Tag Archives: Brandon Sanderson

April/May 2021 Book Reviews

30 May

Hello all! I’ve been putting this together for at least a week. Where does the time go, honestly?

There is quite the variety from the past two months, I’d love to know if something catches your interest!

Legacy by Cayla Kluver – Princess Alera of Hytanica is expected to marry now that she’s reached her seventeenth year – and that man will be king. In her country, it’s not her that will inherit the throne but her husband. Her father’s choice of suitor, however, leaves her distressed. Uncertain how to get out of the expectations building up around her, she turns her attention to finding out just who the castle guard captured recently. A boy about her own age that comes from her country’s sworn enemy, and full of secrets and appeal that she can’t understand. But their clandestine meetings will open up intrigue and danger that she never could have guessed.

~This was given to me by a friend and I knew nothing about it, other than it was the author’s very first book and the cover was gorgeous. (Seriously, look at that cover). London (her bodyguard) quickly became a favorite character for me – and I enjoyed the unfolding of who the boy (Narian) was. I found the story with the chosen suitor to be a good backdrop, and with some twists that were surprising. I liked Alera but found her to be a bit too childish at times- however she is only seventeen, so there’s some excuse for her behavior! But, there was far too much descriptions of the palace and other things. I would skip ahead just to get to the story…The other thing that made this not as enjoyable for me was that it could have been edited better. Now, I say that hesitantly and with the most love that I can. I understand just how much work it is to write and edit a book. But it’s got a definite first-book feel to it and it could have really surpassed that. I’m curious to read the sequel just to know what happens with London, Narian and if the writing improves… I recommend this with the proviso that you either prepare to skip lots of descriptions or maybe that sort of thing doesn’t bother you like it does me.

Passionate Pilgrim: The Life of Vincent Van Gogh by Lawrence and Elisabeth Hanson – This biography follows the story of Van Gogh from his birth in 1853 in a small Dutch village through his struggling teen years and onto the years of being supported by his brother Theo while he tried one vocation after another. Finally, he settled on painting. Finding his true calling didn’t exempt him from trials however. He moved from London to Brussels where he fell in love; to Paris and living with Theo and meeting Gaugin; to the south of France in 1888 where he struggled to put all that he wanted on canvas. Ending up alone and struggling for sanity, he said “Oh! If I could have worked without this accursed malady, what things I could have done!” When he died of suicide, his brother soon followed. Theo’s wife alone lived to see the recognition of Vincent’s genius.

~I’d previously read Dear Theo, so had a good idea of how his life went. And the heartache and struggles that went with it. BUT- I’m so glad to have read this as well. It gives a clearer picture on how things really were- from how his parents treated him to many other people and situations. We all see things through our own prejudices and feelings, and even more so for Vincent who struggled with sanity as he got older. He desperately wanted love – but the world could not give it to one who was so rough and abusive and clearly didn’t fit in. He knew that he presented a rough exterior of one who couldn’t be trusted, he admitted it. And yet, his longing was to have a home and a family. Anyway, the Hansons wrote a biography that was engaging all the way through. I did have to read it in small doses simply because the story itself is so overwhelmingly sad. If you are interested in Van Gogh at all, I recommend this biography for sure.

Nicholas St. North and the Nightmare King (Guardians #1) by William Joyce- Nicholas St. North was a swashbuckling warrior- his abilities with his double scimitars had garnered him quite the reputation. He is called to aid a small village called Santoff Claussen and the greatest wizard, Ombric Shalazar. The village is said to hold the greatest treasure in the East but when he arrives, there’s a greater threat that he could have imagined. He has to decide whether he’ll get the treasure or help fight the Nightmare King and his fearlings.

~Okay you guys. Rise of the Guardians is my favorite animated movie, and it’s based, with William Joyce’s help, on this series of his. I’d been wanting to read this series for years but never got around to it. So when this was gifted to me, I was so excited! It was just as good as I was hoping it would be. The writing style! The story itself! I clearly can’t say anything any more coherent than, just read it.

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris- Set in 1931.When struggling artist Ellis Reed sees the sign on a farmhouse porch, he’s stricken with memories of his own family’s dark past. He snaps a picture of the sign and children near it – ‘2 children for sale’ and leaves. He had no intention of it getting published, but when it does and turns into his big break, causing his career to finally get moving, he can’t believe it. He also has no idea that the consequences of that photo will be so devastating. But it’s not just Ellis who feels the guilt of what happened. Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in it, she’s far too aware of the heartbreak of unwanted children. She and Ellis have to decide how much they are willing to risk in order to mend the fractured family.

~This story was inspired by an actual photograph that was published in a newspaper, and man, does it just pull at your heartstrings. I had seen this one flood social media a few years ago when it came out. I’d been marginally interested but no further. Finding it at a thrift store a few months ago, then, I decided it would be worth trying out. And, it was. McMorris wove a story of redemption, suspense and love that I found hard to put down. I got halfway through and realized that I HAD to know what happened. And spent the rest of that saturday afternoon/evening reading. If you’re wanting a book to just captivate you with well-rounded characters, suspense that keeps you turning the pages, and a satisfying ending, go pick this one up. SO GOOD. (I held back on the all-caps for as long as I could, you guys.)

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson-As a Forger, Shai can copy and recreate any item by using its history with magic. Her skill is considered an abomination by many. So when she gets captured when trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she’s certain an execution awaits her. But instead they offer her the chance of freedom if she creates a new soul for the emperor. As she delves into who Emperor Ashravan is, she finds a way to exploit it. But her only possible ally is an old man who is fiercely loyal to the emperor. Gaotana must look past his prejudices and see Shai as a skilled, intelligent young woman who creates art- as well as deception.

~I decided that I needed to read more of Sanderson’s books instead of just rereading the ones I love, and this short story was a good introduction to doing that. I could have enjoyed it as a full book, but that’s how I normally am with short stories. I really enjoyed the idea of Forging- and how it was explained was quite interesting. Shai was unique and fun to read. The twists and turns were So good. Highly recommend if you like a bit of fantasy.

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds by Brandon Sanderson – I’m pulling the synopsis from Goodreads for this one – Stephen Leeds is perfectly sane. It’s his hallucinations who are mad. A genius of unrivaled aptitude, Stephen can learn any new skill, vocation, or art in a matter of hours. However, to contain all of this, his mind creates hallucinatory people—Stephen calls them aspects—to hold and manifest the information. Wherever he goes, he is joined by a team of imaginary experts to give advice, interpretation, and explanation. He uses them to solve problems. . .for a price. His brain is getting a little crowded and the aspects have a tendency of taking on lives of their own. When a company hires him to recover stolen property—a camera that can allegedly take pictures of the past—Stephen finds himself in an adventure crossing oceans and fighting terrorists. What he discovers may upend the foundation of three major world religions—and, perhaps, give him a vital clue into the true nature of his aspects

~ I felt like this one was quite different from the other Sanderson’s that I’ve read, as well as being out of the norm for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. How Stephen dealt with his different aspects was interesting, as well as how they interacted with him and the world around them. A bit psychological thriller, this was a quick read for me because I simply couldn’t put it down. I’m not sure really what else to say about it. Give it a try, I’m guessing you’ll like it!

Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help you Grasp God’s Purpose in your Suffering by Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton – Both Kristen and Sarah know that suffering is real. But they want you to know that so is hope. They have walked -and are walking – in difficult times. They’ve shared thirty truths from the Bible – reflections on how to live through hard times with our faith intact- because hope is here for us.

~I read this with my sister-in-law and we both got so much out of this study. Each chapter has verses, prayers and questions at the end of them. There was something about knowing that the authors truly understand what it is to go through long-term suffering – they truly know what they are talking about in that area. But that they’ve also been able to keep their faith and hope strong was an extra encouragement. That doesn’t mean that one could only benefit from this book if you’re going through long-term suffering. Heaven knows, life in general tosses enough struggles our way. I think anyone could learn from this book. Plus, its cover is pretty.

Twice Shy by Dick Francis – When Jonathan Derry, a physicist, is handed a set of computer tapes by a friend, he’s surprised but accepts them. He doesn’t know what he’s getting into though. The tapes hold a computerized horse-racing betting system. One that actually works. But having them, puts him in a dangerous position. There are those that will stop at nothing to obtain them. Jonathan must think outside the box to stay alive, and keep the computer tapes out of the bad guys’ hands.

~This book was given to me with a decent recommendation. It’s another of those that sat on my shelf for at least a year. Oof. Anyway, I’d never read anything by Francis, so I had no idea what to expect. I was quickly engrossed in the story- it helped that it was about horses and horse racing (something that has always been of interest to me). But the way that Francis wrote was engaging and the twists! Ahhh, I heartily enjoyed this story. However, there were a few swear words sprinkled here and there… which was a shame because they could have easily been left out/replaced with another word. There was also a bit of suggestive material about halfway through that I didn’t appreciate but it never crossed the line so far that I put the book down. Again, something that easily could have been toned down and wouldn’t have damaged the story at all.

The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill – When Piper Sail’s best friend, Lydia, goes missing, the only thing she knows is that she can’t just sit around waiting for the police to find her. Especially when it seems that they are looking in all the wrong places. She sets out on her own investigation, with the aid of a young detective, into the underbelly of Chicago in 1924. She’s determined to find Lydia, no matter what. But she soon has to decide exactly what that means as the truth just might upset her privileged life.

~I first read this the beginning of last year. My full review is here. My feelings are the same about it, in case you’re curious how I felt after reading it a second time. Also, I decided to just buy it, so now I have a lovely copy of my own.

Currently Reading:

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne (It’s taking me entirely too long to finish this)

In My Father’s House by Ann Rinaldi

The Patriot Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #4) by Kimberely Woodhouse

Up Next to Read:

book 5 of the Daughters of the Mayflower series

Watership Down by Richard Adams

OR Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

I mean, really, it’s always a mystery what I’ll end up reading next. I’m very much a mood reader.

~Laura

What are you reading?

Series Review- Skyward

29 Nov

I’ve been meaning to get this review up for quite some time now and lo and behold – I’ve finally done it! Are you surprised that it’s another Brandon Sanderson review, I mean, really?

Skyward – The human race has been chased to one lonely planet -one that is constantly attacked by alien spaceships. Spensa’s dad was a pilot- one of the best. She dreams of being just like him, but as a teenage girl with the label of ‘coward’ attached to her, she is going to have to fight like crazy to fulfill her dream. When she finds a wrecked spaceship, she realizes that this might be the chance she’s been waiting for. All she has to do is get through flight school, fix the ship and convince it to help her. This ship not only talks, but it appears to have a soul.

Starsight – Spensa has made it to the sky, but the journey to her dream was filled with truths about her father and herself that are hard to live with. She’s not only sure that there’s more to the story about what happened to her father, she’s pretty certain that the same thing could happen to her, too. When she broke through the protective shell around her planet, she could hear the stars. And it terrified her. Because everything that Spensa has been told about her world is a lie.. She will go to the other side of the galaxy to save humankind if she has to.

Close up of the amazing cover

A friend loaned me these, knowing how big of a fan I am of Sanderson’s. They had a different feel than the others that I’ve read of his, but I imagine that to be because they are young adult genre. I highly enjoyed this series though – even if some of Spensa’s choices made me wonder WHY she would do that; and made me incredibly sad when I finished it and realized that I’m going to have to wait until sometime 2021 at the earliest for book 3.

To be honest, it’s actually been a few months since I read them, but I still think about them. Something will remind me of a scene in them – or the plot line that completely surprised me (shhh, no spoilers here!!) And that is how I judge how good a book was – still thinking about it months later? Worth reading again.

If you’re interested in seeing the other reviews I’ve written for Sanderson novels, here you go:

Series Review: Mistborn Trilogy

Series Review – Mistborn Era

Elantris: Book Reviews – August 2020

Warbreaker: Aug/Sept 2018 Book Reviews

*finding that I’ve apparently not reviewed The Reckoner’s series! That will have to be remedied!

~Laura

Book Reviews – August 2020

26 Aug

First off, since I haven’t done a book review since May, I am going to add a few more books that I really have been wanting to share with you on SGL. Because of that, this will be quite the mix of classics and modern books, so get out your TBR list because I’m sure you’ll find a couple at least, to add to it!

A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich – A story about a young girl that dreamed of doing something big with her life. When she became a young bride, she followed her husband West and became one of the pioneers that helped build a nation- in so doing, becoming part of something great! ~This story was heart-touching and with little life lessons all throughout. I can’t believe I’ve owned this book for years and haven’t read it before this! Following Abbie from childhood to the end of her days, you meet all the people she comes in contact with and see all the joys and trials she goes through. Living with her through the difficult pioneer years and raising children and watching them grow makes you appreciate all that our ancestors did.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo – When the poor hunchback, Quasimodo, is tortured during the Feast of Fools, the only one who steps forward and helps him is a young gypsy named Esmerelda. That one act of kindness fills Quasimodo with love. But his caretaker, a cold, stern priest – Dom Claude Frollo, has plans of his own for Esmerelda, and Quasimodo. What will happen to each of these people under the shadow of Notre Dame?

~Now, I’d tried reading this back about 12 years ago and didn’t get too far. I’d been wanting to give it another shot (as I’d been carting the same copy around all this time for just that reason), when I spotted a read-along on Instagram for it! The group helped me in finishing it as I likely would have given up again. Don’t get me wrong, the story is quite good and heartbreaking and the twists of the plot keep you turning the pages. It was just all the other aspects of the whole unabridged version that I tended to struggle through. In the future, I plan on reading the abridged version. But, I do recommend you read the full book for yourself, at least once. The end was GOOD and I can’t give spoilers away here but I didn’t see all of how Hugo was going to tie it all off. True, some of it was a little dissatisfying to me but, shrug. It didn’t end up ruining it for me. The other characters that Hugo weaves into the story were very interesting – the crazed woman, the beggars, the gypsys, etc. One last thing, this is quite different from the Disney version! Much darker and if you think Frollo is bad in that movie… Just give it a read yourself before giving it to a young teen to read, is my suggestion. (book pictured is my abridged version, 1956)

A Table By The Window by Lawana Blackwell – Carley has finally created a calm, orderly life for herself in San Fransisco. Her childhood was neither of those things, leaving her scarred. But, then she receives word that a grandmother that she barely remembers, left her an inheritance in Talullah, Mississippi. She travels to the small town and is instantly charmed by it as well as the friendliness of its residents. She decides to move there and open up a bistro. She loves her new life, and getting to know her family there. But she gets more than she expected when suddenly, she’s involved in a murder mystery.

~I’m not sure how I’ve never reviewed this book! I read it at least once a year, and that’s saying something since my favorites tend not to be set in modern times (unless of course, we are talking about Dee Henderson books…) I really enjoy how Carley learns and grows through the story. How she learns what it means to be part of a family and to let go of the past. The romance is good and sweet and unexpected. Plus, she opens a Bistro and there’s a murder mystery – as well as she gets migraines occasionally. Need I say more? Give this one a try!

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C.S. Lewis – This is a partial biography by Lewis – his main goal of this book wasn’t to give a full description of his life. Rather, it was to share what he viewed as the main points in his life that drew him ever closer to what he’d been searching for all his life, that which he called – Joy. The longing for something so good and intense that it couldn’t be explained with words. However, he does cover quite a bit of his life, sharing stories with a mix of humor and sadness.

~My brother and I had been talking about Lewis and when he heard that I hadn’t read this- he loaned it to me! I’m glad he did as it was an interesting read. His younger years were entertaining to read about and yet sad. If you’re a fan of C.S. Lewis, I recommend reading this as well.

She: A History of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard – When Cambridge professor, Horace Holly, and his ward, Leo Vincey, open the package left by Leo’s late father. It contains artifacts suggesting an ancient mystery about the Vincey family. They quickly set off on an adventure to the interior of Africa, but they’ve no idea what is in store. Eventually they meet Ayesha and a primitive race of natives. Ayesha reigns as ‘She’ or ‘She-who-must-be-obeyed’ – and who does have an inexplicable connection to Leo.

~Now this is an interesting story – and quite different from probably any that I’ve read before.I first read this well over 10 years ago, but my copy from at the latest 1905 (thanks to the inscription), didn’t have the last of the story printed in it… And i never found another copy (or didn’t really look) until last year when I did find one! It was much more satisfying, with the ending, even though it is still a fantastical story. It can be pretty open/violent/descriptive in places, I found, so I wouldn’t recommend it for a younger reader. I’m really not sure that I’ll read it again anytime soon, but there’s something special about it to me, plus, just look at the book itself!

The Pillar of Fire by J.H. Ingraham – The Prince of Tyre, Sesostris, goes to Egypt as a state guest of Pharoah. His letters to his beloved mother describe Egypt and the plight of the Hebrews that are enslaved there; all the way to their subsequent release from their labors and set free.

~This was a book that I found at Powell’s – and then it sat on my shelf for probably almost two years, waiting for me to read it! It did take me about four months to finish, a large part of that because I got on a Brandon Sanderson kick. It started out rather slow for me, as I expected the part about the plagues to start quite early in the story. But the descriptions of how the author envisions how Egypt was, were incredible. I did get bogged down by them at times, to be perfectly honest! I’m so glad I didn’t give up on the story though as it was well wort the full read. How they took the Biblical account and gave it such life was very interesting – and I didn’t spot any glaring discrepancies. I highly recommend this book as a way to bring that story to life. My copy is from 1859 but you can buy newer copies on Amazon.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (book 1) – Elantris was once a golden city in Arelon – literally glowing from the magic of the Shaod. It was the epicenter of trade and the demigods used their power to help others. Ten years ago, all that changed – the Elantirans became like lepers, and the city became their prison. In the devastation, a new capital has risen, Kae -in the shadow of the walls of Elantris. From across the waters, Princess Sarene of Teod comes to wed Prince Raoden – eager at last to meet and fall in love with this enigmatic man, but instead finds out that he has died and according to the laws of Kae, their engagement vows are as binding as marriage vows. Hrathen is a high priest of the Fjordell empire, and stepping into Kae hours after Princess Sarene has only one goal – convert the people of Kae in a few months’ time or they will all be killed. As Sarene battles politics in order to save both Teod and Kae from Fjordell control, she finds out the truth of Prince Raoden. He had become an Elantrian – outcast in the decaying city, and while trying to help the wretches there, he just might find the answer to the secret of Elantris.

~ Yes, this book deserves a long review. I LOVED this book. I never would have chosen it myself, but thank goodness for friends that send you books out of your ordinary! This quickly became a favorite of mine. The story line twists and turns so that I never knew how it was going to end and the characters were very well written. Neither Sarene nor Raoden are your typical royalty, and even the villian, Hrathen, has depths that intrigued and kept him from being someone you grew bored of. All in all, an excellent book full of suspense and lacking in anything sensual or ‘sketchy’. Highly recommend.

I did finish the Chronicles of Narnia series, click here for a review I wrote in 2018

Mistborn Era series by Brandon Sanderson

Currently Reading:

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

~Laura

What have you been reading this month?

Aug/Sept 2018 Book Reviews

29 Sep

Looking at July’s review, I realized that I ended up reading exactly what I had planned to on my to-read list! That doesn’t normally happen, so I’m a little pleased with myself. My list of books is rather short for two months but most of the novels I’ve been reading have been LONG. The Shadowfell series are about 400 pages each, and the Robert Jordan one I’m currently enjoying is about 700 pages. . . I like the extra story development that is allowed in these longer books though! I’m not sure I could ever write that in-depth though.

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Shadowfell series by Juliet Marillier – separate review coming in the next few weeks

Gifts of the Spirit by FFOZ – as of right now, I’m going to just direct you to First Fruits of Zion’s website that gives great info into this well-written and informative book about the gifts of the Spirit and different perspectives on them.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson -Two princesses’ lives are thrown into turmoil. While both scramble to learn the ways of their new environments, political upheaval is on the horizon.

~The first time I read this, I wasn’t sure if I would read it again but I decided to give it another shot. (I’m a sucker for Sanderson apparently). The way he weaves together a story is just incredible. The political and personal struggles of the different characters is engrossing. You can read my original review here.

Unspoken by Dee Henderson – Almost twenty years later, Charlotte Graham still hasn’t spoken about her past. A past that includes her being the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago’s history. A past that includes such pain and fear that she’s never risked telling anyone. Can she finally take that risk?

~You might notice that another Henderson kick is beginning… This one is ‘connected’ with Full Disclosure and Taken. While there was a lot of detail about coins, I appreciated how much she researched it out – it didn’t take away from the novel for me. As usual, some of the faith struggles of the characters hit a bit too close to home for me – but that is one reason I appreciate Henderson’s books. She writes not only good fiction, she gives real-life faith struggles to her characters. I highly recommend this book!

 

Trouble in Store by Carol Cox – When her prime governess position is abruptly ended, Melanie Ross sees no other choice but to travel to Idaho to the mercantile her cousin left her in his will. But someone else feels he has the same rights to the store, and Caleb Nelson isn’t about to just step aside and give up his new life to her. He sees her as the newest obstacle to the new life he’s carving out for himself, and he’ll try just about anything to get rid of her.

~ I borrowed this book from a friend as it is by a new-to-me author that I just read a book of hers earlier this year – Truth be Told.  I like Cox’s easy-to-read style and how she actually made me dislike Melanie for a little bit! I was so put off by her actions at one point that I had to keep reading to see how Caleb dealt with her. Brilliant move on Cox’s part. Highly recommend as a relaxing, faith-focused novel.

Traces of Guilt – An Evie Blackwell Cold Case by Dee Henderson – Watch for a separate review of this series! (I know, I said that about the Shadowfell books too but bear with me, the wait will be worth it!) 

Currently Reading:

Dear Theo by Irving Stone

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

The Eye of the World  book 1 of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Undetected by Dee Henderson

 

To Read:

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan (book 2)

Traces of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

 

While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

~Laura

~What have you been reading lately? I’d absolutely love to hear about it and add them to my to-read list!

Dec 2017 Book Reviews

5 Jan

It’s a blustery day here in Oregon, leaving the landscape looking slightly barren and depressing. There’s no snow, no sign of a cold, beautiful winter. Just windy, cloudy and rainy. But, that’s why there are such wonderful things as books to get lost in. I cannot believe I read 70 books in 2017 . I’ve decided to set this year’s reading goal to 60 books. I have always been an avid reader but I’m hoping to tone down my amount of reading just a smidgen and increase my amount of writing a lot! I enjoy keeping track of what I’ve read on Goodreads, it’s so much easier than writing them all down like I used to do.  (please tell me I’m not the only one who did that).

If you  missed it, I shared a post of my Top Reads of 2017 just last week, check it out!

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Photo by Alice Hampson on Unsplash

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – Two princesses’ lives are thrown into turmoil. While both scramble to learn the ways of their new environments, political upheaval is on the horizon.

~As good as this story was, I admit to being a little disappointed with how much sexual content there was. While I realize that it was mild, it was still more than I like. Because of that, I don’t think I’ll read this book again – which makes me sad because I really liked Siri and Lightsong, and the different twists and turns and character development that happened throughout.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis – Shasta and Bree – a young slave and a talking horse – are running away from cruel masters. Their destination is Narnia.  But when they discover a plot to overthrow Narnia, their journey becomes a race to warn the people of the impending attack.

~Series review coming next month!

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman – A compelling love story between a young Irish girl, Katherine Mary O’Fallon, new to the Canadian wild, and Sergeant Mike Flannigan of the Canadian Mounted police.

~This is a yearly – winter read for me. The wilderness and those occupying it – the animals, peoples and nature itself – are described so vividly, it’s a delight. The heartbreak that occurs will tear your heart out just as surely as you’ll rejoice when good things happen. If this book isn’t considered a classic, I’m not sure why. Read it, you’ll be glad you did. 

Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy – When singer Annette Talbot shows up, with trouble following close on her heels, Elijah Walker has to decide if she’s telling the truth or lying. Like his ex- fiancee. Despite himself, he’s drawn to her – and just when he decides to trust her, he finds out she’s a wanted woman. Will he find out the truth before he loses Annie forever?

~ This was my second time reading this sweet romantic mystery. I liked how Connealy dealt with Elijah’s struggle to forgive himself and Annette’s mis-guided belief in ‘bearing her cross’. Faith is central to this novel, and it’s done very well. It’s a great Christmas-time western read.

For Men Only by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn

~A full review along with its companion book, For Women Only, will be up this month!

An Amish Christmas : December in Lancaster County by Beth Wiseman – Forgiveness is on the horizon – or is it? – for several people in Lancaster County. Facing some of their deepest fears at Christmastime has the potential to change their lives.

~I forgot how sweet these stories were. I enjoyed all 3 of them – I am seeing on Goodreads that it says there’s four novellas, my copy doesn’t have “Christmas Cradles”. A good way to describe these are Hallmark movies set in an Amish community – and that’s not a bad thing. They deal with different struggles, but all 3 stories tie in with each other. They may be a bit cliched but sometimes that’s what you want. It only took me a few days to read all of them, they are quick, fun reads for anyone. 

 

Currently Reading: 

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson

Samantha Among the Brethren by Marietta Holley

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

The Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton

 

 

To Read:

A Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson

The Writer’s Journey by Vogler (finish!)

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

 

What are you reading?

 

While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

~Laura

Series Review – Mistborn Era

22 Dec

So, Brandon Sanderson has a spin-off series from the Mistborn series! I had no idea! I requested these three from the library as soon as I found out. I believe that this is the end of the series though although I feel like I read that he’s currently working on another one. (insert happy dance).

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* I will point out that on Goodreads, it says Mistborn – Alloy Era #1 – as well as #4 for the Mistborn series…. and ‘Wax and Wayne Series in the books themselves so..* 

These three books – Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self and The Bands of Mourning – take place centuries after the Mistborn trilogy.

Alloy of Law – Feruchemist and Allomancer, Waxillium Ladrian, doesn’t fit in out in the Roughs but neither does he fit in the middle of a ballroom. Returning to Elendel wasn’t his choice. Now that he’s back in the city, though, he sees corruption everywhere. His plan of defending the city becomes more complicated as his friend Wayne arrives with bad news and a young woman with grand dreams insists on helping as well.

Shadows of Self – As terrorists stir up workers anger and religious conflict, Wax, Wayne and Marasi must figure out who is behind the conspiracy to stop the country’s progress. But when technology and magic mix, there’s no telling what is really going on – or just who you can trust.

Bands of Mourning – When rumors that the location of the Bands of Mourning have been found, Wax is recruited to investigate. He’s not sure if they are even real – they have been a mythical story for so long, how can they be? They are said to be the Lord Ruler’s own metalminds and that whoever wears them will have the same power. As he travels, he finds clues to what the shady organization known as The Set, is up to.

I really enjoyed this series : the mix of technology – a society that’s still trying to find its feet – and magic. Waxilliam was a great character, a bit of detective, a bit of wild west, a bit of rogue. I enjoyed the development of the characters- not just Wax, but the side characters as well. I loved the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) references to some of the people we met in the first Mistborn series.

There was more….disturbing content in these. I’m really not sure if disturbing is the right word, honestly. Let’s see if I can say it another way. There were some things in these three books – mainly dealing with the kandra, I believe, that if these were my first sci-fi fantasy books, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get past them. Squeamish much? Yes. Yes, I am. But remember, I am still pretty new to this genre – but I can also say that it’s also mild because Sanderson could have made it more graphic. Shudder to even think about that. I don’t say this to turn you from them, because these books are so enjoyable and he does state things as … nicely as possible.

There are some suggestive comments made, mainly by Wayne, throughout all three books. But, again, Sanderson tones it down a lot from what most authors probably would. It’s still on this side of what I’ll read, if that gives you any clue on how mild they really still are. But because of them, I would recommend reading them before giving them to younger readers.

While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

~Laura

Have you any sci-fi fantasy books that you love? Or what’s a new genre you’ve tried recently?

Oct. 2017 Book Review

1 Nov

I jumped around from book to book so much the past month – and then I started some more Brandon Sanderson books and I have a hard time putting them down…So every other book slooowed way down.

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – After a tragic childhood, orphan Jane Eyre emerges with her spirit intact. She takes a governess job at Thornfield, where she meets the enigmatic Mr. Rochester. They fall in love and plan to marry – but then she learns of an obstacle to her happiness. Heartbroken, Jane stays true to herself and seeks a life that offers peace and self-respect, if not love.

~It took me so long to get through this! I had only read this once before and I ended up enjoying it just as much the second time as the first. Her tenacity in staying true to what she knows is right is inspiring.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis – When Lucy Pevensie stumbles into the magical land of Narnia, she meets Mr. Tumnus, who ignores the command of the White Witch and leads her back home again. When she tells her siblings, Peter, Susan and Edmund, they don’t believe her but as luck would have it, they all discover Narnia and meet Aslan, the Great Lion. And that begins an adventure that Lucy and her siblings will never forget.

~I will do a full review of this series once I’ve finished it, but for now, know that I’m thoroughly enjoying this series again – it’s only my second time reading it. I love how Lewis talks to the reader in places. Not every author can pull this off but he does. 

Collected Poems of Henry David Thoreau –  I read a few throughout the book but with all the books I’m currently reading, and nanowrimo starting tomorrow (!) I decided to return this one to the library. I do, however, want to get it again and give it a more thorough going-over.

Mistborn series (books 4-6) by Brandon Sanderson – Separate review coming soon!

Series Review – English Garden by Lori Wick

Book Review – Stepping Heavenward

Currently Reading :

Just the Essentials by Adina Grigore

Jewish Roots by Dan Juster

Beside Still Waters by Annalee Conti

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann

Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia #2) by C.S. Lewis

 

To-Read List:

More Narnia books

Samantha Among the Brethren by Josiah Allen’s Wife (printed 1892)

 

I’m really not figuring I’ll read much this coming month. I do want to finish everything that I’m in though, so that will be more than enough. I’m hoping to spend a lot of time and focus on editing my novel during nanowrimo! Because of that – and Thanksgiving in three weeks! –  posting might be a bit spotty. Happy November!

~Laura

What are your currently reading? 

 

Series Review: Mistborn Trilogy

17 Aug

 

It’s FINALLY here you guys! I’m finally reviewing this trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. He is the author of one of my favorite novels – Elantris. So I was interested to read some of his other work. This series really had mixed reviews so I wasn’t that keen on just buying it but my library didn’t have the first one. I eventually broke down and bought Mistborn (book #1) at Powell’s because I couldn’t take it anymore. Thankfully the library has the other two books.

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Photo by Edgar Guerra on Unsplash

The sci-fi fantasy genre is relatively new to me. Because of that, I didn’t know what to expect in regards to – well, anything. I was most concerned about the sexual content that might be included but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. ( I feel the need to add that when I read any new book that’s not a faith-based author, I worry about this.)  There were a few innuendos in each of the last two but were mild enough that I didn’t feel the need to put down the book.

(I’ve shared the only pics I have of each book. Apparently I never took cover pics of them. I decided to go ahead and share them because they show just how BIG/long they all are! If I remember right, they average 700 pages each) 

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Mistborn – It took a thousand years for even the memory of hope to die, but the Lord Ruler dominates his world with a violent and dominating fist. Ash falls from the sky and mists rule the night. Kelsier, a mistborn, gathers his crew for the greatest heist in history. By chance, he runs into street-smart and wary Vin, a mistborn as well. For their plan to work, Vin must learn to use her powers as well as trust those around her. They are all in for a surprise when Kelsier tells him the other part of his plan – kill the Lord Ruler.

~Was thoroughly surprised and delighted to find myself drawn into this story as quickly as I was with Elantris.  The characters are interesting and varied and the world Sanderson creates – while hard to imagine with ash falling daily from the sky and the whole world a neutral gray – comes alive. The villain is terrible, although there’s enough mystery that keeps him from being trite. The ending was unexpected and I had a hard time waiting for the next two books from the library.

 

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The Well of Ascension – With the Lord Ruler, the man who claimed to be god incarnate, dead, the world is left in the hands of Vin and the aristocratic man that she’s fallen in love with. Kelsier’s crew is left trying to learn politics, while a new religion among the people – based around Vin and Kelsier – is growing.  Stopping assassins from killing the new ruler soon proves to be the least of Vin’s problems – the mists now have a strange quality about them. As if they are against her. As Luthadel is besieged, a legend comes to light. While it seems to offer hope, no one is quite sure what to do about it. Where is the Well of Ascension? And what power does it really hold?

 

~I wasn’t sure what to expect at the start of this book, what with the ending of the first one. The story had me so in its grip though, that I couldn’t wait to delve back into it. The individual characters’ growth were interesting – Sazed, Elend, Vin, Spook, etc, and how they each searched for their role in this new government, this new world. I think Sazed really started to shine in this one, becoming the one that I most… identified with. The ending, if I remember correctly, was slightly dissatisfying and didn’t tie up as many loose ends as I thought it would. 

 

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Hero Of Ages – When the Lord Ruler was killed, the Deepness was released back into the world. Creating all sorts of havoc that Vin, Elend and the others fighting to save the world can’t stop – the ash is falling heavier than ever, the mists are killing people and earthquakes are increasing in strength. It seems that humanity is doomed.

~ This book. Where do I even start? This book concludes everything that you’ve been wondering if he’s ever going to tie up – and more that you hadn’t even realized were left dangling. Sanderson is an amazing storyteller, going against the grain of  what you expect to happen and pulling the rug out from under you. And then you go ‘aha! (waking up your significant other in the middle of the night) because you just got what he’s been alluding to. And then later realizing that perhaps you didn’t have it figured out. The turn-about that he does with the Lord Ruler was a brilliant move on Sanderson’s part. I’d say I was slightly heartbroken but also pleased with its ending.

 

I have to point out that it’s really hard to write synopsis’ without giving any major details of the plot away. If you look these up anywhere online you’ll learn a whole lot more about them but I hate it when I learn a pivotal plot line before I should! So, it’s up to you if you want to know more about them or not.

This series is one that will probably be a yearly-read for me. Meaning that I’ll eventually just buy the next two books! If you enjoy this genre, I recommend that you give it a shot. It sucks you in quick and takes you through every possible emotion – a sign of a good story. I will add that I didn’t end up loving it in the same way as Elantris, but perhaps that’s because this series breaks your heart more often. heh.

Because of the subtle innuendos that are sparsely included, I wouldn’t recommend this for a younger audience.

(Yes, I took these to read while getting my IV’s. The rather huge size of them made them easier to handle while one arm was immobilized. )

~While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.~

Have you read any of Brandon Sanderson? What genre have you recently tried, or have been wanting to try?

~Laura

July 2017 Book Review

1 Aug

Hello hello! I read quite a bit this month – which always makes me happy. There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a good book is there?

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Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – While set in a sleepy town in Virginia, the events that take place in Scout Finch’s childhood, rock the residents of the town.

– I hadn’t read this book since high school and since I seem to be on a classic kick this year, I pulled it off the shelf! I feel like opinions on this novel are very divided – either it’s loved or hated. Well. I’m on the loved it side – I do not know why it took over 10 years for me to read it again! I enjoyed  Lee’s descriptions – the sleepy street, the moonlight on the trees, the rabid dog making its way down the street – they were so vivid I could see them. I think everyone should read this book at least once.  (Now I want to read Go Set a Watchman)

Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson – A full review of this great trilogy will be coming next month! (I promise. the wait will be worth it.)

Seasons of the Heart series by Janette Oke – Watch for a full review of this in the next few weeks!

When God Doesn’t Fix it by Laura Story

Currently Reading:

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Anathema by Colleen Coble

On my To-Read List:

One Thousand Gifts: A dare to live fully right where you are by Ann Voskamp

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss – I finally picked up my own copy of this book. I’m excited to read it (I’ve been doing an audio version) and finally finish it!

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

 

Book Review – June 2017

3 Jul

Ahhh time for book reviews again. I am trying to write more separate posts but what with the pain levels ever increasing, many end up here instead. I went through my library recently and pulled out some novels to read again to see if I actually want to keep them or not. (I was surprised to be able to pull a few off and easily send them on their way out the door.)  With my limited space, I’m trying to be a bit pickier on what novels I keep (especially since we live so close to Powell’s bookstore and classics keep coming home with me). A few of these I read back in May, so no, I didn’t read this many books this past month.

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Because – Have you seen the length of Brandon Sanderson’s novels?!?!  (the one I’m currently reading is 552 pages, aka 236 thousand words) 

Timber Ridge Reflections by Tamera Alexander – click the link for my full review!

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My Life in France by Julia Child – When Julia and her husband, Paul, moved to France in 1948, she knew no French and nothing about food. Her experiences with superb food had her soon signing up for cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu. Her passion for learning the secrets to what made each dish delicious ended up changing her life – and turning her into one of the most beloved cooking teachers and writers.

~ This memoir was enjoyable in every way.  Child shares her travels throughout Europe along with the meals that made such impressions on her. It reminded me of a goal that I had years ago – that of cooking my way through her Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but alas, with all these food allergies, that will never be possible.  Her dedication to detail in her recipes revolutionized the cookbook industry. A fun read about one of the most endearing American personalities. Bon Appetit! 

~These next four novels are the ones I read to decide to keep them or not. All four are getting passed on to my mom! ~

Sweet Blessings by Jillian Hart – Heath Murdock never expected anything more than a hot meal and a dry place to sit for a while when he entered the small diner. He ended up earning the trust and love of independent Amy Mckaslin when he steps in and helps out.

~This is the second book in the Mckaslin series, but the only one I’ve ever read. It’s a sweet story of learning to let go of the past, forgive yourself and accept God’s love. It being a novella, I feel like the story could go deeper but Hart still brings depths to her characters. 

The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake – Clara Fields can’t believe that her and her widowed aunt were abandoned by their wagon train on the way to Oregon. When help is offered by the owner of the general store in Buttonwood, Clara strikes a bargain that in exchange for marrying his son, she’ll get the house so that they will be independent of any man. But when she meets the son, a handsome doctor, sparks fly.

~A short story, the characters are engaging and the story is well-written. The struggles that Clara faces – inward and outwardly – as well as the son, a Dr. Reed, are often in opposition to the other, creating tense or confused moments! A fun, light read. 

Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn – Jessica Morgan just wants to live her own life and forget her past. She heads for a small town in Oregon to teach at the high school, hiding her true identity. She finds it harder than she had imagined when she meets a caring paramedic who just wants to help her and a devious woman who’s trying to destroy her. Will she let fear or love win in the end?

~ This was a sweet christian romance story that I read in one day. I’ve read it before, a few years ago so couldn’t remember it too well. The faith portion was well-shared and the plot was sweet and happily resolved. I’d recommend this if you’re searching for a light read! .(I just realized that it’s book 1 of a series but I don’t think I’ve read any more of the series)

Forgotten Justice by Lois Richer – All John Riddle can remember is a date – October 29th. He knows nothing else – not who he is or where he’s from. He’s found a temporary home in Camp Hope and a friend in the beautiful and determined lady in a wheelchair. As time goes on though, he wonders, is his presence at Camp Hope putting her in danger?

~ This is #2 of the Camp Hope series, but is still enjoyable as a stand-alone. I liked how Richer slowly revealed things in this romantic suspense. Near the end of it, I thought I’d figured out who John Riddle was but was totally wrong! Which, is always fun when they keep you guessing til the end. I told my OH that I’d love to read it as a lot longer story – maybe as 500 pages? I feel like there could be so much depth added to it! But it is a fun, quick suspense just as it is. 

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Revision and Self-Editing : Techniques for Transforming your First Draft into a Finished Novel by James Scott Bell – This was SUCH a great book on self-editing! I grabbed it from the library on a whim one day but really think I’ll end up buying it. It had some great tips throughout along with exercises to do so that you can practice what he’s teaching. I took a whole lot of notes on it, and this is the only time I wrote on on my novel in June – working off his suggestions. I highly recommend this as a book to help you polish up your novel! 

Messianic Jewish Manifesto  by David H. Stern – click for a full review!

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Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson ( watch for a review soon!) – I know guys, I know, I’m not going to tell you a thing about this series until I finish the third book. If you really can’t wait, google it. 😉 

What I’m Currently Reading:

When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story

Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

Once Upon a Summer by Janette Oke

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss ( I’m still listening to this on audiobook, might have to get it from the library so I can actually finish it)

Linking up to The Reading Roundup again!

Reading Roundup

What are you reading lately? 

~Laura

Little Blossoms for Jesus

• Enjoying the old-fashioned & beautiful • • Thankful for grace • Growing in faith • • Learning life • Loving people •

A Musing Maverick

Ilse Davison

Elaine Howlin

lost in the pages of books

See Jayne Run

Navigating with Chronic Illness in a Self Absorbed World