Category Archives: Books

“The Sacred Journey 2: The Ancient Practices” by Charles Foster ~ Review

Soon after moving out to the Arizona desert from California’s Central Coast, I received this book through to review. I thought I was being clever in getting a free book, but I had no idea how powerful this book would be. “The Sacred Journey” is about the lost art of pilgrimage, a sacred journey to a place of spiritual importance. Just as Christians are pilgrims here on earth, the pilgrimage reminds us that we can’t be wrapped up in the trappings of permanence. This world is not our home, we’re just passin’ through. Charles Foster uses his own globe-trotting adventures as a backdrop to the lessons learned while out on pilgrimage; the importance of loving fellow travelers and helping them, of silence and meditation, and above all, being aware of what God is trying to teach you while you journey through life.

“The Sacred Journey” fascinated me. We had just left our deep roots near the ocean and moved out to the desert. What was worse, we were living in subsidized housing, which is government-code for roach-infested. Reading “The Sacred Journey” while living under these conditions was eye-opening, to say the least. Foster’s writing encouraged me to see our living situation through heavenly-eyes: only temporary housing until God moved us on. It challenged me every time I opened the pages to not complain about what was right in front of me, but look for what the lesson was supposed to be. Although I still complained (loudly and often), I can look back and see the places where the Lord had me grow, stretch, and learn, and many times it was because of something thought-provoking from “The Sacred Journey.”

Foster’s high, literary writing style was a huge appeal to me. His elegant, graceful use of language really touched me. However, many times when I would read quotes aloud to my husband, he would get confused, so perhaps Foster’s style isn’t for everyone. For me, however, this book is certainly one I recommend to fellow travelers on their journeys.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Words and Wardances – Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Wow. After reading this review…

Words and Wardances – Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

I can’t WAIT to get my hands on this book!

“Outlander” – A Review

***This is an ADULT novel! It has a. whole. lot. of. sex. The majority of it is “married” sex, but there are also scenes of sexual assaults, which could be incredibly disturbing to an unsuspecting reader. So this is most certainly an adult novel, and I figured I’d give you fair warning.***

Music to read to:

World War II is over, and combat nurse Claire Randall and her veteran husband, Frank, journey to Inverness, Scotland for a second honeymoon. The War interrupted their budding marriage and altered both of them as war does, but they are trying to reconnect with one another. While Claire searches for herbs and local remedies to help cure her possible infertility, Frank studies his family history with a vicar, researching interesting facts about his infamous ancestor, Black Jack Randall.

Out for a walk by herself one afternoon, Claire visits a hill of standing stones where she and Frank once watched a neopagan sunrise ritual. But when she touches one of the stones, she suddenly finds herself falling down the hill in the dark of night and the world has changed completely. When she stops at the bottom of the hill, she runs into Frank… or so she thinks. Kilted men on horseback rescue her from attempted rape by the familiar-looking man, who is actually Black Jack Randall. Before long, Claire realizes that she has somehow fallen back in time to 1743, and she is immediately taken far up to the highlands with the Scottish cattle rustlers before she can return to the standing stones and her way back to her own time.

Throughout the story, Claire tries to keep her secret while both looking for a way to get back to her own time, and slowly falling in love with the highlanders who take her in. She’s given an occupation as a healer, and uses her modern knowledge to help the people around her, all the while trying to conceal her true identity and protect the people she has become a part of from historical events that she knows are on the horizon. When she is compelled to marry the handsome Jamie Frasier or be turned over to the authorities (and the evil Jack Randall), Claire finds herself entangled in a complicated web of love, adventure, and terrifying knowledge of the future.

What I loved about this book:

Observation and News

18-month-old boy, cheesy eggs, bacon and water.

Is it just me, or is toddlerhood just one big mess that never gets totally cleaned up? I swear, the kid wears more food than he eats! And then there’s the all important, meals end dumping of the water into the food bits and splashing it everywhere. I’m sparing you the photo, because I’m quite sure you’ll want to enjoy your next bacon and eggs meal. =P

***There is no connecting these two paragraphs. In fact, the previous paragraph has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of this post. I just finished cleaning up the boy and had to say something about it. The real blog post actually starts below.***

I’m editing from home again. An online high school (and soon middle school!) based out of Chandler has hired me and this is the end of my first week of working for them.  See, this is the perfect job for me. It’s IMPORTANT for me to be critical of everything I see. It’s nice that my talent for being a nit-picky grammar bitch is finally paying off! And, as Anthony says, it’s important to keep my inner bitch happy.  =P

Speaking of staying happy, here’s one of two stacks of books by my bed that I’m planning on reading soon. This is the fiction stack:


Books to Read: Fiction

Yeah, I know “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” has been on my “currently reading” status for a few months, but I seriously can’t get into it and keep setting it aside for other books (like the smutty-but-sinfully-entertaining Black Dagger Brotherhood novels Anthony got me… not that I’m recommending them at all). And Sherrilyn Kenyon much? One of the Borders in Mesa was closing, so I got those 3 books plus 2 others for less than $15. Pretty good, no?
And for the non-fiction stack:

The "Make Me a Better Mommy" stack

Notice the theme? Yes, we’re considering a Montessori school for Jonathan for Fall. Even if we decide to keep him home, I’m totally fascinated by the Montessori method, and being the nerd I am, I’m researching the crud out of it.  Thanks to my pal Jamie Jarmin for loaning me the top 4 books in this stack. I promise I’ll get through them soon!
And last, but not least, I think we’re going to buy a newer van this weekend, and I’m super stoked, especially since we’re planning a trip out to California in a few weeks!
So there’s my weekend update. What’s your week been like? Any good books in your to-read stack?


“Dracula” – Old School Vamp Still Rocks

I’ve read Twilight, some of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and a few other vampire novels, but the student in me wanted to know where this all came from. In school, my emphasis was on mediaeval source texts and how stories changed over the years. So, naturally, I had to read the original vampire novel: Dracula. Today, in honor of the release of the DVD version of Eclipse (Team Switzerland!), I offer you my vampire review.

And wow, if you haven’t read Dracula, you are depriving yourself of some crazy creative and creepy writing.  The format of the novel is a little tough to figure out at first, but once you get into the story, it is difficult to put it down, even with the slower pacing (which is very common for novels in the late 1800’s).  Bram Stoker knew how to make and maintain suspense, and his vampire is terrifying!

The format is an epistolary novel, meaning that each chapter is composed of journal entries, letters, telegrams, and newspaper clippings.  However, the dialogue is masterfully maintained throughout, because the characters are (conveniently) able to recall in amazing detail all the conversations they have in a day (which, if they could, and they were writing by hand, they must have written for HOURS every night!).

Jonathan Harker is a junior laywer, engaged to be married to Mina, who has been a companion for the lovely young Lucy.  Harker is sent to Transylvania to meet with Count Dracula and to teach him about English culture and life, as the Count plans on moving to London. While there, however, Harker realizes that Dracula is a fiend of the worst kind, and Harker escapes the castle and makes his way back to England alone.

Dracula continues with his plans to move to London, and organizes his own passage on a ship, which, according to the captain’s log, sails through a terrifying journey where, at the last, all the crew are dead.  The ship runs aground in a fierce storm on the shores of Whitby, where, as chance may have it, Mina and Lucy are staying. Lucy is proposed to by three men, Dr. Seward, Morris, and Holmwood, and she accepts Holmwood (who later in the novel inherits the title Lord Godalming). Oddly (but helpful in this novel), all three of Lucy’s suitors remain good friends.

In the days following the shipwreck, Lucy begins sleepwalking outside and becomes strangely ill. Mina fears to tell Lucy’s mother, who is in poor health, but she wonders about the puncture wounds on Lucy’s throat, so she calls on Dr. Seward.  Seward is at a loss, and sends for his professor, Dr. Van Helsing.  Despite the best efforts of Mina, Van Helsing and all three of her suitors, Lucy “dies”, but soon begins preying on small children as a beautiful vampire herself. Van Helsing tells the men that they must stake her and cut off her head. If you feel like delving into a really bizarre world, do some research on Lucy the Vampire’s death scene — it’s chilling what some literary scholars have come up with!

Meanwhile, Harker returns to England and marries Mina and they join with the others in hunting down Dracula in the streets of London. When Dracula realizes that he is found out, he begins feinting about their defenses and eventually gets to Mina in a super-creepy way: crawling through her window, taking her out of her bed and biting her. From then on, Mina is under his spell, and feels pulled to join him as his bride. This guy is no Edward Cullen. He’s every girl’s worst nightmare.  Eventually, the brave men are triumphant and Mina is set free from Dracula’s enchantment, but not after several chapters of suspense and excitement.

I was really impressed by the scope and entertainment this novel has to offer, but especially how this vampire was SO different from the modern vampire stories I’ve enjoyed.  There wasn’t a single time in Dracula where I felt bad for the Count or had any sympathy or compassion for him. He is evil, through and through. The good guys were very very good, and the bad guy was very very bad, and the entertainment value of this novel was very very awesome.

Now it’s your turn: what was the last vampire novel/movie you watched and what did you think?

Evanescence – Bring Me To Life

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