Tuesday, March 31, 2015

the gargoyle

He sat, fixed upon the pointed roof
staring out into the darkness;
his eyes intensely drawn in all directions,
his feet grasping tightly, keeping balance.
His stone demeanor, unmoving
as noises clicked softly and rhythmically
from his throat.
His talons scrape against the roof
as his dark wings quickly unfold
and take him to the ground.
His face gnarled and grotesque
before the intruder;
his large wings menacing
as they encase the surroundings,
frightening the unwelcomed
to flee and never return.
The wings whip the air as
he is taken back to his spot
upon the roof to keep a still watch,
to be the guardian, the protector.

Written by K, Copyright 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

a bit on pause

I just wanted to let my readers know that I am putting The Golden Princess serial story on hold, as my mind is not really in the right place lately to give it the time it needs. I actually have 6 parts of the story finished, but will hold off on posting anymore of the story until I know I will be in a place to continue a longer piece of writing. It has been a really long time since I have written anything of substantial length, and right now I don't think my mind is in the right place to give it an honest go. So, before anyone gets too interested in what is going on with The Golden Princess, I will put it on pause. I am also going to take a mini break from blogging, possibly a week, just to get a breather and to get myself in a more cheerful place. But never fear....I will be stalking all the blogs that I follow and making myself known!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

a mystery of a book and a 60 year old update

Today I decided to pull out some poetry books, just feeling in the mood. I think over the years I have become more of a poetic reader and writer, as opposed to when I was younger. I remember writing all through my childhood, occasional poetry in my late teens and early twenties, but not much. A few years back, about when I started this blog, I decided I wanted to accustom myself to enjoying poetry that doesn't rhyme, and I am proud to say that I accomplished that goal. I have grown to appreciate more types of poetry than I use to, and have even written a lot of different types myself, including non-rhyming poetry, which can be readily found in the archives.
Anyways, amidst pulling out all my poetry books to pour over, I also pulled out a Shakespeare book, which to me also falls under poetry. This is one of my free library finds during our base library closing (you can read about it in my Death of a Library post), and found myself wondering how old this book is, as it appears to have been well loved.
It is a Modern Library copy of The Comedies of Shakespeare, but oddly does not have a copyright date anywhere to be seen. I have done a ton of searching online today to try and figure this out, with not much luck. This is a listing on Amazon for a used copy that appears to have a dust jacket that was similar to the one I have. I removed it and tossed it though, as it was pretty yucky, being a very old library book and all. That adhesive on the tape they use on the dust jackets looks like it gets pretty nasty after a few years. This listing says it is a 1959 edition, however, I think that may be wrong. I found a lot of listings in Etsy for these old books, and the ones that look like they would be from the same line are listed as being copies from the 1930's or early 1950's.
On the inside title page, near the binding, the library seemed to write the date the book was received and put into their system, as well as some other cataloguing information. The date written in pencil on this book is September 10, 1958. So I think that makes the 1959 date impossible. So, who knows? It is an old book, probably the oldest book I own, I think. I have owned older in the past, but don't currently own them anymore. I find it super interesting that this book has no date anywhere.
Most versions I was finding online had a small date running across the top of this page, which is completely blank on my copy. It is quite perplexing. Were books originally published in the early 1900's without copyright dates printed? I learned that Modern Library started printing books in 1917. Anyone else have a book in their collection without any date? I'd be curious to hear about it!
I do love how incredibly worn this book is. I can just imagine how many people borrowed this book and chuckled through Shakespeare's comedies. Though I have no idea if they are truly funny, I've only read a few of his tragedies. I suppose I should give these a try at some point. I am a tad perplexed at all the random words underlined in red. Ship, mistress, kind, gentle, friend. Weird!  For today though, after all my researching, I am wanting to check out a few of the other poetry books I picked up at my base library during their closing.
 UPDATE: I did find a great article online here, that has helped me to pinpoint this edition to have been published between 1939 and 1962. Since the date written inside from the library is 1958, I would say then that this edition was published somewhere between 1939 to 1958. I have yet to find further info to place it more specifically, as they used this same design for 20 years. I have an inner hunch that it was published in 1957, so if that is true, it is pretty close to being a 60 year old book. Imagine that!

Monday, March 23, 2015

a couple of new DVDs

While out today I stumbled upon two DVDs at Michael's Arts and Crafts store, about $5 each. I picked up Tin Man: The Complete Mini-Series Event, as my oldest daughter is in love with The Wizard of Oz story, and has been forever. She reads that book over and over and loves the movie. I have never heard of this mini-series and was immediately intrigued, as it has Zooey Deschanel in it. So, I am thinking it will be quite fun to watch. I also found The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which includes 39 episodes and 4 movies. I am not 100% sure how much I will enjoy these, as I usually tend to opt out of older movies, especially older movies without color, but.... it is Sherlock. I have been a little in love with Sherlock since I was a kid, so $5 for four DVDs filled with Sherlock had me quite curious. There is just something about an awesome detective that can solve anything. I doubt though, that anyone on these DVDs will top Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock; he is by far the best Sherlock ever...

the young woman and the jailer

The young woman cried in the dank, dark room, burying her face into her hands. The bitter cold that surrounded her etched it's way across her bare arms, leaving a trail of goosebumps behind. Her face dripped salty tears as she cried out promises, if only she could find her way out of this mess.
"Quiet in there!" The jailer yelled as he slammed his ring of keys against the rusty bars, the clinking noise wafting to the brick walls where it is immediately stifled.
The woman covered her mouth with her hands as she tried to calm her panic. The sentence of life imprisonment twisted her heart until she could no long recognize it. Please, someone help me, she thoughts to herself, begging for someone, anyone, to remove her from the depressing surroundings that were pulling her to the dirt beneath her feet.
"Here's your sup," the jailor called, pushing a tray through the bars and letting it fall to the ground with a thud. The bread squished beneath the tray as it flipped during the fall, while the cheese rolled towards the woman, collecting dirt along the way. She held her fingers out to catch the rolling cheese, almost in disbelief that her meal was at the center of the ball of dirt.
The jailor laughed as he made his way to a nearby table to gorge himself on roasted chicken. The smell permeated the small dungeon, sending aches and pains through the young woman's abdomen.
Please, someone help me.
She tried to flick off the clumps of dirt collected across the surface of the cheese, realizing there was no way to make it clean again. She brushed as much of the dirt off as she could and popped it into her mouth, whole. She felt the granules of the dirt crunch between her teeth and drying her throat as she swallowed. She made her way to the tray to collect her slice of bread when a grumbling noise grew louder and louder. Soon the ground beneath her was shaking, the bricks rattling in their spots.
"What in the-" the jailor yelled, his voice full of fury and eyeing the young woman.
The young woman bent down to reach for the squished slice of bread as a fire flame rolled through the barred window, the flames engulfing most of the small room, licking the top of her hair.
"Dragon! Yelled the jailor as started to push himself from his small table. A large scaled foot came crashing through the ceiling, landing so close to the table that the debris tumbled towards the jailor, trapping him.
The bars to the young woman's jail cell teetered with a creak as it fell away to a perfect escape.
"Here, over there!" Yelled the jailor, pointing to a metal rod that her skin knew well. "Use that to help pry this off," he pleaded, pushing with all his might against the broken rocks. 
The young woman stood before the helpless jailor as a smile crept across her face. She reached down, grabbed a chicken leg amidst the debris and savagely took a bite as she made her way out of the dungeon and into the bright sunlight.

Written by K, Copyright 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Golden Princess #2

King Ceilan bustled around the desk, huffing.
"But when? When will she be rescued?" He slammed his palms against the table. The table swayed and creaked beneath his strength as the seer's eyes bulged from his sockets.
"I am trying to tell you, Sire. I have been pouring over the stars since The Golden Princess was stolen, waiting for the signs. It is now," he explained, gulping down his bluntness. He then busied himself collecting the papers strewn across his desk, hoping the wonderful news will distract the king from further details.
"Now? Why, this is superb! This is excellent! This is the best news I could have expected!" King Ceilan's tiny feet danced around the room, his round belly knocking papers and books from nearby shelves. His laugh echoed around the room, bouncing from one wall to the other. "But how?"
The seer began to shake, his chin wiggling as he groped for words. "It must be a prince, Your Highness." He stared quietly at the king, blinking his nerves back. He took a few steps backwards until he felt the cold brick wall behind him.
"A prince, you say?" King Ceilan asked, full of disbelief. "A prince?" His voice rose a notch as his mind tried to fathom what the seer has told him. "How do you expect that she might be saved by a prince, when there is no prince to send!" His voice boomed as his hands clenched into fists. Tears watered his eyes as his mind wrestled with this double edged sword.
"Y-y-yes, Sire," the seer stuttered. "A prince must rescue her this year, on her sixteenth birthday, or all will be lost."
King Ceilan's brows furrowed as he stormed out of the small room to conceal his pain, for how can a prince be sent when the last remaining prince was sent five years prior and never seen again?
He buried his face into his hands as his shoulders shuttered with the loss of his daughter once more.

Written by K, Copyright 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

French books I own...

I am kind of in that corner where I feel like casting most hobbies I do aside. I am not sure what to term that? But on occasion (probably more than occasion), when I am feeling bummed about things, I tend to shed all the things I find enjoyment in and just feel incredibly frustrated that I have zero desires to engage in them. I am once again in that place, stuffing all of my crochet hooks and yarns into my closet, finding myself closing every book I open after only a couple of pages of reading. I will admit, I hate it when I feel like this, yet it has become so common over the past several years for me. I think this feeling, in turn, makes me feel even more bummed. So I've been trying to dig out old things around my house that I have really enjoyed in the past, trying to find something to spark my interest. Quite a few years ago I started learning French through the online Rosetta Stone program. It was one of the benefits of being a military wife that I jumped on. I one day just decided I wanted to learn French, so I started. I purchased a English-French dictionary, filled out paperwork and got an account set up to use Rosetta Stone, and just had a blast. Every morning I would make some coffee, sit down at the desktop computer and complete a lesson or two, or review. I actually managed to complete the entire first level of French! I was so incredibly proud of myself, and anxious to continue on. However, that was the point where our lives took a drastic turn. My oldest began showing her first symptoms of Crohn's Disease, which led us down a year long path of trying to get a diagnosis. Once she did receive the diagnosis, it was almost another year before she got an actually decent doctor, unfortunately through the experience of being hospitalized for a week. During all of this, French basically took second seat, or third, maybe even fourth. It was no longer on my radar really. The Rosetta Stone account closed due to not being used for a period of time, and my French dictionary was put aside and long forgotten. Since then, the military no longer uses Rosetta Stone, we no longer have a family working desktop (mainly all laptops at this point), and I cannot drink coffee. Needless to say, I have struggled on and off since, trying to get back into the groove of learning this beautiful language. My distaste for just about anything and everything right now has had me pondering on the idea of taking up learning French again, and possibly creating some sort of a schedule to keep me faithful. I haven't yet decided if I have it in me at the moment, but I dug out all my French books to browse through, and thought I might share them on here. These include books in French or book to aid in learning French:

Larousse Student Dictionary: French-English / English-French
Larousse Student Dictionary. This was my very first book I purchased to aid in my learning. It is thick, filled with a lot of info. It actually has an English-French and French-English side. It has since become not my favorite, as I have discovered it is not set up in the most easy format.
Easy French Reader, Second Edition
Easy French Reader: Second Edition, by R. de Roussey de Sales. This is a lovely book, my first book actually IN French. It is just filled with small little stories, some about fictional characters and some non-fictional. It is basically a beginners French reading book. I was so incredibly surprised and elated when I discovered that I could actually read most of the first few passages!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Star Wars books I own...

I thought I would write up a random post sharing the Star Wars books that I own, just for fun! I remember my family watching the original Star Wars trilogy all the time when I was a kid, and to be honest, I loathed the movies; was not interested in them at all. Several years ago my husband convinced me to watch all 6 movies, my one condition was to watch them in chronological order over how they were produced. I ended up falling in love with the prequel trilogy. It is just full of so much. Since then I've been enjoying Star Wars books, and our entire family plays the online Star Wars The Old Republic game together as well. Believe it or not, even though I pretty much cannot stand playing any form of computer or video games, I have a level 48 Jedi Consular healer. It has been a while since I've played her, but I am actually pretty darn good at healing with her. Anyways, here are the Star Wars books that I currently own (not including Star Wars books owned by my husband or my daughters, these are just mine) :

Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Star Wars, #1)
The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks, of course!

Shopkins Surprise

I am feeling pretty low this week. I am struggling with my own feelings watching my oldest struggling with hers. She is having quite a tough time being on steroids lately, and it just always break my heart to see. Last night at bedtime, I couldn't even find anything I wanted to read in bed, which is I think a huge indication of feeling depressed. I think I tend to just really be unenthusiastic about reading new things and only want to crack open the comfort reads, and then most times I tend to not crack open the comfort reads because I have utilized them so much over the past several years.
Since my hubby is home today, I went out to Toys R Us by myself to get my girls each a surprise, just to help cheer my oldest up and give her a smile. I got them each a 12 pack of Shopkins, weird little collectible toys that I don't understand. I realized last night that Shopkins collecting is my oldest daughter's thing that she is focusing on during this hard time to keep herself afloat, so I decided I would get them each a new pack so that she would have 12 more little foods and cleaning supplies with cute little faces to add a little more brightness to her collection. Needless to say, they were well received. I also picked up quite a few more packs for their Easter baskets while they were readily available.
Today I might start The Count of Monte Cristo, if I am feeling up to it. If not, I may be cracking open Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. But most of the books I have been dipping into lately are probably on hold for a bit until I feel up to reading them again. Blah.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A St. Patrick's Day Book Tag

1. Green. Find a book with shamrock green on the cover.
The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. Look at all that beautiful green (which by the way, has been my favorite color my entire life).
2. Leprechauns. Find a book with tiny people on the cover.
Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings by Jonathan Swift. I lucked out on this one. So many teeny tiny people!

3. Treasure. Find a book that displays things that you treasure on the cover.
You Better Knot Die by Betty Hechtman. Yarn and some beautifully crocheted snowflakes...need I say more?

4. Dancing. Find a book that shows some dancing on the cover.
Le Petit Soldat De Plomb, or The Little Tin Soldier in French. I actually cannot find the author of this book anywhere. But what a pretty little dancing ballerina on the cover!

5. Irish. Find a book whose cover reminds you of the Irish.
The Celtic Quest, Edited by Jane Lahr. Celtic includes Irish, right? This is an oversized coffee table type of book filled with wondrous things!
If you want to participate, simply copy/paste the questions below into your own post. Leave a link in your post to credit me for creating this book tag, and leave a link in the comments below to your post so that I can check it out, and have a happy St. Patrick's Day!

1. Green. Find a book with shamrock green on the cover.
2. Leprechauns. Find a book with tiny people on the cover.
3. Treasure. Find a book that displays things that you treasure on the cover.
4. Dancing. Find a book that shows some dancing on the cover.
5. Irish. Find a book whose cover reminds you of the Irish.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Divergent book review

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I finally finished! I basically was forcing myself to get through it so that I could write a proper review. Well, this is a bit of a conflicted review. I was inspired to read this book after enjoying the movie. The plot is pretty creative, and I really love it, however, I think the author kind of missed a great opportunity here. For me, the author focused too much on the parts of this story that shouldn't have been so prominent throughout the novel, which basically ruined it for me. I didn't want to read 300 pages of teens beating each other up for practice, the inner workings of a brooding teen that basically shuns all forms of human contact, and an endless obsession with tattoos and piercings. I am not going to lie, it was weird. You could not go an entire chapter without reading something about a tattoo or a piercing. At one point I found myself just wishing that the author would just get a tattoo and be done with it. I felt that the book was going nowhere up until about the last 100 pages, and I'm sorry Veronica Roth, but that doesn't make for a good book. I am so sad to give this book only 2 stars, because I had such high hopes for the premise of the novel. This is probably the first time I have ever said that the movie is better than the book. There were times I was reading the book excited for a part that I knew was coming from having seen the movie, only to discover that all those good parts were not present in the novel. The technology was more fleshed out in the movie, the human interactions made more sense in the movie, and Tris was really a lot more likeable character in the movie. Honestly, I am much more impressed at the creative ideas used within the movie. I will eventually read the other two books in the series, maybe, but only because I actually purchased the entire trilogy in hardcover.

View all my reviews

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Golden Princess #1

They call me The Golden Princess, though I am nothing so beautiful to be honored with such a name. My hair isn't even that pretty bright golden color that most princes fawn over, but is instead a dirty brown, like a wash rag that has been used to clean off the muddy hooves of a horse. Even so, all who know of me call me The Golden Princess, though my real, long forgotten name is Adelaide.
Why do they call me The Golden Princess? It is suppose to be a gift, bestowed upon me by the great dragon, Bellan. She visited my parents castle just after I was born, breathing fire into the window that overlooked my crib. This wasn't just any dragon fire, but a magic fire, given as a gift. She told my parents that the given flame will make me valuable in my kingdom, bringing my kingdom into prosperity.
But I have not been in my kingdom for years, stolen from my crib that night, whisked away into the darkness. Here I sit in this dungeon, as I have for the past 16 years, on my birthday, wondering when I will be rescued.  

Written by K, Copyright 2015

I could feel something stirring...

I could feel something stirring within me, some sort of change, rooted deep in my bones. I watched my finger nails growing longer before my eyes, reaching far past the tips of my fingers, my fingers that are now pale in the glow of the moon.
My mind began to panic. I felt something wet dripping down the side of my neck. I swiped the pads of my fingers across my neck, realizing that it was blood. I smeared the sticky substance between my fingers in wonderment.
My mouth began to hurt, my teeth aching deep into my jawbone. I cried out in pain as my fingers felt my canine teeth growing sharper, longer. I began to cry, tears streaming down my face and blurring my vision as my mind pieced together what was before me. I wailed out into the dark night as my body seethed with hunger, a desire that could not be stifled. I took off through the trees, my heart breaking with every step, as I raced towards the  distant laughter of my family.

Written by K, Copyright 2015


This flash fiction piece was written in response to the prompt marriage provided by The One-Minute Writer.

I walked carefully, slowly down the isle, all eyes on me. I could feel the lacing of my dress tugging beneath every step I took, my fingers delicately crossing beneath the bouquet. I watched the man standing at the end of the isle, picking at his fingernails. His hair stuck up in all directions, most likely from rolling out of bed to make it here in time. I wondered if he had even brushed his teeth.
I was soon standing across from him. He watched me, blinking his eyes several times. He smiled, but a goofy smile that turned my stomach. I instantly looked to my mother who was seated in the first row, surrounded by guards. She knew my look was to double check that I absolutely had to go through with this, and she nodded her reassurance. I knew the dire need for me to marry this unwanted prince, I knew what it meant for my kingdom. I held out my shaking hand to allow for him to slip on the ring. It was a tad snug, sticking to my skin as he pushed it up my finger with more force. Finally, with my finger aching like a wild a pig stuffed into a dress, I gazed down at the ring that would mark my hand for the rest of time, covered in black speckles.

Written by K, Copyright 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

weekend reads and teeny tiny mini people

I'm sure it is not too much of a surprise to hear that this weekend I will be reading a bit from Gulliver's Travels, The Count of Monte Cristo, and possibly Dracula. I started reading Gulliver's Travels last night, out of pure curiosity, and am very drawn in. So far I find it intriguing, yet perplexing. His discovery on the island he is stranded on is very interesting, but his actions are perplexing me, making me want to understand this Gulliver more. I am thoroughly enjoying the idea about an island inhabited by a bunch of teeny tiny people the size of our fingers. It brings me back to my childhood when I loved watching The Littles on TV, and marveling at the idea of little teeny tiny people living alongside us. For me, this story reads a bit like a fairy tale. I think I have said that a lot recently about books! But for me, a classic characteristic of fairy tales is just things happening or relationship occurring just because, without explanation or details. In certain books, of course, can be a sign of poor writing, but in others (which I seem to be discovering a lot lately) whose plot and writing hold it up, are to me, reminiscent of fairy tales. I am actually enjoying Jonathan Swift's writing style.
If I can pull myself away from Gulliver's Travels, I will start The Count of Monte Cristo back up. I peeked in the two editions I have and realized the chapters are all different, so I think I need to just start over. That makes me a little bummed! But I will get over it. I am feeling quite intimidated to pick up this book though from the size, but once I force myself to just crack it open, I will be good! I am also still interested in continuing on with Dracula, but not certain if I will pick it up again this weekend or not.


Lately I have been pausing when I look at my oldest, feeling as though her cheeks are becoming slightly more round. It kind of wrenches my heart when I notice this, as it is due to her being on high doses of steroids. Even though it is very subtle, it brings my heart back to a time when she was several years younger, on steroids, with a very swollen face. These moments that bring me back to those memories, in a way, take my breath away for a just a second, and cause my eyes to tear up. I of course, am well trained to blink fast and push those thoughts quickly away to continue on in my day.
I think that is what it means to be a mother with a sick child. To be strong enough to watch your child experience terrible things, and to keep yourself together until you are alone in the shower, your cries unheard over the spray of the water. To be that pillar, that unphased strength in times of great need. Seeing the hint of chubbier cheeks has had my heart on edge.
This has had me contemplating the heart of another mother I know who also has a daughter that is sick. I know so deeply that mother-daughter bond, that love that seems to reach all parts of your being, never to be shaken. I also know how deeply that allows the pain and grief to settle. I know that when your child is hurting and in a place where you feel like your hands are tied behind your back, you want people to simply know. I know from experience how important it is to spread the knowledge and awareness of what today's sick children go through. I know what that means for these children, and I know the difference it can make.
So, I thought I would take some time this weekend to share a bit about this mother's beautiful daughter, Tori. She was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma at age 13, through the discovery of a mass the size of a baseball localized on her 5th rib. Ewing's Sarcoma is a primary bone cancer that effects children and adolescents. It is rare, accounting for only 1% of all childhood cancers, and is a very aggressive cancer that needs to be treated aggressively. Please click here or here to learn more about Ewing's Sarcoma. If you would like to learn more about Tori, please click here to view a Facebook page dedicated to sharing her journey. If you would like to help aid this family during this most difficult time, please click here to learn more about how you can help. 

One of Tori's drawings.
 I will have a link in my right sidebar for the rest of the month of March that will take you to the Facebook page that is dedicated to Tori's journey, so that you can easily follow along. And please remember to let those around you who are also suffering know that you care about them, it can sometimes mean the world to them!

Friday, March 13, 2015

An unabridged The Count of Monte Cristo....finally!

Today was our family day, which consisted of a small road trip to a nearby town. There is apparently a Tiger Direct store that is having a liquidation sale, and my hubby had been needing some computer parts, so we figured, why not? We also discovered that just beside the Tiger Direct was a giant used book store called 2nd & Charles. Of course I had to stop in there. Our girls and I shopped in the book store while my hubby computer shopped, and it was totally awesomeness! That is definitely a store I would love to go to by myself someday, browsing through the endless isles of books. But, as I am a momma, with two girls that would get completely bored, that means I spent most of the time browsing through kids books to help them find some books they'd like.

I did, however, plan before hand to try and seek out a couple of books I've been wanting. And....I am super excited to say that I found ONE copy of an unabridged The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas! It is truly one beast of a book, weighing in at a whopping 1,462 pages.
I have to say, I am a little intimidated to start this book, but very happy to finally have it. Now I can restart the book and continue on to discover what happens to Dantes. It might take me quite a while to completely get through though, especially with my constant book hopping lately. This was a new book, priced $14.00, though it was a tad used looking, but I think that was probably due to it sitting on their shelf for a long time. I was happy to pay the $14 anyways. I cannot believe the difference in the unabridged version and the abridged version. That is so hard to believe how much of the story has been cut away!
I also finally picked up a copy of The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I have been pining over this book on Amazon for probably a good six months or more. It is a retelling of King Arthur and Camelot, through the women in the story. I am really interested to read this book, though I am not yet sure if I want to read through the original tale first. I am having an inner debate about this. But, it will be a while before I start this. I really would like to get into quite a few other books before I tackle this one, as it is another gigantic book, almost 900 pages. This was a used book and was priced $5.75.
My last book I purchased is Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings by Jonathan Swift. I'm not entirely sure why, but I have been really wondering about this book since my last book store visit. I was curious as to how fun of a read it would be, but our local book store only had one, pretty terrible looking copy. I found a ton of different editions of this book today. I chose this specific one because I liked the cover, and because it included a bunch of other stories and poems by Jonathan Swift. I am trying to be more adventurous in my reading and pick up things that I normally don't read, hoping to find some new favorites. I have high hopes! I believe this was also a new book, but was still only $4.95. So, I didn't think it was too bad, especially considering I left that wondrous store with only 3 books, when my heart wanted to grab them all! I was so tempted to get a nice hardcover edition the Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, they had quite a few used ones available, but I refrained. I am hoping I don't regret that! But I definitely have enough books for some time now, especially now that I have my hands on the unabridged The Count of Monte Cristo. I will be busy for a long while!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

5 random books

Today is once again, Top 5 Wednesday over at that Goodreads group. The prompt is to share your top 5 books that made you think. That is a little silly for me, as I am an intense thinker through just about every book that I read, and most books prompt me to look up more info about something. I guess I am a bit of an intense reader, which I think in turn makes me picky! But if I were to list my top 5 books that made me think, it would just end up being a list that you have already seen before, mainly consisting of my favorites. So I thought I would share the top 5 random books I own that I like.
The Complete Guide to Chakras: Unleash the Positive Power Within
The Complete Guide to Chakras Vintage Edition by Ambika Wauters. Once while my mother was visiting us, we of course went to the only local bookstore for a bit of shopping, as she is a book lover as well. At that time, the bookstore we had in our town was much bigger, and was more of a warehouse that sold remainder books and all kinds of things. I found this gem and my mother offered to buy it for me! It is really a beautiful book, filled with a lot of chakra info, categorized by the 7 main chakras. It does not hold a lot of information, being less than 150 pages, but it gives a rundown of a lot of basic things. I refer to this book a lot when I am trying to figure something out or help someone. It gives me a bit of guidance to look further to pinpoint the problem. There is also a lot of info about how to help sooth your own chakras, such as through gemstones, aromatherapy, things like that. I relay that info a lot to people to help them help themselves. 
Merriam Webster's Pocket Rhyming Dictionary
Merriam-Webster's Pocket Rhyming Dictionary. I utilize this book a lot when I am writing poetry. It is just a fun little book to have.
The Element Encyclopedia of Vampires
The Element Encyclopedia of Vampires by Theresa Cheung. This book is pretty awesome. It is huge, filled with so many things. I can just sit down and flip from section to section, reading about strange legends, creatures, historical factual moments, and it is never-ending, all about vampires. There is actually some surprising things I learned in this book.
The Rough Guide to The Universe by John Scalzi. First off, why does it seem I own so many books that are not listed in Goodreads? I have to keep using Amazon, which doesn't make sense if Goodreads is owned by Amazon. I wish they would fix this! Anyways, this is basically what the title says. Full of info (that is probably old, as it was first published in 2003), black and white photos throughout, with a section of color photos in the middle of the book. I don't know why, but I found this in a bookstore once when we were in Williamsburg, Virginia, and I liked it. Every now and then I get in a "space" mood, and feel like learning something. This book satisfies that for me. 
Chicken Soup for the Ocean Lover's Soul: Amazing Sea Stories and Wyland Artwork to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit (Chicken Soup for the Soul)
Chicken Soup for the Ocean Lover's Soul. This is honestly the only Chicken Soup book I own, and the only Chicken Soup book I have ever read from. I frequently get in moods where I want an ocean tale, just cannot get enough of them, even though I don't own many and struggle to find ones that I really enjoy (I think I am just terrible at discovering the right books for me). I once received a gift card for Barnes and Noble from my mother for my birthday, and I was in an ocean reading mood, so I ordered this book, along with two other ocean reads (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Eyes of the Amaryllis). It is filled with tons of stories that relate to the ocean, some I have yet to still read. The stories are sweet and uplifting and remind the reader of the connection of all things on this planet.

And that is 5 random books that I own that I like that I thought might be fun to share! What random books do you have that might be surprising to know?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

first impressions of Dracula

I have been enjoying Dracula by Bram Stoker all day. I am about on page 70 and have been enjoying it quite a bit. I feel so terrible for Jonathan Harker being trapped in The Count's castle like a prisoner, and really his accounts are quite eerie to read. The novel so far doesn't read very scary, but if you honestly put yourself into Jonathan's shoes, that would all be quite terrifying! I have just moved past the point where it is not only Jonathan's journal entries, but the novel is now also including letters back and forth between Mina and her good friend Lucy. I was a little turned off at this point, simply because I don't much like, or appreciate, the way the women are written, at least at this point. There is a lot of talk about how highly men are in their eyes, how much a wife should always be completely honest with their husband and hold no secrets, how unworthy they are for these men that are randomly purposing, and other such things. It is a little off-putting, even though in my mind I am aware that this novel was written by a man during a period of time that those ideas were probably forcefully taught to women, but it is still off-putting all the same. Right now these views are mainly expressed through Lucy, so I suppose the novel might pan out to show that is just her personality, which I hope. I am not sure I can ever say that I love a novel with women that act like that prancing through the pages, worshipping men in a very degrading and weird way for me. I am anxious to continue on the story, as the entire beginning part with Jonathan and The Count have me thoroughly engrossed in what will happen, but I will be honest, once Mina and Lucy were introduced, I found it slightly jarring and was soon after putting the book down. Hopefully I will be able to push through that at least long enough to see if it will be a continuing theme or not.
All I can think of is...poor Jonathan! And Dracula is truly quite a creepy thing!


I have had King Arthur in my mind lately, most likely because I finally found a version of the tale that pleased me. I really just need to stop everything else I keep reading and start on that book! It has had me think a lot about the Merlin show that I so much enjoyed. My husband and I discovered this show maybe last summer or the summer before? We binge watched all seasons and just absolutely loved it. All 5 seasons are available on Netflix, so I decided to start watching them again. While the girls are busy with school work I think I might indulge myself and watch an episode or two! Have any of my blog visitors watched this show? Did you like it?

Dracula Covers

I cracked open Dracula last night, starting with a bit of the introduction portion, which had me looking a few things up online about the history of this book. I discovered that the very first printing of Dracula was in 1897, which was bound in a yellow cloth with red lettering, which can be found here. There was another printing four years later with a dust jacket that had the very first image on the front of a Dracula book, the only image that was approved by Bram Stoker himself. You can see that cover here. How interesting! I was then curious to look up more about the covers that have been used for this classic, as there were two very different copies with such intriguing covers at my local bookstore. You can easily see that this is a book that has had such a variety of covers through the years by just a simple Google search! You can click here to get an overview of how many different covers there has been. I think that this story is such a tale that inspires so many different book covers that create that eerie creepy feeling that is riddled through Bram Stoker's famous tale. I am hoping that I will be able to actually get through this book at some point, to finally say that I have read the original Dracula tale that has been the inspiration for so many vampire stories since. I do wish I had at least taken a photo of the other Dracula book I found in my local bookstore, it was strangely creepy and beautiful. I have not seen one like it before, with Dracula laying in a grave half exposed from the ground, surrounded by flowers in a garden. It terrified my youngest, so she insisted I choose the other. Next time I go there I will see if I can find it to snap a photo!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

a beautiful quote I will always remember

The Sharing Knife:  Beguilement and Legacy (Volumes 1 & 2)
Since I am not reading The Count of Monte Cristo for a while, I have returned to The Sharing Knife, which is a beautiful hardcover edition of volumes 1 and 2. I am currently reading the first book, Beguilement. The jury is still out on this book on what I think of it, but I am enjoying it so far. I am growing to like the author's writing style, and have found a few quotable moments within the pages. This book definitely skates along that line of what I want and don't want to read. For example, I am not much for reading books with deeply detailed intimate scenes, or things such as rape. So far, there has been an attempted rape, and the musings of lustful thoughts in a man that I could do without. However, I did not cast aside the book after the rape scene, simply because Lois McMaster Bujold handled it well in my mind, and her hero rescued the female character before it actually took place. It was literally moments away from occurring. So I've read on. The lustful thinking was not too terrible, and the character shook them off and continued on with his day before author got too detailed for my liking. I am not yet sure if these choices are done so purposely, to keep the book from that place, or if it is just the start of much more to come. If the author stays skating on the line, it may turn out to be a book I will thoroughly enjoy...if she skates over that line, I probably will be rethinking this series. This is definitely not a book for a younger audience though.
The fantasy part of this book is pretty heavy. The creatures in the book that pose all the danger are quite tough to grasp, though I think that is in part the author's intention. She "explains" things several times, but very briefly, lightly, and in a way that leaves you just confused. Eventually there is a moment (too far into the book) where the creatures are properly explained to a point that I was finally understanding what was going on to the extent that I prefer in a novel. I can see the authors reasons, but I was not a huge fan of it. Anyways... once the author does reveal the information in a proper manner, I actually love what is going on and find it super creative.
I don't mean to be too critical, as it really is an interesting story with some interesting characters. I did discover a beautiful quote last night that I was shocked to find within this book. It occurs when Dag is trying to comfort Fawn who has been traumatized and is pretty much breaking down crying:
"Think of something beautifully useless."
Her face came up, and she sniffed in confusion. "What?"
"There are a lot of senseless things in the world, but not all of them are sorrows. Sometimes- I find- it helps to remember the other kind. Everybody knows some light, even if they forget when they're down in the dark. Something"- he groped for a term that would work for her- "everyone else thinks is stupid, but you know is wonderful."
She lay still against him for a long time, and he started to muster another explanation, or perhaps abandon the attempt as, well, stupid, but then she said, "Milkweed."
I almost cried while reading this in the book. Wow! This is exactly what I have come to understand in my own life as well when I find myself deeply despaired, or in a depressed phase. I have even given this advice to others that have come to me when they feel the same. Sometimes you just need to stop and think about something that you love in that moment, no matter how stupid it is. Find something to do that keeps your mind occupied, no matter how silly it is or how lame it feels. Throw yourself into it. It will save you while you find your way out of the darkness. For me, I did listen to My Antonia by Willa Cather as I tried to fall asleep every night. That helped me keep my mind from my grief at night, but then I still had the days, when I couldn't just pop in ear buds and ignore the rest of the world, sinking into my own. To keep my mind in a more peaceful state during the days of depression, I spent a lot of time flipping through gardening catalogues and dreaming about what kind of a garden I would create if I was living somewhere that I could. I loved flipping through the different flowers, grasses, bushes, plants, and simply marveling at their beauty. Mother Earth is a strong hand when you need one. My mind was in a place that I could do nothing else that I loved, but looking through those catalogues did save me in my days, just as My Antonia saved me in my nights. Stupid? Probably so, giving gardening magazines so much of my time when I don't really have anywhere to have my own garden; reading such a small book for months, struggling to focus on every word. But what Dag says in this quote is true, it does help. And milkweed as an answer is just awesome!

Monday, March 9, 2015

2 new-to-me books for under $5!

While I was out and about with my daughter, we stopped at the local library and then at our local bookstore. I know, wasn't I just there last week? My purpose was to be sure that there was not an unabridged version available of The Count of Monte Cristo (which I was certain there probably wasn't, I would have noticed that beast of a book beside the tiny one I purchased). I was right, there was not one available. While I was there though, I did let my daughters each pick out 2 books, and I myself picked out 2 books. Don't start thinking I am too crazy, as I only spent $13 on the 6 books. I made sure we all only purchased used books, and I also brought a stack of old books we no longer wanted to sell to the bookstore. We received $20 in store credit that can be used to pay for up to half the price of any used books. So my 2 books came to the whopping total of $4.37. Here are the new books I got and why:
The Elfstones of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy #2)
The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks, this specific edition. I absolutely love Star Wars The Phantom Menace, also by Terry Brooks, a large part of that is because of his writing. I love the Star Wars prequel trilogy to begin with, and his writing in The Phantom Menace made me love it even more. He is one of the only present day writers that I think writes really beautifully (him and Cornelia Funke). I was always disinterested in all the other books Terry Brooks writes, but decided today that I really wanted to give one a try. If I end up liking the fantasy world so many of his novels revolve around, it will open up a lot of books for me that I am bound to love. I spent only $1.87 on this novel!
Dracula by Bram Stoker, this specific edition. The back cover of this book is a little beat up, but I am trying to remind myself that I don't need to have the most perfect books to give them a try. I once read a wonderful novel that was a retelling of Dracula from the point of view of Mina, and loved it. Since then I've wanted to read the original. My first go, I was really unimpressed and couldn't finish it, as I despised novels written in journal form. Recently, however, I have enjoyed biographical journals and letters, so I thought I would give this novel another go and see if I think differently now. If I end up loving it, I will most definitely be getting myself a better copy, but for now this beat up copy for only $2.50 will do!

The Count of Monte Cristo....on hold

Well, I am putting The Count of Monte Cristo on hold. I discovered that my version (thought it says nowhere) is an abridged version, and I kind of really despise reading abridged versions for myself. It makes me feel like I am being cheated on a story somehow. My version does not even tell who the translator is, but only mentions who wrote the introduction, which I am assuming must also mean the translator. From what I am understanding, it was standard for this novel to be abridged, I guess it was in a way to control what people were reading. So a ton of chapters were just removed from the novel that I guess someone decided was not appropriate to read, literally removed 20+ chapters, changing the number of pages from over 12,00 pages to about 500 pages (which is what my books is). Can you imagine missing over 700 pages from a story? That seems so incredibly crazy to me. From just reading through some reviews and looking at books, I guess one of the only versions available that is unabridged is translated by Robin Buss, and printed by Penguin Classics. My problem at this point, is the listing on Amazon shows all different kinds of versions if you click on the different styles (hardcover, paperback..), so it is confusing for me to understand which version I would be getting if I order it. Also, what is even more confusing, is that my abridged version is also printed by Penguin Classics. I am so lost! I am thinking this might have to be a book I pick up in person so that I know I am getting the right version, and that may be a while before I am in a bookstore that sells it. So, sadly, The Count of Monte Cristo (or half of The Count of Monte Cristo) is being put back on my shelf because I can't bring myself to read a partial story no matter how much I was loving it. I would rather wait until I have a full copy, to fully enjoy it. I am not sure what it will be like, as this means the style will be a bit different, being translated by different people, and I was really loving this style. I wished it had occurred to me before I purchased this copy that it was a translated works, as I would have done more researching to make sure I was getting a good version. I didn't realize that it wasn't an originally English published novel until I was reading it. Fingers crossed that I will be able to get my hands on an unabridged copy soon and that I will still thoroughly enjoy it! If you know any further information that might help in understanding this translation/abridged/unabridged situation, I would love to hear!

Doc McStuffins playsets review

I was out and about with my daughters and we ended up having over an hour to spare before their dance class, so I just took them to Toys R Us to just browse. Of course browsing in Toys R Us always seems impossible! I ended up getting a couple of things for my daughters, with their promise of cleaning their rooms before being able to open them, and for myself I discovered these cute play sets of Doc McStuffins on clearance for less than $3 each.
I know it is a bit random, but I am always on the look out for adorable little random dolls that I can create some crocheted items for and see what other things I can create for them. I have been wanting a smaller doll like this for a while, but just haven't found any that I wanted to spend the money on. I could handle $2.98. So I got the mini Doc McStuffins set and a few more sets with all her toys and friends (which I thought would be fun to add in the photos of what I crochet for her). She somewhat reminds me of a Polly Pocket (same type of rubbery clothes), but is a teeny bit bigger.
Here are all 4 sets opened up.

Deserted Island Book Tag

I thought it would be fun to create a book tag this morning, and as we are all awaiting lovely Summer to make her appearance, I figured one that might remind of us some warm sun would be appropriate! So here we go...

1. Sand. Shore sands seem to get everywhere, even in places you wouldn't want, leaving that uncomfortable irritating feeling. What book have you read that has left you uncomfortable, whether you finished the book or not?
People of the Longhouse (Iroquois, #1)
People of the Longhouse, by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear. I have been wanting to read this series for a very long time, and at one point finally picked up one to start with. This specific one has some detailed scenes with men raping young girls. I cannot take reading things like that, so it was quickly set aside and sold back to the bookstore.
2. Sun. The summer sun always feels so warm and cozy on your skin. What book have you read that made you feel warm and cozy?
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. This, again, is a book I did not finish, as my copy was terrible and printed too close into the binding of the book. It eventually became too difficult to read and had to set it aside. I have yet to replace it with a better one, but I always remember the beginning chunk of this book, and how the author describes the town during the winter months. For some reason, curled up in bed during the winter reading that wonderful writing describing the cold, made me feel warm and cozy. But then again, I've lived in Alaska and find that beautiful.
3. Food. I'd imagine that it can be tough finding food on a deserted island, making what you do find to eat all the more appreciated, fulfilling, and life sustaining. What book have you read that you found to be fulfilling or life sustaining?
My Antonia / O Pioneers!
My Antonia, by Willa Cather. I listened to an audiobook of this story while I was going through a really hard time in my life, and Antonia was a bit of a life saver.
4. Change. Obviously, being stranded on a desert island would be life changing. What book have you read that changed your life?
The Secret Magdalene
The Secret Magdalene by Ki Longfellow. This book changed my life in a sense that it opened my eyes to fully understanding that I needed to question what was right for me in terms of my own spirituality, and that it was okay for me to stray from where I was to walk my own path. I have been much rewarded in my life since.
5. Sea. If you were stranded on a deserted island, you would literally be surrounded by the waters of the sea. What book have you read that reminds you of the ocean whenever you read or think about it?
Grayson, by Lynne Cox. This is a short little book that is so sweet, and based off a true story. Love it!
6. Magic. To me, the ocean is filled with magic and wonder. We all know tales of mermaids, pirates, the kraken, selkies, and many more. What book have you read that fills you with the magic of the ocean?
The Eyes of the Amaryllis
The Eyes of the Amaryllis, by Natalie Babbitt. This is a very short book, intended for a much younger audience, but I absolutely love it. It is filled with family, lost love, death, ghosts, treasures, and magic! It is definitely a fun read.
7. Comfort. The age old question, if you were deserted on an island, what book would you want to have with you to provide comfort?
I will have to say, this would probably change for me from time to time, depending on what my life is like. Today, I will say Le Morte D'Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table, by Sir Thomas Mallory and translated by Keith Baines. I have yet to read this book, but I have been a bit in love with these tales since watching the Merlin TV show, and have a feeling that I will really love this book, and all that relate to King Arthur.
How about you? What books have you read that fit these seven categories? I would love to read about it! If you do this tag on your blog, please leave a link to credit me in your post, and please leave a link to your blog post in the comments so I can check it out! Here is an easy copy/paste for you:
Deserted Island Book Tag
1. Sand. Shore sands seem to get everywhere, even in places you wouldn't want, leaving that uncomfortable irritating feeling. What book have you read that has left you uncomfortable, whether you finished the book or not?
2. Sun. The summer sun always feels so warm and cozy on your skin. What book have you read that made you feel warm and cozy?
3. Food. I'd imagine that it can be tough finding food on a deserted island, making what you do find to eat all the more appreciated, fulfilling, and life sustaining. What book have you read that you found to be fulfilling or life sustaining?
4. Change. Obviously, being stranded on a desert island would be life changing. What book have you read that changed your life?
5. Sea. If you were stranded on a deserted island, you would literally be surrounded by the waters of the sea. What book have you read that reminds you of the ocean whenever you read or think about it?
6. Magic. To me, the ocean is filled with magic and wonder. We all know tales of mermaids, pirates, the kraken, selkies, and many more. What book have you read that fills you with the magic of the ocean?
7. Comfort. The age old question, if you were deserted on an island, what book would you want to have with you to provide comfort?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

quotes from The Count of Monte Cristo

I have been thoroughly enjoying The Count of Monte Cristo this afternoon. There is a lot of politics and intrigue going on in the book, and I have to admit, most of it kind of goes over my head. I am really terrible at following those types of things in books, especially when it revolves around French history. It isn't really affecting my enjoyment of the novel though, but I am thinking I should really take some time to look up a bit of French history. This book reads a lot like a fairy tale, reminds me of The Princess Bride story and The Prisoner of Zenda. It is really just written in a super fun way. Here are some quotes for you to get a feel: 

"...at other times she would sit on the beach listening to the moaning of the sea, as eternal as her grief, and ask herself whether it would not be better to leap down into the abyss below than to suffer this cruel alternative of a hopeless suspense."
'"When I was still a man, strong and free, commanding other men, I have seen the heavens open, the sea rage and foam, the storm rise in a patch of sky and like a gigantic eagle beat the two horizons with its wings. Then I felt that my ship was but a weak refuge from the tempest, for did it not shiver and shake like a feather in the hand of a giant? ..."'
I just find this book filled with so many things going on, there is never a dull moment. I am not even 100 pages in, and it is filled with despair, longing, love, jealousy, and injustice. Love it! I am finding this to be quite a good surprise!

the little prince

This post is written in response to a prompt for Quote Quest from The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls. Here is the prompt:
"It's too early in the day for killing princes."
This quote was originally from the movie Troy, spoken by the character Achilles.

The prince whined from the table, clattering his spoon against his plate. "Where's my quail? I asked for quail today! I demand quail!" He continued to holler across the room as his feet kicked around, hidden beneath the lacey tablecloth. Steam rose from the freshly carved turkey before him, plump red berries surrounding the platter. The little prince formed his mouth into a tight pucker, frowning. He crossed his arms over his chest in defiance, refusing to eat his dinner that was void of quail.
"But, Sir," stuttered the cook, who was quickly pulled from the kitchen to fend for himself before the prince.
"I want quail!" He demanded again. His father, the king, watched his son's growing fit from across the table, sighing. How will such a child ever grow into being king over the realm? 
The young prince began tossing potatoes at the cook who stood before him, shivering in fright. One of the potatoes bounced off the arm of the cook, bopping the little prince in the head. He began to wail, rubbing the rising bump on his forehead. The guard beside the king immediately withdrew his sword, ready to defend the royal family, even if it was just from a potato.
"There, there," the king told his guard, lightly patting him on the shoulder. "It's too early in the day for killing princes," he playfully added. He quickly rose from his seat and dismissed the cook from the room so that he could speak with his defiant little prince.