The Interrogation Tag

New blog theme!! *applause*

How was everyone’s month? June was a WONDERFUL month for me. Friends, scribblings, lots of coffee… some amateur photography attempts…

Anyway. I was tagged by Emma at Real and Official Matters, a happy little blog that’s just taking off. Thanks for the tag, friend!

I present The Interrogation Tag.

 

Get To Know Me:

1. What are 3-5 little known facts about yourself?

  • I really, REALLY want a wolf. Like, for a companion. And it would be the coolest thing EVER if we could talk to each other. So basically a telepathic, weirdly intelligent wolf friend (don’t tell my dog I said any of this).
  • I’m still adjusting to being a young adult and acting like one… often I’m caught breaking into spontaneous running or jumping.
  • I LOVE singing, but I’m not a fan of my singing voice. So if you get to hear me singing I like/trust you REALLY well… or else I didn’t know you were standing there.

2. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

Oh my. Probably either England or Australia. The accents both places are great, and the Australian animals are really cool. Also, English food. Can’t forget the English food. It’s a toss-up.

3. What are your favorite and least favorite foods?

Ugh, this is hard. Because I’m kind of crazy about most food… I guess five basic foods I really love would be:

  • All things potato. Baked, mashed, boiled, fried. They’re the best.
  • Pizza!!!
  • Cheesecake. Just. Cheesecake.
  • Strawberries (thanks to an obscure allergy I have, they’re – for some inexplicable reason – one of the only two raw fruits I’m able to eat. love these loyal guys).
  • I’m also an insane fan of my mom’s macaroni and cheese
  • You can tell I’m all about the healthy foods, right??

Three basic foods I detest:

  • Blueberry pie/cobbler (i know that is the weirdest thing ever. i give no explanations or excuses).
  • Pork. Ugh.
  • And coleslaw is beyond disgusting.

4.What are some of your hobbies?

Well, I guess writing doesn’t count since I’d like to consider that more of a lifework than a hobby. I enjoy reading, occasional baking, photography, the infrequent arranging of flowers, and Pinterest (yes, pinterest totally counts as a hobby).

5. Tea or Coffee?

COFFEE! Swirled with hazelnut creamer, sometimes cinnamon. But (for the benefit of you outraged tea-lovers out there) several teas I’ve tried have been amazing as well.

 

Bookish Questions:

1. Do you like books or movies better? 

Definitely books, but movies are wonderful as well. Especially movies based on my favorite books. So long as they don’t butcher the storyline too brutally, that is. The 2006 version of Jane Eyre did a pretty great job of adhering to the story… it’s one of my favorite movies.

2. What is your favorite genre to read?

I enjoy a lot of speculative fiction subgenres… fantasy and dystopian, that kind of thing. Ooh, and historical fiction.

3. What are some of your favorite books? 

Ohhh, I have an overwhelming number of favorites. But these are some I never get tired of, in all the times I re-read them:

  • Jane Eyre
  • Ella Enchanted
  • Rilla of Ingleside
  • Magic for Marigold (i first read that one when i was about ten, and have loved it wildly ever since)
  • Little Women
  • Persuasion
  • The Hobbit

And there are so many, many more.

4. A fictional character (or maybe 3) you’d like to be friends with?

Okay. Sorry folks, but I am going to have to make this five. Rilla, from Rilla of Ingleside. Dashti, from Book of a Thousand Days. Calvin O’Keefe from A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels. Maude, from The Misadventures of Maude March. And Ella, from Ella Enchanted.

5. Prettiest book cover that you own.

Probably L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle. The font and cover illustration are lovely.

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Writing Questions:

1. What is your favorite writing snack? 

Umm, I’ll eat ANYTHING when I’m hungry and writing.

2. When did you start writing?

At about six or seven. For the first few years of this I thought I wanted to be a poet, and I still have notebooks filled with my less-than-extraordinary efforts. There were a few that I’ve saved fondly, but I’m DEFINITELY more prose-inclined now.

3.Why do you write?

Ummm. (What am I supposed to say here?) I guess just overall to glorify the Lord, and because I love it. LOVE it. There, that wasn’t so bad. XD

4. What is your favorite genre to write?

I like trying my hand at a lot of styles and genres, but my favorite is probably fantasy. The research is so easy in comparison to historical fiction and other real-world genres. There’s some research that has to be done, but when you’re really and truly not sure about something you can just MAKE IT UP.

And the tag goes to Zane, who helped create these questions and I can tell is going to have a really good time with this. :D

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How was June for you? If you’d like to take this tag and do it yourself, feel free (also comment below to make my day fantabulous).

 

 

 

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The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder and Scarlet

Good afternoon, all! Blogging’s back on track.

Today’s book review is a double feature: The Lunar Chronicles, books #1 and #2.

 

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Cinder, #1 of The Lunar Chronicles

   “Even in the future, the story begins with Once Upon a Time…

   Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…

   Sixteen-year-old Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past and is reviled by her stepmother. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalectic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. Because there is something unusual about Cinder, something others would kill for.”

   This was an amazing retelling of the beloved fairytale. It was so cool to see how Meyer took events and people and twisted it all into something new. The writing was beautiful. The world was beautiful. The characters were beautiful. I was highly impressed. Here are some things I liked.

   First of all, Cinder. She is an amazing character. I just love everything about her. Her personality, her complexity, her sarcasm. All this good stuff is squashed into a lovable character with strengths and weaknesses and… realness.

   Secondly: The retelling. It was awesome. So creative. Adri was an excellent evil stepmother, just maddening enough that you’re gnashing your teeth but can’t stop reading. And Pearl… Heh heh. I guess she was really well done, since most of her part in the story was me wanting Cinder to throw a wrench at her head. I also thought it was neat how the ball worked in with everything else, and that rather than the traditional shoe flying off in Cinderella’s escape, it was in fact her metal foot.

   Okay. And can I just say… Iko. She is THE BEST. Her obsession with girly things and her hilarious attitude made her pop right out of the book to me. Cinder aside, she’s my favorite character.

   A dislike: The villainy. I mean, y’know, I was supposed to dislike the villainy. Queen Levana was very nicely (or nastily) done. But what I got so tired of was all the bribing and conditions and diplomacy and sloooowness. So annoying. I wanted ACTION.

   Oh, and then of course I also have to criticize the actual action. I’m not really this hard to please, trust me. The whole part where (SPOILER) Cinder grabs the gun and fires at Queen Levana was confusing. Maybe it’s just me. I’m kinda slow.

This book’s rating: 4.5 stars

(I really, really liked it!)

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Scarlet, #2 of The Lunar Chronicles

   “Even in the future, beware of the big, bad wolf…

  Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She is trying to break out of prison – even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

   Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter, who may have information about her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.”

   There were many things I liked about this one, but also quite a few I didn’t.

   The first problem: Scarlet Benoit was not my favorite character. I didn’t hate her, she just had some annoying qualities. Her tendency to be something of a manipulative flirt reared its ugly head several times throughout the book. She’s hot-tempered and stubborn, which was sometimes endearing and sometimes just exasperating. And then she’s impulsive. So darn impulsive. All in all, I have to admit I like Cinder as a character much better. But Scar did have her good points. And she’ll do anything, absolutely anything for her loved ones.

   Another problem: (SLIGHT SPOILER) The whole brainwashed-savage-wolf-men thing. Running wild though the streets and killing people. Creepy, much? There weren’t many graphic descriptions, but I just felt kind of ugh about the whole concept.

   Problem number three: (SPOILERS) When Wolf kills Ran. I didn’t like that at all. I get that this guy needed to be killed off by somebody. I wouldn’t have even minded so much that it was Wolf. But it was the way he went savage and killed him, IN A SOMEWHAT GRAPHICALLY UNPLEASANT WAY. It threw me off, because hasn’t Wolf been fighting against this, the inner animal? It was almost like a break in his character arc.

Anyway, here are some things I did like.

   The well-done characters. Oh my. While I’ve poked holes in Scarlet and been disappointed by Wolf, they – all the characters – were undeniably three-dimensional and real. And don’t get me wrong, I liked Wolf. He was a darling character, so fiercely protective yet so sweetly shy and a little inept. And Thorne. He made me laugh with his witticisms and ridiculous bravado.

   Another like: Scarlet and Wolf’s romance. (FOR THE MOST PART.) There were a couple things about their relationship I didn’t like. But the way it grew throughout the course of the story was sweet. And I did think they went well together.

This book’s rating: three stars

(I would rate this one two and a half stars, but the writing and characters really were beautiful. And I’m in a nice mood.)

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Tell me your opinion! What did you think of Cinder and Scarlet? Do you agree with my criticism/ramblings? Is there anything significant you disagree with? I’d love to hear from you!

Happenings: a life update

Hello everyone, this is just a brief mini-post. Happy 4th of May! I’ve been taking something of a break anyway, but here’s the official announcement: I’m taking an unofficial break from blogging for the rest of this month. Now, let’s just pretend I’ve done a consistent job of posting lately, and deserve this vacation. XD

And here’s a small update.

April was an overall fantastic month for us. There was one bad day we thought our puppy got out the fence… cue a lot of ensuing panic. We ran around the neighborhood calling her for half an hour only to find when we got back that she was STILL IN THE YARD. Of course, by that time I was already in a state of completely exhausted stress. Good times.

Homeschool’s been going as well as it usually does… though we’re not taking a summer break since we’ve taken so many other small breaks this year. :( (It tends to wind up better that way, though – after a longish break I typically find I’ve forgotten everything.)

My writing for the past month or two has consisted mostly of pulling my hair out – and drinking coffee while staring into space. I’ve cranked out a little bit of plot/outline ramblings, but it isn’t much.

Books I’ve been reading:

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Only six for April. [Insert plausible excuse other than the same old “I’ve been busy” here.] And, of course, The False Prince and Book of a Thousand Days technically might not even count, since they’re re-reads. Oh well. Westmark and Halt’s Peril were both great, and I’m currently reading The Emperor of Nihon-Ja. But then The Frog Princess was just… ew. I had my doubts when I came across it (the kinda cheesy girly-pink cover, ya know?)… and, yeah. Was not at all impressed. As a side note, it also happens to be the book Disney’s The Princess and the Frog was [loosely] based upon.

Anyhow, new things to come! In future I’ll be implementing a heading picture for each new post –  in hopes that it will really boost the attractiveness of my little blog. :) And real efforts will be made to post more constructive (and just… more, period) writing posts. Not saying they’ll be more frequent… we’ll have to wait and see.

I’ll be looking forward to June. Till then!

Yes, that sounded a lot cheesier than it did in my head.

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What books have you been reading? Did April go well for everyone else? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Blogger Book Tag

I have not made posting a priority… and see where that leaves us.

Anyway. I was tagged a couple weeks ago by Zane over at Simple Impossibilities, a fabulous little nook of the internet. Thanks, Zane! This is going to be fun.

1. Name a book you’re embarrassed you haven’t read.

Sense and Sensibility. Which I have started. But I got… 1/4 through?… And I have not picked it up in months.

2. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever used as a bookmark?

I’m thinking probably an oven mitt. I was reading in the kitchen, and it was right on hand. ;D I have also used pens, rulers, other books… I kind of take the cake for strange bookmarks.

3. Look at your bookshelf. What is the first yellow-spined book you see?

The Moorchild, by Eloise McGraw. This book is good. The mood to the whole story is great, sort of primitive medieval fantasy with a Celtic-like twist.

4. If you could have one new book from a deceased author, who would it be?

This question IS cheating. Possibly Henry Winterfeld. I know of only four books by him, three of which I read when I was about eleven. They were all really funny and enjoyable.

5. Name an author who deserves more readership.

L. M. Montgomery. Her books and stories are all wonderful!! Especially the Anne of Green Gables series (there are eight fantastic books in all).

6. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Random piece of paper. Always.

7. Can you stop anywhere in a book, or do you have to finish the chapter?

I prefer not to stop till the chapter’s finished, but I’ve been forced to grow used to slapping a book down in the middle with how swamped by responsibilities I tend to be…

8. One book at a time OR several?

Neither. Usually LOTS.

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

*blushes* Oh, yes. If there’s an especially boring scene I’ll flip a page or two.

10. Breaking the spine, or keeping it like new?

As if!! Like new, always.

11. What books do you regret reading?

The Princess Diaries. Last year I read the first one and it completely turned me off. There was, first and foremost, the whole public-school high school vibe to it: (“Above all let me be popular, or else I die”), which annoyed me. Also there was something highly inappropriate implied in one scene, and one or two inappropriate conversations. Overall I got the impression that the author could have done a WAY better job. I don’t recommend it at all.

12. On average, how many books do you read per year?

Probably 100-150. This might be way off; it’s just an estimate. And I’ve never been good with estimations. It really depends on the year. I also re-read favorite books a LOT, so are we counting those?

13. What book can you read hundreds of times and never get tired of?

Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine. READ THIS. <3

14. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a book?

Phew. I have learned so many countless lessons and have so benefited and grown from so many books it’s hard for me to select the biggest. I invoke made-up rule #604: I’m allowed to skip one question.

(Yes. Yes, that was totally cheating.)

15. What’s the most recent book you’ve read?

The Betrayal, by Douglas Bond.

16. Name a book quote you’ll never forget.

I must include two, at the very least.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

-Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Sometimes people are beautiful not in looks, not in what they say, just in what they are.

-Markus Zusak

(This is from his book I am the Messenger, which I have not read. I just love the quote.)

17. How many books do you own?

I’d say somewhere around 350-400.

18. In the past year, what is the greatest book you’ve read?

Seriously?! Agh! This year isn’t even very far along! Well, so far I would have to say The Dragon’s Tooth, #1 of The Ashtown Burials. :D I think.

And then I am going to go above and beyond lazy with the whole tagging-thing. I hereby tag whoever is reading this. There. Glad that’s over.

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What are your favorite book quotes? Literary regrets? And has anyone else EVER used an oven mitt as a bookmark. Please tell me I’m not alone. I’d love to hear from you!

 

A Load of Books

  This past weekend we made a trip to the library (always thrilling) and I thought I’d share some of the books I brought home. With commentary and ramblings on each. Of course. *beams* Your lives made much better. 

 

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The Chestnut King, by N.D. Wilson. I’m super excited about this one. I have a bad habit of getting really thrilled about my library books and going crazy and starting them all at the same time… so I think I’m about two chapters into this one as well as in the middle of several others. :P

 

 

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 Paper Things, by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Can’t say I was over-the-top impressed with this one. It’s just that there was this floatiness (is that a word?) that honestly reminded me of Everything on a Waffle. I will forever mentally pair the two. Not that the protagonists in both books don’t experience emotion. But as a reader you need to be plunged violently into the main character’s sticky problems and feel their emotion and their pain. Didn’t happen for me. To be quite frank, I got kinda bored. But I did love Gage. He was a fantastic character.

 

 

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 The Midwife’s Apprentice, by Karen Cushman. An old favorite. This isn’t the exact copy I have, but it’s somewhat prettier. This is a book about a little nameless nobody who becomes apprentice to a midwife (pretty obviously, from the title). It’s no sweet, dreamy story, however. It’s a bit gritty and realistic. And funny. Even in the midst of protagonist (called Beetle’s) troubles, Karen Cushman’s roguish sense of humor makes for an entertaining read.

 

 

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 Be Light Like a Bird, by Monika Schroeder. I’ve read only a few chapters of this one, so no judgement or recommendations yet. Stay tuned! *winks* The cover and font are so cute, though!! Fine, I admit it. I am really, really attracted to a book by its cover.

 

 

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 The Dragon’s Tooth, by N.D. Wilson. About halfway through this one, and I’m actually liking it better than the 100 Cupboards series so far (or at least the 2/3 of the 100 Cupboards series I’ve read). I think it’s that I’m drawn more to Cyrus’ personality than I have been to Henry’s. Which is weird, because Cy is kind of impetuous and sarcastic. Me, impetuous? No. Me, sarcastic? Hmm.

 

 

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 The Kings of Clonmel, by John Flanagan. Yayyy!! Book #8 of The Ranger’s Apprentice! Haven’t gotten around to this one yet, but I’m looking forward to it. When I first started reading this series something inexplicable about the author’s writing style threw me off… I can’t remember what bothered me. I really enjoy his books now, they just took some getting used to.

 

I took out twelve books in all. Among those not mentioned were:

  • The Book Thief (and you really don’t want me enthusing about that one again)
  • Two books I was VERY unimpressed by… which shall remain nameless. >:D
  • Three for writing research. One book of historical costumes, and two… *sighs* all about goats. Don’t ask.

 

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What are your opinions on some of these books? (What I really want to know is, did anyone else get the same frustration for Everything on a Waffle, or was it just me?) I’d love to hear from you!

 

Book Review: Eve in Exile

Today’s review is on a book I just finished and forgot to mention on my list of recent reads. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; that post was long enough already…

 

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Eve in Exile, and the Restoration of Femininity

“Being a woman is in many ways like being in the field of applied mathematics – except that it’s applied theology and applied philosophy.” -Eve in Exile

  “The swooning ladies of the Victorian Age and the suburban housewives of the 1950s genuinely needed to be liberated. That much is indisputable. So, First-Wave feminists held rallies for womens’ suffrage. Then, Second-Wave feminists marched for Prohibition, jobs, and abortion. Today, Third-Wave feminists stand firmly for nobody’s quite sure what. But the modern woman – who uses psychotherapeutic drugs at a rate never before seen in history – needs liberating now more than ever. The truth is, feminists don’t know what liberation is. They have led us into a very boring dead end.

  Eve in Exile sets aside all stereotypes of mid-century housewives, of china-doll femininity, of Victorians fainting, of women not allowed to think for themselves or talk to the men about anything interesting or important. It dismisses the pencil-skirted and stiletto-heeled executives of TV, the outspoken feminists freed from all that hinders them, the brave career women in charge of their own destinies. Once those fictionalized stereotypes are out of the way – whether they’re things that make you gag or things you think look pretty fun – Christians can focus on real women. What did God make real women for?”

 

This was one of the most impressive books I’ve read in a long time. Rebekah Merkle weaves valid points and illustrations, scripture proofs, simple truths, and a tang of unexpected humor together into a phenomenal book that I recommend to any young woman, especially those of you confused and driven crazy by today’s Third-Wave feminists and their rebellion running rampant [as I am]. I felt that it was geared more towards mature/married women, but it’s an excellent read for teenage girls as well. I know I’ve benefited from it significantly.

Eve in Exile covers many subjects, from the origins of feminism to what’s wrong with what they’re fighting for (whatever that is), and above all, what women were created for and what we are to strive to be. The sweet eloquence is beautiful and impacting. *wipes away tear*

It’s a relatively easy read; I suspect that’s why I was so attracted to it from the first few pages on. All Christian theological books are very much worth reading, but some take more of an effort than others. I loved the effortless way my mind glided into reading and was immediately, “Whoa! This is fantastic!”

This book’s rating: Five stars!

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Thanks for reading! Have you read Eve in Exile? Did you love it as much as I do? I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

Current and Recent Reads: books I’m enjoying

Good morning, and welcome to the blog!

How is everyone’s reading life going? Mine is pretty busy. Here’s a list of all the books I’m reading right now, or have recently finished. (With a mini-review of each.)

One Shameful Truth About Me:

I read way too many books at the same time.

 

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The Night Gardener, by Jonathan Auxier. A bewitching whirl of genres, somewhere in between historical fiction and fantasy. This is a creepy story about the magic of storytelling. It features a ghost-like creature and a few deaths, but the subsequent darkness is alleviated by the palpable theme of love underlying every chapter. I liked it.

 

 

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Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen. Cheat Alert: I have already seen the movie. So now I’m making an effort to work my way through this one. It’s very sweet and entertaining so far (I’m probably about 1/4 of the way through it) and I’m liking it a lot. Marianne’s sentimentality and Elinor’s serenity are such a great combination!

 

 

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Dandelion Fire, by N. D. Wilson. A spectacular fantasy. This one far surpasses 100 Cupboards. I’m sorry to say that, though I was impressed by it, that one didn’t “wow” me quite as much as I was expecting. But Dandelion Fire makes up for that! I’m nearly finished with it, and with each page I get more excited. :D

 

 

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Writer to Writer, by Gail Carson Levine. This book is FABULOUS. I read it in a day and 1/2. So many helpful tips, encouragements, and exercises to get creative flow going. I recommend it to any writer. It even has a lot about poetry, for the poets out there. (I am not a poems person, but I enjoy reading [about] them.)

 

 

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Persuasion, by Jane Austen. This is lovely. I haven’t finished it yet, but it is now my favorite Jane Austen book. I saw the movie first with this one too, but if anything, that’s made getting up the motivation to read the book easier. Sweetest love story! (And isn’t the cover gorgeous?!)

 

 

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The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. Okay, I guess this doesn’t qualify as “recent”, since I read it couple months ago. But this book was just… wow. So starkly, coldly beautiful. The descriptions and emotion were fierce and graphic; I cried for the last five minutes of it. Due to excessive language and a lot of death, I wouldn’t recommend this one to any kids under the age of  thirteen. But this is a masterpiece.

 

 

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Erak’s Ransom, by John Flanagan. I just finished this one last library trip. I have been reading through the Ranger’s Apprentice series for awhile, but this might very well be my favorite. It’s fast-paced and entertaining (there are some SERIOUSLY funny parts) and well worth time and money.

 

So there’s a book extravaganza for your Tuesday. Have a good week!

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