Posted in Book Reviews

Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne

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Professor Otto Liedenbrock is an eccentric, and esteemed boffin, (person engaged in scientific research), of Hamburg, Germany. One day, he discovers a slip of paper, fallen from an old manuscript, written in an ancient runic code. Sure, that it will lead to an incredible discovery,  he stops at nothing until he cracks the code. When the message is revealed, Liedenbrock prepares to depart immediately to the destination mentioned.
Together with his unwilling, yet ambitious nephew, Axel, and indomitable guide, they make their way to Iceland, where the true journey will begin. Their travels will result in one of the most remarkable discoveries of the nineteenth century.

5/5 stars

This was the first Jules Verne book that I actually enjoyed AND finished. 
Written from Axel’s point of view, I was pleasantly surprised by his humorous, reluctant, and dramatic personality. The exchanges between uncle and nephew, were very silly and entertaining. There were many times that I found myself laughing out loud, or smiling, while reading.
Their relationship was reminiscent of the one between Sherlock, and Watson, from the BBC show Sherlock.
Professor Liedenbrock, with his strange ways, and wildly excited attention was much like that of Sherlock.
Counterbalanced by Axel, who is quick to point out the dangers, and risks, (though he is unfortunately ignored).  Yet he too, eventually finds himself as interested and invested in their schemes, as his uncle.  The pace did slow a bit in the second half of the book, but being that it was such a short read, it didn’t bother me.

If you haven’t read many classics, or are perhaps intimidated  by them, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, is a fun, and easy read.  A true classic filled with adventure, and discovery; you should definitely give it a try.

 

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 Book Reviews

Into the Fire, by Kim Vandel

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Kate is an ordinary college freshman. The biggest concern in her life is passing her med-school exam…until the day she meets Nathan, who reveals to her the existence of the Guardians.
He tells her she has been chosen by God, and has been given a supernatural ability that she must use for the good of mankind.
Disbelief, and shock race through her. Yet, there is the permanent flame shaped mark etched onto her wrist; proving that she was indeed Chosen.
Kate now struggles with the challenge of living her normal life at home, and embracing the call of the Guardians.

5/5 stars

I first heard about, Into The Fire, after reading a review/interview with the author, Kim Vandel, (shoutout to Kingdom Pen), and I thought it sounded interesting.  I stashed it away mentally in my future “to be read” pile.
When the kindle version went on sale, I snatched it up and started reading right away!

It’s been a long time since a book kept me up late into the night like this one did; it grabbed me right from the start.
The characters were my favorite part of this story. Each one had a distinct, and unique personality, which made them feel real, and relatable; and really set them apart from a lot of other books I’ve read.

I found it refreshing that Kate did not fall into the “typical teenager” category. And while she’s not perfect, she didn’t infuriate me when she made mistakes.
I loved watching her become stronger, both mentally and physically; and how her friendships with everyone (especially Hassan) grew.
When Hassan was first introduced, I wasn’t sure what to make of him. He comes off as sulky, and sometimes rude. But learning about his past explained a lot of that, and developed his character arc.

Another character I enjoyed was Ty.
In many YA books, the main character’s sibling(s) are brushed off to the side, and don’t play much of a role in the story. Often they are cardboard-cutout characters. But Ty wasn’t like that.
I liked that he and Kate would hang out, and enjoy being in each others company, even though they also irritated one another. Which in truth, is how siblings usually feel.
Also speaking of Ty… that ending! Gah!

My only critique was the role God, played…..which was’t a big one.
The Guardians were chosen by God, yet He wasn’t mentioned much.
It seemed like in Kate’s circumstances, she should have been turning to God, for reassurance and strength, especially, when facing tough situations. That didn’t really happen, and I felt it was lacking.
(Perhaps, that’s how it was meant to be, leaving room to grow in the next book(s)?)

It can sometimes be hard to find Christian YA fiction, that’s not boring, has a good story, AND awesome characters. But Into The Fire had it all!
I very thoroughly, enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it.
It was a breath of fresh air in the YA genre, and it’s definitely one of the best books I read in 2016. The series could become one of my favorites once it’s finished.
I can’t wait to read, Among the Flames, next!

 

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 reading

2016 Reading Wrap Up

DSC_01062016 wasn’t the best reading year for me, but it definitely wasn’t the worst either.

For about three years running, I’ve been in a terrible reading slump; unable to read as much as I really hoped to. None-the-less, below is a list of the few books I did manage read!

So tell me…did we read any of the same titles in 2016?

(My ratings are to the right of the titles. 1-5 stars.)

CLASSICS

  1. The Keeper of The Bees, by Gene Stratton-Porter – 5
  2.  At The Foot of The Rainbow, by Gene Stratton-Porter – 4
  3. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly – 4
  4. The Two Towers, by J. R. R. Tolkien – 5
  5. The Princess and The Goblin, by George MacDonald – 4

NON-FICTION

  1. Co. Aytch, by Sam Watkins – 5
  2. Tea By The Nursery Fire, by Noel Streatfeild – 4

FANTASY

  1. Neverseen, by Shannon Messenger – 4
  2. Lodestar, by Shannon Messenger – 4
  3. One Realm Beyond, by Donita K. Paul – 3
  4. Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale – 4
  5. Palace of Stone, by Shannon Hale – 4
  6. The Trials of Apollo, by Rick Riordan – 3
  7. An Ember in The Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir – 4
  8. Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer – 4
  9. The Arctic Incident, by Eoin Colfer – 4
  10. Reckless, by Cornelia Funke – 4
  11. Fearless, by Cornelia Funke – 4
  12. The Golden Yarn, by Cornelia Funke – 4
  13. Shadows, by Robin McKinley – 2
  14. Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull – 3
  15. Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch – 4
  16. The Supernaturalist, by Eoin Colfer – 3
  17. Princess Sonora and The Long Sleep, by Gail Carson Levine – 4
  18. The Princess Test, by Gail Carson Levine – 4
  19. Stars Above, by Marissa Meyer – 4

THRILLER/MYSTERY/SUPERNATURAL

  1. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline – 3
  2. Party Games, by R. L. Stine – 4
  3. Don’t Stay up Late, by R. L. Stine – 4
  4. The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton – 4
  5. A Crabby Killer, by Leighann Dobbs – 3
  6. The House of The Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer – 4
  7. The Murder Complex, by Lindsay Cummings – 4
  8. Curse, by Steven James – 3
  9. Into The Fire, by Kim Vandal – 5
  10. Monster, by Frank Peretti – 4
  11. The Darkest Minds, by Alexandra Bracken – 4

TOTAL: 37
There you have it, my not-so-grand, grand total for 2016.

Wish me luck in 2017!