Top 3 Books – August 2017

Wow, can you believe it’s already September? Summer is over and done, and I’m sad about that… 😦 Summer is my favourite time of the year, and if I could I would make it doubly longer! 😀 Alas, I do not possess that power. Let me know if you know of any special trick to stop time from going so fast, I’d like to know about it. 😛

So school has started back up for pretty much everybody school aged by now. I’m going into my Junior year (of high school, for all my American readers) / Year 12 (first year of Sixth Form for all my English readers). It’s kind of scary how old I am now! 😀 And seeing how fast time has gone by recently, it seems very probable that before I know it, I’ll be graduated and done and dusted with school. Yikes! :O

To distract from that scary thought, let me tell you about my top three books that I read in August. There were some good ones!!

 

the westing game

The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin

Sam Westing is dead. He left behind a will. Which is actually a game. A game with the objective of finding out who killed him. He has chosen a random, yet very specific group of 16 people to play this game. And the wild card? One of those 16 people is the murderer. Does it sound interesting? It’s even better than it sounds. 

Seriously, this book is waaaaayyy better than it sounds. And it sounds pretty interesting to begin with! This mystery is incredibly well written – the characters are fresh, believable and unique, and the story line… well it’s SO good. Seriously, Ms. Raskin must be half-genius to come up with the plot line and the crazy twists. And the ending – man it comes out of nowhere and is so clever!! I don’t feel like anything I say can give a true idea of how cool this book is, so my advice to you is – go read it! 😀 This is a solid, most-definite 10* read. (and I’m recommending for about ages 12+)

 

Gods-and-Kings-Lynn-Austin

Gods and Kings – Lynn Austin 

A nation with their backs to God. A King bending to the mighty Assyrians’ dominion. A priest haunted by the deaths he has caused. A Prince angry and bitter against his Father. And a God who refuses to leave them alone. 

Looking back in the archives of my blog, I can’t believe that I haven’t mentioned Lynn Austin before! Apart from L.M. Montgomery, she is my favourite author. She writes historical fiction – some of the best I have ever come across. I’ve read most of her historical fiction, but I have never ventured into her Biblical historical fiction before. Until this month. And as always, she did not disappoint! She tells the story of King Hezekiah’s childhood in godless Jerusalem before he ascended the throne. Surrounded by idol worshipers, with the mighty Assyrian empire breathing down his country’s back,  Hezekiah’s story is one of great tension, but also of great redemption. God is after his people, and he won’t stop at anything until he gets their attention and brings them back to him. He might even us a prophet or two… maybe one called Isaiah? It is very evident that Ms. Austin has done immense amounts of research into every aspect of his historical time period in order to make this story accurate and compelling. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and my only complaint is that it finished and now I have to get my hands on #2 in the series. 😀 I’m giving ‘Gods and Kings’ 9* out of 10 and recommending for ages 14+

 

God's smuggler

God’s Smuggler – Brother Andrew 

God has the power to make seeing eyes blind. Especially when his Word at stake. 

God is a God of miracles. It says so in the Bible, but sometimes it’s hard to believe. But after reading this book, I was struck again by God’s power and sovereignty. This is the story of one young man that had a dream to see Bibles taken behind the Iron curtain. This also the story of how God made that dream come true. There is really no other word to describe the many narrow escapes, perfectly timed meetings, and anonymous monetary gifts that are chronicled in this book other than ‘miraculous’. God’s hand of guidance was so clearly outlined in this story. I came away from the book in awe at how God worked in order to get his Word into the hands of persecuted Christians, and encouraged by the fact that he is still doing that today! I’m giving it 9* out of 10, and recommending it for ages 14+. (due to some explicit scenes)

That’s it for this week! Hope you enjoyed the monthly review of my favourite books.

Lets chat! Have you read any on this list? How’s back to school going for you?

 

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Book Review – After the Dancing Days

It’s time for another book review! I have a seemingly endless list of books I’d love to share with you, so I’m slowly hacking away at it, one book review at a time. 😀

after the dancing days

Statistics:

Author: Margaret I. Rostkowski

Published in: 1986

Genre: Children’s/Historical Fiction

PoV: First Person

Number of Pages: 217

 

War is a senseless, horrible thing. And though the Great War was not fought in Annie Metcalf’s home country of America, its influence is visible months after the end. Scarred and broken young men trickle back into normal life, a constant reminder that life will never be normal again. And the absence of her favourite uncle is keenly felt. Her Mother says the best thing to do is to forget. Her Father spends his time working with injured soldiers in an army hospital in town. And Annie? Well, Annie is torn. Torn between the longing to forget the pain and blot out the ugliness of war, but the desire to remember her uncle and his fellow soldiers. The soldiers that are irrevocably scarred by the War and are trying to learn how to live their lives again in the hospital down the road. Strangely drawn to them, Annie is faced with a decision – to either dull the pain with forced forgetfulness, or to remember the pain and confront it in order to eventually overcome it?

I really enjoyed ‘After the Dancing Days’. I believe I read it in one sitting, if my memory serves me correctly. I was fascinated by Annie’s story – of how she learned to live with the scarring, painful aftermath of the Great War. The clear picture that Rostkowski painted of the veteran’s hospital, and the wounded inhabitants who were struggling to remake their lives with life-changing injuries (both physical and mental) was powerful and sobering. I found this story encouraging because it showed, through Annie’s story that pain can and does heal, through the memories that sweeten over time. Because often, the best way to heal the pain, is to remember, to honour, and then to move on, never forgetting what went on before and looking forward to the hope of the future.. This really was a wonderful book, and I’m giving it a solid 7* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 13+.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week! 🙂

Poem – A Smile and a Word

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Pinterest? It has a wealth of helpful and amazing content on it, especially writerly related things. I have a whole board for writing, and I’ve collected a large amount of writing prompts on it. I love taking a prompt and then writing a poem based off of it, and so this week’s featured poem is one of those poems! Here is the prompt I chose:

smile made for war

And after some tweaking and writing, here is what I came up with:

 

He had a smile made for war

And the words that started it

Cocky and confident

Ready to face whatever

Life sent

Danger

Death

He was ready

 

Inflammatory

His words landed like hot sparks

On gunpowder

Igniting and lighting

Yet another dispute

 

What was going on inside his mind?

No one knew

He was like a safe

Locked tightly behind that smile

That smile that shifted

like shadows

Secretive

Taunting

Guarded

 

One thing was for sure

The words

Dammed up behind that

Impenetrable smile

Were ready

To start a war

 

And when the dam broke

A fire was ignited

As words poured out

Like lighted fire brands

Tearing down defences

Like soldiers swarming

Over the enemy castle’s walls

 

Impassioned speech after speech

He built arguments

And they raged higher and higher

Like wildfire

Unquenched and unstoppable

The words towered higher and higher

Unable to be scaled

Like a funeral pyre

They burned every last bridge

There was no going back

 

The fire smouldered and smoked

And rushed and roared

His words kept coming

Like a blazing torrent

More and more and more

 

His smile flashed

Dangerous

Smashing all defences

Relentless

Until at last

The war began

 

 

 

Liebster Award x2!

leibster award.png

This week I have another blog award post for you! I was nominated for the Liebster Award  by both Cora from  Cora’s Bits and Pieces and Anna from Northern Hearts Alaska . Thanks,  Cora and Anna!

Here are the rules for this award:

  • Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award on your blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
  • List 11 random fact about yourself.
  • Nominate up to 11 other bloggers who you think are deserving of this award (with less than 200 followers).
  • Let the bloggers know you nominated them.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer.

Okey-doke, here are the answers to the questions!

Cora’s Questions:

  1. Do you have a pet? – Yes, I do! I have two rabbits named Sandy and Sleepy that are very old, but still very cute. 😀
  2. Favourite topic to blog about? – It’s probably a tie between sharing my favourite books, and sharing my favourite pieces of writing. And since that is what my blog is about, it’s a good thing I like doing that! 😀
  3. What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Well if I’m in an unhealthy mood, I love a good cinnamon roll… Mmm! But if I’m trying to be healthy, I really like having fruit smoothies!
  4. What is your favorite school subject and why? – It’s a dead-on tie between History and English. I’ve loved history for as long as I can remember – something about all the stories hidden in the past just waiting to be discovered thrills me! But then I absolutely love putting those stories down into writing – i.e. English. Writing gives me a huge amount of joy, and learning how to write better is something that I’m trying to work at. So I guess I’ll just just leave it at that – History and English, my two favourite subjects. ❤
  5. What’s your favorite colour? – Blue, all the way! I love pretty much every shade and variation of that frabjous colour. 😀
  6. Favorite song? – Ok, now that’s hard!! Just one song?? I like so many different types of music! But I guess if I narrow it down to my favourite Christian song (since that is the genre I listen to most) and even further down to ones we sing at my Church, that leaves me with… still a very large pool of songs. 😀 I guess I’ll just go with one of my favourites. Which would be ‘This is Amazing Grace’ by Phil Wickham. I really love that song a lot! The message is so true and so encouraging!
  7. Do you like sports? If so which ones? – By  like, do you mean to play or to watch? I guess I’ll do both. I’m not really a hugely sporty girl, but to play, I enjoy swimming and martial arts. To watch, I love gymnastics and figure skating.
  8. What’s the strangest place you’ve ever been? – Strangest? Ummm… Strange situationally or strange geographically? I’ve been to lots of random places, but I’m not sure if they count as strange. But would the engine room of a ship count as strange? That was pretty interesting but in a randomly strange way. 😀
  9. Favorite fruit? – Oooh, again, that’s a hard one! I will have to say peaches. Because seriously, can any fruit be better than a warm-from-the-sun, juicy, sweet peach?? Mmmm…
  10. Do you like to be hot or cold better? – I would say hot. Because that means it’s more likely to be summer, and I love summer!! But not super-duper hot, and not humid. I like around 25 degrees Celcius (which is pretty hot for England) ( that would be 77 Fahrenheit for my American readers) with low humidity.
  11. Why did you start your blog? – Well, I wanted a place where I could share my writing with others, but also something that would keep me writing on a consistent basis. And a blog fit the bill!

Anna’s Questions:

  1. What is your favorite season? – SUMMER!!! I love the warmth and the sunshine and the freedom of cool dresses and bare feet. Plus the fact that everything is alive and that there is no school stress, just relaxing to be done!  I love pretty much everything about summer! ❤
  2. Coffee or tea? – Well I don’t drink either. But I love the smell of coffee, and I sometimes drink herbal teas. But that gets me to an even position again. Soooo… both..? 😛
  3. If you could go one place in the world where would it be? – This might seem kind of mundane, but I would absolutely love to travel around the East coast and down to the South of the US. There is so much history down there, and I would love to see all the places I’ve read about in my history textbooks. Especially all the places involved in the Civil War!
  4. What’s your best article/story you’ve ever written? –  I think a story that won honorable mention in a contest was probably one of my best. I might post it on here one day! 😉
  5. Dream vacation spot? – A beach in a warm place. Preferably with turquoise waters, pearly sands and shimmering sunshine.
  6. Why do you write? – Because I love it. Writing gives me joy and satisfaction, it poses a challenge and it draws me to it. It’s something that has become more and more a part of myself as the years have gone on. 
  7. Do you read mostly in the Old Testament or New Testament? – I try to read a good mixture of both! I’m aiming to read the Bible through at least once this year. I’ve been in the NT for the past couple months, but I’ve just recently come back into the OT for a nice dosage of some prophets – Isaiah to be precise!
  8. The Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit? (books or movies) – I know that probably most my readers are going to recoil in horror at my answer, but… neither. Because I haven’t read or watched either yet! It’s on my list of ‘things I will do someday in the future’. And I will do it… one day in the future. 😀
  9. ‘If you could make a cake in whatever flavor you wanted, what would it be? – Something peanut-buttery. My family is conflicted over the subject of peanut butter – some like it, some love it, and some vehemently hate it. So even though I love it, I’ve never made a peanut-butter-something cake because there are too many people to shout the idea down. But I have loads of recipes on Pinterest that I would love to try! That’s another thing on my ‘things I will do someday in the future’ list. 😀
  10. What’s your least favorite holiday, and why? – Probably Halloween. It saddens me to see people celebrating darkness and evil. (For you Americans – in England the dark side of it is a lot more pronounced here than over there.)
  11. Who is your hero? – Jesus. He is the one person who I would love to completely and utterly copy every action and thought from. And that’s what I’m trying to do, though I fail more often than not. It’s a good thing he is overflowing with grace and love for fallen people like us!

11 Facts About Me:

  1. I’ve read 122 books so far this year.
  2. I have never been to school in my life. (#homeschooled :D)
  3. I play guitar and bass guitar.
  4. One of my best friends lives over 4000 miles away from me.
  5. I’ve lived in 6 different houses in my 16 years.
  6. I witnessed the birth of my youngest sibling.
  7. I do not own a phone.
  8. I have two passports – one English, and one American!
  9. Chocolate chip cookie dough is one of the best things ever. 😛
  10. My current WIP story/book that I’ve been writing is just over 25,000 words long.
  11. I am going to Holland for two weeks tomorrow! (posts will be scheduled, but no comments will be moderated until I return.)

And now for the people to nominate… I’m going to nominate:

Anyone!

Due to lack of time to find people that haven’t done it yet, I’m opening this award to anyone who reads this post and wants to do it – either in the comments or on your blog! Have fun! 🙂

Here are your questions:

  1. What are your top 3 favourite books?
  2. How do you like your eggs – fried, scrambled, or other?
  3. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  4. Would you rather live for the rest of your life without pillows or without blankets?
  5. If you could meet any author from any time – past or present, who would it be and why?
  6. What is your favourite joke?
  7. Introvert or Extrovert?
  8. What is your favourite thing to write (e.g. – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc)
  9. What is your dream job?
  10. If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future? Why?
  11. What is your favourite holiday, and why?

Okey-doke, that’s it for this week. Thanks for sticking with me through this very long post! 🙂

Top 3 Books – July 2017

Hello there! Welcome back to ‘The Way of Delight’! I just want to say that I’m so glad to have each and every one of you lovely followers following along with me on this blogging journey. And for every person that randomly happens upon this blog, I’m very glad you’ve found me! 🙂 I love getting comments, so please do drop me a comment and ask questions or give your thoughts on the post or anything really!

This week, it is again time for my ‘favourite books of the month mini-reviews’. (Goodness, what a title :D) July was quite a sparse month again, reading-wise, but I did have some good books. So let’s dive in!

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farewell to m

Farewell to Manzanar – Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston

A child growing up behind barbed wire in America.

Shocking? Yes.

True? Unfortunately also, yes.

Everyone has heard about all the internment camps under the Nazi regimes during WWII. But did you know that thousands of Americans were put into internment camps, in America, during WWII? Jeanne Wakatsuki, a Japanese-American girl, was one of those people. Her childhood was abruptly changed forever when she, along with her whole family, was placed in Manzanar camp, an internment camp for Japanese living in America. Her whole life would be shaped by her years living in captivity behind the barbed wire fences in southern California. She tells her eye-opening and gripping story in Farewell to Manzanar.

I read this book avidly, soaking in all the details about this shocking part of WWII history. I would really recommend that you read it. It is a little-known part of history, but one that I think is so important that people know about. I’m giving this book 7* out of 10, and recommending it for ages 13+

 

my heart lies south

My Heart Lies South – Elizabeth Borton De Trevino 

An American girl + a Mexican man + His family = a whole lot of entertainment

When Elizabeth Borton accepted a writing engagement down in Mexico, she didn’t expect that she would return a week or so later, engaged to a native of that land. She didn’t dream that the strange land full of fast speaking, emotionally charged, and lavishly loving people would become her own. But a year later, she returned to Mexico, Mrs Luis Trevino Arreola y Gomez Sanchez de la Barquera. And thus began the adventure of a life time, told charmingly and entertainingly by Elizabeth herself in ‘My Heart Lies South: The Story of my Mexican Marriage’.

This was was a second time read for me, but I still found it incredibly entertaining and educational. It is informative, giving a very in depth look into the Mexican life in the 1930’s. It’s also nice and easy to read, Mrs Trevino’s writing is witty, clear and educational. I felt like I was reliving what life was like in a native Mexican family for myself. There was so much information packed into this one book, from facts on the detailed courting rituals between couples, to how dinner parties were handled, to how babies and children were treated. I find that kind of thing so fascinating – real life stories mixed up with real life lessons and facts.  I’m giving it 8******** out of 10 and recommending it for ages 13+.

 

jane of lhill

Jane of Lantern Hill – L.M. Montgomery

 Full of magic and delight and beautiful LMM characters – it’s a darling!

I believe this is the first LMM book I have officially featured here on my blog! And what a good one to start with. 😀 Ahhhh, this book. ❤ It’s perfectly LMM-ish in every way. The story is fascinating (A girl goes to live with her estranged father for a summer and tries to reunite her parents. Sounds interesting, right?). The characters are delightfully humorous and memorable (The Snowbeam family, Aunt Matilda Jollie, Uncle Tombstone, and the cats, First and Second Peter are some of my favourites.) (As well as of course Jane and her Dad!). The descriptions of P.E.I. are on point and magically wonderful. (‘far off hills made of opal dust’, ‘long branches of spicy fir hung over the laced water’, ‘the wind that sang in the spruces, and the gulls that soared whitely over the harbour’.)

The whole book is just packed full of whimsy and fun and delight. And let me tell you, for a LMM book, this is nothing new. She has this wonderful way of writing that is so unique and incredibly enjoyable. I love her! So if you haven’t yet, please go read some of her books. I promise you will not be disappointed. I’m giving this book 9* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 13+.

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So there you have it, my top 3 books of the month!

Let’s chat! Have you read any LMM books? If so, which ones are your favourites? And what were your favourite reads of July?