just how dark what was taking place in the novel was and that, along with the satisfaction of knowing without a doubt who the “bad guy” was, was what drove me to keep reading.

So it probably goes without saying that when I first grabbed the book I thought it was going to be heavy on the romance. But that wasn’t the case at all. I’ve heard about a lot of books that are “sci-fi” that are really just romance in a sci-fi setting and Across the Universe wasn’t one of them. I don’t know how the second and third books will pan out but I think the problems presented in AtU definitely lend themselves to being explored and dealt with in the next books.

One of the main problems I had with this book was the murderer. The moment that character was introduced, I had already pinned them as the culprit. It wasn’t hard to figure out so I grew annoyed that Amy and Elder overlooked it for so long. However, given everything going on within the novel, I’m willing to cut them some slack. 

My other issue is the lack of ladies. In total, we have five we know by name, one of whom we never see, and other than Amy, we never actually get to know the other women. Of course, there is a “mean girl” we see occasionally - sigh. It would’ve been nice to see Amy develop some kind of real relationship with another girl aboard the ship since there are eight guys we know by name, five of whom she interacts with on an almost daily basis. I’m not going to hold out too much hope for female companionship in the next two novels, though.

Would I recommend this book?: Yes.

It’s been three and a half season of Richonne on screen. three and a half of waiting, hoping this will be the season that Rick and Michonne will finally admit their feelings and be together. On February 21st 2016, episode 10 of of season 6. They finally hooked up. It finally happened guys. it finally happened.

Lightning at Bourheim by Larry Selman

“Technical Sergeant Joseph A. Farinholt, known as “Lightning Joe” to his buddies, had already earned three Silver Stars in the five and a half months since his unit had landed on Omaha Beach on June 7, 1944. A Guardsman from Baltimore, Maryland, Farinholt was acting platoon leader for the anti-tank platoon of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 175th Infantry, 29th Infantry Division when he earned his fourth and final Silver Star in late November, 1944. No known enlisted man in the U.S. Army earned four Silver Stars during the entire war, much less over such a short span of time.

“On November 26, 1944 the 175th Infantry was spread thin around the outer perimeter of the town of Bourheim, which it had captured three days earlier. For the sixth time in those three days, a German armored column attempted to recapture the town, a key to their defense of the strategic city of Julich on the Roer River. The enemy attack opened with such an intense artillery barrage that the 29th Division’s After Action Report cites as it as ‘…the worst suffered by the division during the war.’ Then the German infantry and their supporting tanks pushed forward. Men in the outlying areas fell back toward the town and it looked as though the enemy might finally break through.

“Farinholt quickly went into action. One of his three 57 mm antitank gun crews, after firing several rounds at the enemy, all became casualties when a German shell hit a tree near their position. Knowing that the 57 mm gun did not have the penetrating power to pierce a Tiger’s armor, Farinholt loaded, aimed and fired at the tread of the lead Tiger tank, disabling it and halting the advance of the column. However, the tank returned fire with armor-piercing machine gun bullets, wounding Farinholt in more than 20 places and shattering the bones in his right leg below the knee . Despite his wounds he managed to drag himself to his jeep and drive to the battalion headquarters to alert them of the strength and direction of the German attack. Weakened by his injuries and unable to control both the clutch and the gas pedal, Farinholt crashed his jeep into the Headquarters building but refused first aid until he gave his report. Because of his actions and those of his platoon, the German advance was stalled for almost an hour and then diverted to another sector, buying time for the 29th Division to move troops and summon air support to successfully defeat the attack.

“The Germans never recaptured Bourheim. Farinholt’s wounds were so severe that he was returned home and spent nearly two years in the hospital. Though he lived nearly 60 more years, he never fully recovered from his injuries.”

(National Guard)