DragonFire (DragonKeeper Chronicles #4)

by Donita K. Paul

Warning: If you haven't read the first three books in this series, this post (including the description from the back cover) contains spoilers.

from the back cover
Three years of strife have passed since Kale and Bardon freed Paladin's knights. Now, fiery dragons scorch their beautiful countryside as an evil husband-and-wife wizard duo fight for supremacy. The people of Amara just want to be left alone, hoping the conflict will disappear. But Paladin is dying, and Bardon and Kale--now married--must accept fateful, separate assignments if their land is to survive. Can their efforts turn the tide against their adversaries?

Kale's responsibility is to find, hatch, and train an army of dragons by working side-by-side with the dragon keeper father she has never known. As the Amaran countrymen seek escape, she must gain a greater understanding of her gifts to overcome her doubts.

my rating

my review
This one just didn't do it for me. The cover art isn't the greatest (which is highly uncharacteristic), and I didn't enjoy the story nearly as much as her other novels.

We started off on the wrong foot when, on the first page, I discover that Bardon and Kale are married. THERE COULD HAVE BEEN AN ENTIRE BOOK BETWEEN THREE AND FOUR. Gosh, sorry, I don't usually use my caps lock key. But I was quite angry. And then she rubs it in my face by using the words "wife" and "husband" about fifty times in the first chapter alone.

Since Bardon and Kale receive separate assignments, the chapters alternate between them, which is a style that, while necessary, drives me nuts. (side note: I like commas)

Beyond that, I don't even remember already what all bothered me. It's just that awkward, terrible but necessary in-between book that most series have. Oh, the villains. The villains were so very cheesy and melodramatic. Lightning shooting from fingertips just for show? The sky darkening as she comes into view? Thinking out loud to his captive? The other books have a bit of this too, but this time there were three villains, and it was just too much.

Conclusion: Read the book, because it is good (but not great) and necessary for understanding the final book in the series, which you do want to read. It has its moments, I promise!

DragonFire (DragonKeeper Chronicles, #4)


The Moosewood Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition

by Mollie Katzen

from Goodreads
In 1974, Mollie Katzen hand-wrote, illustrated, and locally published a spiral-bound notebook of recipes for vegetarian dishes inspired by those she and fellow cooks served at their small restaurant co-op in Ithaca, NY. Several iterations and millions of copies later, the Moosewood Cookbook has become one of the most influential and beloved cookbooks of all time... Mollie’s Moosewood Cookbook has inspired generations to fall in love with plant-based home cooking, and, on the fortieth anniversary of that initial booklet, continues to be a seminal, timely, and wholly personal work. With a new introduction by Mollie, this commemorative edition will be a cornerstone for any cookbook collection that long-time fans and those just discovering Moosewood will treasure.

my rating

my review
Now that I have tried a half-dozen of the recipes in this book, I feel that I can review it fairly (and yes, for those of you doing the math, there was quite a bit of cooking going on this weekend).

Before you balk at the word "vegetarian"--this book does not contain recipe after recipe of weird dishes containing obscure ingredients like tempeh or bean sprouts. The foods are familiar, like corn bread and baked beans, though if you want to go the salad route, there are plenty of those, too. And many of the recipes could easily be adapted to include meat. Chicken could be added to the Spinach-Rice Casserole, or pork to the Tart and Tangy Baked Beans.

Five out of the six recipes I made were absolutely delicious, and the sixth (Warm Salad) I can't really complain about because I may have made a few too many substitutions, and the leftovers were very tasty cooked up in an omelet. I haven't quite made it to the back section yet due to copious amounts of Christmas goodies still sitting in my kitchen, but there's a brownie recipe in here that looks very promising.

Here are the dishes I have made so far:
Warm Salad
Lentil Soup
Spinach-Rice Casserole
Tart and Tangy Baked Beans
Basic Corn Bread

*I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Moosewood Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition


book haul!

I'm finally getting around to sharing with you the books I got for Christmas... a month after the fact. Ah, well, this way you can already start reading the reviews!

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball
by Donita K. Paul
This is the only Donita K. Paul fantasy book I had not read (aside from the one that just came out), so naturally, I was really excited to get my hands on it. And I only just realized that I never wrote a review. Huh. It was a 3/5--a bit heavy on the cheesy romance for my taste, with just enough fantasy sprinkled in to keep it intriguing.

The Silver Hand and The Endless Knot
by Stephen R. Lawhead
My theory on these is that my husband bought them for me so that he could read them... We both read book one in the Song of Albion trilogy not too long ago, and couldn't end there! I actually reviewed book two--click on the title to read it.

A Novel Journal
The lines in this brilliant little journal are actually the text of Jane Eyre. Honestly, not my favorite book, but the journal is pretty and I love the quote on the cover. And, well, it's just a really cool idea.

My Family: My special memories of our family
My mom bought this book for us to start a family history of sorts--starting with great grandparents, I think, and down through our children (who are a very distant thought at this point...). Unlike the above image, my copy is, or looks, leather.

The Moosewood Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition
by Mollie Katzen
Okay, this was more like a free present to myself, since I ordered it off of Blogging for Books in exchange for a review. I've only tried three recipes so far, so I haven't written anything about it yet. I'm thinking 5/5, though!


happy appreciate a dragon day!

Have you hugged a dragon today? Er, well, at least compliment one with a long stream of impressive flattery (Bilbo is quite proficient in this area, if you need some ideas). And remember, always act with great caution and respect, "for you are crunchy and good with ketchup." Or so I hear.

In honor of this all-important holiday, here are my top five favorite dragon-themed books/series (in no particular order):

1. DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul (series)

2. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (series)

3. The Dragon and the Scholar by H.L. Burke (series)

4. Jane and the Dragon by Martin Baynton
(yes, a picture book)

5. The Dragons of Chiril by Donita K. Paul (series)

Who is your favorite literary dragon?


The Silver Hand (Song of Albion #2)

by Stephen R. Lawhead

from the back cover
The great king, Meldryn Mawr, is dead, and his kingdom lies in ruins. Treachery and brutality rule the land, and Albion is the scene of an epic struggle for the throne. Lewis Gillies returns as Llew, seeking the true meaning behind a mysterious prophecy - the making of a true king and the revealing of a long awaited champion: Silver Hand.

The ancient Celts admitted no spearation between this world and the Otherworld: the two were delicately interwoven, each dependent on the other. The Silver Hand crosses the thin places between this world and that, as Lewis Gillies seeks to learn the secret of the prophecy of The Silver Hand - and to save Albion before it is too late.

my rating

my review
This was a rather dark book--very violent, very raw. It's that painful but necessary second book in a trilogy that we must endure to get to the end. And I felt like Stephen Lawhead took a cop-out approach when one of his characters received a disabling injury and then promptly received a special ability that made the disability a non-issue. In doing this, he missed a great opportunity to take on a new perspective and do something different. Unfortunately, I can't say more without giving away important details (sorry).

The Silver Hand does have its virtues, however, and I'm probably being a little more harsh than it deserves. I really enjoyed slowly unraveling the prophesy that had been revealed in book one, and Tegid makes a great narrator (naturally, being a bard). I especially appreciated watching Llew growing and changing from an outside perspective, after having been inside his mind for the previous book.

Stephen Lawhead really is a great author, and I look forward to tackling book three after a break to whip through something a bit lighter!


more than just a number

I was inspired this year by a few fellow bloggers (Hayden and Candice) to post more specific reading goals than just a number. Yes, over on my sidebar you can see that I hope to read at least 35 books this year (a modest goal, perhaps, but realistic), but I often get stuck in a rut of reading the same kinds of books all the time. You all will keep me accountable, right? In all honesty, though, the knowledge that a handful of people may have read these goals is probably enough for me to strive to keep them...

1. 7 nonfiction
2. 3 classics
3. 1 book of poetry
4. 1 audiobook
5. The One Year Bible
6. Miscellaneous fiction to add up to 35 books

7 nonfiction
I figured 5 was too easy, but 10 might be pushing my luck. So 7 it is. Possible reads:
  1. Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris
  2. Finding God in the Lord of the Rings by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware
  3. No Wonder They Call Him Savior by Max Lucado
  4. A Faithing Oak by Robert A. Raines
  5. To Be Honest With You by Vince Woltjer and Tim Vandenberg
  6. One-Woman Farm by Jenna Woginrich
  7. Disappointments with God by Philip Yancey
3 classics
Ok, not so ambitious, but you know how many I read last year? That's right, zero. Which is a little sad. Possible reads:
  1. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  2. The Old Man in the Corner by Emmuska Orczy
  3. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  4. Watership Down by Richard Adams (does this count?)
1 book of poetry
It's always good for a poet to read poetry. Gets the creative juices flowing. I'll probably read Robert Frost's Poems, because it's been sitting, mostly unread, on my shelf for far too long.

1 audiobook
Again, not so ambitious. Maybe I'll really like it and listen to more. We're exploring (mostly) uncharted waters here. I have The Chronicles of Narnia on iTunes, but I'd like to try something I haven't read before. We'll see.

The One Year Bible
Have you ever tried to read the Bible straight through, Genesis to Revelation? I've done it, and I don't very much recommend it. Hopefully a Bible designed for reading straight through will prove to be a better experience (still Genesis to Revelation, but thoughtfully divided up).

Miscellaneous fiction to add up to 35 books
Math never was my strong point. I'll let Goodreads figure it out for me. :)

Do you have any reading goals for 2015?


DragonKnight (DragonKeeper Chronicles #3)

by Donita K. Paul

from the back cover
Before vowing his allegiance to Wulder as a knight, Bardon heads to the mountains for solitude. His life is suddenly complicated by a woman and her granddaughter, N'Rae, on a mission to rescue the woman's son trapped in a chamber of sleep. Bardon learns that more of Paladin's knights are imprisoned--and suspects one of them is Dragon Keeper Kale's missing father.

my rating

my review
I love that Donita K. Paul takes a supporting character from book two and makes him the protagonist of book three, giving a new perspective to the continuing story. However, I did find Bardon a bit dry, especially after being inside Kale's colorful mind for two novels. Greer, bless his little dragon heart, does his sarcastic best to nurture the half-ounce of humor buried in his rider, but unfortunately it's still not enough.

My conclusion: While I appreciate the promotion of a secondary character to hero, Bardon makes a much better secondary character (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that).

I enjoyed the subtle relationship-budding that occurs in this book (it's not gag-worthy or overwhelming, I promise), and the introduction of new characters with just enough of the old to tie everything together.

DragonKnight (DragonKeeper Chronicles, #3)


free books - no blog required

I know I've shared this before, but Tyndale House Publishers has a great reward program that is dependent upon a points system--no blog required!

For as few as 30 points (or as many as 250), you can order a free book from a select list on their website. Completing surveys, signing up for e-newsletters, and recruiting friends, among other simple activities, earns you at least 10 points per action.

If you sign up using the link below, you automatically receive 25 points--and I receive 10 for recruiting you (thanks!).


I'm currently saving up for The One Year Bible, which is 200 points. I should have planned for this before the new year started, but better late than never, right?