"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." -- Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Reading Room: Muirwood Trilogy, Phantom

I've managed to finish a few more books this week. I'm not getting the sleep I need as a result, but it is what it is. As I posted last time, I had started The Wretched of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler on my Kindle.
Imagine a world where words are so precious they are only etched in gold, and only the privileged are allowed to learn how to read. Muirwood Abbey is one of the few places where learners are taught to read and engrave, and thirteen year-old Lia wants nothing more than to learn both of these skills—yet she is a wretched, an orphan, and doomed to remain in the Aldermaston’s kitchen, forbidden to read and subject to his authority. Her future is destined for preparing recipes in a privileged household until, unexpectedly, a mysterious knight-maston abandons the wounded squire Colvin at the Aldermaston’s kitchen in the middle of the night. Soon after, Sheriff Almaguer comes hunting for Colvin, and Lia is thrust into the greatest adventure of her life as she and the squire are forced into a partnership that brings her closer to her dream—and Colvin closer to his fear of dying on the battlefield. The Wretched of Muirwood is the first book of the Muirwood Trilogy.
I enjoyed this book more than I expected and immediately started book two, The Blight of Muirwood. I thought the second book to be better than the first. I've started the third, The Scourge of Muirwood, and it's great so far, too. I highly recommend this trilogy. I'm guessing the trilogy as a whole will be at about 4 stars out of 5 unless the last books ends up disappointing hugely.

I also just finished listening to Phantom by Ted Bell this morning. This is the 7th (!) in the Hawke series and as is the norm for the Hawke novels, I found it ridiculous but fun. I don't know why I stick with these books, but I like them. Only 3 stars out of 5.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I've Joined the Ranks of the Whovians

I was a young child, living in England, the first time I was introduced to The Doctor. My first Doctor was The Fourth Doctor, as he is called. I remember a silly TV show with weird robot things called Daleks who yelled, "Exterminate!" a lot and a long multi-colored scarf on the curly-haired traveler. Beyond that, much of what was the popular TV show, Doctor Who, escaped me. And then came the reboot a few years ago. My sister got sucked into it, and a few friends, too. And my Dad. After listening to an in-depth conversation about this new Doctor Who, my curiosity was piqued. I added it to the Netflix queue and time passed. A few weeks ago, after watching several other things in the Netflix and Amazon streaming queues (Lark Rise to Candleford, MI-5, BBC's Robin Hood), I was ready to embark on the Doctor Who voyage. The Ninth Doctor was OK. I liked him by the end of that season, but he died and regenerated into The Tenth Doctor. The Tenth Doctor is the BEST Doctor. Love him. I just finished watching his last adventure and regeneration into The Eleventh Doctor and I'm very sad. I did see The Eleventh Doctor's first full episode, too, and I like him. I know it will take time to adjust to him. The thing is that I didn't actively watch any of the episodes. I was always working on something while it was playing. As a result, I think I missed some very important things. But I'm not sure I want to re-watch 5 seasons again any time soon. Anyway, I'm a huge DW fan now. Huge.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Frivolous Quiz Time: Jane Austen Edition

I agree 100% with this. I think it is why Sense and Sensibility may actually be my favorite of the Austen novels, even over Pride and Prejudice. As much as I love Elizabeth and Darcy, I most relate to Elinor Dashwood.

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Jane Austen Character Quiz here!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Reading Room

I'm in read mode these days. I'm reading every chance I get.

I finished listening to another book on Friday - Divergent by Veronica Roth.
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are - and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves.... or it might destroy her.
I love it so much I have already pre-ordered the sequel, Insurgent, for my Kindle and which comes out on May 1.

I mentioned in my last book-centric post that I had started The Power Behind the Throne by Sally Nicoll on my Kindle. I admit that it never really grabbed me and since I got it for free, I stopped and removed it from my Kindle. It was kind of liberating to not complete a crappy book. Ah.

Instead, I decided to start The Wretched of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler. This one is only $.99 for the Kindle. I'm about 25% into the story and I'm hooked. It's so not my normal thing, but I really like it so far. This the first in a trilogy, too, so I'm sure I'll read the other books.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lots of Completed Books

In the past week I have completed several books. It's a miracle, but I must confess that I neglected a lot of other things in order to get in the time to devote to the reading.

First, I listened to A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens in the car. Narrated by Frank Muller, it was such a different listen than what I have done recently. The old, lyrical prose that we just do not get in modern writing. Well, we do, but it's rare. At least it's rare in the stuff I tend to read. I found myself almost in tears at the beauty of certain scenes because of the way they were written.

I had never read AToTC before. When I was a young teenager I saw this miniseries. As such, I knew how the story ended. How it got there, I didn't remember as much. While I sometimes found the journey a little plodding at times, despite the pretty prose and the excellent narration, it was well worth the effort of the listen.

By the time I got to the last 10 minutes I was fully invested in the characters. And the last inner monologue of Sydney Carton broke my heart.

4 stars out of 5.

Next, I managed to re-read the entire Hunger Games trilogy in a week. This time I got them for my Kindle and actually read the words. My first "read" was a listen. I'm glad I did it - there were large portions that I did not remember at all. Given that I listened to them when I was sick for a week last year, it's likely that I dozed off for a lot of them. They are just as good with the second reading and I'm even more convinced that they are not about the love triangle between Katniss/Peeta/Gale. That said, I was able to garner new insights into the triangle, Katniss' relationship with each boy and how things ended up. I'm still happy with the ending. And I cannot wait for the next movie. I'm so curious how it will be done and who will be cast in the new roles.

The entire trilogy gets 5 stars out of 5. The first book is still my favorite of the three, but I really think they needs to be taken as one work at this point. Much like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it is one story broken into 3 smaller parts.

Finally, I have started two new books: Divergent by Veronica Roth came recommended as one that Hunger Games fans will enjoy. After reading a lot of positive reviews, I got the audio book. I'm on chapter 9 as of this moment and I am enjoying it a lot. The narrator is excellent, too.

On my Kindle is The Power Behind the Throne by Sally Nicoll. I'm not that far in, but it's started out pretty well.