Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Worldshaker by Richard Harland

My review:

Col Porpentine is on track to become the supreme commander of the Worldshaker, a juggernaut that is basically . . . well, England. Life and society have clear lines on Worldshaker, defined by the Upper and Lower decks. And the Bottom Deck, of course . . . but no one in Col's situation thinks of, much less mentions the Bottom Deck. There, among the pistons and sparks of the tremendous engines, live the Filthies. They're thought to be subhuman and half-animal, but when Col meets Riff, one who's running from her grim fate, he begins to ponder his inborn opinions of them. Riff changes his world - and in a few week's time, those changes become far greater than anything Col can control.

My thoughts:
Hmm. I think I liked this one. Harland's writing interested me - it was like a mirror, if that makes sense. I kept catching glimpses of styles I have read by other authors, and sometimes, I felt like I was reading something I might have written! It was a cool feeling, kind of abstract.

The characters were all intriguing, if not a leetle bit stereotyped. They all seemed like they had depth, and it would've been great if this book was longer to accommodate all of their possible intricacies. I loved all the Filthies Col encountered; they were unique and quirky and dark.

The setting of the Worldshaker was great - so very steampunk. :) My favorite part is when Riff leads Col through the Bottom Deck. I could feel the motion and see the huge moving parts and smell the coal. And all of the mystery around life on the Bottom was fascinating.

This novel wasn't squeaky clean, but it certainly wasn't abhorrent either.
Romance wise: Col and Riff have this connection throughout the story, but it doesn't amount to much as far as the reader is concerned.
Violence wise: The climax is slightly carnage-strewn.
And there is no bad language! That was refreshing in a YA novel.

I liked it. That's all I can say. Out of four stars, I give Worldshaker 3.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Squaring Off

Dreams, for being ethereal strains of imagination, are pretty substantial. The good ones last through all of life's trials, and even become stronger. Dreams can be anything. From a small wish to an ardent need, the spectrum is wide.

So why don't I face mine more often? They're regarded as lofty aspirations that are mostly unattainable. That's silly.

Look at all the amazing things people have accomplished. Beautiful, frightening things like epic photographs and fabulous skyscrapers and scientific discoveries. These things take hard work, determination, and sometimes guts to pull off!

Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Dreams are sturdy. The ones worth fighting for can stand up to your realization of them!

So I'm gonna fight for mine . . . no more blind feeling of these hopes and dreams. Full-on, intentional grasping of them will work far better.

Square off with your dreams: work for them: and be strident and passionate! What better way is there to live life?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

He Loves

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

I mess up all the time, every day. And God still loves.

field sans corgi

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
~Hebrews 13:8

My life changes, I change, all the time. God doesn't change.

He forgives. And He is good. All the time.

I don't quite understand it, this love of His.

But I am so glad for it.

I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, 'My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,'
~Isaiah 46:9-10

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday Night Reads

I love Friday nights. Last night was a rainy and low key one, so I pulled several of my favorite reads off the shelves and hunkered down in my room to enjoy them to the fullest.

I go down the stack, opening one at random and reading a chapter. It's so fun to relive the books I love. Last night's selections:
The Goose Girl--Shannon Hale is such a fun author.
Peace like a River--Mmm. MMM. A joy.
Torn Heart--Ellyn's novel, one of my favorites.
The Princess and the Goblin --Good old-fashioned fairy tale.
The Scarlet Pimpernel--Another of the Bestest Novels Ever.
The Shining Company--A Sonlight favorite.
IronHeart and IronSpear--These remind me of Eragon.
The Rescuers--The Disney movie has nothing on the novel. Garth Williams illustrations!
The Thief Lord--Always makes me smile. :)
The Silver Branch--A Sutcliff I haven't read yet.
Pride and Predjudice--Jane Austen is good for the soul.

I want to invent a bunk bed-compatible bedside table....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer's Soundtrack

Okay, today is the third consecutive gorgeous day of the Spring. It's so warm, sunny, and green out there. I have transitioned from resigned furry boots to tentative flip flops to joyous bare feet. Friends, Summer's back!

And of course there's music to compliment this utterly delightful change. Here's a *very small* sampling of my favorite summer tracks. . . .

Chopin is my hero. Currently, this is my favorite prelude of his.

Why, yes, I selected the video that features a b&w photo of a very solemn composer. :)
Rimsky-Korsakov is so good for reading with. I love the adventure his music is infused with.

Okay. If Chopin is my hero, Debussy is my inspiration. Clair de Lune is special to me. I love playing it, listening to it....everything. I love its flawless key changes and fluid chords. I should stop gushing.
So those are my classical tracks. Other favorites that are perfect for golden summer evenings . . .

Ahh...I was introduced to this duo last summer and have enjoyed them since. I love listening to this piece on bright afternoons. And any other time of day. :)

I saved the best for last! This is the song that puts my summer ideals to music. I. love. George. Winston.
There are so many other songs that I love for this time of year. What do you listen to in the summer?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Yard Sale

Today, for the first time in recent history, this family hosted a yard sale.

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It was, like so many of our decisions, an impromptu one. Earlier this week , mom announced her intentions and asked us to gather up the items that weren't thrilling or riveting or useful to us anymore. There was quite the accumulation, not too surprisingly. :)

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This morning, my sister and I made a sign and everyone helped haul the stuff out onto the driveway, where tables were set up. Toys on one, clothes on another, and tools, books, and miscellany had their place too. We even had some fine second-hand pool lane dividers up for grabs, free of charge! Getting stuff like that is one of the fringe benefits of having a brother who's a lifeguard. Meh. ;)

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It was a grey, chilly day. I hunkered down with Jane Austen and mugs of tea, and people did end up coming.

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No one wants my old EasyBake oven. I wish they would. ;)

Shoes were a rather popular item . . .

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We're the family that a lot of other families give their grown-out-of clothes to. Jeans especially, it seems!

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Someone paid $3 for the Yamaha keyboard I grew up with. I almost told him he couldn't have it after all. But I'm glad I didn't . . . he seemed pretty pleased by it.
Friends from church gave our antique dining room chairs a new home.
Someone else, who might be an angel, offered to recycle those useless and pesky pool dividers for us. I was thrilled to see them go.

And it was fun! A change of pace, a way to cast off the unneeded, and a way to meet people in the neighborhood.

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We really should do this more often!

Have a lovely weekend,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011



Here I am. Innocent, content, sheltered me. I write novels for the fun of it and make music for the joy of it. If there was no such thing as the outside world, I could see my life stretching out before me on a shining, exciting road.

But there is an outside world. It has tornadoes, failing economies, and terrorists. And it won't be contained by my blissful denial or ignorance.

So, again, here I am, armed with a suddenly-iffy outlook on the future. I am fifteen years old--I certainly haven't seen much of the world. But I have gathered that the future does not make or keep promises.

The future doesn't--but God does.
I have said these things tot you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. ~John 18:33