My friend Sarah got married this past summer! Whoo hoo! So, naturally, we hopped on a plane and threw ourselves on her family's hospitality for a week and a half.
The last time I visited England I was twelve, I still remember that trip clearly, it's one of my favourite memories, and I'd vowed to return one day - it looks like God decided to oblige me ;) This time we met up with Twimper, Jake, Vertimyst and Bethany.
I came back with a lot of inspiration, I could spend my whole life there and have no end to it. There is so much history known and unknown.
We spent a day in London and another in Bath, the rest of the time we explored Abingdon and Oxford. I had no idea there were so many universities there! I always assumed that "Oxford University" was one institution, it turns out it is many under one title. We were fortunate to have a friend who works at Oxford University Press and she took us on a tour of some of the universities. We got to see where Tolkien taught and walked.
I felt like there were more tourists in England than Englishmen.
My favourite part of our trip was Avbury. It's a stone circle older than Stone Henge (they estimate about six to nine thousand years old), but not as large. When we visited it was sunset and there was a warm wind blowing. In order to see the stones you have to open gates and walk through fields filled with grazing sheep. It's created a brewing story in me.
The countryside in England was so green - my Favourite colour :D
The picture below is at the Roman Baths. I wish I could sit in that rounded window room and write for hours.
In this post
I mentioned a book review I was going to write. Here it is, better late
As I said before, I picked this book up at Chapters. I
hadn't heard of it before. Normally I only buy books that I know of from a friend or read about ahead of time. I sometimes forget that there is a good reason for that.
Synopsis: Taya soars over Ondinium on metal wings. She is an icarus — a courier
privileged to travel freely across the city’s sectors and mingle
indiscriminately among its castes. But even she can’t outfly the web of
terrorism, loyalty, murder, and intrigue that snares her after a daring
mid-air rescue. Taya finds herself entangled with the Forlore brothers,
scions of an upperclass family: handsome, brilliant Alister, who sits on
the governing council and writes programs for the Great Engine; and
awkward, sharp-tongued Cristof, who has exiled himself from his caste
and repairs clocks in Ondinium’s lowest sector. Both hide dangerous
secrets, in this city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart…
What I liked: What first attached me to this book was the cover and then the back cover's synopsis. I love steampunk and this book seemed to promise a good dose of that.
The story was interesting, it had some cool ideas; like Taya's clockwork wings and the way the city's society worked. It was interesting how computers and steampunk were combined.
Pagliassotti does a good job of assuming her audience is not dumb, her tone is not condescending or overly explanitory.
What I Didn't Like: The first page was a bit overwhelming: there was a lot of information about the society and names given all at once. Once it plunged into the action scene it became interesting.
The book is aimed at a teen and YA audience: I found it in the teen section and the story is very much geared towards what that age group would be interested in; however, the main character is mentioned as being about thirty years old. That doesn't have to be a big deal, in fact, it can be an opportunity to create a role model for younger readers. However, I took issue with the opportunity Pagliassotti missed; she has Taya and Alister's intentions toward each other as being completely recreational and not at all serious. Pointless flirting is portrayed as fun and harmless, and Taya considers sleeping with Alister with clear indications of no commitment. It bothers me that Pagliassotti portrays these ideas to teens who are looking around for an indication of what relationships should be like. Her message is: commitment-free, sexual relationships can be fun and don't really mean anything. That kind of thinking can be damaging.
There is a whole lot of blushing going on in the book. Taya blushes when
she wakes up, blushes when she eats, blushes when she walks, blushes
when talking to both the love interests, and blushes when anything
important happens. Alister also joins in on the blush-fest. I might be
exaggerating a little bit, but only a little bit...
At one point the story lulled and seemed to promise the end, only to have a whole other story line appear and the story start up again. In the meantime, I got bored.
The Verdict: One only needs to see the difference between the amount of "What I liked" in comparison to "what I didn't like" to know the answer to that. I was disappointed. Though the story was okay, the morals sucked and, in the end, I got rid of the book.
Following my previous post: link in which I confessed my love of dragons, I decided to do another post about them. In honour of this occasion I will post a scene from my book, Silver Blood.
she says; a screecher, she says. Well I’ll have her know I have
earned a living off of my profession!” Zray mumbled to himself as
he stumbled along through the woods with two spear-points at his
sun had just risen and the light was filtering down through the tree
tops to the forest floor around him. Zray tripped over a root and
mumbled, “I happen to have sung for The Duke of Gasbal and he
complimented me on my pluckiness.”
you just be quiet!” one of the guards, a man without hair on his
head, snapped at him.
hurry up and get this done with,” the other guard spoke fearfully,
“I do not like the look of this place, whole bands of soldiers have
disappeared from these woods.”
do not suppose it was because of dragons, do you? Because that would
just be ridiculous…” Zray's voice trailed off when he saw a huge
scaly claw a few feet away. His eyes rose up very slowly to see the
gigantic creature before him. Zray let out a sudden exclamation of
surprise and took a step backwards. He tripped over his own feet and
found himself on his back staring up at the largest meat-eating
animal he had ever seen.
The dragon was brown with a gold sheen to his
scales and had enormous, black, cat-like eyes. The dragon brought his
head very close to Zray’s and studied the minstrel with one of his
penetrating, onyx eyes.
threw his arms up over his face to protect himself and yelled out
franticly, “I’ll give you anything you want! Please do not eat
me! I promise I taste terrible!”
needn’t tell me that,
I can see it for myself,” the dragon sniffed and pushed Zray with
his snout. Zray’s eyes grew wide when he saw six coloured dragons
standing behind the first. The minstrel got to his feet and brushed
the dust off his coat. He laughed rudely when he saw Sisinta’s
guards backing away fearfully from the largest dragons they had ever
seen. As the two soldiers scattered in opposite directions, the
brown dragon standing over Zray let out a roar and spoke with a
thunderous voice, “Catch them! We cannot let them get away and give
away our presence!” Two dragons streaked forward and pinned both
soldiers down in mid run.
Zray put his hands on his hips and yelled after
them, “So now
you run! Cowards! Why are you afraid of a few little dragons? I bet
you wish you had them
on your side, eh?” Zray let out a yelp when he suddenly found
himself abruptly pulled off his feet and hanging in the air by the
brown dragon’s claws. Zray started yelling and kicking wildly and
he let out a scream when, for a split second, he was thrown through
the air and suddenly caught hold of by the dragon’s tail.
proper behaviour for a dragon!” Zray shouted while beating the
dragon’s tail with his fists. The brown scales were thick and the
dragon just chuckled at the minstrel’s futile attempts. The dragon
spread his majestic wings and leapt into the sky followed by the other
dragons, including the two carrying the screeching soldiers in their
I thought you guys might like to see pictures of my dragon knickknacks. Here they are:
This is a set of tea coasters my friend Sarah made and sent all the way from England.
One is for my husband, one for my daughter and one for me.
This one is my favourite. I found it in a shop while visiting my home town. It cost more than I'd normally spend but I liked it so much that I figured it was worth it. It used to be only painted grey, but I took some nail polish and painted the highlights.
I don't remember exactly how I came by these but I use them all the time when I have tea. I like my tea...and my spoons!
This was a gift from my family, it's snake-like but I like to think of it as a Chinese dragon. The little hammer is used to hit the bell.
This was a pendent I picked up at a garage sale. I added the beads.
This is my husbands. I received his permission to post a picture of it here :)
Do you have any knickknacks that you are particularly fond of? I'd like to see pictures! Post a link in the comments.
This week I was at Chapters with a friend and picked up a book which I managed to read over two days despite food art and changing diapers. I'll be posting a book review on it soon.
This evening I finished a picture I started a long while back. I have a lot of improving to do on my shading but I still like this one. And just so you all know, dragons are awesome; they are my favourite fantasy creature. This is a lightning dragon from my Silver Blood series.
Whenever I visit someone's house I sneak over to their bookcases and peruse. I find that my bookcases make our apartment; they are what put people at ease and give it a cosy feeling. I feel slightly guilty that I haven't read all the books I have, and that I keep buying more than I have room for. However, my husband quickly drowns out any complaining on the subject with; "You can NEVER have too many books!" And I believe him because of course he's right. I do try to get rid of a book if I've read it and hated it, or read it and liked it and would never read it again. An Ode to Bookcases
There is something about a bookcase that makes me curious, Something about an empty one that makes me furious. There is something about a bookcase that demands attention, Something about a bookcase deserves mention. I swear that my poems are some times clever! If any of you have bookcases I would love to see pictures of them (filled with books of course >_> ). Link me to them if you want me to admire them too! My bookcases:
The two on the right were a birthday present to myself this past October.
Starting from the left: historical fiction and middle-grade fiction, science fiction, and mystery.
This is my favourite shelf: fiction <3
Even my daughter has a book shelf. You can totally tell she's into reading too.
The top shelf is titled: old-looking books. The last two are the Bible shelves with some classics.
The academic shelf. My husband's English books from university, poetry, plays and at the bottom, info books.