Tag Archives: fantasy

Sept 2017 Book Review

29 Sep

I don’t have a lot to share with you this month since my to-read list is longer than my just-read list! Ha.

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Spindle’s End  by Robin Mckinley – On her name-day, Princess Briar-Rose is cursed by Pernicia to one day prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a never-ending sleep. But Katriona, a young fairy, kidnaps her in order to save her from her fate. She takes the princess to her small village and there, her aunt and her raise Briar-Rose where no one knows her true identity. But Pernicia won’t easily give up the chance to exact revenge for a defeat over four hundred years old.

~I first read this in 2015 and have to say that I enjoyed it even more this second time. The world-detail that bothered me last time didn’t even phase me. I’m not sure if that’s because I’ve been reading more fantasy since then or just because..well, I’ve already read it. Perhaps a little of both, eh? Either way, this book has shot to the top ten of my favorite ‘fantasy’ books – right under Mckinley’s Beauty  and Sanderson’s Elantris and Mistborn.

 

The English Garden Series – The Visitor and The Pursuit by Lori Wick – Set in the early 1800s in England, this series has a delightful ‘Austen’ feel that I love.

~Watch for a full – separate -review of this next week!

The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie OMartian – Worrying about your marriage isn’t going to do anything, but praying about it can change everything! This book is set up in a prayer-a-day format with stories from real-life and verses that go with the topic. Some of the topics are: his spiritual walk, his health, his roles as father/leader/etc, his emotions.

~ I knew I needed to get back into the habit of praying for my OH (and our marriage) so I pulled this off the shelf again and am glad that I did. I have marked the prayers that I felt were especially relevant for him and us and have plans to go back over them regularly. I reviewed this here a few years ago as well.

Currently Reading:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (how have I not finished this yet? I’ll tell you. my copy was printed in the 1800’s so I won’t read it while: eating, bathing, outside with the puppy playing in the water, etc….)

Stepping Heavenward by Mrs. E. Prentiss

Jewish Roots by Dan Juster

 

On my To-Read Next List:

Beside Still Waters by AnnaLee Conti

Collected Poems of Henry Thoreau

Pillar of Fire – Rev. J. H. Ingraham (printed 1864)

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

Brandon Sanderson books from library

 

~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.~

What have you been reading? 

~Laura

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review – Boundaries

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 beseiged, 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 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

Book Review – August 2015

28 Aug

Happy end of August! Not that it’s really sunk in yet that summer is pretty much over – we are looking forward to vacation next week (finally one we are going on together!!!) which includes a wedding, lots of time with friends and family and possibly buying a car! EEK!

This month has been one full of reading a rather random assortment of books. But, really, it would be boring to read all one genre in a month wouldn’t it? Aug2015bkrvw

The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas On the brink of the happiest day of his life, Edward Dantes is thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Years later, he learns of a treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo. He then focuses on escaping the grim fortress and, after finding the treasure- exacting revenge on the three men who ruined him. — I am reading this on my phone, which means it’s going much slower than if I had a book to pick up! I am loving the complexities of the story, and realizing that, of course, the movie changed some major components of it. I might need to get a copy just so I can actually finish it.

The Problem of Pain – C.S. Lewis – Man has been plagued by one question for years – ‘if God is good, why does he allow pain?” Lewis, who is known as the ‘greatest Christian thinker of our time’, answers this complicated question and seeks to heal a hurting world.  – I have this next to my bed to read before falling asleep = it’s taking me a very long time to get through….But I am learning from it and figure it will become a yearly read.

The Storekeeper’s Daughter – Wanda E. Brunstetter – Daughters of Lancaster County, book 1 – In Amish country in Pennsylvania, tragedy strikes  – Naomi Fisher’s mother dies in an accident. At the time when she should be going to singings and riding in a courting buggy, she is instead taking care of her seven siblings and helping her father in the family store. Just when she thinks she can’t take one more day in the restrictive world she now finds herself, the unthinkable happens. And any confidence she, or her family, had in her is shattered – will she be able to continue on? – This was a re-read for me but still just as enjoyable. Brunstetter rarely lets you down with her novels. The gospel message is clear throughout, without being overkill. I hope you know what I mean by that….I enjoy the slow-paced nature of books set in the Amish world, and inevitably feel incredibly lazy with having washers for clothes and dishes….and plenty of time to read novels!

The Hero and the Crown – Robin Mckinley – She had always known the story of how her mother, the witchwoman, had used a spell to get the king to marry her. Aerin had heard it from beginning to end many times – how, after giving birth to a daughter instead of the longed-for son, her mother had turned to the wall and died of despair. Being the daughter cast her into a difficult position – one with a destiny she couldn’t see. But through determination and with a willing war-horse, Aerin would learn that her destiny was far greater than anyone believed – she was to be the hero who would wield the Blue Sword, Gonturan. –  I picked this book up (along with #2 in the series) at Jupiter’s bookstore in Cannon Beach Or. Seriously, I love going to that bookstore. No matter what else I do while in the cute seaside town, I spend at least an hour in the cram-packed-full-of-used-books bookstore. I have read a few of Mckinley’s books – Beauty being one of my favorites – so I decided it was worth risking it. It is fantastic. A new world and language to get sucked into, plus it’s about a sword-wielding heroine? Yes please. The twists and turns and the growing that the heroine does from beginning to end are engrossing.

The Secret – Charlotte Bronte  – A collection of short stories by Charlotte and her siblings are in this light read. Each are set in the imagined world of Verdopolis and are full of intrigue, lies and love. – These were very fun to read even though due to taking so long to read them I did get a little confused about the repeating characters. The heroines are all gorgeous and brave and true while the heros are handsome and trustworthy and the villians easy to spot by their dark brows and evil intent  – all in all, very charming stories.

The Blue Sword – Robin Mckinley  – Harry Crewe, newly orphaned, has come to the desert land of Damar, a place of secretive, magical Hillfolk and the Outlanders. Her life is a bit dull and ordinary – until she is kidnapped by Corlath, the king of the Hillfolk. She begins training in the arts of war, even though she doesn’t understand it.  –  This is the second book in the series (not sure it’s actually a ‘series’ though) of the world of Damar. Absolutely engrossing so far. Fantastic characters and I do love a bit of magic in my novels. And when a book can make me forget I’m eating lunch, well, you know it’s good.

Hope you find something to fill the coming weekend,

Laura

What are you reading lately?

Book Review – July 2015

3 Aug

Hello again!

I am so very excited about the new look and direction for SGL! As I, even with the best of intentions, rarely posted crafts or recipes, I am going to focus on books, writing (what I’m working on and tips and encouragements), chronic pain management and will be continuing the Virtue Series until the end of the year. So far, these seem to be the topics that you, my lovely readers, are interested in. You will undoubtedly see other changes coming along over the next few months (me being an Amazon associate hopefully will be the first one!). I hope you like this new look and direction – but for today, we have the book review for July.

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I picked up a few books while at an antique store in Ca on vacation, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Mayor of Casterbridge. The former I read way back in high school and enjoyed it so I am interested in reading it again with a different perspective. The latter ,well, you’ll have to keep reading to hear what I think of it!

And yes, I am very excited about Harper Lee’s new book, Go Set a Watchman, but am far too cheap to pay full price for a book. Plus while in Ca, my mom and I got given two bags of novels from my aunt that I have never read any of! Who needs to buy books when you’ve got such family and friends??

The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy – While intoxicated, Michael Henchard sells his wife and young daughter. Upon realizing what he has done, he makes a vow to never drink again. Years pass and he rises up in wealth until he is the Mayor. Unexpectedly reunited with his wife and daughter, the shame that he has always had of his past is now put to right….or is it? This was such a great book!  Henchard is a tragic hero,  always seeming to get in his own way.  As I read more of the story, the harder it was to put down! The twists weren’t what I had expected and even the satisfying conclusion followed that pattern.  There is a moral lesson being taught throughout,  but I won’t spoil it for you – go read it for yourself!

Courting Morrow Little – Laura FrantzReturning home to Kentucky,  Morrow Little’s memories of the day Shawnee warriors destroyed her family come back full force. Will dealing with them while taking care of her ailing father, who has befriended two Shawnee, and the chaos of the war between the whites and ‘savages’ , be too much? Will she choose to marry a man she doesn’t love instead of letting go of her bitterness – and betraying the memory of those she loved – and pursue a life with a man of contradictions? This Book! Ah, this book. I have never read a book with this setting and story line – the struggle during the war raging in the 1760’s. I got sucked in the first page and was sad when it was over. I will admit to getting upset about 3/4 of the way through that something else had gone wrong. But it was still a great historical-romance-fiction-i’ll-be-reading-it-again-book!

The Secret – Charlotte Bronte –  A collection of short stories by Charlotte and her siblings are in this light read. Each are set in the imagined world of Verdopolis and are full of intrigue, lies and love. It has been fun reading through these again – being full of the beautiful maiden, heroic duke and crafty villian. If you are a fan of the Bronte’s, you must read these as they were written when they were young and still learning their own style of writing.

Elantris – Brandon Sanderson – I know, only last month I gave a review on it,  but I really hadn’t read it since March/April and it was the PERFECT book to read while on vacation! I loved it just as much the second time, picking up on different things said and referenced, which made it fun.

The Sherwood Ring – Elizabeth Marie Pope – After her father dies, Peggy Grahame Is sent to his ancestral home,  Rest-and-be-thankful.  She meets Pat Thorne, a British scholar , who is promptly tossed out by her Uncle Enos. As she is left to herself, and wondering when she’ll see Pat again,  Peggy learns the family’s history, and that the mansion really is haunted! This was such a fun read, and due to the fact that I read it while traveling, it was also a quick one! The storyline was unique and the characters – in both modern time and historical – were engaging.  I always enjoy a book that can pull off 2 different times. It would be great even for preteens. It is absolutely a book I’m going to be reading again.

The Problem of Pain- C.S. Lewis – ” How human suffering raises almost intolerable intellectual problems”- Lewis addresses one of man’s most frustrating questions, why do we suffer if there is a loving God?      I haven’t finished this book but it has been very good so far.  His way of wording things is different enough that I’ve had to go back sometimes and read a section again but that’s not a negative for me. It’s been nice to read about a question that I have struggled with off and on, I’m sure most of us have! Very enlightening and I’m only on the fourth chapter.

~If you purchase a book from Amazon by following a link here on SGL, I will get a percentage of the sale =) ~

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