Thursday, April 30, 2009

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I appreciate all the visitors who come by my blog - so I'd like to say a special thanks to all my entrecard droppers! Also...I'm going to start tracking my commenters this next month...and the top commentator will get a surprise!
Click on any of the pics to go check out these blogs :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

And Eternity by Piers Anthony

"And Eternity" was written in 1990, and was supposed to be the last of the series "The Incarnations of Immortality." Apparently something changed his mind, because he wrote another book, "Under a Velvet Cloak" in 2007! I'd love to read it, but the library doesn't have it yet. Oh well. I'll read it eventually!

I really enjoyed "And Eternity." I was a little worried going into it because I knew that they Incarnations were headed to a show down with the Incarnation of Good, IE, God. I really enjoyed it though! I think the portrayal of God didn't bother me in this book because the whole system of belief and reality is so vastly different from reality. 

We see all of the old characters in this book, and it was fascinating to realize how closely the Incarnations ended up being by the end of the series! In the book Jolie, Satan's original bride and now a ghost, realizes that while she was off on a mission Orlene, Gaea's mortal daughter, has committed suicide. Horrified by this turn of events Jolie sets off to do what she can to help Orlene's now ghostly soul. Through an entertaining turn of events, the two ghostly ladies get sent to inhabit and help a young girl who's in trouble. 

The ghosts manage to help the girl, Vita, and the three of them set off on even more adventures! Orlene had suicided because of the early death of her baby. Instead of going to Heaven or Hell, the baby had ended up with Nox, the Incarnation of Night. To be able to get her baby back the ladies must go on a quest that involves getting favors from each of the Incarnations. 

Along the way the three ladies learn quite a bit, and by the end of the book the world is headed to a show down. Has the Incarnation of Good given up His right to retain the role because of His inattention? And if so, who will replace Him? All this and more will be answered by the end of the book! I couldn't put it down at the end.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Aria's Quest - Finally Searching

Welcome to Aria's Quest! If this is your first time reading the story, or if you missed a few weeks, go here to catch up! 

Section 2
Part 5
Finally Searching

Aria woke the next morning, a little disorientated by her new surroundings, but refreshed from a good night’s sleep.  It would take some time for her to get used to living with the dwarves, but since Robyn had grown up with them they were accustomed to having the much smaller fairies around, and so they quickly made her comfortable. She was glad that she seemed to be settling in quickly, because she wanted to get started on her search!

To complete her quest Aria would have to find a human who needed help or who’s life she could improve, and then do so. The task sounded simple enough, but Aria knew from the stories that other people had told that it was often hard because people may say that want change in their lives, but they often resist it.  Aria had decided her task would be easier if she could find a true believer to help. True believers already believed in the magical world. Because of this it was much easier to take off the normal magical cloaking of invisibility and make yourself seen. You could still do it with non-believers, but it was much harder to convince them that their mind wasn’t just playing tricks on them. 

The night before Aria had talked with her new friends about her ideas for searching out a suitable human.  Unfortunately they weren’t used to thinking of humans in the terms of new believers. Robyn rarely ever saw a need to interact with humans, and Gina and Darryl didn’t need to worry about whether or not a human believed since they themselves could pass as humans. Despite this, they had managed to come up with a few nearby places that Aria would be able to find on her own. 

So that morning, after a pleasant breakfast with Gina (Darryl was already gone for the day), Aria set off.  Her first stop was a little shop of Celtic jewelry that was only a few buildings down from the apartment building. She planned to go in, drop the invisibility that usually surrounded her, and see if anyone noticed her flying around. 

The shop, Celtic Treasures, was full of beautifully wrought jewelry and other items. Aria was so fascinated by the knot work that she almost forgot what she was there for! She quickly came back to her mission though and dropped her invisibility. There weren’t many people in the shop, just a clerk and a couple of customers, but she hoped that their interest in things Celtic would make her more easily seen. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case.  She tried sitting on objects they were looking at, and even flying right in front of their faces, but nobody as much as blinked.

Aria was disappointed, but she knew that she would have been extremely lucky to find a true believer on her first stop. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Seven Spiders Spinning by Gregory Maguire

"Seven Spiders Spinning" is book one in the "Hamlet Chronicles" by Gregory Maquire. In this book we are introduced to Miss Earth and her class room of entertaining students. Each student is portrayed as their own individual, with their own quirks, and their own preferences. It can be hard to keep a large cast of characters individualized and portray them well, but Maquire rises to the challenge magnificently! 

I love the way the books starts, so I'm going to give you an excerpt.

"Countless thousands of years ago, give or take a couple of days, a mama spider laid some eggs. She admired them and she rested a little. Then she killed the papa spider, to whom she wasn't deeply attached, and sat down to a satisfying meal. This was not a Great Evil. It was in her spider genes. She couldn't help it."

The story goes on to tell us that later that day the Ice Age started, and all the little spider babies we're trapped in a block of ice. We follow their frozen adventures as the block of ice goes from one place to the next, until they finally are revived thousands of years later in Hamlet. What follows is a story of hilarious suspense as the spiders seek to survive, and they are faced with a class room of students who manage to accidently kill them off one by one!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Taking a Lazy Day

Ok, so I do often take Sundays a little slower than the rest of the week, but this week my body isn't giving me much choice. I had a really bad asthma attack on Thursday and I've had several follow up attacks after it. So I've been pretty tired. Now my lovely head decided it wants to chime in because of the stress of the attacks - and I can't find my migraine medicine! Grrrr...

Fortunately as the day has gone on it's gotten a little bit better bit by bit. I spent half the morning in bed trying to block out the entire world. Eventually, when my eyes decided to refocus, I was able to read. Ever wonder how I read so many books? Blame the asthma and migraines! I finished one fantasy book this morning, read a children's book, and started on a new fantasy! Yes, I also read pretty fast :P

Am I weird that my day doesn't feel normal if I don't get to blog? I remember taking one of those random quizzes once, and it told me that I'm NOT completely addicted to blogging, I beg to differ. It's a relief when the pounding in my head goes down enough that I can look through half-lidded eyes as my fingers pound away at the keyboard! 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Complex Creations

I was thinking last night about what a complex creation the human personality is. For every idiosyncrasy we have, there's usually a motive, and sometimes a complex story. Sometimes the reasoning is mundane, and other times its simply fascinating.

The reason I was thinking about this is a story that you might find rather boring. I was at the chiropractor yesterday and we were chatting as she worked on my back. For some reason I remembered a conversation I had years ago where I first realized why I tend to sit on my left foot when I'm working at the computer or sitting in a really cushioned chair or couch. I was in my young 20's at the time, and it was a well established habit, but not one I had ever consciously thought about.

Well, after talking for about 5 minutes I realized that I sit on my foot because my lower back doesn't hurt as much if I do that. I'm sure I had figured that out years before, but by that point it had become such a subconscious habit that I really had to think to remember why I do it. Mulling it over last night I started wondering why I don't ever sit on my right foot (yes, this is the random type of thing my mind does when I'm trying to go to sleep). Well, that has a good reason too. I was in an ice-skating accident when I was 16 that messed up my knee. If I sit on that foot for any length of time my knee will start to ache.

Like I said, a rather mundane store right? It still got me thinking as someone who loves to both read and write fiction. There are many elements in a story that will snag my interest, but one of them has always been good character development, especially when we get lots of interesting (not like my foot sitting story) details as to why the characters are that way. 

I started to wonder if I include those kind of details in my own writing? The answer is, well, sometimes! I think that in my story "Aria's Quest" that I'm publishing in this blog I haven't gotten very deep into the personalities of the characters. A large part of the reason behind that is that I'm finding it challenging to write a long story in small chunks. Each chunk needs to be a complete piece of the story after all! I'm going to challenge myself to deepen my characters a little in the story though.

I do have a longer story that I'm working on off and on, and in that story I think I have done a pretty good job of giving my characters very definite personalities full of their own identifiable quirks. The length of the story helps with that though. So far it's over 50 pages! Which is why I haven't shared it on here. Well, that and I've been too busy to work on it recently. 

So what about you? When you read a book do you love getting to know complex characters who have lots of their own personality quirks? If you write fiction, is that something you try to include? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Traitor to the Blood by Barb and J.C. Hendee

"Traitor to the Blood" is book 4 in "The Noble Dead" series. We spent the last book, "Sister of the Dead," learning about Magiere's tangled roots. Now it's time for Leesil to begin uncovering the secrets of his past, so they head to the land of his birth, the land of the evil ruler Lord Dartmouth. 

Of course, nothing ever goes simple for these hunters of the dead. Leesil has long been tortured by his memories of his past, it used to drive him to drink before Magiere finally helped him past that, and now those memories are back full force as he's surrounded by the origins of the memories. 

Magiere is desperete as she watches the man (ok, half-elf) that she loves in so much pain. She wants nothing more than to help Leesil in his quest to find out what happened to his parents, but Westiel is still following with her and messing with her life. This time he decides that having her brought to the warlord's attention as a Dhampir is in his own best interests, so Magiere's attention is split.

Then, to make matters even more intense Wynn, a schooler and their companion, is taken into the keep as a prisoner. She's the most defensless member of their party, and her capture throws everyone into a bit of a panic.

I really enjoyed this installment of the series. We learn a lot about Leesil's past, and I really love how the author is slowly revealing the information. Yes, I'm dying to know more, but it keeps the books gripping, and I think it's a great literary device.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

"The Amber Spyglass" is the third and final book in the "His Dark Materials" Trilogy by Philip Pullman. I was a little nervous going into this book about the direction that the series was taking, but I was curious enough to want to read it anyway!

Let me first say that Philip Pullman is a highly imaginative author. He has vivid descriptions and does a great job of creating his own universe that he sets his characters in. For that reason, I appreciate his authorship. 

My main concern with this book was that I knew from the previous book that Lord Asriel intended to take on the Authority, or God, and kill Him. A large portion of the book had nothing to do with that, and I really enjoyed that portion of the book because it was simply fascinating! Like I said, Pullman has a very inventive mind.

I didn't really like the conclusion of the book though. I can ignore a lot in books, but it did bother me the way God was portrayed in the book. Mainly, that He is displayed as a weak and out of touch fool. I suppose even that wasn't what bothered me as much, as that it was written with an obvious agenda. The author was pounding it into your head that he does NOT like the concept of God, and I don't really like books that are written with such obvious agenda's. Despite the inventiveness of this author I don't think I'll be reading any more of his books. 

Having said that, since this series has received so much acclaim and created so much controversy, I am glad that I read it. I now understand why there is so much controversy over the series, and if someone brings it up I have an educated opion and not just some vague "well I heard..." 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Getting Stronger Day by Day

It's true! I really am getting stronger day by day :) I've been walking regularly as many days as I can, and I'm up to walking 2 miles! Woohoo! I had to go buy shoe inserts because my feet we're aching by the time I'd get back to my apartment.

Once a week I'm trying to go walking with a couple of my dear friends. This week was supposed to be our first week - but I had an asthma attack on Monday that was pretty bad so I stayed home yesterday to rest. The good news is that I'm having very few attacks these days, so over all I'm able to exercise pretty consitantly!
Along with the walking I'm doing a few basic aerobic exercises like crunches, leg lifts, and some modified push ups. I do the push ups against the wall because my back has never been strong enough to do them normally, and this still strengthens my arms and upper back. I've also just barely started working on learning some yoga exercises. I picked up a video from the library and I'm slowly working that into my routine.
I'm still not seeing a ton of results, but I'm sure those will come with time. It's kinda hard to measure how my weight is changing because my scale is officially broken! Oh well. I'm sure we'll go get a new one soon.
I do have to be careful while exercising though. If I've recently had an asthma attack then Mo tries to go walking with me, just in case. I always have my cell phone with me if I walk alone so I can call for help if something goes wrong.
Last week I found out there's another complication. Not with my walking, but with doing the other exercises. I have osteopenia, which is the stage before osteoperosis. My hips density is fine, but my lower back is way out of range for someone my age. This means I'm at higher risk for a broken back than most people my age.
Putting things in perspective though, I've always had back issues, so I've always been careful while exercising. I have scoliosis (a twisted spine), shoulder damage from a car accident, and sciatica (problems with the long nerve in my right leg). I'm much more likely to do something that could potential trigger pain in one of those than I am to break something!
Plus, I have the go ahead from my chiropractor to exercise. I stopped all exercises until I checked with her (well except for walking) and she said that the exercise is the best thing for me as long as I continue to be careful.
The positive side about exercising is that I'll not only feel better (I already am!), but the exercise helps the calcium I'm taking build up in the bones of my lower back. It's possible to reverse the damage that's been done, and at the least, to prevent the damage from getting worse.
Why do I have these problems? It's a side-effect of the prednisone that I'm on for my asthma. Hopefully I'll be able to work off of that in the next year, but for now, I'm doing everything I can to minimize the long time effects.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Aria's Quest - New Friends

Welcome to Aria's Quest! To read the rest of the story go here:

Section 2


Part 4

New Friends

As Robyn had described his surrogate parents to Aria he had lead her out of the Nexus, out of the big and confusing building, and to another equally confusing structure. This building was one of the really tall one’s, and after they had entered it Robyn lead them in flying up a long flight of stairs that constantly doubled back on itself.  Finally they emerged into a long hallway that seemed to be lined with lots and lots of doors with numbers on them! Aria didn’t know what the purpose of the numbers was, but they seemed to be sequential. 

Announcing that they had arrived, Robyn stopped in front of a door with the number “891” on it in big letters. Seeing Aria’s confused face he explained, “This is an apartment building. Like a bunch of little homes all in one big building. Each door leads to a different home. Kind of like a bee hive, only the people don’t always know each other. Since Gina and Darryl can pass as humans, they can live in a human home with out creating any suspicion.”

Robyn pushed a button that was next to the door, and a few moments later a pretty woman opened the door. She was much bigger than Robyn and Aria (since the average fairy is about 4 inches tall), but seemed to still be much shorter than the humans Aria had seen. She was well built; and dressed plainly, but her smile made her face radiate, and she was obviously happy to see Robyn.

“Robyn! You rascal, it’s been too long since you’ve come by.” Looking over her shoulder she called, “Darryl, Robyn is here! And he has a pretty lady fairy with him!” Turning back to them she gestured for them to come on in. Robyn zoomed in, the two of them talking quickly as she pestered him with all those questions that every mother wants to know when her child has been away for awhile. Aria followed. She was still a little nervous, but happy that Gina seemed to be so nice and normal.

Gina lead them into a room with comfy looking furniture, and a middle aged man, who was about the same height as she was. He quickly stepped forward to greet Robyn and then turned to Aria, “And who’s this lovely young lady?”

Aria blushed and responded, “My name is Aria.”

“Ah, a lovely name for a lovely girl. Robyn my lad, where ever did you find her? And why haven't we met her before?"

“She’s new to the city Dad. Looking for a place to stay while she completes her quest.”

“And you thought of us?” Gina asked, “That’s so sweet! We’ve missed having a young one around the house. Since you left us Robyn the house has been so quiet and boring.” 

“Well Mom, I’m sure you won’t have to worry about that any more.” 

“And maybe we’ll see a bit more of you as well now lad?” She asked with a sly grin towards Aria that made Aria blush again.

“Maybe Mom.” Robyn said with one of his cheeky grins.

“Well Aria, let’s get you settled, have you eaten anything? Are you hungry? Do you have a pack? Oh I hope you don’t mind Robyn’s old room…”

Aria found herself being lead away. Looking over her shoulder she saw that Robyn was still grinning, but that was ok, she decided that she was going to do just fine here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Source of Magic by Piers Anthony

"The Source of Magic" is book two in the Xanth series by Piers Anthony. Bink, the hero of the last book, is sent by the King to discover the source of all magic in Xanth. To succeed on this quest he takes along the centaur Chester, Crombie the soldier (transformed into a griffen), and even the Good Magician Humfrey! It makes for an interesting crew, especially as Crombie and Chester love to fight! So they'll fight with each other when there's no one else to fight...

You'll be surprised when you discover what the actual source of magic is in Xanth, and what happens when Bink comes face to face with it! Magic is destroyed in Xanth...and the consequences are not fun. 

Each of the characters grow and develop over the course of the book, and of course there's a lot of fun adventures along the way! That's what I love about Piers Anthony's books, he comes up with the zaniest way of looking at things, and his Xanth books are a prime example of that!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula R. Le Guin

My aunt has been telling me for years that I need to read this trilogy, and for some reason I never have! At first I think it was because I was too silly to remember to write down the name of the author. Oops. That does make the task significantly more difficult! Lately though I've been really having a lot of fun ordering books from my local library, and making notes about what books I want to read. So I finally picked it up!

"A Wizard of Earthsea" is the first book in the Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula R. Le Guin. The next two books are "The Tombs of Atuan" and "The Farthest Shore. I'm ordering both of them, so you'll receive reviews on them in due time!

The first book, "A Wizard of Earthsea," reminds me very much of the "Lord of the Rings" books in the style of writting. It's no where near as long, but it has that same formal feel to it, which I think adds to the level of majesty in the descriptions! In this book we meet Ged, a young boy who soon starts down the path towards becoming the greatest sorcerer in all of Earthsea.

One of the things I really appreciated about this book is that the author treats magic with respect. Showing that it needs to kept in balance, and that things done improperly can be dangerous. I don't really believe in magic, but I much prefer imagining this approach than the "let's wave a wand and anything can happen without consequences!" approach. It feels more realistic to me. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sister of the Dead by Barb and J.C. Hendee

"Sister of the Dead" is book three in the "Noble Dead" series by Barb and J.C. Hendee. To read my reviews on the first two books go here.

As we rejoin Magiere and Leesil they are setting out on a journey to find out more about their pasts. Both are troubled by how little they know about their history, especially because it's been affecting their lives in the here and now. 

They start out by heading for Magiere's home village bringing along their faithful companion Chap and their friend Wynn the scholar. Researching Magiere's past leads them to many disturbing discovery's about her origins. Many of these are new to Magiere, but some of them are new only to Leesil, because the two of them are just learning to actually open and up and share with each other. There are many rocky moments for them, but it's a lot of fun to watch their relationship grow and develop!

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Learning about Magiere's past takes so many twists and turns that they never get to look into Leesil's past in this book. I don't mind, because I was fascinated by what I read, but I'm really looking forward to finding out more about Leesil's history!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

"The Subtle Knife" is book 2 in the "His Dark Materials" series. I found myself a little more captivated by this book than I did the first book in the series, "The Golden Compass," but I think that's because this story was entirely new to me whereas I had seen the movie for the first book.

In book two we meet Will, a boy from our earth, who's despretely trying to find his father. He's a tough kid, he actually murders someone at the beginning of the book, and he needs every ounce of strength he has to face the challenges on his journey! He discovers a hole between worlds and travels to another one, where he runs into Lara, the heroine from book one. The two of them team up to learn more about dust and to find Will's Dad.

As they search they encounter a mysterious knife with strange powers. They have no idea just how powerful the knife is, and we only learn morea about that towards the end of the book. Will becomes the barrer of this knife, a role that does eventually lead to a tragic reunion with his father.

While Will and Lara go about their own adventures we also follow the adventures of our old frends Serefina Pekkala and Lee Scoresby. Each has their own adventures in this book and each person will play an important role in helping Lara and Will. I really liked both their characters in the last book so I was excited to see them play prominant roles in this one!

I mentioned in my review of the first book that I know the Christian community was up in arms when the "The Golden Compass" was made into a movie. After reading the first book I really didn't understand it. It wasn't really any different than many other fantasy books I've read. Now that I've read the second book I'm beginning to see the issue that many Christians have with the series. 

Lord Asriel is attempting to take on the ultimate force of good, or, God. Now, it didn't really bother me that the church is portrayed as corrupt in this series because I'm well aware that many church's ARE corrupt, but taking on God? I don't see this as going great places. I enjoyed the fast majority of this book, but I'll admit I'm a bit leery to read the end of the trilogy, where the big battle is supposed to happen.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Aria's Quest - A Place to Stay

Welcome to Aria's Quest! A fairy tale that's published weekly (usually by Tuesday). I hope you have fun going on Aria's journey with her. To catch up on anything you've missed, go here.

Section 2
Part 4
A Place to Stay

“Ok, so where should I start?” Aria asked.

“How about we find you a place to stay?” Robyn replied.

“That sounds good.” Aria answered, still a little nervous, but ready to be doing something, anything.

“How particular are you on who stay with?” 

“Um, not very? I just a place to stay, it doesn’t have to be anything special. I can sleep just about any where.”

“No, I meant, do you need me to find you some fairies to stay with, or is it ok if I set you up with a family from a different species?”

Aria was quiet for a moment, mentally reinforcing her self, she had decided that she wanted to stay with a different species so that she could expand her horizons, but she had already been hit with more than she expected! “Sure, no problem, what were you thinking?” She said as bravely as she could.

Robyn’s face lit up, he’d been hoping she’d be open-minded. “Great! I know just the perfect family for you. These guys are like my parents.” He paused for a moment, “My parents died when I was young, and they took me in.” His face brightened up again, “You’ll really like them, and they’ll love you!”

“Do you still live with them?” She liked Robyn so far, but she wasn't sure she wanted to see that much of him! 

“Naw, I have my own place now.”

“Ok. When can I meet them?”

“I’ll take you there now!” 

“So why don’t you tell me about them?”

“Well, they’re dwarves, but don’t picture your typical mountain dwarves.  It takes a special mind-set for a dwarf to live in the city, their very grounded and attached to their mountain homes, so very few ever choose to live here. 

You know the ‘Little People’? Well, most of them are actually descended from dwarves. Real dwarves can pass as Little People as long as they dress right, and behave.”


“Yeah, dwarves tend to get weird when their around gems, but after they’ve been in the city awhile most dwarves get used to hiding it.”

“So I’m guessing no massive beards then? And don’t talk about gold in public?”

Robyn laughed, “Kinda. No beards for sure, it would never pass on the ladies, and the guys generally don’t even wear a short beard because it leads to too many jokes. As for the gold? Your fine around Gina and Daryl. They’ve been here for a long time; in fact that’s what they do for a living!”


“Yeah, they’re brokers. They bring precious metals and gems in from the dwarves and sell them to humans, hiding where the goods originated from of course.”

“Sounds like a pretty sweet deal!” Aria’s nervousness was staring to fade, these sounded like people she could live with.

 “It is, and here we are!”

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Peter

You've heard me talk about my brother Gordon the most, and that's because as much as I love our younger brother, he doesn't live in the country any more! He's also a little sporadic with communication. He left for Nepal in January, 2008, and won't be back until sometime in January next year. I miss him all the time, but today is extra hard because it's his 21st birthday! The only good thing is that he sent us a whole bunch of pictures, for the first time since he's been gone, and so we get to "see" him! Woohoo! I thought I'd share a few with you :)

And yes, the clean-shaven boy and the boy with the big beard are the same guy! The big hat he's wearing is from Australia, he bought it years ago when he stopped over there on a mission trip and it's become one of his trade marks. The crochet'd hats he's wearing in some of these are hats Mom made him. 

Did I mention I miss him? *tear*

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter Everyone!!!

I just wanted to put up a quick - Happy EASTER- post :) I saw this cute pic and just had to use it. I grew up on Whinny the Pooh! I even have one of his books lying around somewhere...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hubby's New Glasses

We went and picked up my dear hubby's new glasses today - and it was so funny I just had to share! See, we've known for awhile that my hubby needed new glasses, but between what felt like a million different factors, we were just finally able to go get them! I'm so glad we finally were able to though.

Walking out of the store Moses kept looking around, half stumbling, and saying things like, "oh my goodness everything looks different!" Why? He could finally see detail! I asked if it was nice to finally be able to see again...and his response boiled down to this, "No, I kinda liked being oblivious."

Only my dear hubby.

I love this guy. Crazy as he is :) Perfect for me and my insanity! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Faith of the Fallen by Terry Goodkind

"Faith of the Fallen" is book 6 in "The Sword of Truth" series. I haven't written reviews on the first four books because I read them before I started doing reviews, but my review on book five can be found here.

In "Faith of the Fallen" Richard struggles to help Kahlan heal from her wounds that she received in the last book. He also informs the army that he is not going to be able to lead them because of a vision he has had. They need to face Jagang on their own.

Reading about Kahlan's healing process was painful for me. I am struggling to regain my health, for different reasons entirely, and I can identify all to well with the painful struggle emotionally and physicaly! It was encouraging to see that she does heal though.

Part of the ways into the book Richard is captured by a Sister of the Dark named Nicci. She has linked her life to Kahlan's so that anything that harms her, harms Kahlan, and so that she can choose to end Kahlan's life in an instant. Tormented by his fear for Kahlan, Richard is forced to follow her whims, and Kahlan is forced to go on without Richard.

This wasn't one of my favorite books in the series, but that's mostly because there's a large section of the book taken up with the battle against Jagang. I'm not a huge fan of reading battles, but they have their place, and some pretty interesting things do happen.

What I did really appreciate about the book was the depth of thought that went into some of the struggles in this book. I really loved the ending! I hope you enjoy it too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Aria's Quest - The Nexus

Welcome to Aria's Quest! This is a fantasy story that's being published weekly. 
If this is your first time here, you'll want to go read the rest of the story. Have fun!

Section 2
Part 3
The Nexus

Robyn looked at Aria with a huge grin and said, “Well, what do you think?”

At first Aria could only stare around her in wonder, but she finally got her wits together enough to say, “What is this place? Where have you brought me?”

“We call this the Nexus. It’s a place for the magical creatures of the city to gather, exchange information, and trade.” Robyn replied.

“Um, isn’t that the function the park serves?” Aria asked, confused.

Robyn snorted. “Supposedly. From what I understand, when the large cities first started to form, our people went into the parks because it felt safe, and familiar. From your reactions and others I’ve seen, I guess it still does to outsiders, but times have changed for many of us. Take me, I was born here and I’ve never actually been outside of the city.” He gestured around the room with a sweep of his arm, “Most of these people are just like me. The old ways just don’t make sense in our world any more. I guess it works for the old folks, but we’re creating our magical world, right here, and it works better for us.”

“You know that I’m from the forest, why do you think the Nexus would be better for me?” Aria asked, still confused. “I mean, all of this is so foreign to me.”

“Maybe, but think of this, who do you really thinks understand the city better? Those of us who are actively living in it, forming our lives around it, or the old folks who still prefer the old ways? Who do you really think is going to be able to help you more?” Robyn folded his arms across his chest, still cocky, but obviously a bit defiant as well.

Aria was hesitant. She looked around her again at the strange hustle and bustle. Robyn did have a point, it seemed like the people associated with this “Nexus” were more in touch with what was really going on, but it felt a little like turning her back on what she grew up with. Still, there weren’t very many rules about how she went about her quest. She could solicit help, as long as no one directly interfered with the human she was trying to help, but advice, information, background support, all that was fine. Other than that it was pretty much up to her how she went about things. So, with a small sigh, Aria finally said, “Ok, so where should I start?”

Monday, April 6, 2009

One Final Firecracker by Gregory Maquire

Once again I've done it - I read things out of order! It all started because I was curious about the book "Wicked" by Gegory Maquire. It had a long waiting list at the library, so I ordered a few other books from him. I really need to remember to look up bibiliography's when I'm ordering books so I don't do things like read the last book in the series! Which, of course, is what I did. "One Final Firecracker" is the last book in the Hamlet Chronicles. A series for children - I'm guessing between 3rd and 5th grade. The proper order of the series is:

Seven Spiders Spinning
Six Haunted Hairdos
Five Alien Elves
Four Stupid Cupids
Three Rotten Eggs
A Couple of April Fools
One Final Firecracker

The series is about a a group of classmates in Elementary school. I think, from reading the last book, that the series spans one or maybe two years of their grade school life. In "One Final Firecracker" the students are getting ready for their Elementary School Graduation day. Along the way a lot of crazy things happen. I don't want to give away too much about this book or the series, but there are extreme spiders, aliens, and genetic mutants! 

This is the type of book I'd let my own elementary school child read. It's a great way to get them thinking about all the wonder and silliness in the world, and a great laugh! I do not, however, recommend reading the last book first like I did, because it ties together the threads from all the rest of the books! Easy enough to follow, but kinda ruins the surprises of the first books.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Looking Forward

Yesterday I talked about how I did on my goals for last quarter.  Today I want to look at my goals for next quarter. 

My big goal that I didn't achieve last quarter was starting to make money off this blog. I still want to work on that, and with my improving health, I'm hoping it will now be possible! Even if it's just a little bit here and there :) 

I'm only adding one goal at this point in time to my "life" goals. I have another big one in mind, but since I'm not ready to start it yet, I'm not going to write about it! 

My big new goal actually has two main parts. Overall goal? LOSE WEIGHT. I've actually been wanting to work on this for a long time, but do you have any idea how hard it is to eat healthy when your having daily migraines and asthma attacks? Let alone exercise?

With my recently improved health I've been working really hard on both my diet, and working exercise whenever I can. I've lost 4 lbs so far! I'm not going to tell you how much I need to lose, just that it's a lot. Being super-sick for a year and on steroids because of it can do that.

So the two parts of this goal are I'm trying to exercise for at least 1/2 hr each day, and I'm keeping a food journal to track calories and get a more realistic picture of what types of foods I'm eating. I've found a site that's helping me out with that - but I want to use it for a few days before I talk more about it so I can give you guys an accurate review :) 

Instead of making this a three month goal like my others, I've set this out for one month. I'm hoping that I can increase my exercise goals at that point :) 

I'm using Goal For It to help me record and track my goals. I wrote a review about it back in January if you want more information. If you want to join me on Goal For It and encourage each other on our goals - just look for me under roseworksjewelry! 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Looking at the First Quarter

One thing you've heard me talk about with a fair amount of frequency is my goals. I set them up at the beginning of the year to be re-evaluated after three months. I did this because I know how much life can change in just a few short months, and one of the most important things with goals is to be flexible! So, the first quarter has come and gone, and now it's time to look at what I've accomplished. :)

I am also discussing this subject right now on my other blog as well. I tend to keep the topics between my crafty/artistic side and my reading/rest of life separated between these two blogs. So feel free to head over there if your curious!

I had 3 goals that I've talked about in this blog. Some of them I did really good with accomplishing, one, well I need to move that goal forward to this next quarter :) But that's ok! That's part of the flexibility I've been talking about.

Goal #1 - Start and maintain a serial fiction story.
This is the goal I'm the most proud of accomplishing! I've published the first 7 segments of my story Aria's Quest, and the feedback I've gotten has been positive. That's really encouraging! I started this goal both because I had a story idea, and because I want to grow my ability as a writer. Having a weekly writing goal helps me with that. I'm not saying that this story is the best thing I've ever written, but I am really enjoying the process, and I hope that constant practice of writing will help me continue to grow as a writer.

Goal #2 - Finish unpacking and organizing the apartment by the end of March, 2009.
I wasn't quite as successful with this goal as the last one, but I did come really close! The only things I have left are a few pictures to put up and bringing books over that are currently stored at my parents house. Considering how sick I've been for most of the last three months, I don't mind that!

Goal #3 - Make Money off of this blog.
Um, yeah, right. I'll get to this one eventually. *rolls eyes* The main reason I haven't been more active on pursuing this goal is that writing with migraines is HARD, and we've just finally in the last few weeks gotten me to the point where I'm spending most days migraine free. But even then I'm still nowhere near 100% and I've spent a lot of time catching up on things in my shops and in my life. This is the goal that I'm rolling forward to the next quarter :)

Sometime in the next few days I'll discuss what my goals are for the upcoming quarter. :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

"Brisingr" is the third book in the "Inheritance" series by Christopher Paolini. It was originally supposed to be the final book, but as he tells us in the afterward of the book, it just ended up too long for just three books!

"Brisingr" covers a lot of ground, it's hard to know where to start! Paolini spends a lot of time tying together loose ends from the first two books. While the details are a interesting, as my Evil Twin put it, he needs to learn how to condense a little! By the end of the book we're poised for the final battle, Eragon and Sapphira have both grown and learned a lot, and you've had a lot of fun.

One of my favorite parts of the book comes towards the end. Eragon has been searching over the course of the book for a good sword, and he's finally realized that he needs a special one made just for him. The process he goes through in getting the materials needed, and then the actual creation of the sword, was very imaginative and the writing was incredible.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Looking back at March

Well it's that time again - time to review what I've accomplished this last month! It's been a busy month, and I've been getting healthier and stronger! That's both very exciting, and it means that I'm getting my blogging done more consistently.

Do you remember how I set out at the beginning of the year to do a set of 3 month goals? I'll be reviewing those in the upcoming days and setting new ones. I'll be sharing the process with you as well :) Why? Because talking about it helps me feel like I'm accountable in a sense, and it helps me to solidify what's in my mind when I write it down.

This month saw the publishing of three new chapters in Aria's Quest. I missed a week because, well I had a bad week! And this weeks was late so it ended up being an April publish instead of a March publish. Oh well - here's this month's offerings!
Saying Good-bye



This month saw quite a few book reviews published! I'm having a lot of fun doing these, and you guys seem to be enjoying them, so this will continue to be a regular part of my blog :)

The Titan's Curse
The Amulet of Samarkand
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Tales of Beedle the Bard
A Spell for Chameleon
For Love of Evil
Thief of Lives
The Golem's Eye

I've continued to work on taking more photos of my life. There were a few dry spells, but, I did get quite a few taken this month! Want to see my photostream on Flickr? Go here!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Aria's Quest - Strange Sites

Sorry this is late! I've been a little busy, and the time I set aside to write? Yeah, I hit writes block. Figures eh?

If your new to this story you can get the back story here.

Section 2
Part 2
Strange Sights

Robyn flew fast, but Aria had always been an agile flyer, so she was able to follow close behind. The biggest problem was that she kept getting distracted by all the amazing things she’d never seen before! She was quickly learning that her previous trip to the city had only shown her a tiny glimpse of what to expect, and really hadn’t prepared her for her quest as well as she thought.

Aria felt a little overwhelmed as they wove through all the different buildings. She was used to the only tall objects in the sky being trees or mountains. These looked nothing like that. There were some that reached for the sky, just like a tree, but much taller. Others we’re shorter, almost squat, like the foot hills around a mountain.

Before long they reached a grouping of buildings that was even stranger than what she had seen so far. The main building wasn’t very tall compared to some of the others, but it seemed to go on forever! Plus there were those metal things that humans like to ride in, they looked so confining compared to flight, and they seemed to surround the building.

Aria was surprised to realize that Robyn was flying straight towards this strange building. She had to follow even closer as he swooped down, through strange glass doors, and wove in among the people. Aria nearly lost Robyn as he darted this way and that, everything was so overwhelming!

Finally the swooped through one last set of doors and came to a place where there were no humans, only fairies and other magical beings. It was almost a relief after all the strange sights Aria had just witnessed, but there were still so many strange things in this large room!

There were monstrous shelves everywhere, and items of fabric were piled high as far as the eye could see. Looking closer Aria realized that even the magical beings looked far different from what she was used to. She didn’t know much about other magical beings, but she knew enough to know that they weren’t dressed at all like what she’d expect. The fairies were the strangest of all. Instead of the dark woodland colors that she was used to, they wore bright outfits, often in colors that would be found no where in nature.

What had she gotten herself into?

March's Top Droppers!

I want to send out a big shout out of thanks to my top droppers for March! Don't know what I'm talking about? Check it out at :) Click on the pictures to be redirected to their blogs.