Book Review: Neenah Fynn and the Dawn of Summer

Hello lovely readers! It’s been a while since I posted a book review here, so I thought it might be fun to mix it up a bit. I do review a lot of books on my Goodreads, but maybe I’ll post more of them here if that interests you.

Today’s post is about an ARC (Advance Reader Copy), which is always fun. There’s something really cool about reading a book before it comes out. And, okay, I was influenced by the pretty cover.


About the Book

A school for faeries… An evil queen… And a fight to the death.

“Life as a faerie is supposed to be simple. You go to Endeavour Academy, learn to harness your powers, and gain your wings so you can become an active member in society. Unfortunately, that is not reality for my friends and me.”

Neenah Fynn is a new full-fledged faerie at Endeavour Academy, but learning to harness her powers isn’t as simple as it seems. With rumors that the next-in-line Faerie Queen has come to Endeavour, dark faeries begin hunting students and threats abound from all corners of her world.

When her best friends are thrust into the dark faeries’ path, she must find the strength to fight back. Will she have what it takes to defeat the forces that are trying to destroy her?

Goodreads | Amazon | 284 pages | ebook
Where I got it: I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review
Neenah Fynn and the Dawn of Summer releases tomorrow!

The Writing

This was a fun read I would classify as middle-grade. The main character is 13. From the back cover blurb, I was expecting older for some reason, but I always enjoy a good middle grade book so I didn’t mind at all. The writing style was conversational and easy to get into. Neenah’s voice felt fresh and unique. It felt nice to read from a younger perspective for a change. It’s been a few years since I was 13, so I can’t really speak to how accurate it was, but she seemed to be realistic.

The Plot

I got strong Harry Potter vibes from this. Neenah goes to a faerie school where she’s sorted into one of four houses. However, this wasn’t an original idea for J. K. Rowling either – what I learned in my Children’s Literature course is that the “school story” is quite a popular genre in British fiction. And there are common tropes within the school story – namely, British schools have “houses” within them – so the Hogwarts houses are just playing off that trope. I didn’t know this before taking that college class, but that information definitely helped going into this book. So while there are similarities to Harry Potter, it’s perfectly fair use because it’s drawing from the school story trope. That being said, the “sorting” did seem a little too similar (I got someDivergent vibes from it as well).

The plot is pretty fast-moving and well thought out. I called the plot twist from 30% in, and was just waiting for the characters to catch up. Since it’s a middle grade novel, though, maybe the target audience won’t catch on as quickly. Overall the plot was well done and drew me in. It ended tidily while still leaving room for future books (much like the Harry Potter series does).

There was no “fight to the death” as promised, which was disappointing. Not sure what that says about me.

Editorial Notes

A clean read, both in content and in editing, for the most part. A few swear words, but the characters are young, so nothing intense. The occasional typo, but not enough to distract from the reading. Also, I read an ARC, so I’m guessing it will be cleaned up in the final version. Quite well-edited.

The Characters

Neenah was a great main character. She was sweet, smart, and cared about her friends. One thing I really appreciated was when she decided she wasn’t ready to date, even though she and another character liked each other. I was flipping out at the mere thought of 13-year-olds dating, because that’s way too young in my opinion. *head explodes* But Neenah was sensible about it. There are some pretty wild names in this book, like Savaraeh, but I always enjoy a fancy fantasy name. (Neenah is a really cute name, and I like this spelling.) There are a variety of diverse characters. There was one scene where a girl is shocked at the thought of another girl being a lesbian, and I didn’t like how it was just a throwaway line (even though the idea is accepted). Maybe future books will see some LGBTQ+ characters. It’s not “mature content” to have a gay character in a children’s book. I hold out hope for future books!

Point of View

Written in first person from Neenah’s perspective, which I think was the right choice for this book. I really liked reading her point of view.

Will I Continue Reading?

I’m satisfied by the conclusion to this book, but I could see reading future ones if given the opportunity. It’s not my preferred genre, so that’s the only reason why I wouldn’t continue. I think my younger self would have adored this book. I wish I could send it back in time to young!Claire. Definitely recommend for readers of middle grade fantasy!


4/5 stars = really liked it

Happy Halloween from Lexa

It’s one of my favorite days of the year…the only day it’s socially acceptable to dress up in public, and with free candy to boot!

As you may recall, I’m a huge fan of The 100, so I decided to go as my favorite character, Commander Lexa.


I’m really happy with how it turned out. I used this tutorial as a starting point with a few modifications. It took me about two weeks to make, working on it pretty consistently. I think it only cost about $15 to make, since I used a bunch of stuff I already had.

Also, the red cape is actually a table runner from the dollar store. 🙂


It’s actually pretty comfortable – the corset belt is surprisingly so. Gives some back support. I did make it an inch larger than necessary so I would have room to eat a bunch of candy. 😉


For once my eyes are the right color for the character. Unfortunately I cannot see without my glasses, which definitely is not show-accurate, but what can one do? It takes FOREVER to wash off the makeup, but it’s so worth it, plus it’s really fun to apply!


I went to a Halloween party and, lo and behold, it was held in the Clark Room. For non-100 fans, Clarke is Lexa’s girlfriend. They’re pretty much the cutest thing ever. So I had to take a picture with this sign. ❤

I’m about to go to my Gender & Sexualities class, and my professor encouraged us to dress up, so you better believe I’m going as Lexa. Today I’m actually giving a presentation about The 100 in class, so I’m pretty excited about the timing. I get to talk about how Clarke is a good “possibility model” by being an openly bisexual character on a popular TV show, in addition to just being an all-around awesome character. I don’t like public speaking but I’m excited to fangirl at my class.


Not sure how Maisie feels about this, but I’ve always wanted to see Lexa holding a fluffy puppy.

It’s funny how much more confident I feel when dressed up as a character I love. I noticed I was standing up straighter because, after all, Lexa wouldn’t slouch. Do any of you feel like that? Are you dressing up for Halloween?

Hope y’all have a candy-filled day!

I’m Publishing a Book

If you don’t do things that scare you, you’ll never grow.

Whether it’s something big like skydiving or something small like writing an email, we can’t avoid things we’re scared of. If we do, our world becomes really small.

And sometimes the scary things end up being the most rewarding.

With that said, today I’m doing my “scary thing”…I’m self-publishing a book!

FINAL book cover 2

Of course, this started well before today – it’s been in the works for several months. But today is the scary part because I’m actually telling people about it. 🙂

So…I’m taking the jump into self-publishing and will be releasing my first book next month! I plan to pursue traditional publishing in the future, but I was inspired by the many indie authors I love to give self-publishing a try.

I chose a pen name to keep some distance between my writing and real life. Ruby is the name of my beloved poodle who recently passed away. I wanted to pay homage to her in some small way. ❤

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So let me introduce you to my new child book, Song of the Sea!

It’s the first in a planned trilogy and involves the ocean, music, and romance. Plus there are quite a few sassy characters. (They might also use jokes as a way to avoid reality…but I don’t know anything about that.)

Here’s the cover, which I am so excited about. It was designed by the wonderful germancreative and I’m so happy with it. Below that, you can read the blurb!

FINAL book cover

Song of the Sea

A kingdom at war.

Lyra Moon has three rules: Don’t go in the ocean. Don’t sing in front of anyone. And never, ever fall in love. She’s about to break all of them.

A hidden princess.

When mysterious, blue-haired River arrives in Oceanside, Lyra’s life turns upside-down. He brings news that will change her life forever. Lyra isn’t human – she’s an ocean sprite. And what’s more, she is the heir to the underwater kingdom Moon Cove.

A deadly secret.

Lyra must journey to the depths of the ocean to stop a years-long war between two kingdoms. Despite herself, she begins to fall in love with the world of Undersea…and with River. But when she discovers a long-dormant ability that threatens everything she loves, she must find a way to save both her worlds.


It will hopefully be available October 30, which is right around the corner. 🙂

You can find more details on my author website, My blog will remain separate for the most part, so to hear about future publishing adventures, feel free to follow Ruby Finnegan.

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I’m so excited (and nervous) about this new adventure. I’ve dreamed about being an author for years and it feels so good to be making that into reality. I owe a huge thanks to everyone who read my stories and encouraged me over the past six years of my blog. You guys are the best. Keep an eye out for the acknowledgements page. 🙂

College Crafting

I remember the good ole days when I posted here all the time. Then I started college. Now my hobbies are pretty much watching Netflix and sleeping. I just finished my first week of fall classes and thought I would share a college-related craft project.

I’ve been doing more paper-crafting than crochet lately; my thumb is giving me some problems so I’m resting it for a while, and I’ve been having a sticker obsession these past few months. I got bored having plain dividers in my binder so I dressed it up a bit.


I decorated pieces of scrapbook paper and then stole borrowed my mom’s laminator to laminate it. This one has postcards from Canoe Island French Camp, where I went as a camper and also worked at a few summers ago. The feathers are from Harriet, my chicken, and were collected after she molted them. This one is currently housing my notes for Gender & Sexualities, which is a class I’ve been excited for for months.


This one is for my French class stuff, if you didn’t guess already. I’ve been taking French since sixth grade (about age 11 for my non-American friends), so it’s been a regular part of my life for quite awhile now! I’m taking a French film class this term with my favorite professor ever, so I’m excited about that. Although the French definitely have different standards when it comes to content, haha.


I’m using this one for my writing class. The tarot card is from Collage, a really cool craft store with lots of random things – buttons, cards, charms, stuff like that. Or tchotchke, to pull out my $100 word of the day. I don’t do tarot but I really liked how it looks, plus the message seems to fit for a school binder.


I learned while making this one that if you laminate bus tickets, they turn interesting colors. Thermal paper or something. Although this was a surprise, I still like how it turned out. I take the bus all over the place, so I’ve gotten pretty fond of it. The stickers are also from Collage and they’re my favorite thing ever…it’s Alice in Wonderland!

It makes a nice change having something new to look at. I especially like having Harriet feathers with me. In a future post I can show you my bullet journal/notebook if you’re interested – I use it for taking notes and it has a fair share of doodles and stickers within. I might be a little obsessed with school supplies. 🙂

Thank you for reading! Do you like school supplies? What’s your favorite thing to get for back-to-school shopping?

Peplum Top for 16″ Disney Rapunzel: Free Crochet Pattern

Today I have another pattern for the lovely 16″ Disney Rapunzel. She’s super fun to design for; the larger scale is a nice change from Barbie outfits. This shirt was inspired by some fashions I’ve spotted this year, most notably ruffles, peplum, and yellow. I’ve never been particularly on top of fashion trends for myself, but Rapunzel will be!


  • G hook
  • worsted-weight yarn
  • 2 small snaps


Row 1: Ch 39. Starting in 2nd ch from hk, sc 3. 3sc in next ch, sc 10. 3sc in next ch, sc 7. 3sc in next ch, sc 10. 3sc in next ch, sc 4.

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. Sc 5, 2sc in next st. Ch 4, sk 12, 2sc. Sc 9, 2sc in next st. Skip next 12 sc, 2sc in next st, sc in remaining 4 sts.

Row 3-5: Ch 1, turn, sc across.

Row 6: Ch 1, turn. Sc 4, sc2tog. *Sc 6, sc2tog* 3 times, then sc in last 4 sts.

Row 7-8: Sc

Row 9: Ch 1, turn. *Sc 4, sc2tog* across.

Row 10-11: Ch 1, turn, sc across.

Row 12: Do not turn. Ch 2. Bring your work to form a circle, with the RS of Row 11 facing. Working through the back loops, 3dc in each st around to form a ruffle. Sl st to join.

Single crochet up the side. Fasten off, weave in ends. Sew one snap to the top and one to the bottom, making sure to try it on the doll for placement.

closeup of ruffle and high-waisted shorts

I’ll post a third pattern for Rapunzel next week. But that’s the last one I have made. What should I crochet next for her? Your suggestions are always appreciated! 🙂

The one with the poodle poem

Thank you all so much for your kind comments on my last post. It means a lot. Hugs to all of you who told me about your own beloved pets passing away. I’m glad to have you all as friends!

I wanted to branch out a bit and post a poem here. I took Intro to Poetry Writing this summer at my college, and nobody was more surprised than me when I discovered I like writing poetry. I never was much of a “poetry person,” but turns out I actually quite like reading and writing it. Just goes to show you should always keep an open mind!

Anyway, I wrote a couple dozen poems over the course of the class, and I thought it might be fun to post one here. Either that or this is the day my blog jumps the shark. This poem wasn’t for an assignment, it’s one I wrote about Ruby as a way of dealing with her passing away.

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Here’s the PDF if that doesn’t show up for you. The awesome cursive font is from

Nothing spectacular, but I had fun writing it and wanted to share it with you. I’m actually in the process of compiling all the poems I wrote about Ruby with the goal of self-publishing a poetry collection. What do you think of that idea?

Are you fans of poetry? Or do you prefer normal writing? I’d love to chat about it! (I still prefer traditional books myself.) As always, thank you for reading and for all your support. 🙂



Ruby’s Afghan

This post is not a cheery crochet project, but it’s something I want to share. It’s about my beloved poodle, Ruby, who passed away last week. If this is difficult for you to read about, please don’t feel guilty about skipping this post. 

If you set down a crochet afghan, it’s a scientific fact that a dog will appear there soon after. They flock to them like moths to a light. And once they lay down on the afghan, woe betide anyone who tries to disturb them. Take it from my family’s poodle, Ruby, who loved crochet afghans more than anything.


Case in point

I crocheted my first afghan when I was around 14. It’s made of granny squares from I Love This Yarn (my favorite yarn) in my favorite colors at the time. It’s much smaller than a traditional afghan because I ran out of patience…but that made it the perfect size for Ruby when she swiped it. I’m not sure how she accomplished it. One moment I had a brand-new afghan, the next moment it was Ruby’s afghan. But that was fine with me. She looked so content curled up on it.


Doing homework with me; her special afghan is the pink one

A few years later I made a mandala afghan with the thought that since Ruby had an afghan, this one would be for me. Wrong. The afghan turned out smaller than expected and I presented the poodle with a bright pink mandala blanket. It was added to her pile.


She ran to my side whenever I sat down on the couch with a crochet project. Her breeder was a knitter, so as a puppy she got used to laying next to people while they crafted. She was my crafting companion for many projects and even modeled some for me.


I thought a sweater might help keep her joints warm and less painful. The look on her face says what she thinks of this idea



When our new puppy Maisie came into our lives, I crocheted a new afghan for her. Because the first one was Ruby’s afghan. I couldn’t see her give that up.

Happy Claire surrounded by doggos: Ruby on gray afghan, Maisie on pink one (which is hers)

Pile of dogs and afghans. Ruby’s special one is on the far left.

Ruby suffered from arthritis for pretty much all her life. I think curling up with a warm, soft blanket felt good for her achy limbs. When she started losing mobility, she would spend all day napping on the couch. Sometimes I would snuggle with her. Other times she would curl up on an afghan. Still other times we would snuggle with an afghan, which was the coziest thing imaginable.


The plaid is my elbow. Ruby patiently humored me whenever I needed some cuddle time.

Last Tuesday she lay on her special blanket, in my arms, as she went to sleep forever. The hardest thing I’ve ever done is hug Ruby for the last time. When we laid her down on the blanket, she was relaxed instead of stiff with pain like she was for the last six years. The vet said she was ready to go. I know she was. But I could never be ready to say goodbye. She was the best dog I could ever have the privilege of loving.


She LOVED giving kisses.

I’ve written pages and pages about her. Taken so many pictures. Crafted things inspired by her. Maybe you’ll see some of it here. I want to share the joy she brought into my life. She’s not in pain anymore, and I’m glad, because she deserves to run and play again. I just miss her. But I’ll never forget her.

The blanket has returned to me. I wish it were still hers.

In memory of Ruby
13 years 10 months
October 3, 2004 – August 9, 2018


Ruby’s afghan