Books

recountings: the lantern bearers

behold – the eloquent fruit of my SOUL

I didn’t precisely plagiarize ‘The Lantern Bearers’ when I wrote ‘The Hard Way’. I was inspired by it. *cough cough* I remember sitting in our minibus, notepad and pen firmly gripped in my hands. I wrote and wrote, inspiration sitting on my shoulder and zeal for words seizing my soul.

Afterwards, when the first – and only – chapter was finished, an older brother was kind enough to type it up onto our computer.

With the first chapter completed, I dusted my hands off and went on to other stories. This, unfortunately, would set a precedent for the majority of my stories. (I have folders full of tales that are called ‘Hopefully. Nearer To Now’ ‘On The Back Burner’ ‘Abandoned’ and ‘It Happens. Now’. And also random word documents littering random files on every computer that I’ve ever owned.)

The Lantern Bearers //Rosemary Sutcliff

This book. This cover. We had the ‘Eagle of the Ninth’ series when I was much younger – and I, being the devourer of all books, got my hands on this one.

I can still remember holding it – the cover was matte, the title written in golden letters. It was so beautiful.

I spent buckets of time with Aquila and his world – something about the book drew me in and kept me rereading it.

Heck, even now, if I close my eyes I can picture a scene from the book exactly. (Well, not exactly. I can’t remember every word. But dang, I can feel the loneliness, the gloom, the brown countryside with some red shrubbery – wait, was it red? OH NO! THE HUMANITY! MY MEMORY! IT HAS FAULTS!).

It is isn’t a happy book, it’s a bittersweet one. Perhaps that’s why I loved it so much – the relationships and situations that Aquila encounters seemed so much more realistic than those in other books. His reunion with his sister. His relationship with his son. His marriage to his wife isn’t a ‘love match’ – no, he doesn’t want to marry but is ordered to and makes the choice between the beautiful golden sister and little brown one. He chooses Ness – the little brown one. The plainer sister.

(As a young girl I related to this on a spiritual level. I had brown hair. I was plain. I COULD BE CHOSEN JUST LIKE NESS WAS. THERE WAS HOPE.)

(Also, she liked watching storms. If there had been a storm occurring when I was reading this book … you can be sure I would have gone out and found it. And stood there. Watching it. Getting drenched but feeling awesome.)

And yes, my pen name is inspired by this Ness. (The surname? Ironman 3 had just come out and Ben Kingsley had subconsciously sunk into my skull. I … don’t regret it?)

I could go on and on – about Minnow, about the monk and his bees, Aquila’s captivity, Sutcliff’s prose, the characterizations and so much more. But … sometimes it’s best not to hear about another’s bookish adventure but to go on it yourself.

So scoot – go on! Go pick it up and dive in.

Aquila is a complex character – yet he is someone who you can understand – you can cheer for him and yet suffer immense heartache on his behalf.

The ending is a beautiful one. There isn’t a loud ‘out with a bang’ ending but a quieter, better and more subtle one.

One that leaves you with a strange ache – wanting more but knowing that the ending is perfect as it is. And I think that those are the best endings.

You can borrow the ebook version of the Lantern Bearers here.

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Books, I think I just rambled, Life

elephant thieves, adventures in grammar, and taps.

img_20181001_020627_033I’m living in Eastern Europe at the moment, TEFL-ing my heart out. English Grammar is an intriguing beast and I am wrestling with it on a daily basis. The upside is that grammar is logical. The downside is that though my brain is extremely fond of logic, it isn’t always very quick to grasp it. It’s fast in a sort of … ‘cold molasses gently oozing down an indecisive hill’ kind of way.

Thankfully, I don’t think my students are being too badly damaged, and dare I say it – are perhaps learning things as well.

Though I’ve never thought of my accent in a negative light – not really – right now I am having a crisis; I have a sort of not-posh posh British accent and it seems that learners find it easier to listen to and understand American English. (Something about the ‘r’s.)

My accent isn’t good enough.

Benefits of Living In Different Places: you find new ways to be humbled.

BOOKS I’VE READ

I mean, fanfiction doesn’t count, right? (WHAT?? YOU READ FANFICTION? Yes. Yes, I do #noragrets) Look. It’s free and it’s fun and sometimes it is written really well. What’s not to like?

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Appointment In Jerusalem

I only brought two physical books with me – this one and Holiness by J.C Ryle (I think?) Appointment in Jerusalem has been an encouragement and I shall probably reread it a few times while I am here.

Lydia left her comforts and the Known and traveled to where she believed God had called her. And if that isn’t courage, I don’t know what is.

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Elephant Thief by Lia Patterson

I have always liked Lia’s writing in the fanfiction realm. She’s also written two books and this one is my favourite.

She writes good characters and weaves enjoyable plots with a great dollop of adventure.

What’s not to love?

Also, she needs to write more books ASAP.

WRITING … WHY AREN’T YOU DOING IT?

To say I’ve gotten rusty with my writing skills is to say that the earth is round – both are facts and both should never be debated. [But one day I want to go to a flat earth conference … because imagine how interesting it would be? I have so many questions. 1) …  just … how … wut … *much spluttering* 2) BUT SCIENCE-! HISTORY! FACTS! EVIDENCE! 3) Tell me about everything you believe and why and can I write this down and how do you feel about being inserted into a book?]

Ah-hem.

What I mean to say is – I need to get back to writing a little more than lesson plans. But this will come with time, I think. And that time isn’t right now. Next week, I shall be teaching an extra two classes twice a week.

I am bracing myself.

APPARENTLY, I AM AN IDIOT

… and I have evidence to support this theory. My new apartment, you see, has taps. Running water. That sort of thing.

For perhaps a week, I believed that we didn’t have hot water. It’s the poorest country in Eastern Europe, I thought. You can’t have everything. Turns out … actually, you can. IF YOU TURN THE TAP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

… yes. That sound you are hearing?

It’s me.

Face palming.

Benefits of Living In Different Places: you find new ways to be EXTREMELY humbled.

Life

an interview with me, myself, and i

Just under five years ago, I started this blog – moving over from good old blogger. And in all this time, I don’t think I’ve ever done a ‘who on earth is this other random-stranger-with-a-blog?’ blog post. So. Here it is. Five years too late and answering all the burning questions I’m sure no one everyone has been dying to ask.

WHO ARE YOU? –

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I’m English. I like to write (but by gosh, in these last two years there’s barely been a single bleep on the ‘YAY I COMPLETED A NOVEL’ radar. Life is rough.) I am a bookworm – you may have noticed.

Puns are my favourite form of joke. I enjoy finding humour in the ridiculous. I am beyond awful at escape rooms.

I’m in my twenties. Once upon a time I thought fifteen was olllldddd. Haha. (It’s not.)

I dyed my hair red, but am growing it out back to my usual brunette locks. Man, it’s going to look weird for the next couple of months.

– WHY ‘OF WORDS AND BOOKS’? –

Because I’ve tried everything – puns, seriousness. And then I thought … this blog is about books, and words. Because words cover everything else; thoughts? Words. Life things? Words. Rambling about tea? Words. Bookworm things? MOAR WORDS! Podcasts? SPOKEN WORDS!!

With a blog title like that, I’ve got all my bases covered.

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– WHERE DO YOU WORK? –

I wanted to work in a morgue, but my mother thought it would be too morbid (say WHHAAAAATTT?!) Right now, I’ve got a temp job in an office. I’m enjoying it.

Unfortunately, I have not been hired to be a dragon-slayer, a super spy, or a MAGNIFICENT peacock trainer. This is a tragedy.

– ARE YOU SINGLE? –

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yes

I’ve yet to meet a Radcliffe Emerson, Batman, Robin Hood, Tarzan, or an ex-SAS officer with a kind heart, a limp, and an eyepatch. It’s very sad. (Apparently, fictional men shouldn’t be your standards for life partners but … pfft.)

Though it would be nice to have someone of my very own, I’m quite happy just being me.

– WHAT ARE YOU PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? –

Lord willing, later this month I shall be leaving the country for three months to teach English in Moldova.

Writing wise … I’ve come to terms with the fact that while I may never be a full-time-professional-and-churning-out-books writer, I will always be a writer. And so, through the years, I’ll be writing here, there, and everywhere. A little right now, a lot soon, nothing after that, and then quite a bit just beyond that.

I have a lot of projects on the go, and I hope to finish them all. But perhaps not all at once.

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– WHY DON’T YOU POST ON SERIOUS SUBJECTS? –

Um, are you saying books and Heyer aren’t SERIOUS?!

Ah-hem.

It’s not that I don’t care (I do), it’s just that this isn’t always the place for it. And sure, one day I may ramble about how bloodletting was an ignorant, illogical, and awful practice and ugh! just WHY?!!!! (I get why they thought it was THE THING but at the same time … logic. why. wuyyy.)

(I have a medical book I’m reading through.)

(You’re probably going to hear about it one day. In, like, forty-seven years!)

And- actually. Come to think of it, that isn’t quite the ‘serious subject’ I had in mind. The depressing ones, the dark ones, the ones that make me look about the world and wonder at the state of society and of mankind and just – those ones. Those I feel ill-equipped to write about. But maybe one day. But not yet, and not here.

And besides, sometimes – just sometimes – it’s nice to have a little corner of the web that isn’t doom and gloom and the darker side of reality.

– PLEASE, DO SUM UP –

I’m a bookworm. I love stories and adventures and long romantic walks on the beach. I am a Christian. I believe that love conquers all. I am not cheesy in the least.

Thank you for reading my blog

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I think I just rambled, Life

things that didn’t happen on my adventure

I think I did something wrong on my last adventure. According to my extensive research, I should have, at the very least, stumbled across a puzzle which would have led to a treasure map which would, in turn, have led me to El Dorado. This … did not happen.

THERE WERE NO DEAD BODIES

I’m not really going to complain about this, though my readings in the world of Elizabeth Peters, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L Sayers led me to conclude that it was an inevitable fact of life:

  • Gravity: what goes up must come down.
  • Life: you live, you find a dead body, you solve a murder mystery.

Nope. Didn’t happen.

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I saw a dead groundhog though. It was on a road. The poor thing was squished. The butler probably did it.

THERE WAS NO WHISKING OFF INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION

There was no Narnia hidden in a wardrobe. Or even a kitchen cupboard. To be honest, Canada had quite enough snow to make you think ‘oh my gosh someone kill the evil witch already IT’S SO COLD’ but alas, there were no furniture gateways into other worlds.

This would probably be a good thing. In stories, what you’re supposed to do sort of falls into your lap. In actual reality, you’d probably end up working as a maid in a tavern while the prince you were supposed to save was slain by the evil tyrant you were supposed to defeat.

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THERE WAS NO ROMANTIC SUB-PLOT

There was no pirate, lumberjack, detective, prince, villain-waiting-to-be-saved-by-the-love-of-a-good-woman, tormented artist, time traveler, or dinosaur trainer to sweep me off my feet.

I know.

Life is tough.

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I started to develop the sneaking suspicion that book heroes (*cough* clichés *cough*) don’t actually translate well to real life. For a bookworm, this is a hard – nay, DEVASTATING –  truth to face. This could mean that there are no Radcliff Emersons, Heyer leads, or Mr. Rochesters about.

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But … that’s okay. It’s all okay – I didn’t solve a murder mystery. I didn’t fall into another world. I didn’t get swept off my feet by a brooding hero.

Some adventures are full to the bursting with startling events, and quick things that trip over themselves in their haste to happen (if it doesn’t rain, it pours).

… but some adventures are quiet, where no big earth-shattering events occur, but where subtle little things steal in unannounced, one after the other, building up and up and up until you look back and think yes, what an adventure that was.

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I think I just rambled, Life

dinosaur thieves playing tag [movies i’ve watched]

So. I’ve been going to the cinema a lot recently. I’ll spare you my rant on the insane cost of popcorn (Seriously. It costs about an arm, a leg, and an ovary AND I’M NOT EVEN EXAGGERATING [much]) and my opinions on how IMAX is amazing and AV-whatever-the-other-letter-is is a WASTE OF SPACE, TIME, AND MONEY, and cut to the chase – I’ve been watching movies, and I’ve decided to write about them.

Just for this post, mind.

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WAHOO!! FEMALES CAN STEAL TOO!!!

[OCEAN’S 8]

Replace this cast with males and this movie would have been as interesting as waterlogged toast; the plot is a touch too simplistic and needed just a little bit more conflict. But because it had an all-female cast!! it works.

And it looks good doing it. (Them dresses though!)

Now, I’m not going to go into in-detailed rants about Hollywood and female leads and the Bechdel Test etc etc etc because quite frankly, my stomach is pleasantly full of root beer, fries, and a teen burger (and that’s it’s name and it’s not made from the body of a teenager. geez, people) and I’m tired and when I was writing essays for my English exam, my Dad looked at my work and said ‘yes, daughter, I think you’re more suited to writing fiction’ (translated: DON’T TRY TO WRITE LOGICALLY. I THINK THE LOGIC SKIPPED YOU AND WENT TO YOUR BROTHERS) (I’m paraphrasing) and so … I’m not going to do that here.

But this movie did pass the Bechdel Test. It was enjoyable, and it made me think: wow, is this what it’s like to be a boy and see Ocean’s 11 and have ROLE MODEL THIEVES OF THE SAME GENDER AS YOU?!!!

It’s a nice feeling. But don’t worry, I’m not going to become a thief. I tried to do an escape room bank robbery once and it did not go well; they actually radioed in and asked if I needed a hint.

three and a half stars. out of five. not ten. the plot isn’t that simplistic.

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WHAAAATTT DINOSAURS ARE ENDANGERED? AGAIN?!!

[Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom]

‘The movie was good,’ I told my friend. ‘But it needed more carnage.’ (I told her this four times. She’s a patient friend.)

(Actually, it was more like six.)

I liked Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; it has an interesting concept and looks really good. There’s some oh no! the dinosaur is going to kill us fo sure better run OH MY GOSH WE’REGONNADIE moments, your run-of-the-mill villain, a moral question that is solved in an interesting way (you’ll know the moment and REALLY. THINK OF THE DEATH TOLL HUH?!! WHY DON’T YOU!!!! ugh) and some fun humour amusement moments. (What, I totally didn’t consult my favourite dinosaur THE THESAURUS.)

But … there were moments in which I just wished the movie would hurry up. Maybe I’m getting old, or am used to skimming tedious parts when reading, but sometimes movies just need to get a move on already.

So, I liked the movie because: Chris Pratt, dinosaurs, and umm dinosaurs. BUT IT NEEDED MORE CARNAGE.

probably three and three-quarter stars out of maybe five because it needed more carnage (did i mention that?) or maybe it needs more stars. i don’t know how i feel. i am having a crisis right now.

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PETER PAN: THE SEQUEL. WITH SWEARING

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Remember when I said that sometimes movies need to get a move on already? This movie snatches your attention, taunts you with it, and then legs it. It doesn’t give it back until the credits finish.

I kid you not.

This movie is fun. There’s not a dull moment and the cast are having a blast, and so therefore do we.

I laughed a heck of a lot, and not once – not ONCE – did I think: how much longer is there?!

It’s refreshing – there’s so many movies where EVERYTHING IS AT STAKE AND THE ONE I LOVE IS IN DANGER or just thinks I’m the worst AND DEATH IS HURLING DOWN LIKE HAIL STONES IF HAIL STONES WERE MADE OF CGI AND FAKE BLOOD! But this? It’s literally about a group of friends playing tag.

The world isn’t threatened, there aren’t dead bodies here, there, and everywhere, no CGI monsters … it’s not perfect, but it’s like a nice glass of cool root beer. Refreshing.

Or whatever your beverage of choice is, it’s that. (Unless your beverage of choice is green tea. And then, I’m sorry – but no. Just no.)

(but bear in mind, this movie is rated ‘R’ and there are definitely reasons for that rating.)

three point eight six three out of five

(Also, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was a good movie, butitneededmorecarnage.)

… no one is going to hire me to write film reviews, are they?