Semi-Hiatus

Hi guys! You may have noticed a lack of me around here and I just wanted to officially say that I will not be posting regularly in the near future. I’ve just got too much going on right now to have any spare brain space for writing or any kind of creative activity. I am still reading as much as I can, and I finally got Disney+, so hopefully I will still be posting on those topics occasionally, as well as coloring book stuff and photos. I also hope to keep reading all my fellow bloggers’ stuff, so you will still see me around the blogosphere.

Until then!

I stole this from Jennifer at My Book Joy

Review: Other People’s Butterflies by Cora Ruskin

One of my favorite things about blogging has been meeting other writers and discovering some really great indie authors. I’ve been a reader of Cora Ruskin’s blog Cora Still Writes for a while, so I was happy to receive an ARC of her debut novel, Other People’s Butterflies. It’s contemporary YA with a fabulous protagonist and healthy dose of drama. Plus look at this gorgeous cover!!

Gwen Foster is a typical high school girl, dealing with school and friend drama…except for the part where she’s secretly collecting personal information on all her classmates, not to mention trying to figure out why, unlike her classmates, she has no real interest in kissing anyone. As Gwen is coming to terms with her asexual/aromantic nature, an unknown person starts dishing out all the dirt Gwen’s collected on social media. Can Gwen’s favorite character, a 1940s femme fatale super spy, show her the way to fix everything?

Although I read a lot of YA, contemporary YA is not my usual genre. However, from the first pages I was hooked on Gwen as a character. I loved her narrative voice (and her very British sense of humor), and her growth over the story felt very real. The suspense and mystery parts of the story were really intriguing, and I liked how the scenes with Gwen’s fictional idol are interspersed to create tension and further the themes of the story. Parts of the ending felt a little abrupt, but I think that was because I wanted to read more of Gwen!

I especially appreciated reading the perspective of an asexual character, which is not something very common in any genre of fiction. I liked the organic way in which Gwen came to identify herself by that label, and the difference it made to her to know that she wasn’t the only person who felt that way. I hope anyone reading this story and seeing themselves in Gwen will feel the same!

So if you like high school drama, spy stuff, childhood friends, Briticisms, and diverse characters, I highly recommend checking this one out! It’s especially great that it is releasing during Pride month. I look forward to reading more by Cora in the future!

Get Other People’s Butterflies on Amazon

Check it out on Goodreads

9th Blogiversary!

It’s been nine years since I said “Hello, world!” to start off my blog. At the time, I had two main motives: I felt I was consuming a lot of content but not creating anything, and I wanted to get back into writing with the eventual goal of writing fiction. I think it’s both a success and a work in progress!

And now for something completely different. Let’s take a break from our regular nerdiness and do something fun. I found a “Get to Know Me” tag from Lindsay Lovin’ Life with 100 questions, and since it’s my 9th blogiversary, I’ll answer the questions ending in 9.

9. Can you curl your tongue?

Yes. Most people can, and it is possible to teach yourself how. Studies of twins show that the ability is not a case of simple genetic inheritance of a single trait.

19. Do you consider yourself a good cook?

Definitely not. I don’t particularly enjoy cooking, and I have a set of about 5 simple recipes that I can cook fluently. (I do like baking, however.) One good thing about this pandemic is that I’ve stopped judging myself for using food delivery services like DoorDash.

29. Do you have siblings?

Yes, I have one older sibling. My penname Meimei appropriately means “little sister.” ~_^

39. Do you/have you played any sports?

Yes, I play tennis. I played varsity doubles for several years in high school. I haven’t played at all since my dad passed away, since he was my rallying partner; I hope to teach my kids when they are older.

49. How are you feeling right now?

Tired but happy to be writing.

59. What is one item on your bucket list?

To actually publish, in some form, a novel! I have several started, and one almost completely drafted thanks to NaNoWriMo, but nothing near publishable.

69. What’s the thing you can’t leave the house without?

Well, really, it’s my purse, but that’s kind of a cheating answer because in my purse are my phone, sunglasses, chapstick, wallet, pens, snacks, etc. Also, did I mention I have a Star Wars purse?

Star Wars The Last Jedi Rey Canvas Faux Leather Dotty Satchel Handbag -  Cyberteez

79. What’s your favourite food?

Pasta with butter and parmesan. Also anything sweet.

89. What’s your favourite sport to watch?

Well, obviously tennis. Serena Williams has been my favorite player since high school. During the Olympics I watch gymnastics and figure skating. I also enjoy watching Cleveland Indians (soon to be the Cleveland…something else) baseball with my family; Carlos Santana is my favorite player, but he has once again been traded away. Definitely a rebuilding year.

99. Who is your celebrity crush?

Oh, I have such a Star Wars answer for this: Ewan McGregor, whom I first saw in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He’s just so charming and has a wonderful accent and a lovely singing voice. I had a life-size cardboard cutout of him as Obi-Wan in my room in high school. Don’t worry, I didn’t keep it when I got married and moved out.

So now you know ten more things about me than you did before. Thank you all most sincerely for reading; the best surprise to me about blogging has been how many awesome people I’ve met through my blog over the last nine years.

And here’s to many more!

Welcome, 2021!

How wonderful to be looking forward to another new year here on my blog. Aside from all else going on in the world, last year was not the best year for my blog as it got shunted aside in favor of some more important things going on in my life.

In 2020, Jedi by Knight got over 11,000 views from more than 8,000 visitors representing 118 countries around the world. I posted 70 times, though most of those were my weekly Lens-Artist photo challenges.

The most-viewed post I wrote last year was Engineering a squirrel obstacle course: Practical deterrent, entertainment, or science? regarding Mark Rober’s popular YouTube video. This was a super fun post to write, allowing me to use my zoology background to add even more scientific analysis to the squirrels, and I’m so glad everyone liked it. Phat Gus is still the best.

Phat Gus is my spirit animal

I hope to continue to do some blogging this year, though I warn you that my posting may be rather erratic. I had been doing a lot of my writing during my kid’s nap time on the weekends, but my toddler has stopped napping and my baby hasn’t worked out a set nap schedule yet. Plus, if either of them is asleep, I’m often asleep, too! But I am hoping to post at least once or twice a month.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Here are some things you can hopefully look forward to here at Jedi by Knight in 2021:

  • The return of Fan Art Friday, where Kiri and I both color the same picture from the Star Wars coloring book, often with very different results
  • More doodles from my school notebook margins, as I found a big stack of them when we were moving
  • A few more book reviews; there were a couple books I read last year that I made notes on but never found time to write the full post
  • Weekly Lens-Artist photo challenges will continue as much as possible, though the content will change. Since I am typically posting from my phone now, I will be sharing mostly photos from my daily life taken on my phone instead of images from my travels.
  • What would you guys like to see me write more about? Writing? Books? Star Wars? Nerdy parenting?

I have also come around to the WordPress block editor. It may be a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, but it seems to be working for me, especially when blogging with the WP app on my phone. Which is great, because I’m currently doing almost everything one-handed while holding a baby, and also the WP website is kind of crap right now.

Happy 2021 everybody! What are you looking forward to this year?

Sunshine Blogger Award 2.0

I have once again been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  Thank you to An Irrelevant Girl for the nomination and the questions.  She is a poet whom I’ve been following for a few years.

Rules for the nomination:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.
  1. Do you remember any recent dreams?

No, but that is a boring answer, so I will tell you that I remember many dreams that I’ve had over the years, including two different ones where I died and then woke up.  I have also had several dreams featuring my dad since he died last year, which I found very comforting.

2. What are you looking forward to, whether it’s short-term or long-term, close or far away?

I am looking forward to the birth of my second Little Jedi in the fall.  While this is maybe not the time I would have chosen to have another kid, what with a global pandemic and all, I am hopeful about the future of our family as we grow and change.  Though you may be seeing a bit less of me here on this blog in the coming year!

3. What’s your favourite word?

Oh, dear, I don’t know.  I enjoy many words like “superfluous” and “perspicacity.”  My toddler also tells me that “thermostat” is a funny word.

4. Is there anything about you that surprises people?

Possibly that I was in a sorority during university.  I expect that I don’t come across as a typical sorority girl.

5. If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would buy?

Probably something supremely boring, like paying off my house.

6. What’s one thing you could spend a whole night talking about?

Star Wars!  Also fantasy novels, and probably biological research.

7. What’s something that is nostalgic to you? (eg. an item, place, song etc.)

Things related to Florida, where I grew up, like palm trees, moss in oak trees, the beach, Disney, and horribly oppressive humidity.

8. Are you more of a lone wolf or a pack wolf?

Lone wolf!  I am an introvert.

9. What’s your favourite sound?

Silence from my toddler’s room after bedtime.

But seriously, music of many kinds is my favorite thing to listen to.  I almost always have music on the background when I am at work or writing.  When I lived by myself I often put on headphones with music to fall asleep.

10. What’s your favourite thing about yourself?

Physically, my red hair.  Personality-wise, my ability to be both logical and empathetic.

11. What’s something you haven’t done in a while but would like to do again?

Ohhh so many things.  I have to keep reminding myself that when my kids are older I will have some time to myself again.  It has been several months since I played the flute, and several years since I played tennis.  I also haven’t done any fiction writing since November, I think, so I am hoping to do Camp NaNo this month to finish up the fanfic I was writing.  In all my copious spare time.

I typically don’t do nominations for awards anymore because I simply don’t have the time, but feel free to answer these same questions yourself if you like!  Consider yourself nominated ~_^

Check out my 11 answers from my first Sunshine Blogger Award here.