As a proud horse-lover and rider for over five years, I’ve read quite a bit of horse themed fiction in my life.
Enough to know what I like…and what I dislike.
Today is about my dislikes. 😉 The cliches in the horse fiction world that I’m tired of…
Wow…this is my first book review on this blog. 🙂 I actually never really considered doing book reviews when I started out with this website, but I think I’ll probably start bringing you all a few here and there. 😉
My first review is of Behold: a collection of short stories honoring the birth of the savior, by Faith Potts.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Stellae Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and a positive review was not required.
A collection of short stories honoring the birth of the Savior
From two siblings caught up in the harrowing days of World War II to separated foster children in the US…
From a memorable road trip across the Southeast to the reunion of a war-torn family…
You’ll be swept into the Christmas spirit with the endearing stories tucked inside these pages. The storylines range from family to romance to the bond of community, with settings scattered across America and beyond.
Behold the beauty of the Savior’s birth with this gathering of stories that warm the soul and bless the heart.
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of reading short stories. But this one…this one, guys, was so sweet and lovable that I just kept reading and reading. 🙂 Such heart-warming stories for the Christmas season; I wish I’d read it in December. Oh, and don’t be surprised if a few tears come to your eyes.
I loved all of the close family relationships in the stories, which is sometimes hard to come across in fiction nowadays. So, I really appreciate this, Faith! 😀
My rating: FIVE STARS
Today in the spirit of Christmas, I’m bringing you a flash fiction piece I wrote for Christmastime last year. It needs some serious work, but I decided to share it with you all anyway. 😉 I hope you enjoy it.
It’s actually part of this…
The 12 Days of Christmas blog party! 😀 Visit Faith’s website to find out about other Christmas posts going around the blogosphere (ones past and in the future 🙂 ).
Also, there’s a giveaway going on as well, if you haven’t heard about it already, which ends at midnight on Christmas Eve. 🙂 Here’s the link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4a652fbb7/?
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Bethlehem, 6 B.C.
To think that such an ordinary day would lead into an unforgettable night…..
I squinted against the afternoon sun and gripped my rough knotted staff. My father’s flock of sheep grazed peacefully over the small expanse of gentle hills. I set my staff in the grass as I sat on a large flat rock to tighten my head wrap.
A large tree several feet away provided shade for myself and some of the other sheep. The ewes and their lambs liked to stay close to me, but I could not tell if it was because they knew I would protect them, or I always found the best shady spots.
Either way, I was glad this bunch stuck close by. I loved to watch the lambs bound about, tugging at their mothers’ ears, trying to coax them into their games. One particular lamb had been my favorite since her birth. She was tiny for her age but full of life. But she never passed up an opportunity to cuddle in my lap on cooler nights. I had christened her Aliza, which meant ‘filled with joy.’
Standing watch on another crest of a hill, was my father. His staff was tall, thick and strong. Not as messy looking as mine, which I had hacked off a tree myself. He looked my way and raised his staff in the air. I raised mine. It was sort of our code to check on each other, to make sure we were alright.
Later that evening, my father guided his half of the flock and mixed them with mine so he could join me at my rock.
“Hanna,” he said, “I need you to go to refill my water flask. Go quickly now.”
I nodded, taking the flask from his hand. I hurried down the hills, trying to avoid rocks and pebbles as I did, but my bare feet still felt the sting of their sharp edges.
As I neared the city, I glanced back at my father. His back was turned away from me as he kept an ever-watchful eye on the sheep. My mother and father were not blessed with a son, to help Father with the sheep. So I had to help him when necessary.
I clutched my hands tightly around the flask. I kept my eyes downcast as I went through the streets toward the well. I felt my face get warm as I joined the other women there. There were too many people. I longed to return to the grassy hills. Just me, the sheep, and fresh air. That’s what I was used to.
The chatting group of women filled their clay pots and jugs and soon left, balancing them on their heads or hips. As I stepped up to the well, a man leading a donkey walked up as well. A young pregnant woman rode the donkey. She smiled kindly to me. I blushed and tried to grin back. I knew I should be friendlier.
“Shalom,” I greeted quietly. “Would you like me to draw some water for you?”
The two nodded and the man thanked me. I set the flask on the dirt by the well’s stone wall and grabbed the rope to let the bucket back down into the well. When I pulled it back up and set it on the wall’s edge, the man filled two flasks, handing one to the woman.
She took a sip. “Mm, that’s better. Thank you.” She placed a hand over her middle. “What’s your name?”
I began filling Father’s flask. “Hanna.”
“Shalom, Hanna. My name is Mary.”
I nodded and smiled as they passed by me on their way down the street. I patted the donkey’s brown rump, and he swished his tail at me. I watched them as they stopped at the nearest inn. They won’t find space there, I thought. With Caesar Augustus’ decree that a census should be taken, and everyone going to their own towns to register, it seemed all of Bethlehem’s inns were filled.
I decided to take a less traveled street back to the hills. It was the longer way, but at least there were less crowds and noise. The path I took would join a main road a while before leaving the little town.
To my surprise, I ran into Mary and her husband again.
Mary was bent over. She clutched her middle and her face was twisted in pain. “Joseph,” she groaned. He dropped the donkey’s rope to hold her hand. My pulse quickened with worry.
He frantically glanced around and saw me. “Please, do you know of any place we can stay?” he pleaded. I thought only for a second, but that short silence made Joseph panic even more.
I picked the rope up from the ground. “I know a place. If you don’t mind a barn, that is.”
Joseph thanked me, and I began leading the donkey through the town, until we reached the home of my father’s friend, Aatami.
I rapped hard on the thick door. Aatami wasn’t a kind man. I hoped maybe a pledged coin would convince him to let the couple use his barn for the night.
He opened the door a crack before swinging it wide. “Shalom, Hanna. What is it?”
“These two need a place to stay,” I explained quickly. “The woman is with child.”
He squinted past me at Joseph and Mary and stroked his beard. His hesitation was irritating, and I quickly promised him a small sum.
He grunted and nodded toward the barn. “You know where it is.”
Joseph heard and wasted no time. He pulled the tired donkey along, glancing every couple seconds at Mary. “Thank you, Hanna,” he said.
I smiled and raised my hand in farewell. Looking up at the darkness of the sky, I knew I had to hurry back to Father. He might have been worried about my long absence, but he wasn’t able to leave the flock.
I scrambled up the rocky hill, eager to tell Father what had happened in town. I found him just a little farther away from our flock than before, talking with two other shepherds around a crackling fire.
“Father,” I called as I reached him. “Something happened—“
My voice was silenced by a loud noise. A rush of wind like I’d never heard or felt before. It thrust me on my back and the fire was blown out in an instant. A bright white light nearly blinded me. I began to panic with fear. I tried to shade me eyes with my arm, but I still couldn’t see where Father was.
I heard a few cries of terror nearby as a deep voice boomed. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people,” it said. The light lessened a little and I squinted upward. I felt my breathing stop as my gaze fell upon an angel, suspended in air. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
More heavenly beings appeared with the first, and they all praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”
There was another rush of wind. Lesser than the first, but I struggled to keep upright. The angels left.
Our small band of shepherds stared in trembling awe at the sky. One star much brighter than the rest shone in the distance, its silvery beams shining down on a special spot.
“Let’s go into Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about,” one shepherd said eagerly. In awed silence, we took up our staffs and hurried toward the town following the light of the star.
Our humble group approached the barn of Aatami. The light of the star gathered there.
Joseph looked up at us from the bundle in the manger. His smile was as bright as the sun. “Come, join us,” he beckoned.
We shyly approached, kneeling and squatting in the soft dirt. I leaned forward to peak at the child nestled in the straw. It was the sweetest baby I had ever seen. I smiled. The shepherds with me smiled. Mary smiled back.
Well, I hope you still like it. Maybe I’ll actually edit this thing one day. XD
Talk to me about your Christmas in the comments! Do you have your Christmas shopping and wrapping done? If not, well…welcome to the club. 😉 What’s your favorite thing about the Christmas season (besides awesome seasonal Starbucks drinks 😛 )?
Write on and merry Christmas :),
What are some of your favorite classic Christmas stories? What do you look forward to most this Christmas season? I hope you all have a blessed Christmas!
‘Tis the season for gift-giving. 🙂
It’s the time of year that you’re beginning to purchase Christmas presents for your family and friends. And, maybe a couple for yourself. 😉 (since bookworms definitely have money just lying around *nods* yeah)
I have here a list of some of the best gifts for the writer or reader in your life, or just as a treat for yourself. Happy shopping!
Storiarts has amazing gifts for readers (you’ll see more of their products in this list). I have one of these scarves, Sherlock Holmes themed. They’re warm and good quality too.
I’ve only read the first of the Anne of Green Gables books, but I’ve watched a movie too and I must say…she and I are very similar in many ways. 🙂 I’m not nearly as talkative as she is, but we have a lot of the same feelings. We are kindred spirits. 😉
This mug is so pretty, and perfect for the bookish fan of Anne of Green Gables.
I need this. I just do.
You know those trips to the library or book store where you come back with way too many books for your own good? This is a perfect tote for that.
Better get two, to be on the safe side. 😛
We bookworms love to keep our precious novels in super good condition. What better way than to slip your current read into a book sleeve? Perfect to protect against bends, scratches and stains.
I’m sure you can tell by now that I really like Storiarts products. 😉 I have a pair of these, Sherlock Holmes themed. They have quite a few themes, whether you want to go by author or book.
These gloves are good quality, warm, and just down-right cool. 😉
I mean, HOW COOL IS THAT?!
I have the 221b scent (yes, I like Sherlock Holmes) and it. is. awesome. In the Wick of Time has many, many scents to choose from. So find a scent from your favorite book and let it bring a little more bookish joy into your life. <3
Once you get over the strange name, you’ll notice the cool products. 😉
They have bookish candles as well, and merch like tees, mugs, and totes.
Another company with book-themed mugs, totes, art prints, candles, and more. Not super pretty designs in my opinion. But, then again, I’m a girl; a bookish guy would probably prefer the look of these products. 😉
Claim your books as your own with this stamp: “From the library of [insert your name here].” That’s pretty cool. Because I for one have no intention of getting rid of my books, and this is perfect especially if you lend your books to friends. You know, just to make sure you get them back. 😉
Well, I hope you’ll find something here that’s perfect for that bookish friend, or to treat yourself this Christmas. 🙂
What’s your favorite product from this list? Do you have a favorite bookish item that you love to use?
I created my own tag! 😀 Tags are seriously one of the most fun things in the universe.
(I’m totally not sure how tags get started, so I just figured someone had to create one and just tag people, so here goes…correct me if I am wrong.)
Here’s the questions!
1. OREOS. A book or series you couldn’t get enough of.
The Swipe series by Evan Angler. With this series I discovered I love sci-fi/futuristic fiction, and these books were so good! Great world-building and suspense on every page. I also loved any Nadine Brandes book.
2. LOLLIPOPS. A book you enjoyed as a little kid.
I had this tiny book of poems (mentioned in another tag) that I used to carry around with me literally everywhere. It got so worn that I had to hold it together with tape. 🙂
3. SOUR PATCH KIDS. A book that reading once was enough.
Bell Mountain by Lee Duigon. I wanted to like this series because I appreciated the Christian themes, but it just didn’t really connect with me. I felt like the character development could’ve been done better. And when I don’t fully connect with the characters, I don’t fully connect with the story.
4. M & Ms. A really long series you liked.
The Kingdom series and Knights of Arrethtrae series by Chuck Black. I’ve read those both at least three times, and I don’t usually read books more than once.
5. KING-SIZED KIT KAT. A really long book you liked.
I actually don’t really own a really long book, but one of the longest books I’ve read lately was Fawkes.
6. THREE MUSKATEERS. Your favorite trilogy.
I’ve only completed one trilogy, the Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes. The MC, Parvin is the most relatable character I’ve ever read about. 🙂
7. ALMOND JOY. A book that most people didn’t like, but you did (or vise versa).
Pride and Prejudice. Most of my friends really like the Jane Austen books, but they’re really not my type of book. I prefer action-packed adventures. 😉
And there you have it! And now I am seriously craving some Oreos…
(to my Australian blogger: I hope you have some of the same candy as the U.S. or some of these might not mean anything to you 😉 )
Oh, if any of you would like to steal this tag, you have my permission 😉 (#breakingmyownrules)
Now, what happened with NaNoWriMo…
Long story short, I didn’t reach 50k.
That’s right, I didn’t even reach halfway. To be honest, November didn’t go like I thought it might. With this being my senior year of high-school, there’s just so much to do, so 2018 may not have been the best year to attempt this for the first time.
But I’m not super disappointed about it. I am a little disappointed that this month didn’t go like I’d hoped, but as for my word count, I’m totally fine with it. Because I got way more writing done in a month than I would have otherwise. And I’m really enjoying this novel too. I was afraid I was going to come out of nano hating it, but I don’t. Which is more important to me than reaching the 50k word count goal. 🙂
So anyway, my total ending word count was 16,516 words. Tell me in the comments about how nano went for you, and what your ending word count was. 😉
I’ve had a good amount of tags here already, and here’s another one. 🙂 One I hadn’t even heard of before until I saw it on Abigail’s blog. It’s super cool and super fun, so I hope you enjoy…
1. Thank the blogger who tagged you. Thank you very much, Abigail!
2. Include this link.
3. Use your own lovely Original Characters (OC’s); don’t use a friend’s characters or characters from your favorite fandom. They can be from any project, so long as you created them. For more fun, try to use as many different characters as possible.
4. Tag at least five lovely bloggers to play along!
Here we go…
This one was actually harder than I expected it to be…
Aaaaaaand I didn’t come up with anyone. I guess I don’t like to right characters that could become poets. XD
Jax from Underneath. Of course, being a government soldier, he wouldn’t literally dance in the rain. But he appreciates simple beauties like rain.
[no picture for him as of yet]
First, I don’t think anyone looks good in a kilt. But I guess I’d have to choose an Irish boy from my Great Depression WIP. I don’t know if kilts are a Scottish or Irish thing, but this is the closest thing I’ve got. He doesn’t have a name yet, so we’ll just call him Irish Lad (c). 🙂
[no picture for him as of yet]
Taro from my current sci-fi WIP, Underneath. He’s the kinda guy that would continue to argue with someone to purposely make them angry….which would result in a punch to the face.
He’d probably punch them back.
I’m sorry what?…sheep herder? Of all the…
Anyway, I guess Kallie, from my novella Danni’s Dilemma.
She’s one of those hard-core country girls, so I guess she might try sheep herding if she had a free weekend.
Vega from Underneath. She might like to go to a library, if all the books she’d want to read weren’t banned by the government and impossible to find (like the Bible).
I don’t know if he’d sleep through something as big as an earthquake, but as a growing teenager, he likes his deep sleep.
Danni from Danni’s Dilemma. To make things clear, she wouldn’t steal from just anyone’s plate, only those that belong to her family (or close friends), and only when they looked like they weren’t going to finish their food. 😛
Rin from my WIP Underneath. She’d do this on account of her opinion on tests: they’re not necessary to survival.
Well I should hope that none of my characters would be so callus as to say “oops” after setting something on fire!
*still has character that might do this*
Kaylee from my superhero WIP Flame (ya know, since she has fire powers and all).
Vega. Maybe even Uma too. They both have hearts full of compassion and stand up for the under-dog.
Gwen from my Great Depression WIP. She’d do this on an impulse…and later regret it, most likely.
Rin again. She tough and resourceful, and can survive about everything (or thinks she can).
Again, Taro. He’d get a kick out of seeing how it affected people.
*shivers* none of my characters would haunt their friends…
And there you have it! I’m tagging…
Gray @ Writing is Life
Hannah @ The Catwing Has Landed
Sarah @ The Sarcastic Elf
Nicole @ Legend of a Writer
Mariposa @ Dinos Digest
But feel free to take this tag if you’d like. 😉
Words written this week: 404
Total word count: 13,012
This is pitiful, and there’s only a week left of nano. But I plan on doing some major writing these last several days.
So…I hope I get at leas to 25K. 🙂 I think 25k is my new goal now…
Happy last week of nano!
When I first saw this tag during the fall last year on Gray’s blog, I fell in love with it. I love sweaters and autumn so much, and this tag seemed to be the perfect fit for me.
Well, Gray did the tag again this year and said that anyone who loved sweaters and autumn could take it.
I am qualified. 😛
Therefore, I present to you The Bibliophile Sweater Tag!
The Little House on the Prairie series. These were a big part of my childhood, and whenever I see these books on my shelf, I’m filled with all these nostalgic memories. 🙂
It’s hard to pick just one for this one. But I’ll choose Swipe by Evan Angler. This was my very first sci-fi/futuristic, which helped me discover my love of this genre.
I couldn’t choose one for this. I went through my Goodreads shelves to look the covers over…and didn’t find any that would fit this. I also hate to say negative things about authors’ books, especially if I know them or follow their blog or something (which makes up quite a bit of my shelves), so that might’ve influenced me. 🙂
I don’t remember the prices of all the books I’ve bought over the years, but the one that comes to mind that’s most recent is Fawkes by Nadine Brandes. I just remember handing my money over to purchase it and thinking, boy, that’s kinda expensive. $16-ish. I don’t know, maybe I’m not up-to-date on how they’re pricing books these days…
The Sherlock Holmes books. My brother and I both enjoyed these mysteries.
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin. But I didn’t actually buy this…my library has a yearly summer reading program which you get prizes for if you read a certain amount. I always reach the max amount of achievable points (#bookworm), and one of the prizes is always a book of my choice from their whole library! (no actually just this little book cart). Well, the teen books are never clean enough for me to read, so I never pick a book. But this summer, I saw this, decided it was an interesting story concept, and thought I’d give the library’s teen picks another chance.
I had to stop reading the book.
I remember my mom reading this a lot to my siblings when we were little. I didn’t realize how much I loved this cute, funny, innocent story until we watched the recent movie Christopher Robin. OH. MY. WORD. That movie is so good, people! (by the way, I REFUSE to call this movie Christopher Robin [ignore the above] because this is THE WINNIE THE POOH MOVIE!!! [because he’s awesome])
The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson. Best. Cover. Ever.
Spark by Evan Angler. Every other book was a four or five star in my opinion, but this one was a bit disappointing. You can check out my review on Goodreads here.
Absolutely nothing came to mind for this one. 🙁 I guess I haven’t read any books with a unique format. *shrugs*
Can I use the same book for more than one answers?
Anyway, Fawkes. I loved all these characters so much, especially Emma (if you’ve read the book, you know what I’m talking about 😉 ). Also the Out of Time series.
And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this tag, and if you like sweaters and autumn too, snag this tag for your blog! Happy autumn!
Total word count: 12,021
So, yeah….I should be at 25k this time of the month.
Did you like this tag? What’s your favorite kind of sweater? How’s nano going for you?