Posted in Adventure, photography

Spring At Last

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

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Spring has arrived, at long last. It’s become visible in the small green sprouts, poking out through the old leaves, and the small buds forming on the trees. Winter wasn’t much in terms of coldness, and snow, it was very dry and mild. Nonetheless, I’m excited to have leaves on the trees once again, and to see colors breaking up all the dull brown.

With every new season, there comes with it, its own set of tasks and duties.

One of spring’s first tasks is yard work. Lots and lots of yard work. Through the winter, the garden rests, and so do I. There’s very little that needs tending, but in the spring, oh my! The soil needs to be turned, beds need to be cleared, debris needs to be raked up, and plans need to be made. I don’t think I’ve ever really “liked” yard/garden work, but recently, I’ve really come to enjoy it.

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Another of my spring tasks, and one of the biggest undertakings of the season, is brushing out my dog’s fur, which may not sound like a big deal, but let me tell you, he has a lot of fur. Two layers, to be exact. Come spring/summer, he sheds an entire coat, (his winter insulation) and it takes me almost the entire summer to brush it all out before it starts growing back again. In the end I’m left with big bags full of ‘wool’. So much so, that if I knew how to spin, I could make enough yarn to turn it into a sweater. Who needs alpacas, anyway?

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Look at him, not a care in the world!

Spring is also very busy for me, because it means I go back to work, where my job-title is planter-in-chief. I work seasonally in a greenhouse, and in the early part of the year, we work fast, and furiously, to get thousands of flowers, and vegetables planted. All this must be done in time for folks to purchase the plants, and get them in the ground of their own gardens. Fortunately, the “growing season”  in the nursery is only about four months. But let me tell you, it’s a very tough four months! But I love my job, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

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Each one of these has been planted, and placed by hand. (My own, and a couple others.)

Spring also means it’s my birthday, dun, dun dun. Which is both good, and bad, I guess. Good because, I get cake and presents. Bad because, who actually likes getting older every single year, and making the announcement to the entire world? This year is an especially dreaded one, because it happens to be a landmark birthday. I will be exactly two decades old. Perhaps it’s time to start saving for my funeral, and begin thinking about my will? Who will I leave all my books to?
I suppose I’ll get over my melancholia at some point. I mean, next year it’s just going to come round again, and I’ll have to bemoan the fact that I’ll be older still. I’ll never get used to this whole ‘growing up’ thing. Bleh.

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And finally, the next not so pleasant, sign that spring has sprung, is the timely arrival of my allergies. The loathsome side effect of this thing called ‘nature’. I actually begin to feel it in my very cells. Tissue and allergy meds become my constant companions. My face can get itchy, and my eyes can swell shut, but that’s just par for the course, right? Who’s complaining?

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In short, spring is probably my favorite time of year. It’s a nice in-between, where the days are warm, and the nights can be a little chilly. The trees are pink and flowery, and I can make grandiose plans for summer, all before the sweltering heat of summer sets in. For now, its time to enjoy my time time outdoors, and be grateful for my opportunity to see the world wake up.

So, just wanted to take a moment to commemorate the changing of the seasons, and what that entails for me. I hope that this spring will be a good one for you, (or Autumn, for my pals ‘down under’), and that you will take some time to touch, see, smell all the beauty that is, spring.

Thanks for reading, Lady S

 

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews, reading

5 Classics I Did Not Enjoy

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I love classics. Many of my favorite stories were written a hundred, or more years ago. There is something special about the books written long ago, that can never be replicated in modern ones. You might read a dozen books written in modern times, and dislike more than half, whereas, if you read a dozen classic books, chances are, you will love nearly all of them.
That said, just because a book is labelled a ‘classic’ is not a guarantee that it will be as wonderful as you might expect. Below, I’ve made a list of just such books. I’m not going to say that I “disliked” them, but rather, I just “didn’t enjoy”.

1.The Picture of Dorian Grey, by Oscar Wilde
I read The Picture of Dorian Gray, quite a while back, so I’m not sure, if I re-read it today if my opinion would be any different. But, from what I recall, this book was a strange read. The main theme of the story, in a nutshell, portrays the evils of greed, and vanity and how they can ensnare you; and that was definitely achieved. I read this book quickly, and was never bored while reading, but I must say that it was a relief when I finished it. This book really gives off a dark, disturbing, feeling of immorality, and evil; and I suppose, it being a classic, in gothic literature, that was to be expected. Nevertheless, reading through the events that transpired, left me feeling greatly uncomfortable. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading this story, but I might give them fair warning beforehand. The feelings and emotions that it evoked in me, is what keeps me from regarding it as a favorite, though it was well written, and thought provoking.

2. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly
Frankenstein. There have been so many fascinating spinoffs, and legends inspired by this book, so I was very excited to read it. But, my excitement was not met within the story. Mostly, I was “disappointed” while reading this book, rather than “disliking” it. I felt a bit let down, that it wasn’t the scary and mysterious book I thought it would be. I felt bored many times, and the lengthly dialog and endless recounting of events, outweighed the more interesting parts.
Perhaps some of the issue was the frame of mind I was in, at the time I read it, I was traveling, and that may have had much to do with my lack of enjoyment.

3. Emma, by Jane Austen
Now, before the Jane Austen Police Force comes after me, here is your friendly warning: you may prefer to skip this section.
Like all of Austen’s works, it follows the life and adventures of a young woman, trying to figure out her future. I felt that the story was “spoiled” for me, by Emma, herself, who also, happens to be very “spoiled”. In nearly everything she did, she tragically, ruined the situation for someone else. And though her intentions may have been good, it doesn’t change the fact that she left a path of destruction behind her. In the end, she finally, recognizes some of her past mistakes, but that wasn’t quite enough to improve my view of her, or the book.
(I did like Mr. Knightley, though. The only character who had any sense!)

4. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
It saddens me terribly, to add this book to the list. But, I simply, can’t pretend that this was the best book I’ve ever read. Of course, the overarching story was still very enjoyable, but there were a few things that made the reading experience feel very tedious for me.
One of those few things was the very large number of songs in the book.
That may not sound like a big deal, but when there are three to four pages of one song appearing quite frequently…well, it’s just not fun. I suppose, one could simply skip the songs entirely but, to me, that felt like cheating, so I read through them all.  Even though I could barely keep my eyes open a few verses in.

5. Villette, by Charlotte Brontë
Now, for this particular book, I actually really did enjoy it, but I had one major issue with it. That issue was the French dialog. The story takes place in France, so as you might expect, there is quite a lot of French, spoken throughout. But, what you might not expect is the utter lack of translation. This wouldn’t be a problem if I spoke French, but unfortunately I do not, and I’m sure many others don’t either. If this only happened once or twice, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but there were times that I would miss out on entire conversations, and have very little clue as to what was being discussed. Many times I was left feeling confused and annoyed over missing out on some important piece of the story. So if you want to read Villette, it might be handy to have a French-English dictionary nearby. Or like me, you could just try to decipher the meanings of any words that might look slightly similar to something in English.

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There you have it. I’d like to think I’m not alone in my feelings toward [some] of these books.
Tell me what classics you’ve read that you have found to be somewhat, disappointing.
Or share below, how wrong you think I am for thinking such horrid thoughts about such grand works of fiction.

Thank you for reading, Lady S

Posted in Adventure

Calamity In The Kitchen & Other Life Lessons

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My mom’s birthday passed recently, and as usual, I was in charge of making the cake. She’s a big chocolate lover, so I planned on using my favorite chocolate cake recipe. Everything was going according to plan; two cups of flour, one cup of milk, two cups of sugar… and so on. I finished fairly quickly and got it into the oven. I cleaned up the kitchen and put my tools away. And about thirty minutes later, it was time to bring the cake out.

I opened the oven and knew immediately that something wasn’t right. In fact, something was very, very wrong. It didn’t rise at all and it baked hard and solid. The color and texture was off too, not at all how it should have looked. I knew for a fact that I put the correct amount of baking powder, but I thought that maybe somehow, (however unlikely,) I had added too much flour. My mind was racing, trying to figure out what could have happened. I held onto the hope, that with some frosting it would be okay, and disguise my unsightly creation, and maybe even pass as edible.
But before icing, I decided to do a taste test, just to make sure that it was in fact, going to be edible. So with a butter knife, I gingerly cut off an itty bitty, piece.
As soon as it touched my tongue I was horrified! I couldn’t spit it out fast enough! It couldn’t be! Nervously, I looked back to where the ingredients sat, and confirmed my suspicions. To my great dismay, I saw in the usual place of the sugar bin, a big tub of  S. A. L. T. NO! Not two whole cups of salt in my beautiful chocolate cake! How could this happen!?

The cake tasted so incredibly bad, that I instantly felt ill, sick to my stomach. Nothing I tried would get the taste out of my mouth. After I broke the news to my mom, and everyone else in the house, and took a few moments to grieve the cake that would never be, (and also have lunch) I tossed the abomination straight into the trash!
A short while later, I felt more composed (and full) and ready for my second attempt. This time I would do it right. No mistakes allowed. I made sure to read every ingredient before it went into the bowl, twice.
Confident that I had done everything correctly, I once again put the pan in the oven. As before, at the thirty minute mark I pulled the cake out of the oven; and it was perfect!
Beautifully colored and perfectly risen. A success! Hallelujah, praise the LORD! My mom’s birthday wasn’t going to be ruined after all.
Later that night, when we finally cut into it, it turned out to be one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. And, in the process I even managed to invent one of the best, most delicious frostings I’ve ever made!

So what I learned from this mishap, wasn’t only how to make a cake properly, but I was also reminded how important it is to be vigilant about ALL our tasks. I learned that no matter how many times I’ve done something before, I should not allow myself to become lazy or complacent. That I should do all things with intention, dedication and focus and be present in what I am doing.
And when I’m feeling unsure, I shouldn’t ever be afraid to ask someone for help, (especially, when trying to verify whether the sparkly white substance in question is salt or sugar).

Secondly, on a deeper level, to me it was a living example of how God works.
When we think we have it all under control, sometimes we are met with a huge wake-up call, that actually, we don’t. Yet, we are not to lose hope, for our failures are rarely wasted and usually happen for a reason. That reason, may be an opportunity for us to learn something new, and to gain wisdom and understanding. When we DO try again, we will know better and our successes can be even sweeter.
We can see that cycle repeated throughout the Bible. God takes something that was sad, sorry and miserable, and transforms it into something wonderful.
That was quite a revelation, I received from a cake gone wrong, and no matter the situation, we can still find God, speaking to us in ways we might never imagine.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.”
PSALM 37:23-24

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”
PSALM 119:71

If you want to know the recipe I used, you can find it here.

Anyway, I hope my mistake made you chuckle a bit.
I sincerely hope that all of your baking endeavors turn out better than mine, and that you never end up in a situation like this.
(Although, if you’re a baker, and you bake often enough, you’re bound to make a mistake or two at some point!)

Thanks for reading,
Lady S

Posted in reading, WORDS

The Books I Read In 2017

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Here we are at the close of yet another year.
Time literally feels like it’s flying by in a high-speeding rocket, and I can barely hold on to  the days! That may sound a bit dramatic, but I’m sure we all feel the same, don’t we?

Anyway, reading-wise, this (past) year went fairly well. Though I only read four more books than I did in 2016, I’m still pretty happy that I managed to pull that off!
I feel like I branched out a bit, and read genres that were a bit unusual for me, which I’m pretty proud of. I also crossed off six books from the nine I had on my TBR. That too, was an accomplishment. (I may have unconsciously, avoided the more intimidating ones, *wink, wink.)
In addition, I read a lot of really good books that I very much enjoyed. Even a few that I absolutely LOVED! I’ll share those with you at another time, so keep an eye out for a future post about them.
Without further ado…here is my complete list of books read in 2017:

Ratings 1/5 stars

CLASSICS
1. The Inheritance, by Louisa May Alcott – 4
2. The Wind in The Willows, by Kenneth Grahame – 4
3. Villette, by Charlotte Bronte – 4
4. Michale O’Halloran, by Gene Stratton-Porter – 4
5. Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne – 5
6. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury – 5
7. The Shepherd of Bethlehem, by A.L.O.E. – 4
8. Animal Farm, by George Orwell – 5
9. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee – 5

NON-FICTION
1. Food Forensics, by Mike Adams – 5
2. A Buzz in the Meadow, by Dave Goulson – 4
3. Endurance, by Alfred Lansing – 5
4. Ghosts in the Fog, by Samantha Seiple – 3

PARANORMAL/MYSTERY/HORROR/THRILLER
1. House of Furies, by Madeilne Roux – 2
2. The Betrayal, by R.L. Stine – 3
3. The Secret, by R.L. Stine – 3
4. The Burning, by R.L. Stine – 3
5. And Then She was Gone, by Christopher Greyson – 4
6. Thornhill, by Pam Smy – 4
7. Dream House, by Marzia Bisognin – 2

HISTORICAL FICTION
1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith – 4
2. Maud, by Melanie J. Fishbane – 4

FANTASY
1. Heartless, by Marissa Meyer – 4
2. Mortal Song, by Megan Crewe – 3
3. The Mermaid’s Sister, by Carrie Anne Noble – 4
4. The Reader, by Traci Chee – 4
5. Green Ember, by S.D. Smith – 3
6. Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo – 4
7. Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo – 4
8. Seeds of Discovery, by Breeana Puttroff – 3
9. Roots of Insight, by Breeana Puttroff – 3
10. Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes – 2
11. Rose of the Oath, by Hope Ann – 4
12. A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin – 3
13. Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson – 5
14. Among the Flames, by Kim Vandel – 5
15. Seeker, by Arwen Elys Dayton – 3
16. Blood Race, by K.A. Emmons – 5
17. Dark Lord of Derkholm, by Diana Wynne Jones – 5
18. Caraval, by Stephanie Garber – 4
19. Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale – 5

TOTAL: 41

There it is, folks!
Again, wouldn’t call it a “grand” total, but rather a decent one, I suppose.
I usually try not to end on an odd number, (my OCD is showing…) but it couldn’t be helped this time. I’m hoping this year will be better, as I’m aiming for fifty books, but don’t quote me on that. My personal best was seventy books in a year, and maybe some day I’ll be able to top that, but I don’t think that will happen very soon.
As far as goals go, I want to read more non-fiction, you know, educational books. *shudder*
I realized that there are some really great non-fiction books out there, I just have to find the right ones. And along with that, I’m going to continue on as I did last year, and try to read a wider range of genres/styles.

So tell me, did you meet your reading goals last year?
What are your goals for this year?
Did we read any of the same books in 2017?
Please share your comments below.

 

Posted in reading, WORDS

Noteworthy Quotes

I don’t often write down, or make note of quotes from books, but on occasion when I find one that I really love, I underline it (*gasp*). I used to be afraid of marring or damaging my books in any way, and I still try my best not to crack their spines; but then I had an epiphany, and I realized that I would rather leave a permanent mark of an underlined phrase, or sentence, that stood out to me, for my future self, or perhaps another future reader.
If I happen to find such markings in a book purchased from a thrift store, I have come to appreciate it and find it quite interesting. It’s an extra little treasure to see what a previous reader may have found deserving enough to underline.So today I will share a few of those interesting pieces I have found to be worthy of sacrificing a pristine page for.  DSC_0610

“Just what I thought, that did I tell M. Emanuel, and explained to him that my own last appeal, the guide to which I looked, and the teacher which I owned must always be the Bible itself, rather than any sect, or whatever name or nation.”
Charlotte Brontë, Villette

“Puddleglum’s my name. But it doesn’t matter if you forget it. I can always tell you again.”
C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

“‘No living creature has the right to claim wisdom. There is always more to find out. I should know that. I imagine you know it, too, Wizard.’
‘I’ve never ever felt wise,’ Derk said frankly. ‘But I suppose it is a temptation, to stare into distance and make people think you are.’
‘It’s humbug,’ said the dragon. ‘It’s also stupid. It stops you learning more.’”
Diana Wynne Jones, Dark Lord of Derkholm

“Narnia, Narnia, Narnia: Awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.”
C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

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These are a couple quotes that I have collected over time, and I look forward to reading more, and marking down passages, and pages that I like, and perhaps sharing them all with you.

Are there any quotes that you love, or have dared to underline in your books?

Posted in photography

An Ode to Autumn

Oh, Autumn, you are upon us once again.
You’ve moved in so subtly, until your presence was quite unmistakable.
I could sense your arrival on the wind; from the scent of rotting leaves, smoking wood fires, and a cool crispness in the air, so tangible.
I could hear you too, in the chilly winds rustling the papery leaves, brittle, yet still clinging to the creaking trees; in the hoot of owls calling to one another, deep in the night, and in the buzz of busy bees preparing for winter.
But most of all I could see you, in the shortened days, bursting with the brightest shades of purple, red, orange and yellow, transforming every growing thing. And I could see you also, in the inky black crows, lurking amongst the trees.
It is time to bring out our beloved hats, scarves, and sweaters, which I have missed dearly,
and spend our days wandering and exploring in the brisk, exhilarating air.
And though I may be a bit sad to part with our dear old Summer, I am pleased to see you, and I bid you WELCOME!
I look forward to the many nights spent in, curled up with a warm cup of tea, and a good book or two.
And now that I’ve shared my welcome greeting, please make yourself at home; our time together will be short, as Winter is heading this way, so I hear.

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Yours Truly,

Lady S

Posted in photography

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

I find it fascinating, that there are billions and billions of tiny creatures around us that are vital to our very survival, yet largely go unnoticed…(unless of course, their presence has become a nuisance).
What are these creatures, you ask? Bugs, of course!
It is estimated that there are currently, about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 insects around the world. (10 quintillion! I didn’t even know such a number existed.)
I think it’s amazing to learn about their intricacies and how we absolutely, couldn’t live without them. Funny how so many people find bugs terrifying, but most don’t realize, those pesky things are just doing their very own, distinct and special job(s) and those jobs are every bit as important as ours, (if not more so)!
I wanted to write this post to share a little love, and appreciation for possibly, the most under appreciated species on earth…bugs!

If you would like to read a book on the subject, A Buzz in the Meadow, is a good place to start. Know, that it comes from a secular worldview, but still offers valuable information about the intricate details of the lives of these tiny critters. It communicates, just how little we truly, understand about creation and the function of most things on this planet.

I, personally, find it very difficult to believe that the complexities of this world are simply the product of random chance. Rather, I see a world thoughtfully, and artfully designed by an intelligent and divine Maker…and I am grateful.

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Orb-Weavers are my favorite spider, I think.
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Not sure what type of bee this is…but he just had a wonderful pollen bath.
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I love to watch honey bees at work!
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This guy-or-gal just finished a nice breakfast of, “bee”.
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Ever seen a “Cat-faced spider”? Don’t worry, they’re not poisonous.
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Spiders are so talented! And also very symmetrical.

 

Then God said; “Let the earth bring forth the living creatures according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. Genesis 1:24

Posted in Book Reviews

The Mermaid’s Sister, by Carrie Anne Noble

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One, of them was delivered by a stork, another was delivered in a seashell, and a third, was found beneath an apple tree. Such is the story of the three orphans, that Auntie shares with Clara, Maren, and their best friend, O’Neill.
Clara, and her sister Maren, lead quiet lives in their cozy cottage on the secluded Llanfair Mountain. They spend their days frolicking in the woods, gathering herbs for Auntie’s potions, and awaiting the day that O’Neill returns from his travels.
But, when Clara, discovers shimmering scales growing beneath her sister’s skin, she soon realizes the terrible truth: Maren, is becoming a mermaid!
Not only that, if Maren doesn’t get to the ocean soon, she’ll die.

For the first time ever, Clara leaves home, with O’Neill, to take their mermaid girl to the sea.
Their travel is not without it’s struggles; along the way they have an encounter that threatens their very lives, and that of Maren’s, who grows weaker everyday.
Ensnared by nefarious traveling performers, Clara and O’Neill, must plan an escape, before it is too late.

4/5 stars

This was a very different story; simple, yet completely captivating. The first half was on the slower side, but I didn’t mind. I was drawn into the little cottage, in the quiet woods, and became acquainted with Clara, Maren, and Auntie.
But, before long, things took a dark turn, and with each chapter, the stakes began to rise.
I really enjoyed the simplicity of the novel. The author achieved an awesome story; not in a big, flashy, over the top way, but in a subtle, and profound way.
It portrayed the love, and sacrifices one makes for their family, despite the costs, (which is something many of us can relate to.)
If you are in the mood for something truly different or just feel like reading a good story, you might try, The Mermaid’s Sister.

Posted in reading

2017 TBR

DSC_0551Before you ask, yes, I am aware that the year is halfway over, and yes, late is an understatement for the timing of this list; but I made one anyway.
I realized that there was a small, (yet intimidating), list of books that I am determined to read in the near future. Some of them have been sitting on my shelf for ages, and others are a bit newer, but I really want to read them. (Hopefully, in this century!) So I decided to stack them up and call it, my 2017 TBR.
These aren’t the most leisurely books to read, but I’m going to try my hardest to read them by the end of the year. (Realistically, I may not….. but if I do, I’ll probably throw myself a party or something)
Some of you may think, “Meh, I could read those in my sleep!” And some of you may think I’m out of my mind! Especially, considering the amount of books I’ve managed to read thus far… well…this could seem a bit far-fetched. But, we shall have to wait and see!
Now, on to the list:

DSC_05591.Food Forensics, Mike Adams

“What’s really in your food?” Begs the question in this book.
The Health Ranger, Mike Adams, takes us inside his laboratory, to conduct extensive    research on the quality, and contents of the foods, and supplements we consume daily.
Not much is known, and still more is hidden from the publics’ knowledge about the  health benefits, and toxins that may be lurking in our foods.

I can’t wait to delve into the science, and information this book contains.

 2. Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas 

The account of a pastor-turned-spy, and eventually martyr, during one of the darkest         periods of human history. In the face of unspeakable evil, Bonhoeffer was one of the few heroes who sacrificed everything in order to save countless lives, in the midst of the vile reign of The Third Reich.
In this day and age, we can learn much from the faith, of one so committed to following God’s will, and fighting against the evil that thrives in this world.

3. Endurance, Alfred Lansing

In August of 1914, explorer Earnest Shackleton, and his crew board the Endurance, and set off on an impossible mission to travel to Antarctica, and travel across uncharted seas on foot.
This is a true story of survival, in the harrowing events that the crew of the Endurance withstood. Overcoming unspeakable odds, in one of the most hostile environments on the world.

I’d known about this book for a while, and I was lucky enough to find it in my local thrift store; so now that I own it, I’m excited to get into it.

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4. Villette, Charlotte Bronte

Lucy Snowe is a leaf blowing in the wind.
Not a relative to speak of, she struggles to find a place in the world she can call home.
On a whim, she travels to France, and ends up at a girls boarding-school in a town called, Villette.
There, she comes into the presence of old, and new friends, and begins to build a new life.

I only recently heard about this book online, and was surprised to find it sitting on a bookshelf in my house!

5. Journey to The Center of The Earth, Jules Verne

Professor Liedenbrock, along with a small team, leads an expedition through a secret tunnel, on a journey deep into the center of the Earth.
An old classic, filled with adventure, and discovery.

I’ve wanted to read this book for a long while, but only recently, was I able to get my hands on a copy. (Thanks to my grandpa, for giving away a whole bunch of books!)

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6. Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury

A modern classic; this tells of a time when Halloween comes early; blown in by the strange and unsettling, Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show.
Drawn in by the novelty, and excitement, two boys soon realize that there is something sinister going on, and indeed, Something Wicked This Way Comes.

I had forgotten about this book for the longest time. All year it’s been waiting around for me, so I am finally going to take the time to actually read it.

7. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. LeGuin

This is the tale of the greatest Sorcerer in all of Earthsea.
He was once called Sparrowhawk, a young and reckless wizard, who unleashed terrible darkness upon the world. We follow him through the tests, and trials he experiences, to try to restore balance to the world.

(This too, has been collecting dust on my shelf, and it’s high-time I read it!)

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8. The Return of the King, J. R. R. Tolkien

The raging battle against the the dark forces of Mordor, comes to an epic conclusion in this final tale. We will learn the ultimate fates for, Frodo, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and the rest, in their last battle to overcome the Dark Lord, once and for all.

For the past three years, I have been slowly making my way through this series. Starting with, The Hobbit, and now ending with, The Return of the King, I’m going to be happy that I have completed the story, but a little sad too. The good news is that I can always re-read them if I want to!

9. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien

Raise your hand if you have never heard of this book. (*raises hand*)
I’m either, way out of the loop, or this book doesn’t get much attention….but I digress.
Set far in the past, (long before Bilbo, or Gandalf), we get a glimpse of the history of Middle-earth, the creation of the world, the great battle between Light and Darkness, and insight into the likes of Elrond and Galadriel. All, are detailed in this book, setting the stage for the Hobbits, the Orcs, and the Dwarfs, that are yet to come.

So there you have it…my TBR, (To Be Read), for 2017. These nine books are going to be my top priority for the rest of the year…(in addition to whatever else may come across my night-stand).

What are some books that you really want to read this year?

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews

The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold) by Traci Chee

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Synopsis:

Sefia has spent her entire life in secrecy; trusting no one, always moving and watching over her shoulder, (just like her parents taught her).
After her father was brutally murdered, Sefia is orphaned, and left with her one surviving relative, aunt Nin. For a time, they live hidden in the forest; hunting, and stealing what they can, to survive. But when aunt Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is left to fend for herself. She is alone, in a wild and ruthless world.
She has only one possession still valuable and dear to her; a strange square object, which she carries with her everywhere.
Setting off on a solo mission to rescue Nin, Sefia finds an unexpected ally, and together they journey through the vicious world, followed by unseen foes, and encountering a group of rugged, swashbuckling pirates.

In this wild and ruthless world where reading and writing, do not exist, Sefia realizes that there’s more to the object than she first thought. Slowly, she begins to uncover some of the mystery shrouding it, but most importantly, she learns to read.

[*Spoiler alert*, the ‘object’ is a book. (Don’t worry, it’s not really a spoiler)]

Thoughts:

I rate this 4/5 stars

The unique-ness of this story was something I had never really experienced before. It had so many different aspects, and twists throughout.  Not to mention, that the actual pages themselves were my favorite part. Ink splotches, and markings really brought the book to life, and made the reading experience fun.                                                                                           I find it a bit hard to describe; as my initial idea about the setting, ended up being quite different from what it was at the end.
It’s an adventure, pirate novel, with some fantasy thrown into the mix.

The way the book was written, was somewhat confusing at first. Every now and then the perspective would switch between characters, to an alternate story, or time period, leaving me unsure of who, or when the chapter was written.
But, by keeping mental notes, the pieces eventually began to fit together.

I had only a couple of issues with the book; one of them being how easily Sefia learned to read.  She’d never really seen words, or actual books, yet by looking at it long enough it all just came to her… and then she could read and write!  (Just like ‘that’ *snaps fingers*.) I found that unrealistic, and hard to believe, but I played along to keep the story moving; trying hard not to dwell on those “minor” details.
The other thing isn’t so much a problem, as it is a critique. Sefia is a great character, yet we didn’t get to see enough of her. I’m sure that was in part, due to the fact that this is the first book in a series. Therefore, a lot of world building, and setting up of events went into this book and there wasn’t a lot of room for character development.
In all, this was a solid starter, and I’m optimistic about the next book, The Speaker.

P.S. As a tip, I would suggest keeping paper and pencil nearby while reading, for any notes or messages that you may find along the way.

And remember, look closer, and then closer. Continue reading “The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold) by Traci Chee”