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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rosa Chapter Seventeen

Hello, all! Are you ready for the next chapter of Rosa? I hope so, because I’m posting it right now! (If you haven’t read the rest of Rosa, or you need a refresher, here’s Chapter Sixteen.) Now, on with the tale!

Chapter Seventeen
Days passed. Rosa slowly, but steadily, continued to recover from the poison. And, as she healed, her love for Prince Owen and his love for Rosa grew and blossomed. The others were careful not to tell Rosa how Prince Owen’s simple kiss had healed her, for as Mandy said one day, “Some things are best left unspoken, and secrets told are secret no more.” However, Rosa soon decided that she did not need to know how, all that mattered was that she had been healed.
            Despite this Lord Alanal, Lady Clarellë, and Mandy still worried about Rosa, though for a different reason. Every day they wondered Will Prince Owen and Rosa ever tell each other how they feel? However, they kept this thought private, and told themselves Better to let them come to it on their own.
            One day, when Rosa was feeling very well, everyone simultaneously decided that it was time to confront Queen Leila. For much of the day, no one said anything. However, at lunch, Prince Owen summed up their feelings in two words as he declared “It’s time.” So, the whole group set out for the castle, determined to expose Queen Leila’s dark deeds.
            When they arrived at the castle, however, they found this to be easier said than done. No one would let them up to see the queen. After many attempts, they sat down in the kitchen, the one place they could be without being disturbed, to try and figure out what to do.
            “This isn’t going as well as we hoped.” Mandy stated, gloomily.
            “Nay, it isn’t.” Lady Clarellë agreed. “Perhaps we set our hopes too high.”
            Suddenly, Rosa burst out with an idea. “The servants’ hidden staircase!” she cried. “No one will notice us and we’ll be able to get right us to Queen Leila’s chamber!
            “Dearie, that’s a nice idea, but there’s a reason those stairs are called hidden.” Mandy said, dryly. “We don’t know where they are.”
            “But I do!” Rosa exclaimed. “I learned about them the time I helped the queen’s serving maid, and I know exactly where they are.” With that, she dashed off to find the servant’s staircase, the others following close behind.

Will Rosa and the rest succeed in stopping Queen Leila’s reign of evil? Will Rosa’s idea work? To find out, check back next time when the next chapter is posted! Until then, please comment and tell me what you think! I’d love to know your thoughts!
-Sarah
Update: Chapter Eighteen is up!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Way of the Wilderking Review


Author: Jonathan Rodgers

When civlizer Aidan returns home to Corenwald after three years in Feechiefen Swamp, he is shocked to discover a newly formed party known as the Aidanites. They believe that the revered "Wilderking Chant" makes reference to Aidan, and that he is destined to overthrow the tyrant King Darrow.

But wait. Aidan has no intention of leading any such rebellion. However, as Corenwalk weakens and enemy Pyrthens threaten to invade, it's clear that the Aidanites are the only army his people have left. What soon transpires among civilizers, feechiefolk, Corenwalders, and Pyrthens alike, no one could've imagined.
-Summary from the back of The Way of the Wilderking

Characters: Very good! Although there is a notable lack of the feechies that I grew used to, there are plenty of old friends including the Greasy Cave miners from book one, the Last Campers from book two, and Dobro Turtlebane, who mostly makes up for the rest of the feechies being out of the action.
5/5

Location: Pretty good. It was fairly clear and well managed, but not particularly remarkable.
3/5

Plot: Very good! The plot is exciting with plenty of humor. The strange findings in the Sinking Caves add just the right element of mystery, and the ending is highly satisfactory.
5/5

Other: This trilogy is excellent, and I would recommend it to just about anyone.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Series Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rosa Chapter Sixteen


Hi, everyone! Ready for more of Rosa? If so, that’s good, because I’ve got Chapter Sixteen here! Need a refresher? Here’s Chapter Fifteen. And now, on with the tale!

Chapter Sixteen
A few minutes later, Lord Alanal, Lady Clarellë, Skyellë, Mandy, and Prince Owen were standing around the once hidden rope ladder that led to the highest level in the tree house. “Who is going up?” Skyellë asked.
            Mandy and Prince Owen glanced at each other, and then Prince Owen said “Mandy and I will go up one at a time. Mandy, do you want to go up first?”
            Mandy hesitated, and then whispered “No. I can’t go up just yet. You are welcome to go ahead.”
            Prince Owen looked at her wonderingly, and then began climbing the rope ladder. Lord Alanal followed, saying that Panthal would need some persuasion to leave Rosa.
            Panthal did need quite a bit of persuasion to convince him that it was alright to leave Prince Owen alone with Rosa, but Lord Alanal managed it. Soon, Prince Owen was standing by the side of Rosa’s bed with no one else nearby. As he gazed at her, he thought She’s even more beautiful than I remembered. Without thinking about what he was doing, he leaned over and kissed Rosa. Suddenly, her eyelids fluttered and her breathing grew quicker. Prince Owen gasped, and then rushed outside to tell the others the news.
            Rosa fully awoke to find herself in a room with jewel-covered walls. She blinked, trying to figure out where she was. Suddenly, she heard Panthal’s voice beside her. She turned towards the sound and saw Panthal himself walking toward her. In his hands was a tray bearing food, drink, and a small flask. “Ah, you’ve awakened!” he said, smiling. “I thought you might.” He set the tray down on a small table by the bedside.
            Rosa stared at Panthal. He rarely smiled, and she had never seen him smiling this broadly. “What happened?” she asked. “Where am I?”
            Panthal’s smile faded somewhat. “As far as we can tell Leila, or another who seeks to kill you, poisoned you somehow. You almost died.”
            Rosa gasped. “The lady . . . I don’t know how long ago, but a dark haired lady with pale skin gave me a basket of fruit. I started eating a plum from it, but I fainted or something after the first bite.”
            Panthal frowned for a minute. “The plum must’ve had the poison in it. I wonder . . .” his voice trailed off and he shook his head. “No matter.” he said briskly. “You’re all right now, that’s what matters.” He turned to leave, but was stopped by a last question from Rosa.
            “But how was I cured? And where am I?” she asked.
            Panthal turned to look at her. “You’re in the top room of our house.” he told her. “And love is what healed you.” With that, he turned and walked out of the room, leaving a confused Rosa lying in bed, staring after him.

What will happen next? Has Rosa really recovered? Who is the strange lady who poisoned Rosa? To find out, check back next time! In the meantime, please comment! I’d love to hear what you think!
-Sarah

Monday, March 28, 2011

Flower Collage

Hi, everyone! I'm back with some of my photography once more! Today's picture is different from most of the pictures I've posted thus far. Why? Well, see for yourself:


This picture is my first collage since I first got into Photoshop. The pictures are all different versions of the same photo, which also serves as a background. The different looks came from my playing around with the different layer masks and effects in Photoshop, trying to figure out how many different abstract-type effects I could come up with, and the beveled edges were done in a similar manner. So, what do you think? Please comment and let me know!
-Sarah

Friday, March 25, 2011

Holidays, Tales, and Photography- My Week

Mae govannen, mellyn nin! (Translation from elvish: well met, my friends. For anyone unfamiliar with The Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth in general, this is a traditional elvish greeting.) Friday is here, and that means it's time for an update on me and my life in general!

  • I have been reading a considerable amount of Tolkien lately, thus my elvish greeting. I have found out that there is something in Morgoth's Ring that isn't in The Silimarillion! What is it? Actually, it's two things: the tale of Finwe and Miriel and a long chapter on Elvish customs and laws. Granted, neither of these is particuarly exciting, but they are new and fairly interesting. I hope to make better time reading this, especially since the end of the month is quickly approaching.
  • As you can see if you look at my sidebar, I have a list of little-known or Lord of the Rings related holidays. I will update this list monthly. Also as you can see by looking at this list, today is the "anniversary" of the Battle in Mordor and the One Ring's destruction, both of which are found in The Return of the King. This could have something to do with the reason for me reading six or seven chapters of Morgoth's Ring today and greeting everyone in elvish. Also, tommorrow is Make-Up-Your-Own-Holiday Day! I have yet to figure out what I will be celebrating . . . please comment with your ideas.
  • My stories are going fairly well. I have finished part one of The Sacrifice, and in my unnamed story one of my main characters is having her world and her entire identity come crashing down around her. (Don't worry; that's a good thing in this case.) I am having a lot of fun with this story, since it involves a lot of mystery, mayhem, and ancient prophecy. (If anyone knows of a good word for "old" that starts with "M" and isn't "medieval", please let me know.)
  • There was a photo contest last night, and my pictures did not do well. I got no ribbons, and Daddy didn't get any either, unfortunately.
  • Christopher Paolini has finally written the fourth and final book in his fantasy series, The Inheritance Cycle! The last book in this series came out several years ago, and everyone who reads his books has been waiting (im)patiently for the fourth book. This book, titled Inheritance, will be coming out November 8 of this year. I can't wait! 

Well, that's about it for this week. Please comment with your holiday ideas, m words-for-old, and whatever else you want to say! 
-Sarah

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rosa Chapter Fifteen

Hi, everyone! Sorry this is so late, but I’ve got Chapter Fifteen here! Need a refresher? Here’s Chapter Fourteen! And now, Rosa!

Chapter Fifteen
Back at the elves’ clearing . . .
            Panthal sighed and looked at Rosa. She lay on a bed in the center of the uppermost room of their tree house. The multicolored shafts of sunlight that came streaming through the jewels danced around Rosa. We’ve tried almost everything, and nothing has worked. What are we going to do? His sensitive ears caught the sound of someone entering the room, and he turned toward the door.
            Skyellë entered, looking around. “Is she doing any better?” she asked softly.
            Panthal shook his head. “Nay.” he answered. “What do you have there?”
            Skyellë looked at the flask she held in her hands. “The last possible remedy we can make.” she told him. “There’s only one left in the book of lore, and we cannot procure that one.” She handed the flask to Panthal.
            Panthal opened the flask. “What is this last remedy that we cannot make?”
            Skyellë’s eyes filled with tears. “The kiss of an unknown lover.” she whispered, and then she turned and fled the room.
            Hours passed. Rosa still made no move, and uttered no sound. Panthal, Skyellë, and Lord Alanal took turns sitting with her, just in case. Panthal was just beginning a third turn when the sound of horses galloping came from below. Skyellë rushed out to the edge of the lowest platform and looked down. When she saw who was below she cried out in near-joy. “Clarellë has returned!” she called out. “And there are others with her!”
            Skyellë watched as Lady Clarellë, Mandy, and Prince Owen climbed up the rope ladder. As soon as Lady Clarellë was on the platform, Skyellë rushed over. She opened her mouth to speak, but Lady Clarellë beat her to it. “How is Rosa?” she asked in a whisper.
            Skyellë shook her head. “No better. Who are the others you brought?”
            “The lady is Mandy, the one who watched over Rosa before that task fell to us.” Lady Clarellë replied. “The young man is Prince Owen, who Mandy seems to trust. She insisted on his coming. I am not sure why.”
            Skyellë gasped. “Perhaps the last remedy-“she snapped her mouth shut, wondering if she should say it.
            “What about a last remedy?” asked Lady Clarellë.
             “The only remedy in left in our book of lore is the kiss of an unknown lover. What if Prince Owen is that unknown lover?”
            Lady Clarellë nodded slowly. “It could be.” she whispered. “It would be a miracle if he was and it worked.”
            “Should we mention it to him?”  Skyellë asked.
            “Nay.” Lady Clarellë told her. “We do not want to take any risks of getting their hopes up. If Prince Owen kisses her and it does not work, it would be heartbreaking.” She gestured towards Mandy and Prince Owen, who were standing just inside the house, talking with Lord Alanal.
            Skyellë nodded. “You’re probably right.” she reluctantly agreed. “So what should we do now?”
            “We invite them up.” Lady Clarellë replied, simply.
What will happen next? Will Prince Owen be able to cure Rosa? To find out, check back next time! In the meantime, please comment! I’d love to hear your opinion!
-Sarah
Update: Chapter Fifteen is up!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Secret of the Swamp King Review


Author: Jonathan Rodgers

It looks like a fool's errand. A jealous and vindictive King Darrow sends Aidan Errolson into the depths of the Feechiefen Swamp. Darrow thinks he's sending Corenwald's young deliverer to certain death. No one, after all, comes back from the Feechiefen. He doesn't know that Aidan has allies among the feechiefolk, who know him as the hero Pantherbane.

But even the feechiefolk may be unable to deliver Aidan from the enemy who waits in the swamp's deepest recesses-an enemy who threatens not just Aidan but all of Corenwald.
-Summary from the back of The Secret of the Swamp King 

Characters: Excellent! Aidan returns, and many new and interesting characters are discovered, each lovable in his own way. Among these are many feechies, which add an extra level of fun.
4/5

Location: Pretty good. It was fairly clear, though I did get a little confused at Bearhouse Island. The frog orchid pond, however, is very well done.
3.5/5

Plot: Excellent! This tale has plenty of excitement and humor, along with a good sized helping of battles and fighting. The strange “Wilderking” adds just enough mystery to make the plot really interesting.
5/5

Other: This tale was, if possible, funnier than the last. I especially liked Chapter Seventeen, which was extra-funny. Also, I appreciated the fact that there were many more of the feechiefolk.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rosa Chapter Fourteen

Hi, everyone! Ready for more of Rosa? I hope so, because I’m posting Chapter Fourteen now! Need a refresher? Chapters Twelve and Thirteen are just a click away. And now, on with the tale!

Chapter Fourteen
Mandy busily mixed and kneaded the bread dough; intent on making what she hoped would be one of her best loaves. Carefully, she finished kneading it and laid a cloth over the top of the bowl. Glancing up, Mandy saw a tall, golden haired lady wearing a silver cape walking towards the castle. Hmm. thought Mandy, That’s odd. I don’t believe I’ve seen her before. I wonder why she isn’t riding a horse like most royalty. Suddenly, the lady turned and began walking towards the kitchen, instead of going to the big back gate. Mandy soon heard the sharp, urgent sound of knocking on the kitchen door. Wiping her hands on her apron, Mandy quickly walked over and opened the door. It creaked as it opened, and Mandy made a mental note to oil the hinges. However, all thoughts of oil vanished from Mandy’s mind when she saw the person at the door. Why, it’s the lady I saw walking up here! Dropping a curtsy, Mandy said “What may I do for you, milady?”  What does she want with me? Did she somehow miss the main gate?
            The lady looked at Mandy, and Mandy could see that the lady’s deep green eyes were filled with worry. “Are you Mandy?” the lady asked urgency evident in her voice.
            “Yes, milady.” Mandy answered.
            “I am Lady Clarellë.” the lady told Mandy. “I am afraid that Rosa is near death.”
            “What?” Mandy exclaimed. “How? Why? How do you know?”
            Lady Clarellë shook her head. “Rosa has been staying with us for several years, but there will be time for explanations later. You must come quickly!”
            Now it was Mandy’s turn to shake her head. “There’s someone else who needs to come.” she said, and hurried off to find Prince Owen.
            Prince Owen was sitting in his usual spot by the window. Suddenly, he heard a loud banging on his door. Is someone trying to knock the door down? He jumped up and hurried over, wondering who was disturbing him. He flung open the door to find Mandy, the cook who had told him the truth about Rosa, standing before him. “Your highness,” she said, breathlessly, “Rosa is near death. I thought I should-“
            Her words were cut off by Prince Owen’s exclamation of “Where is she? How did this happen?”
            “Come with me, please, your highness, and I’ll explain everything.” Mandy told him, turning to go.
            Prince Owen nodded, grabbed his cape, and followed close behind. 

What will happen next? Will Mandy and Prince Owen make it to the elves’ clearing? Will Rosa die? There’s only one way to find out: check back Thursday! In the meantime, please comment and tell me what you think! I’d love to know!
-Sarah
Update: Chapter Fifteen is up!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bridge

Hi, everyone! I'm back, with more of my photography. I was originally going to post a different picture, but the computer wouldn't load it, so I decided on this picture instead.



This picture was taken at a nearby garden-type place. I used a mask on it to give it that poster-drawing effect. I also have a color version somewhere on one of the computers, and since I just found it, I'll post that too.



Which do you like better; the color version or the black and white version? Please comment and tell me!
 -Sarah

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Week . . .


Hi, everyone! Sorry about posting this late, but we were rather busy last night. So, here’s the summary of my week.

·        I have gotten some work done on my unnamed story. It seems to be going well, and I’m almost to the really good part. I’ve also gotten all three of my main characters wondering what on Earth is going on! Yes, I love doing that. It’s incredibly fun.
·        I have also started the Easter story that I was thinking of starting last Friday. Although it’s barely two or three written pages long, it already has a name: The Sacrifice. The story will have two parts: one that describes the crucifixion and one that covers the events surrounding the empty tomb. Part One will focus on a nine-year-old girl and her father, a follower of the Prince of Peace (my name in the story for Jesus), both of whom witness the events. Part Two will focus on the same girl and her mother. I am hoping to finish this story quickly, and I suspect that I will succeed.
·        I have been attempting to read Morgoth’s Ring, a book by J.R.R. Tolkien that consists of a few of the early drafts of the first part of The Silimarillion. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be going very well, partially because the book is rather boring for one of Tolkien’s tales and partially because I’ve already read The Silimarillion, so I know that the characters aren’t going to stop doing things that make you want to scream “Don’t do that! Stop acting like an idiot!” for a while. Naturally, one doesn’t really want to read about people making incredibly foolish decisions. So, I have made next to no progress on finishing this book.
·        It’s finally gotten warm! Friday and Saturday were both in the seventies, and it’s supposed to be in the sixties today!

Well, that’s about all! Thanks for stopping by!
-Sarah

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rosa Chapter Twelve

Hi, everyone! I’ve returned, with more of Rosa! Need a refresher? Here’s Chapter Eleven! And now, without further ado, here is Chapter Twelve! Enjoy!

Chapter Twelve
The next morning . . .
            The sun shone brightly through the amber striped wall of the elves’ tree house. It danced across the lower room and fell on Rosa, who was busily sweeping the floor in a ceaseless battle against the leaves that were continually blowing in. Suddenly, she stopped as a voice wafted its way up to her. “Excuse me?” the voice said. “Is anyone home?” It was the voice of a young woman, sweet and low. “Hello?’ it called once more. “Hello?”
            Rosa quickly left the room and climbed down the rope ladder. Then, with her feet firmly on the ground, she surveyed the owner of the voice.
            The person was a young woman, probably in her mid to late twenties. She had short, curly, black hair, and her eyes were a blue-black color, which Rosa had often admired. The woman’s skin was pale, but not as pale as some skin. “Do you live here?” she asked, pulling back her hair to reveal a pointed ear.
            Rosa frowned. Something about her doesn’t seem right. She shook her head. It’s probably just my imagination. Besides, no one dangerous can get in here. Out loud, she said “Yes. Why do you ask?”
            The woman smiled. “I brought this as a gift to you and the others who live here.” she said, holding up a basket of fruit.
            Rosa’s mouth watered as she caught sight of the two plums nestled in with the apples, pears, and peaches. “Thank you.” she said, taking the basket.
            “Don’t mention it.” The woman turned to leave.
            Rosa turned as well, than suddenly turned back around. “What did you say your name was?” Rosa called.
            “Nightblossom.” the woman answered without looking back. Rosa turned, satisfied. She didn’t see the black flash that rippled outward through the web when the woman passed through.
            Holding the basket of fruit in one hand, Rosa climbed up the rope ladder and back into the tree house. She set the basket on the table, glancing longingly at the plums. Just one won’t hurt, and they look so delicious . . .  Rosa reached out, grabbed a plum, and bit into it, filling her mouth with the sweet fruit. She swallowed, and was about to take another bite when a burning sensation suddenly began in her throat. Setting the plum down, she dashed across the room. She poured herself a glass of water from a small pitcher. She quickly drank it, but it did no good. Her throat began feeling tight, and she started to feel dizzy. She fought the feelings, but to no avail. Rosa fell to the floor, unconscious and barely breathing.

And now I have something special: Chapter Thirteen! I’m posting it in honor of St. Patrick’s Day (not that it has anything to do with the day) and in honor of the exceptionally warm day we’re having today. (I’m wearing SHORT SLEEVES!) So, without any more introduction from me, Chapter Thirteen!

Chapter Thirteen
Hours passed, and Rosa did not stir. Below, all went on as usual. After a while, Lord Alanal, Lady Clarellë, Panthal, and Skyellë returned. Sensing that something was wrong, they gathered under the oak to decide what to do.
            “Something is wrong.”  Skyellë said. “Rosa has not called her usual greeting.”
            “Aye,” agreed Lady Clarellë, “And the web showed signs of a dark entry and exit.”
            “Could Leila have found Rosa?” asked Lord Alanal.
            “It doesn’t matter!” declared Panthal. “We need to make sure Rosa is alright and discover if the intruder has entered our house.”
            “I agree!” exclaimed Skyellë.
            “As do I.” added Lady Clarellë. “Whoever it was is not here anymore, so it is safe for us.”
            “Very well.” Lord Alanal replied. “Panthal, you are the quickest on your feet and the best warrior and healer. You lead. I will come next, then Lady Clarellë, then Skyellë. Agreed?” 
            The others nodded, and they began the climb, wondering what had happened and if Rosa was unharmed.
            As the four entered the room on the first level, they all gasped at the sight of Rosa lying motionless on the floor. “Is she . . . dead?” asked Skyellë, hesitantly.
            Panthal strode over to where Rosa lay. He took a small dagger from his belt and held it before her nose and mouth. “She is not quite dead.” he said, looking at the light mist on the bright metal blade. “She is holding onto life, but only by a thread.” He rose and looked at the others. “Alanal, will you help me carry Rosa to the top room?”
            “Do you mean the gem room?” Skyellë gasped.
            “Aye.” replied Panthal, thinking of the bright gems embedded in the ceiling and walls of the uppermost room. The gems had healing qualities, and the sunlight that filtered through them could heal almost anything. Rosa will need all those healing powers, and then some to stay alive. Then, he snapped out of his thoughts and turned to Lady Clarellë and Skyellë. “Clarellë, will you go to the castle Rosa came from and tell Mandy of Rosa’s peril?”
            “With a good will.” replied Lady Clarellë, turning to leave.
            “Skyellë, I need you to stay here and prepare whatever medicines we may need, and I may need your help in other ways as well.” Panthal told her, as he bent to help Lord Alanal carry Rosa.
            Skyellë sighed, and then replied “Very well.” As she watched her family disappear in various directions, questions filled her mind. She tried to push them down, but two kept resurfacing. They were Will Rosa be alright? And What will happen to us if Leila has found our home?

What will happen next? Will Rosa survive? Will Leila wreck more havoc on the elves? To find out, check back next time! In the meantime, please comment and tell me what you think! I’d love to hear your opinions!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
-Sarah
Update: Chapter Fourteen is up!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Bark of the Bog Owl Review

Author: Jonathan Rodgers

Twelve-year-old Aidan Errolson comes from a long line of adventurers. His grandparents were among the first settlers of Corenwald's eastern frontier. His father had been one of the kingdom's greatest warriors. Aidan, on the other hand, lives the quiet, comfortable life of a nobleman's son. He has never had any real adventures, and that, he believes, is the one great injustice of his otherwise happy life.

All that will change the day he first hears the bark of the bog owl and meets Dobro Turtlebane. Dobro is one of the feechiefolk- a tribe of half-civilized swamp dwellers who fight too much, laugh too loud, cry too easily, and smell just terrible.

But another meeting on that remarkable day may change Aidan's life even more profoundly. Bayard the Truthspeaker arrives with a startling pronouncement: Aidan Errolson will grow to be the Wilderking- the long-prophesied wild man who will come out of Corenwald's forests and swamps to lead the kingdom back to its former glory.

There's only one question: Is Bayard the Truthspeaker a prophet or a madman?
-Summary from the back of The Bark of the Bog Owl 

Characters: Very good. There’s a nice amount of variety, and Aidan seems nicely familiar. Also, the feechiefolk are hilarious!
4/5

Location: Pretty good. There were a few places where I got a little confused, but these could’ve been prevented if I took the time to look at the map in the front. Over all it was well done and very clear.
4/5

Plot: Very good. The plot, which is based on the story of David, is interesting and exciting, with plenty of humor. Although there isn’t very much subplot at all, it works well, and the Wilderking prophecy adds just the right amount of mystery.
5/5
 
Other: I very much enjoyed this book. It is simple and clear, a nice change from the complicated novels I often read. I also enjoyed the fact that the people and setting seemed like a pleasant cross between my favorite medieval fantasy world and early America, something I’ve never found in any other book.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rosa Chapter Eleven

Hi, everyone! Want more of Rosa? If you do, you’re in luck, because I’m posting Chapter Eleven! Need a refresher? Here’s Chapter Ten! And now, on with the tale!

Chapter Eleven
Many years later . . .
            Rosa climbed quickly down the rope ladder. As soon as her feet touched the ground, she looked around. Then, spotting the patch of blueberry bushes she had been looking for, Rosa rushed over, her basket swinging on her arm. She had been living with the elves for almost five years now, and she wanted to do something special for them. When she had overheard talk of blueberry bushes near the tree house, she had decided that a blueberry pie would be just the thing.
            As Rosa skipped towards the blueberry bushes, she didn’t feel the passage through Lady Clarellë’s web, and she barely noticed the looming closeness of the pines that showed she was out of the clearing. She blissfully picked berries, every now and then dropping one in her mouth, totally unaware of the pitch-black crow watching her. As she finished her picking and walked quickly away, the crow flew away towards the castle Rosa had once called home.
Far away, at the castle . . .   
            Prince Owen looked once more out the window towards the kitchen gardens. He, for the tenth time that day, thought Oh, how I wish that Rosa had been nobility, and that she hadn’t disappeared! Where could she have gone? Wait! The cook might know! He leaped up and dashed out the door, desperate to know about Rosa.
            In her dark tower room, Queen Leila was consulting Cullen once again. “Cullen, are any fairer than I?” she asked.
            Cullen frowned. “There is one, my queen. Do you remember the servant girl, Rosa?”
            The queen nodded slowly.
            “Well,” Cullen hissed, “She is apparently not as dead as you thought. She is alive, and living with the Allë clan of elves.”
            “What?” shrieked Queen Leila. “How could she have evaded me for so long?”
            “The elves have magic of some sort.” Cullen hissed. “But we can combat it. Here is what we will do. . .”
That night . . . 
            Mandy snuggled deeper into her bed, enjoying its softness. She felt better than she had since Rosa left. Maybe telling the prince was the right thing to do. She drifted off into a deep and dreamless sleep, the first she had had since Rosa left.
            In his tower room, Prince Owen lay awake, wondering at what Mandy, the cook, had told him. Mentally, he cursed the king for turning from Queen Ellen and causing Rosa to grow up without her mother. His thoughts turned to Queen Leila. How could she have known about Rosa?  He sighed and rolled over in his bed. He tried to sleep, but sleep evaded him, and Rosa continued skipping through his thoughts.
            Up in her dark room, Queen Leila was also awake because of Rosa, but with entirely different motives. Ever since the sun had set, she had been busily mixing potions, herbs, and dubious looking liquids into a dangerous elixir. Watching her every move was Cullen, his mirror set in a holder on the wall. “Yes, yesss.” he hissed, his voice unusually low and evil-sounding. “You are doing it perfectly, my queen.” He laughed. It was an unnatural sort of sound, and Queen Leila shuddered a little when she heard it.
            Shaking off her fright, Queen Leila took two plums from a basket of fruit. Then, she carefully submerged them both in the elixir, and let them absorb the poisonous substance.
            “Two, my queen?” Cullen hissed in surprise. “Are two really necessary?”
            “Yes.” Queen Leila said her voice tight. “If we are to lose one, we will still have the other.” Queen Leila picked up a pair of what looked like tongs and used them to lift the plums and place them back in the fruit basket. “No one will be more beautiful than I.” she whispered. “No one.”

What is Queen Leila up to? Is Rosa in danger, or will she remain safe? There’s only one way to find out: check back Thursday when I post Chapter Twelve! In the meantime, please comment and give me your opinions! I’d love to hear what you think!
-Sarah
Update: Chapter Twelve and Chapter Thirteen are up!

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Pictures: Bells

Hello, everyone!I've got another one of the pictures I've taken! This one was taken a while ago, but it's one of my better pictures.




This is the Netherlands Carillon near the Marine Corps Memorial. It was taken late at night one night when Daddy and I went to DC to take pictures of the full moon. Daddy was taking pictures of the moon like he had planned when I took this picture, but my camera wouldn't get a picture close enough for my likings. So I decided to take pictures of the Carillon, which was right behind us. This picture won second place in a Hand of Man contest at the photo club Daddy and I go to. So, what do you think? Please comment and tell me!
-Sarah

Friday, March 11, 2011

Brainstorms and Scattered Showers of Inspiration: My Week

Hi, everyone! Friday has come around once more, and that means it’s time for an update on my life! So, a summary of my week:

·        My new story is going fairly well. I have had several brainstorms on it, along with scattered bits of inspiration (thus the post title). I have also done some very enjoyable character building for my characters. In the process of writing this story, I have learned that writing dream sequences is very fun. I should’ve tried it long ago.
·        I am debating on whether or not to start an Easter story in my Tales of the Great King series. In case anyone is unfamiliar with this title, the Tales of the Great King series is a set of stories that are about people in an unnamed world similar to a medieval version of our own. My plans for it are to make a set of Biblical parodies of stories such as the Easter story, the Garden of Eden, and several other Bible stories which I haven’t decided on, then follow these up with a much longer set of tales about people who live afterward. These tales mostly involve how different people come to follow the Great King (God), though there are some other storylines too.
·        I like Jaci Velasquez a lot more than I thought. I have been listening to one of her albums, Live Out Loud, quite a bit this week.
·        My math book is driving me crazy. Enough said.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks for stopping by! Please comment on my work and tell me what you think!
-Sarah

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rosa Chapter Ten

Hello, all! Ready for more of Rosa? If so, good, because I’m posting Chapter Ten right now! Need a refresher? Here’s the link to Chapter Nine! And now, one with the tale!

Chapter Ten
When Rosa finished her tale, an awkward silence filled the room. For several minutes, no one spoke. Then, the shorter man spoke. “Well, Rosa,” he said, “It seems that I, Panthal, owe you an apology, and an explanation. Your mother was our sister, my twin sister to be exact. When she left and married the king, I was almost heartbroken, for it was as if she had died to me.” Panthal paused, overcome with emotion.
            Rosa saw his sadness, and softly spoke. “I’m sorry. You must miss her so much more than I do.”
            Panthal smiled weakly at her, and Rosa saw that it was the smile of one who had not smiled in many years. “Tis alright. It’s not your fault.” He straightened up from his slump and continued. “I didn’t think that she had fallen for the right person, and it seems I was right. Her heart must’ve broken.” He paused again, and then quickly began again. “I know your tale must be true, for you would not otherwise be able to pass the web, and-“he swallowed, and then said in a whisper “You look so much like her. I am sorry for what I thought about you. I should have found out the truth first.”
            Rosa smiled at him. “It’s alright. I probably would’ve thought the same if I had been in your place.” Her brow furrowed as a thought struck her. “I thought my mother’s name was Ellen.”
            “It was.” replied Lord Alanal.
            “Then why did you call her Ellenellë?” asked Rosa.
            “Ellenellë is Ellen in the Allë can’s version of the Elfin-tongue!” Skyellë laughed. “The main difference from other tongues, name wise anyway, is that you add “al” onto the end of male names and “ellë” onto the end of female names.”
            Rosa’s brow furrowed as she thought this through. “So,” she slowly said, “My name in the Elfin-tongue would be Rosaellë?”
            Skyellë laughed again. “Exactly. Only, it’s the Allë clan’s version of the Elfin-tongue.”
            “What’s the difference?” Rosa asked.
            “Only the name endings are different.” Lady Clarellë told her. “All the other words are the same.”
            Lord Alanal cleared his throat. “Pardon my interruption,” he said, “But we have yet to discuss what we are going to do about Rosa, and what she is going to do herself.”
            Panthal leaped forward. “If Rosa wishes, she should be allowed to stay with us!” he exclaimed. “She is, after all, Ellenellë’s daughter.”
            Lord Alanal frowned. “Is this what all of you think?” he asked, looking at Lady Clarellë and Skyellë.
            Lady Clarellë nodded, and Skyellë exclaimed “Of course!”
            “What of Leila?” asked Lord Alanal. “If Rosa is traced here, she may put us all in danger.” His brow furrowed, worrying Rosa.
            Will I be sent away? She nervously wondered.
            Lady Clarellë spoke. “If Rosa does not travel beyond the web, it is very unlikely that Leila will ever find her. She will be safe here, as we have been for years.”
            Lord Alanal looked at Rosa. “Would you be willing to stay within the web?” he asked her.
            “Yes!” cried Rosa, barely able to contain herself.
            “Then it is settled.” Lady Clarellë said, firmly. “Rosa shall stay with us.”

What will happen next? Will Rosa stay safe, or will more trouble come her way? Check back next time to find out! In the meantime, please comment with your opinions on my story. I’d love to hear what you think!
-Sarah
Update: Chapter Eleven is up!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Author’s Blood Review


Author: Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry

As the battle approaches, Owen remembers the words, Some may trust in their strength, in their weaponry, in their number of soldiers, but I will trust in the love of my father, who delights in crushing the mighty by using the weak. He will defeat the enemy with the good-hearted friends he has given.
-Summary from the back of The Author's Blood

Characters: Hurrah! Though there are very few new characters, old characters come together in a stunning array of creativity, variety, and amazing-ness.
4/5

Location: Good. Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Fabry seem to have been saving their best effort for last. There’s plenty of description, and only one or two spots where you get confused!
3/5

Plot: Excellent! Like The Minions of Time, the storyline is filled with exhilarating highs and dramatic lows. There are many inspiring and exciting parts in this tale, and it is a perfect end to the series.
4/5

Other: This series is excellent! I would definitely recommend it. I will make this note, though: there are several spots in The Author’s Blood where it seems like all hope is gone and you just want to put the book down and stop reading. However, this is balanced out by the rest of the book.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Series Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rosa Chapter Nine

Hi, everyone! I’m back with more of Rosa! Need a refresher or new to my blog? Here’s the link to Chapters Seven and Eight! And now, Chapter Nine!

Chapter Nine
The first to enter was a tall man with dark brown hair. His face held a kingly look, and his dark blue eyes seemed to be wells of unending wisdom, as old as the forest, or maybe even older. He did not seem to be surprised to see Rosa sitting in a bed in his house.  The only emotion he showed was a flash of wonder in his eyes, but that was there one second and gone the next.
            The next one to come in was a shorter man. He had blue-black hair that shimmered and shone, and sharp violet eyes. When he entered, a look of immense surprise came over his face, but he quickly returned to his original, guarded expression.
            The third person to enter was a tall lady with long, flowing, golden-brown hair. Her eyes were dark green, and her face held the look of a great queen. She showed no surprise at Rosa, but smiled kindly at her. Her long gown was far more interesting than the men’s tunics, pants, and capes. It was blue and green, and looked as if it had silver threads running through the bodice. Her long, silver cape flowed about her like a waterfall, and Rosa was awed by her.
            The last to enter was much smaller than the others. Tiny and delicate, she looked like she might fly away in a moment. Her bright blue eyes and golden hair reminded Rosa of the summer sky, and the long, sleeveless, blue dress she wore looked to be a fragment of the sky. Her creamy cape added to her appearance of a bit of sky, for it floated about her like a cloud. She too smiled at Rosa, and looked like she had expected to see her there.
            There they were, Rosa sitting in a bed, feeling embarrassed and shocked, and the four who lived in the house standing in front of the huge tree trunk rising from the center of the room, and looking at her with various expressions. Finally, one of them spoke. “Who are you, girl?” the shorter man asked. “What are you doing in our home?”
            Rosa recognized his voice as the suspicious voice. “I’m sorry, sir.” she said. “I didn’t realize this was your home. I was just trying to escape the wolves.”
            The tall lady smiled at Rosa. “It’s alright, child.” she said. “But you still have not told us who you are.”
            She has the singer voice. I guess the other man must be the one who sounds like a king, and the sky-maid is the one with the small voice. They look like their voices! Oh no! She asked me a question!  “I’m Rosa, a kitchen maid in Aren Castle.”
            The four looked at each other, and then the tall man spoke. “I am Lord Alanal, eldest in the clan of Allë.  How did you, Rosa, a kitchen maid in the castle of Aren, pass our web?”
            Rosa looked at him, perplexed. “What web?”
            The tall lady laughed, and said “Did you not feel as if you were passing through a wall of water when you entered the clearing? That was our web, which I, Lady Clarellë, made. It is a magical wall that surrounds our clearing, which is mostly invisible except for a slight shimmer in the air. Until you came, we thought that none but ourselves could pass the web without help from us. So, why can you enter our clearing?”
            Rosa looked down, ashamed. “I don’t know.” she said, sadly. “I don’t know why.” She looked up at them again. “I’m sorry, but I just don’t know.”
            The shorter man snorted, and Lord Alanal looked at him sharply. “Peace, brother.” he whispered. “It is not your time to speak.”
            As this happened, a thought struck Rosa. “Are you . . .  elves?” she asked hesitantly.
            The sky-maid laughed. “Of course!  What else would we be?  Miss Rosa, even I, Skyellë, youngest in the Allë clan, know better than to ask silly questions!”
            Rosa looked down, abashed at her ignorance.  Lady Clarellë saw Rosa’s movement and smiled at her.
            “Do not be ashamed, Rosa.” she said, soothingly. “Skyellë sometimes neglects to think before she speaks. You could hardly have known who we were.”
            Rosa looked up again, encouraged. “I just wanted to know, because my mother was an elf, and I thought that maybe if you were elves, you could tell me about her. And, you don’t exactly seem like humans.”
            The shorter man leaped forward, away from Lord Alanal’s restraining hand. “What was your mother’s name?” he asked, breathlessly.
            “Her name was Lady Ellen.” Rosa said, a bit frightened.
            Lord Alanal frowned.  “Ellenellë left us long ago. We have had no news of her having a child. Also, if you are her daughter, why did she not come with you?”
            A single tear dropped from Rosa’s eye. “My mother died when I was very little. I did not know who she was, or who I was, until yesterday.” She poured out the whole story, her voice trembling.

Who are these elves? Why are they so interesting in Rosa’s mother? To find out, check back Thursday for Chapter Ten of Rosa: A Snow-White Remake! In the meantime, please comment and tell me what you think! I’d love to hear your opinions!
-Sarah

Update: Chapter Ten is up!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Red and Green

Hi! It's Monday (unfortunately), and I have more of my photography for you!

Red and Green Bromeliad


This picture was taken at the US Botanical Gardens in DC, at the same time as Sunshine Flower. I found it when I was looking for complimentary colors and noticed this red and green plant that looked rather unusual. It didn't win anything, but I still like it. What do you think? Please comment and tell me!
-Sarah