THE SILMARIL AWARDS BEGIN! — Most Nefarious Villain Nomination

NOMINATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED! Thank you to everyone who nominated and seconded(edededed)! Stay tuned to vote for the finalists! <3

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happy monday, cyberspace!

Today is a very important day in the history of days, my friends. Not only is this the last day of August (which obviously means that Autumn is just around the corner, because September is the start of fall [this is what my heart believes, so don’t go crushing me with facts, peasants]), but it is also the very first day of the 2020 Silmaril Awards!!!

The Office Party Hard GIF

Oh my goodness, I am so beyond excited for this, you guys. I’ve seen the Silmaril Awards floating past my blog feed every year, but I never really knew what it was until Jenelle (one of the creators and the actual SWEETEST bean in the whole entire planet) contacted me to ask if I’d help host it this year. So for anyone–like me–who might be a wee bit confuzzled by this whole Silmaril Awards fandangle, allow me to take a moment to explain it all!

The Silmaril Awards

WHAT IS IT?

In the smallest of nutshells, the Silmaril Awards is like the Oscars–but for literary fantasy characters! It’s a yearly event where you are able to nominate and vote for your favorite characters in fantasy fiction in the hopes that they go home with the famed Silmaril Award!

Nominations open TODAY and run through September 4th, so make sure to get your nominations in for each character category before it’s too late! (the other presenters and categories are all linked at the very end of this post, so keep your eyeballs peeled for that)

“But Kenzie,” I hear you saying to your screen, “how does this all work?!”

Well, my dear bean, there are few ways to explain that. First and foremost, I would recommend checking out the official Silmaril Awards site for all the “officially official” rules. But if clicky buttons scare you, I’ve also tried my best to replicate the general gist for you down below. Please continue at your own discretion.

The Ruleses and Whatsits Galore

RULE #1no characters from Tolkien can be nominated for the silm award

Tolkien’s characters are actually the ones presenting the Silmaril Awards to the winners, so unfortunately we are unable to have any of them be the recipients of such awards. (otherwise we would have a time-space paradox on our hands, and that would make this a science-fiction award. of which it is most decidedly not.)

RULE #2 … only fantastical literary characters allowed!

As someone who greatly enjoys reading and writing science-fiction/fantasy, I am very aware of how heartbreaking this is to all my fellow sci-fi lovers. But remember that this is a fantasy literary award, and every character nominated/voted for MUST be from a fantasy book! There are, of course, some stories that have both fantasy AND science-fiction elements to them, so if you believe that the character’s story is fantastical enough, drop their name anyway! It can never hurt to ask, right? (or maybe it can? I’ve never done this before, don’t look at me for information. XD)

RULE #3 … tell us which book the character you’re nominating is from!

My brain is an actual marshmallow, so if you don’t tell me which book your character is from, I’m probably just going to melt into a puddle of confusion and Google searches.

RULE #4 … you can nominate/second however many characters you want! the sky is the limit!

The top five characters with the most amount of “seconds” (we’ll get there in a moment) are going to move on to the VOTING round, so be sure to nominate and second all of the characters you want to see move forward! (but also please remember that you cannot “second” a character you nominated. so. keep that in mind.)

RULE #5 … authors cannot nominate their own characters!

It’s a bummer, I know, but you can definitely give your readers a gentle nudge in the right direction! I’ve found that threatening to chop their legs off with my trusty pitchfork has worked wonders in the past…

RULE #6 … previous winners cannot win twice!

The Silmaril Awards are actually considered “lifetime” awards, so make sure you’re not re-nominating someone who’s already won! (for a full list of characters who’ve won each of the categories, check out this page right here)

RULE #7 … HAVE FUN!

Apparently this is an actual rule. So DO IT OR ELSE, PEASANT!!! *waves pitchfork at you menacingly*

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All right! Now that you hopefully know how the nominating works, let’s talk about how to actually … you know. Nominate. Aheh.

So! Firstly first, you’re going to pop down into that delightful little comment section down below and drop off the name(s) and book(s) of the character(s) you want to nominate! Then, as time progresses and more names appear, you can go through and “second” any of the characters you think deserve to win this most illustrious award! The 5 characters with the most amount of “seconds” are going to move on to the voting round, where I believe the process begins all over again and we narrow it all down to a single winner!

Sound like fun? TRICK QUESTION. Of course it sounds like fun! And now that all the rules are behind us, we can finally get to the thing that I’ve been dying to talk about…

MY CATEGORY!

MEEP! I think the fairy godmothers over at Silmaril Awards HQ know me just a leeeeeeetle too well, because for my first ever hosting of this most prestigious award, they were kind enough to grant me with the category for … (drumroll please)

MOST NEFARIOUS VILLAIN!

EEP! Oh my goodness, guys!!! I am so impossibly blessed to be able to be the host for this category this year! My September month has been made. And also this ties in perfectly with the fact that I wanted the two months leading up to Halloween to be filled with epic-villainy and nefarious schemes, but I digress. Let’s talk about the actual award, shall we?

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Nefarious Villains. Everyone here knows that I’m a sucker for a good villain. They are the broken, evil brains behind the most vile of plots. The darkness to the hero’s light. my smol children who deserve nothing but the best out of life and who I shall avenge to the death. There are many facets to a good evil villain, from the polished, wise, and terrifying (*cough*moriarty*cough*) to the madman with a bloody knife (*cough*stillmoriarty*cough*). But every villain has exactly one thing in common–the unrelenting desire to stop their hero, no matter the cost.

They also have a lot of emotional baggage and more than a few inner scars but SHHH. We don’t talk about those ’round here, okay. That’s for our midnight therapy sessions.

The previous winners for Most Nefarious Villain include:

  • 2016 … The White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia
  • 2017 … Shift from The Chronicles of Narnia
  • 2018 … Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles
  • 2019 … Death In Life from Tales of the Goldstone Wood

–so make sure that any nominations this year do NOT include these most nefarious of villains!

Personally, I see a gaping hole where a very specific villain should be listed, but…you know. There’s still hope for this year, amiright? (unfortunately I don’t believe that series is actually considered fantasy, but it’s fine. we can change that.)

sherlock moriarty GIF

AHEM. Anyway. Moving on.

Unfortunately there are just a few more things that I need to throw at your face before we can officially wrap this post up and get to the nominating, but don’t worry. You’re gonna love them!

First and foremost, this year we’re having a Silmaril Award GIVEAWAY, in which you can enter to win some fun prizes! I’m kinda jealous that I won’t be able to participate in this one, actually. But the fact that I get to house all the lovely villains this year makes up for it. XD

And secondly, we have a #silmarilawards2020 bookstagram challenge going on during the course of the Silmaril Awards! I’ve been a little behind with the daily challenges recently (hello, Life), but I’m definitely hoping to get caught up with that today! So if you haven’t already, hop on over to Instagram and share some of YOUR favorite literary characters with us!

And finally, here are the other hosting blogs and the schedule overview for the 2020 Silmaril Awards (a few of the names may not be available at the moment. I’m doing my best to track them down, however!)! I am so impossibly excited to be a part of this amazing team this year, and I cannot wait to see all the lovely villains you guys nominate! (just be sure to remind them to bring their sleeping bags, toothbrushes, and pitchforks when they come over. I heard we’re crashing the most epic heroine party, so maybe we should bring some s’mores, as well…)

SCHEDULE OVERVIEW

NOMINATIONS WEEK – August 31st – September 4th

VOTING WEEK – September 7th – 11th

AWARDS CEREMONIES – September 14th – 25th

THE PRESENTERS

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talk to me, peasants!

OH MY GOODNESS. I honestly cannot believe that this is actually happening… I’M HELPING HOST THE SILMARIL AWARDS, PEASANTS!!! *flails for five-thousand days* And not only that, but I get to play with all the VILLAINS!!!! My heart. I don’t think it could get any fuller than it is in this moment, guys…

BUT! Enough about me! Let’s get to the nominating…! Go ahead and drop your nominations and seconds down in the comments below, my friends! I cannot WAIT to see what lovely villains I get to house this year… (I’m thinking I should have stocked up on more candy, though. if anyone has some to spare, I’d be eternally grateful.)

And as always, until next time…!

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

A BOOKISH BEANS REVIEW: The Girl and the Witch’s Garden by Erin Bowman

good morning, cyberspace!

Today I’m coming at you all with a book review, which–in case you’re kinda confused with all the general bookishness that I’m flinging at you this month–has absolutely nothing to do with the book cover that I helped reveal last week. (however, if you’re interested in beautiful covers and want to join me in my mass excitement for Jenelle Schmidt’s new release coming out later this month, GO CHECK THAT SMUDGE OUT, PEASANTS!)

However, sallying forth, let’s talk about The Girl And The Witch’s Garden! (a.k.a. the novel I shall be providing a non-spoilery review for today!)

(special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher–Simon and Schuster–for sending me a free e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review!!)

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THE GIRL AND THE WITCH’S GARDEN – A BOOKISH BEANS REVIEW

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THE BLURB

taken from goodreads

Mallory Estate is the last place twelve-year-old Piper Peavey wants to spend her summer vacation. The grounds are always cold, the garden out back is dead, a mysterious group of children call the property home, and there’s a rumor that Melena M. Mallory—the owner of the estate and Piper’s wealthy grandmother—is a witch.

But when Piper’s father falls ill, Mallory Estate is exactly where she finds herself.

The grand house and its garden hold many secrets—some of which may even save her father—and Piper will need to believe in herself, her new friends, and magic if she wants to unlock them before it’s too late.

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THE REVIEW

Rating: 3 out of 5.

SO. I’m going to be perfectly blunt here and say that this particular novel was . . . not exactly what I expected when I requested the arc for it. I’m sure this is yet another prime example of judging a book by its cover, but looking at the adorable illustration pictured above, I was expecting something soft and whimsical and–dare I say it–childish between the pages. That’s what I love most about Middle Grade, after all. Of course it has deep themes and hard truths of life and all that “fun stuff” about what it’s like living through your Youngin’ Years, but there’s also a simplicity and innocence lurking there, as well–something that Young Adult novels are strikingly without.

However, this book in particular felt more like a read for fans of the Percy Jackson series than fans of The Girl Who Drank The Moon, if that makes any sense. Whereas they’re both Middle Grades with an emphasis on magic and the fantastical, they both have drastically different tones to them.

HOWEVER! That being said, this is definitely not a bad thing and should not be taken as a knock against this book! Despite the fact that it wasn’t the tone I was initially anticipating (something that is entirely my fault), I still thought this book was very well done.

The theme, in particular, stands out as one of this book’s shining qualities. For one thing, it is deep for a children’s book. Not in a “this is gonna fly right over this kid’s head” kind of way, but in a “this is something that kids should really have more access to/conversation about” kind of way. It was nice to see a topic of such importance handled with such grace and tact, and I truly believe that somewhere out there, there’s a child who will benefit greatly from having a book with this particular message in their life. (not to mention that it IS filled with magic and wonder and enchantments, which is clearly what all of us readers are here for anyways, amiright? XD)

While the theme may have been my favorite aspect of this book, the characters were probably my least favorite. (which sounds harsh, but I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds.) Actually, the more I think about it, I’m not entirely sure whether it was the characters or the plot which fell a little flat for me–in some ways I think it might have been a mixture of the two working together–but there was definitely something about this novel that felt . . . “off”.

Our main protagonist, Piper Peavey, started off with quite a bit of promise. And for the most part, she was a likable protagonist. She was smol and young and sassy–a beautiful combination, truly–but as the story progressed, she began to develop a trait which I’m seeing more and more in the fiction world, and one that I just canNOT get behind, no matter how many times it crops up: lying.

My goodness, if there is one thing we can change in the future years of the publishing industry, can it PLEASE be the storylines that revolve around lies? Like??? Please??? I can’t even tell you how many books I have read that have “conflicts” which could easily be resolved in three minutes flat if the characters would just TALK to one another openly and honestly. I’ve actually considered flinging books at the wall because the characters are acting like utter imbeciles.

But I digress. These characters were not quite as bad as that, and the adorable motley crew of children living at Mallory Estate were, as a matter of fact, my favorite characters of the bunch. Especially Teddy and Kenji. (which is probably why it bothered me so much that Piper, who had JUST MET THESE SMOL PRECIOUS BEANS, started lying to them, even if I can understand the reasoning behind her secrecy.)

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for any length of time, you’ll already know that characters MAKE a story for me. Plot is important, of course, but if your characters are flat, chances are I won’t enjoy your story, even if it IS the coolest concept I’ve ever seen. So, with that being said, I truly believe that the smol beans of Mallory Estate brought the story together in a way that wouldn’t have otherwise happened had they not been included in the cast.

Piper’s grandmother, on the other hand . . . well, she’s part of the reason the story felt a bit off, simply because her and her daughter’s character arcs felt slightly unnatural and forced. (Sophia Peavey, especially, was a bit of a disappointment as far as character development goes. I didn’t really understand the reasoning behind her choices, even at the resolution of the story. it felt inorganic, in a way. definitely unnatural for the woman I had initially believed her to be, but maybe that was the point. . .?)

Overall, if I can stop thinking about the plot and characterization from a writer’s perspective and view it as a reader simply looking for a good dose of the fantastical, I can honestly say I found this book to be a rather pleasant read. I wouldn’t say it’s an absolute favorite, but for readers looking for a sweet, enchanting Middle Grade novel with deep themes of love, loyalty, and family, I’d definitely recommend giving The Girl and the Witch’s Garden a try!

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talk to me, peasants!

Have you read any particularly good middle grade novels recently? (I’m currently trying to devour as many of these as I possibly can for some reason?? Middle grade is SPEAKING to me right now, and I think I’d like to try my hand at writing one someday…? *hint hint*) What kinds of themes do you like to see in books? Soft themes? Deep ones? And do you prefer softer, more whimsical MG novels (like The Girl Who Drank The Moon), or more hardcore fantastical ones (like Percy Jackson)?

And most importantly of all. . .

IS IT BAD THAT I’VE NEVER READ PERCY JACKSON?

I feel like not reading this book is semi-akin to the sin which is never-having-read Harry Potter. So. Tell me if this is something that needs to change immediately. XD

As usual, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS! down in the comments below, and until next time. . .