Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wonderful Christmas, Although today is kind of a bummer

We had a wonderful Christmas! Everybody got a ton of presents, and we started opening at about 8:30 yesterday morning. The kids were finished in about thirty minutes, but the adults must have taken an hour.
I got a lot of really great books, so you can expect some book reviews soon! I also got a new watch, the complete recordings of the Fellowship of the Ring, (every single not you hear in the extended edition is on three discs, with a bonus DVD for something I haven't watched yet.) and a set of dark chocolate bars with weird flavors, like Dark Chocolate with Green Tea and Dark Chocolate with Orange and Lemon flavor. Andy and Alissa got me an ipod nano, of which I was absolutely excited and crazy about! All of my music is already on it.

I ordered two CD's yesterday too, so I would have some new for listening to. Alissa got a duplicate CD so I bought it from her and put that on my ipod. I still need to listen to it. I ordered a Bob Dylan CD and The Village soundtrack yesterday, because I want both and the more music I can get on my ipod, the better.
All of the music I know have on it equals about 1 or 2 gigs, so I don't know how many more I can fit on there. I may have to get rid of the songs I don't listen to very much eventually, and make room for more music on it. It should hold a thousand to two thousand songs, so it is very exciting.

Over the holidays I also discovered a new book store called the Book Inn, which is a cozy, neato place with cheap and sometimes rare books. I came across a 1978 edition of The Two Towers for $5. I also saw a really nice hardback of Ben-Hur which may have been a copy from the the mid-1900's or so that was twenty-five.

So overall it was a great Christmas, but right now I feel kind of sad because everybody has left. We never get to see them, and it was maybe one of the hardest things ever to see them go. I don't think people really know the meaning of the word sad until they experience it. Jason and Shannon are moving in with us for a couple of weeks though, so that should be a nice pick-me-up. Also, some friends are coming to spend the afternoon with me, and that will be fun, because they are good at cheering up.

Merry Christmas!
As for the Christmas posts, there will probably still be one or two of those.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Well, Christmas is going as well as it can with nearly everybody sick. Andy came down with a stomach bug, so I don't know if he and Alissa will be able to stay the night and open presents in the morning, even though Andy says, "I won't feel bad enough to not open presents."

I feel better, even though it seems like I have bouts where all I feel like doing is laying or sitting down. Last night we had two adventures, one of which I slept through. The doorbell rang, and Jason and Brian answered it to find a policemen there, asking about a light that was on in Brian's car, who thought that somebody might be trying to break into it. Early this morning I was awake, (just barely so that I was in the twilight zone of my brain. Maybe in body too. Kind of crazy, but anyway...I heard this knocking, and it was going on for a long time. I think I must have vaguely thought something like, "Hmm. Somebody is knocking on the door." I'm not joking. I was hot and sweaty though ( I think I also thought that maybe one of the kids was doing it ) and then I woke up enough to realize that somebody really was knocking on the door, and it might be a weirdo who had bad intentions. I was still half asleep though. Pretty soon after I came to these conclusions, the phone rang. I got up and answered, and Dad said, "Anna, we got locked out last night, can you let us in?"
Mom and Dad have been staying in the Apartment in our backyard since we have a whole lot of company and not enough room for them in the house, and last night, they were somehow locked out. Actually that was early this morning, when it was still dark out. I let them in, and they explained it all to me. It was pretty weird and...well, one of those alien experiences. I gotta go, but Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Update

All of my family are now here, and I am having a blast. There is one drawback...I lost my voice completely. I have a sore throat with mucas all over the place and larengitis. I sound like I'm wheezing and whispering all the time, kind of like Minnie Mouse.
However, we're all very excited about Christmas. There is a TON of presents under the tree (meaning probably sixty or more) and I am dying to find out what they are. Mom and Dad didn't tell me what my big presents were going to be this year, and I didn't get to pick them, so there are at least three that are a mystery to me. One of them is a box, and I think the other one is a book. I don't know what's in the box. Jason and Shannon brought a bunch of presents, and later I"m going to snoop so I can find mine and figure out what's under the paper! All the presents but one have come in; Nanah (my grandmother) was getting three books and only two have come in, so she might have one of them late. Jason's present cut it VERY close by coming in two days ago.

Okay. Check-in like, twelve hours later for all I know. I feel worse about my throat now, and I'm staying home from church tomorrow. Tomorrow, with or without church, will still be busy, as some friends are coming over in the afternoon and I'll be sleeping late and showering and stuff in the morning. At least, I hope I can sleep late. Rest, be lazy, recuperate my immune system, which, with all of these adorable but sick kiddos, has crashed. Better my immune system than the computer, I suppose. Immune systems can be built back up easier than computers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Short Spurts, Christmas, Wow it's Late!!

All of the above. I just wanted to comment and ramble a little....tomorrow Brian and Holly and the kids are arriving here, and they are staying until after Christmas. I'm SOOOOO excited!!!! I can't wait for them to get here..we're all very excited about it.

Weird thought and truth that hasn't anything to do with what I just said:
I've been going through spurts of Tolkien and Leven Thumps. What was the other book I read before....? Can't remember. I just remember that last month I was suddenly inspired and started ravenously reading The Fellowship, and I just did the same with the Hobbit. Let's hope that the Two Towers is as lucky! I hope it is, because I want to finish it so I can read the Return of the King. I'm also getting a bunch of Lewis and Tolkien stuff for Christmas and I'll be buying some things afterwards!

It is very late for me now, as I usually go to bed by eleven or much before these days. I wanted to finish the Hobbit, and then I wanted to blog it, and then I wanted to make these random comments on spurts of Tolkien, update on Christmas life, and how late it is and how I really could have skipped writing this post. So I'll sign off again and post soon, hopefully. I have a lot to do tomorrow, but perhaps reading and writing won't be in vain! (that means reading and thinking about writing, which is almost the same as actually doing it)

The Hobbit

In case none of you know this by now, Tolkien is officially my favorite author. I have a confession to make that is really very embarrassing. I have only read one of his books twice, I never finished the Return of the King, and I haven't read anything but The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Don't think the less of me please! I really feel awful about it, and I'm really not joking. However, I can still say that Tolkien is my favorite author, and I am looking forward to reading his other novels and stories and histories and things next year. I just finished The Hobbit for the first time...History Geek, don't you say a word! Or Abby or anybody else that knows this dirty secret either. I feel terrible about it, and again, I cross my heart that I am not joking.
I was enthralled. I think that it was on Saturday that I made up my mind to finish it before my brother got here for Christmas. It's Monday night, and the majority of the reading was done yesterday. I was at chapter seven, and yesterday, on the way to church I began reading Chapter Seven (titled Queer Lodgings) and I could not put it down. I was enthralled. I could not wait to finish it, to hear more about all the talking beasts and the hobbit's adventures with the dwarves and Gandalf, and all the other things that happened in it. The Hobbit is shorter, less like an epic and really not as good as The Lord of the Rings, but it is still a wonderful book. Tolkien fans need to have it in their library. It is quaint and underlined with humor throughout the entire book; along with a delicate sort of mystery that Tolkien wisely kept guarded....the intelligence of beasts and birds. Birds talk, and it becomes obvious that many animals can talk, and there is even a shape shifter or 'skin-changer' as Tolkien calls him, which came as quite the surprise to me. I am no longer too afraid of having talking animals in my books because Tolkien did in his. (Lewis doesn't count, because I rather think he has too many in the Narnia books. I probably prefer Tolkien to Lewis, but it's REALLY close.) Queer Lodgings may have provided me with the most inspiration for my book, but it was still wonderful to read the whole thing. I think that the following chapters are my favorite:

An Unexpected Party

Roast Mutton
Riddles in the Dark

Out of the Frying-Pan and into the Fire
Queer Lodgings
Inside Information

I had a wonderful time reading the Hobbit. I can certainly say five stars without guilt; it encouraged my own writing so much and it provided me with many hours of delight in reading about Bilbo's adventures with the dwarves and Gandalf.
If you haven't read it, than do! Even though it is not the book the Lord of the Rings is, it is definitely worth. (BTW, if you haven't read either The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, start with The Hobbit. If you really want to go overboard. read the Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and then The Lord of the Rings trilogy in order.)

Future Grace

I have just finished Future Grace by John Piper. I'm not going to say much, because I'm not a theologian and if I were I wouldn't be a very good one, probably. I enjoyed the book a lot. I understand some things I didn't before and I recommend it. I was told that he gets to the point in this book better than in some others. Chapter thirty was especially interesting and revealing for me, and I read it almost hungrily. It has thirty-one chapters, like The Screwtape Letters, so that if you read one chapter a day you can read it in a month. I plan on reading it again next year and taking notes that time. Personal thoughts, you know. It does tend to give something to think about. I am looking forward now to reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, which is my next theological endeavor for reading. I'm not sure when I'm going to start it, though, but I also plan on reading the Great Divorce by Lewis.

About the Christmas Posts, sorry I haven't had anything new to report. We have been too busy getting ready for company to watch Christmas movies! I still plan on having the special one for Christmas day, but I'm still not sure when I'll write it. If you're looking for another Christmas movie to watch, though, try While You Were Sleeping. Though not strictly Christmas, it takes place around that time. It's a good movie, and really funny. If you wonder what I'm like, watch Lucy...I act like that sometimes when I'm meeting people, or even people I'm really close to! I'm not very good at communicating with my tongue all the time. But don't take all of it to heart...I said sometimes. I'm not always smooth in talking. Sometimes idiotically bumpy, actually, but at least you can't tell when I write.
Anyway, Merry Christmas! I'll probably be posting later with a new book review concerning Tolkien.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christopher Paolini: Philip Pullman

A few months ago I was told that Pullman was an atheist and that his books were dangerous. Even though I knew this, I never thought about it. Pullman and Paolini have talked, and in friendly tones. There is a link on Paolini's site to the trio talk show or whatever it was. There's a link to the site under the poll, under Writing sites.
I've also found out that Paolini's elves are atheists and vegans, unlike Tolkien's, despite the fact that Tolkien was one of his influences. I just wanted to tell the world about this. I still like Paolini's books, and I'll enjoy watching him to see what happens with future books. I'll probably at least finish reading the Inheritance Cycle to see what happens. After that, I'll have to see where he goes. Is this going to be a young Philip Pullman or just an atheist that isn't set on 'killing God'?
Lewis started out as an atheist. Maybe there is hope for Paolini.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard; J.K. Rowling, Billionaire, Literary Genius, Artist

Today while I was trying to figure out some orders gone amiss for Christmas on Amazon, I saw a an article about J.K. Rowling. I clicked on the link and saw that she had made seven copies of the Tales of Beedle the Bard, and those are the only copies in the world, and Amazon was in possession of at least one of them. I bookmarked it and I have just returned to the article to read it; I wasn't disappointed. Despite Rowling's crooked views about the world, she is a very talented author with a vivid imagination. She is the richest woman in the world, and the first writer to make that much cash on writing only. I don't expect I'll ever be as popular as she is, but I can certainly hope, wish, and dream that someday I'll be as talented of a writer, and that somebody might want to buy odd little books which I hand wrote (or typed and then scribbled all over) and that those books might be shadows from literary pieces of work. Rowling has taken every fantasy that there is, or very nearly has, and made it her own, and created new creatures and magical objects. And now, she has made a the wizard culture more vivid and real than it ever was, because now, wizard and witchlings' fairy-tales are in print. I can see similarities here of her and Tolkien: Rowling and Tolkien both made up new worlds, or recreated old mythologies and made them their own. Both made up intriguing characters, and both have made tales that are to their characters what the stories of those characters are to us. I'm finally beginning to understand the meaning of; write and read as much as you can!
How I've mistreated and used that phrase! But never mind that now. I suggest going to the link to check out the real Tales of Beedle the Bard: it was worth it! There's a lot of pictures on Amazon of this unique little book, and they are going to add to the article often, so check it out!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Creature called a Story

Dear Reader,
this blog post is to inform you of something I have just figured out, even though it has been building up for months. It may be scatterbrained and it may ramble on a bit, but in any case I hope that you'll be able to understand what I am saying.
I have been keeping a writer's notebook that consists of more than names for a very long time now....or at least it seems like a long time. Since earlier this year; probably...oh never mind. In my writer's notebook, you will find Story Ideas, Character Sketches, Names, Creature Ideas, and a whole lot more which I won't get into right now. I finished my first notebook a few months ago, and I have been keeping another one, which seemed to get crammed full with Story Ideas, even worse than the other one. I keep notes on all of my book ideas there, and a lot more. Friends have scribbled in it, little words of wisdom. I think one of the quotes was actually mine, even though a friend put his name on it. :)
In my new writer's notebook, all those new story ideas were much better and much easier to think about than the others, in the fact that they got my creativity engine revved up. Begging to be put into drive....but of course I didn't, I only wrote some notes on it. I used to think that every good idea I had had to be put in the Dwalyn stories. If it was possible to make them fit than I had to put them there. Zebras, horses, dogs, talking cats! I tried to make it all fit. It took me several months to realize that....those ideas will fit somewhere else. That's probably one of the reasons the story isn't going smoothly. I'm cramming in too much; too many characters which don't even belong in the story. Twilight, a nymph, can't possibly fit, because she is a water nymph in a world which begs for Norse dominance. She just doesn't fit. You can't have both nymphs and elves. Not like that.
I have several new story ideas formulating in my head now; one is a fantasy, the other a beast-fable. One is a fantasy which I think will take to minstrels and nymphs more kindly. The other...I haven't figured it out yet. I only have two definite characters, and both are already wonderful! I can't wait to get more ideas for it. But now that I have three stories to provide ideas for, the Dwalyn books are going to go through yet another drastic change. I let Harry Potter get to me too much. There was too much funkiness in it; I won't tell you all about it now, but I'm sure that some of this will appear in future stories. I'm completely redoing nearly everything I ever created for the Dwalyn books. Too much in it wasn't consistent. Minstrels and elves! Talking cats and great horses, marrons and water nymphs. I was cramming in too much, and I just realized that. I'm not going to say that next year the book will be finished by this time, but I can certainly hope! I'm going to do a lot of studying around and right after Christmas. I have some cash, and I think I'm going to buy some good books. I'm going to study Norse and work on notes for my own mythology, get to know my characters, and the plot, and I think those other two stories need the same. I'm also co-writing a book with my cousin next year, and we've just barely started, and I might be co-writing another book, and there is yet another project possibility. Stories are wonderful creatures, aren't they?
So that's the writing game plan, which I hope will stay like it is for a while. This, of course means that my outline is probably nearly useless, and I'll have to do it all over again, but I'm not using the thirty day method this time. I might try that for another book, or re-design it to fit my own books. You can expect updates on the Dwalyn books, but for now, the other two are going to stay under lock and key.
PS I don't know when I'll post again, but there will be a few more Christmas posts, and expect a special for Christmas day. I don't know when I'll do it, but I plan on it!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Polar Express

Tonight, ABC Family's 25 days of Christmas movie is the Polar Express. I have not actually read the book all the way through, but I understand the movie's story was added to and developed into a larger plot, not like the story book legend type that is in the actual book written, by the way, by Chris Van Allsburg, the writer of Jumanji and Zathura. It is not a bit like those two, and I think it is considered more popular and perhaps a better story than the others. The movie is pretty good for an animated Christmas movie. There are some really good action parts in it, and seeing it in the theater was like actually being there, some of the time.
Tom Hanks plays most of the characters, including the little boy, who's name is not given in the movie, the conductor, the hobo, (my favorite character) Mr. C (Santa Clause) and the little boy's dad. He may have played a few others. The hobo is by far the most mysterious, and oddly enough, he does give the impression that he is a ghost, and that very word is intimidating, whether he is friendly or not. This is an odd trait for a Christmas movie...or at least I thought so, until all of a sudden I wondered...just now, as I am writing this. I have begun to wonder this Christmas how much fantasy and legend is actually behind traditional American Christmas. Santa Clause is referred to as a jolly old elf in 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. In one of our popular Christmas tunes, the last part of a verse goes like this:

They'll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long long ago.....

Ghost stories. The movie, although cheerful, funny, absolutely Christmasy, but while traveling to the North Pole, I got the idea that they were crossing this amazingly bleak and dangerous winter frontier that was full of secrets, and ghosts, and the only comfort was that there was this one glimmer of hope and sanity and civilization in that train. I think I read that the hobo was actually a ghost (at one point in the movie he asks the boy who learns to believe: "Do you believe in ghosts?" Believing Boy fervently shakes his head, and the hobo replies, "Interesting."

This was the middle of the movie, where it seemed the most mysterious. It grows more cheerful when they arrive at the North Pole, and we get to see wise-cracking elves, which were especially charming, as they were half the size of children. In most movies and popular stories, they are made out to be the size of children. I like the idea of them being super duper small. Plus, I really like the part with elves handling the reindeer, and the long harness/rein thing that has silver bells all over it. Like, within 1/10 of an inch of each other. That many bells! All ringing. Mr. C was pretty cool too. He seemed to be almost twice the size of most humans, and that was interesting too, just like the elves being smaller than most movies and stories.
In short, this is a really great Christmas movie, despite the dead-eye syndrome.


This film is absolutely funny and absolutely Christmas. I never tire of watching it, and watch it all year. Buddy is a wonderful character, full of love and compassion for good things, like Christmas and the Christmas Spirit. He also loves Santa Clause. In the beginning of the film, Buddy is told that not everybody believes in Santa Clause. When he inquires, he is told, "Well, there's a rumor going around that the parents do it." "That's...that's ridiculous! Parents couldn't do all that in one night...and what about the cookies? I suppose the parents eat those too?!" There's plenty more humor where that came from.

I'm sure we've all seen ELF. Who hasn't? Buddy is oblivious to his being human, and as such, he doesn't understand why he doesn't fit in at the North Pole, where he was raised. When he goes to New York City to find his biological father, we see just how naive Buddy is, and how funny that makes it. He's purely innocent; and appalled when he finds out that his father is on the naughty list.

However, the movie doesn't ever say why we even have Christmas, what the real meaning of Christmas is, even though it puts great emphasis on the Christmas Spirit, which is, according to the movie what Christmas is really about.
The movie has a few corny moments at the beginning...badly animated North Pole creatures and a snowman, which just adds to the movie. It also has good music in it, that is both light-hearted, and at some points, almost Homeric and Christmasy at the same time; much like the Polar Express Movie. It's a really funny, clean movie about Christmas and family. It should be watched every year with a plate of cookies and a glass of milk, eggnog, or hot chocolate. :D

Narnia Christmas......Tolkien's Christmas

The other day, I was thinking to myself about Tolkien and Lewis and Tolkien's Christmas book, The Letters of Father Christmas, and then thinking that it was too bad that Lewis had not written a book about Christmas, and then I realized that, even though The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is not classified as Christmas fiction, much of it takes place in winter and there is a Christmas in it!

So, reading The second Narnia book would be a good piece of fiction for Christmas time.

Also, The Letters of Father Christmas look like a good piece of writing....I kind of wish I had those to read. Oh well....I'm planning on ordering them right after Christmas. I've decided that I should read all of Tolkien's works. I'm actually really excited about the Histories of Middle-Earth, The Silmarillion, The History of the Hobbit, and the Children of Hurin. He has numerous essays and short stories too, plus a short book he wrote for his son called Roverandom. I'm excited about that one. So, for fans of Tolkien and Lewis, The Letters of Father Christmas the Lion are good books to read this season.

A Christmas Carol, or Scrooge

We started the musical Scrooge last night, but we haven't finished it yet. It is very funny, well acted out, the music isn't so bad, and hey. It's Charles Dickens.

Besides watching adaptions of the Christmas Carol around Christmas time, I bet the original story would be good to read. No, I haven't read it...I haven't read a lot of classics. I'm a bit of a expert in modern fantasy, rather. :D

Also, in 2009, I heard that Jim Carrey is coming out with an adaption of the Christmas Scrooge. I'm really looking forward to that!

Little Women

This is another Christmas movie that we have watched this year. Of course, this isn't strictly a Christmas movie, but it begins at Christmas, and later in the movie there is a Christmas, in which Mr. March comes home. The music alone in this movie was absolutely amazing; I've always enjoyed it, ever since I actually watched it all the way through many years ago. I think the best part of the movie is from the beginning up until the second Christmas. I didn't much like the last half, when Jo grows up. I just noticed the other day when we watched it that Frederick was criticizing Jo's fairy, fantasy, and adventure stories. I don't know if I like that. My consolation, though, is that Frederick said that "There is nothing in here of the woman that I am privileged to know," meaning that Jo was not writing from her heart as she should have been, or if you like it put this way better, that she wasn't writing the stories for herself really, or writing them because she was interested in it; but because she thought those would sell best. Something along those lines anyway. I would be disappointed, though if I found that some people don't think fantasy is a worthy genre of literature.

I like the beginning best because there are no complications of love, only late childhood, as it were, and Jo making up her stories and them hanging out in the attic acting them out. I also don't think I much like the older Amy. I prefer Kirsten Dunst.
Still, it is a good movie to watch around Christmas, and it is a really good movie with good music and good acting.

I haven't read the book, but I think I'll try to read it sometime next year. I think it's more of a Winter book, not a Christmas one. :)

The Shop Around the Corner

I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up with my Christmas blogging! The other night we watched The Shop Around the Corner, which is like an old version of You've Got Mail.

Like You've Got Mail, this isn't strictly a Christmas movie, although it takes place around Christmas time. I'm not very good at reviewing these movies that speak for themselves. This is definitely one of my favorite James Stewart movies though! Although this probably isn't his best movie, it is one of his best (I think his near best would It's A Wonderful Life!) and this movie is associated with Christmas, just like It's A Wonderful Life is. It's another good old Black and White. I had forgotten how well both James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan acted in this film. A reviewer said of it that the meeting in the cafe was perhaps the best in American film, and for people who look, this movie is full of hidden moments with hidden meaning and mystery. A GREAT Christmas movie! A must watch.

BTW, the 1949 remake is a must NOT watch, with Judy Garland. It was AWFUL. We watched about fifteen minutes, then watched something else. If you want to watch a remake, watch You've Got Mail.

The Golden Compass

I know that many of my readers are at least attracted to fantasy, even if it isn't their first choice. Fantasy is my first choice for a good novel; I have friends that like fantasy books; I'm probably the most fanatical about them though. The Golden Compass is a tempting participant in the world of fantasy. The trailers and glittering posters in the theater; the books.....polar bears, monkeys. Who wouldn't want to read or watch this stuff?

I for one, would, if it weren't totally anti-Christian, but it is. So I don't. Pullman is completely against Christianity and "killing God" as he puts it. These are dangerous books. I'm not going to go to a lot of particulars here, about the plot and everything, because I haven't read or watched the movie. The links below are good reviews of the movie, the books, and both. I would recommend reading them, just so you know what Pullman is up to with "His Dark Materials."

Brian's Take

Briefing For Concerned Christians

The Movie At Pluggedin

The Books at Pluggedin


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Baby Noah

Guess what?! I have a new nephew! I am so excited, and I cannot wait to meet him and Hannah in person. I'll say here and now that I love my nieces and nephews sooooo much...and we're all worried that Jason and Shannon might have problems bringing the kids home, because of Guatemalan government issues. I don't know the particulars of the political side of all of this, but please pray for them! Isn't Noah beautiful? I have now been an official aunt six times. I still remember the day that Stephen was born, and he's nearly six! (He'll be six in February)
So please please pray for Jason and Shannon. Don't I have gorgeous nieces and nephews? I am sooo excited!

Here's the link to Jason and Shannon's blog again....

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret

I just finished Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret, which may have been better than the first one. In the second book of the Leven Thumps series,we most of the book in Foo, except for when we visit some new characters, and one that was mentioned a few times in the first book. From wens to siids to rants and dreams and gunt, this one was full of new stuff that was quirky and original. It's a flamboyant new fantasy, almost like a less serious version of Harry Potter, but without wizards and witches and wands and witch-craft. This one, like its predecessor, puts a ton of emphasis on 'fate' kind of like the 'force' in Star Wars, and 'fate' is a very important part of the book and apparently is what sort of does and decides everything. We all know what the word fate means, and it is used like that in this book. Leven has the power to manipulate fate, and Geth mentions fate half the time when he speaks.

I was really impressed with this one; probably more than the first one, even. Clover comes back strong and funny and sweet, just like the first time, and Geth is restored to human form, which I found that I liked and believed when it happened. The illustrations were interesting, and I think my favorite was actually the one of Geth as a human.

I think that Obert Skye is a good writer, and I am really looking forward to his other books and the rest of the Leven series. The writing is simple and easy to follow, and he uses new and surprising metaphors. He is very imaginative, and good at creating wretched creatures. (this is a hard thing to do; at least it is for me) and he is fairly good at creating evil, although I don't cringe when I think of the villains. Ezra, a new character, was almost humorous, Jamoon didn't seem threating, and neither did Sabine. All of them together are far more intimidating than just one by himself. (I don't know of any female villains as of yet.) If you enjoyed reading the first Leven book, and if you like gooey things (I think Obert Skye must have a fascination with mucas and things that are gooey) than this is a good book. Even though I liked it a whole lot, I'm gonna give it four stars on my five star rating system, just because I think it's a good book, but it could have been better. This was a great book, imaginative, flamboyant, funky, and it was definitely fantasy, perhaps reminiscent of Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket.

In case you are wondering about the Whispered Secret in the title,'re just going to have to read the book to find out!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Nephews are the Coolest Thing in the World, Nieces are the Coolest Thing in the World

I have, as of now, four nephews and two nieces. Stephen, the oldest, which is Brian and Holly's little boy, and Joel, whom is the second oldest, Jason and Shannon's little boy, and then Matthew, who is Brian and Holly's, and his little sister Susanna. Jason and Shannon are adopting a little girl named Hannah, and they are also adopting a little boy, who has not been named yet. They'll get both Hannah and my new nephew next year... we are all very excited!
Tonight Joel chased me all around the house; around and around and around we went, and by the end I felt like I was next to a furnace, and I was very sweaty. I've cooled off now. :)
It was a lot of fun, and Joel finally said, "Come here, sit down." I gladly excepted! I was very tired, and I still am, although the night is far from over. When we have company, I take advantage of that and splurge (stay up late, drink hot chocolate) although I don't know how long I'll last tonight.

Christmas is almost here! Just twenty-five days....and if I know anything those will fly by faster than I'll be able to count. Brian and Holly will be here for Christmas this year, along with all the kids, and Jason and Shannon and Joel and Koda. Very exciting! I'm thrilled that my whole family will be here. I'll get to spend lots of time with my nephews and niece, and all of my brothers and sisters-in-law. I can still remember when I met all of them...sort of. I barely remember meeting Holly, kind of remember meeting Shannon, and I remember meeting Alissa pretty well. I'm really looking forward to some of my Christmas presents too...Tolkien and Lewis! Dad won't tell me what else I'm getting...only that it isn't an ipod and "It's not on your list." arrghh! Kind of frustrating, but he won't give. I'll probably be posting soon; since I've already posted three Christmas posts then I won't kill myself to get one together tonight, even though I don't actually do an__oops, better not tell you my writing secrets! lol.