here I am {poetry thursday}

sometimes, I get a certain feeling
about a place
a fluttering

here I am
here I am
here I am

as if God is pointing
to the land beneath my feet
and saying
here you will be

here I am
here I am
here I am

the world continues turning
in its orbit and
God smiles as I realize

here I am
here I am
here I am

it seems surreal and yet
a small piece of my soul
perhaps knew all along for
one day--before--I had stood here
and it inexplicably
felt like home

here I am
here I am
here I am

Have you ever visited a place and felt something click, only to find yourself living there years later? I never plan these things, and yet they happen. God has a plan for your life, and it is inexplicably incredible.


good fantasy, bad fantasy {mini reviews}

This time around, my mini review theme is fantasy--and, coincidentally, both authors are very familiar with horses, which shines through in their books! Unfortunately, though the first book was very, very good, the second was, well, let's just say not-so-great.

Inherited Danger (World of Godsland #2)
by Brian Rathbone

I am in love with this series!

Inherited Danger picks up almost exactly where the first book, The Call of the Herald, left off. Although the story itself is just as amazing, the writing isn't quite as smooth.

Catrin's powers begin to make more sense, but there's still some mystery surrounding them--is Istra really a god or simply a name given to an inexplicable phenomenon?

The well-developed side characters add a lot of color. Barnabas is odd yet very likeable, and it's hard to tell which side--if any--Prios is on! Nat's story, sporadically included, makes very little sense, though hopefully this will be fleshed out in the next book, as his visions can be prophetic.

My complaint? I don't have the third book (or the fifth, sixth, eighth, or ninth . . . ).

Check out my review of book one!

The Stonegate Sword
by Harry James Fox

At first glance, The Stonegate Sword is a typical medieval fantasy novel. But the setting? North America in the future. Despite beautiful, well-written descriptions of the unique setting and the author's obvious knowledge of horses, this book had quiet a few flaws.

One of the two POV characters is included only intermittently, and even at the last page his part in the story was unclear. Donald of Fisher, on the other hand, is a pacifist lore-man who becomes a man of war. Besides my dislike for this (poorly executed) transition, I found Don to be a rather bland character.

Oh, and there is no plot. After about halfway through, the book became a political, violent, boring, medieval military novel and I couldn't wait to be done with it.

I reviewed this book for OnlineBookClub. Click here to view the full review.

Have you read any amazing fantasy novels recently? Please share! I'm always happy to find good fantasy books (though my TBR would rather I didn't . . . )!


autumn pile {bookshelf love}

Remember that reading challenge I started way back when (aka February 2016), called Bookshelf Love? Well, I'm doing it again, but this time, the books in my stack aren't in mortal danger (i.e. they won't be donated or sold if I don't read them by the end of this challenge). On one hand, this means there's less incentive to read them all. On the other, I'm already 90% sure I'm going to love all of these books (or else I've already read and loved them or other books in the same series), which is an incentive itself.

This also means that I'm breaking the only rule among my guidelines by including Harry Potter books. I've already read the entire series, and I don't own several of the books. Ah, well, sometimes rules are made to be broken. I included them because I want to reread the series before delving into The Cursed Child, and while I'm only including the first four in this challenge for the sake of being realistic, I'd really like to finish all of them in this time frame!

Between now and Christmas, I hope to read 10 books. That's 10 books in 14 weeks--a much more reasonable goal than my previous 12 in seven (ugh what was I even thinking).

Anywho! The pile:

Airs Beneath the Moon by Toby Bishop
City of Dragons by Robin Hobb
Falling from Horses by Molly Gloss
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
The Unexpected Dragon by Mary Brown


1. choose a time frame for your challenge
2. select a stack of unread books from your shelves/piles/boxes/book hoard
3. post a photo and/or list of the books on your blog or social media, along with the chosen time frame
4. use the challenge image in your post (if posting on a blog) and link back to the original challenge page
5. leave a link to your post in the comments on the original challenge page, so you can be added to the list of participants
6. read, read, read!
7. donate, sell, giveaway, or recycle any books still unread at the end of the challenge

*I use this term, and not "rules," intentionally. Make this challenge your own! It is typically helpful to choose a time frame for a reading challenge, though, and no cheating on #2!!! If it causes too much stress or you just can't bear to part with your dearly beloved books, you can forego #7.

Want to join the challenge? Sign up here!


a thousand mysteries {poetry thursday}

we have a tendency
to seek the extraordinary,
dismissing the mundane.
why revel at a puddle
when waterfalls roar,
tumbling down hillsides,
or stare at moss
when mighty redwoods
converse with the stars?
but even a single blade of grass
contains a thousand mysteries
and the stone you stubbed your toe on
is older than you can comprehend.

*Photo credit: 11 PM Photograpy, aka my husband. :)


Small is Beautiful {blog tag}

I follow a lot of blogs, and many of them have several hundred--or more!--followers. But some of my favorite blogs have a much, much smaller following. Like me, they have fewer than 100 regular readers, and lately I've been wondering, how can we change that? How can I help these bloggers, who create some wonderful content, connect with more readers? Sometimes, getting your name out there is hard!

And so, the idea for Small is Beautiful was born.

With this tag, small bloggers feature other small bloggers, and those they feature will feature yet more bloggers, and . . . well, you get the picture. If you are not featured, but would like to join in the fun, please do!

  1. Feature 3-5 blogs with fewer than 100 followers.
  2. Write 1-3 paragraphs about each blog, including information like what the blog is about, a brief bio of the blogger, and/or why you recommend their blog. Don't forget a link to their blog!
  3. Include an image for each blog, whether it's a blog button, profile photo, header, or simply a screenshot of the blog.
  4. Thank the blogger who featured you, and include a link to their blog. If you like, you can even include them as one of the blogs that you feature (especially if they joined the tag without having been featured by someone else).
  5. Include the tag image somewhere in your post.
Optional: For extra visibility, share a link to your post on Twitter with #SmallBlogsTag. I'll retweet it! Don't forget to follow the hashtag and retweet others' links!

The Book Hound | R.M. Lutz
It is no secret that I love fantasy, and, well, romance isn't my favorite genre (a slight understatement, perhaps). And so, when I read R.M. Lutz's about page, I knew I had to follow her blog, The Book Hound. She says that while other girls melted over Amish romance, she spent her school years fighting orcs, flying on dragons, and attempting archery. R.M. began to notice that the books that she enjoys--action-packed but clean--are often difficult to find. So she launched The Book Hound.

On The Book Hound, you will find well-written, informative (and fun!) reviews of Christian and other clean speculative fiction, as well as miscellaneous posts on similar topics. I love reading R.M.'s reviews. They're well-structured and succinctly written, giving just enough detail without being long-winded. And she understands my flailing over The Auralia Thread series.

Flowers of Quiet Happiness | Kara

Kara also writes wonderful book reviews, and she reads a wide range of genres. She often posts other fun topics as well, like a "Jane Austen Would You Rather." Recently, I've especially enjoyed following her 30 Days of Books posts, which she's been interspersing on her blog over the past several weeks. The bright yellow flowers gracing the background of Flowers of Quiet Happiness lend a cheerful vibe to the blog, and Kara's words are always uplifting.

Some things that make Kara happy include bookshops, libraries, journals with empty pages, happy memories, comfortable silences, gerber daisies, unexpected compliments, and gooey chocolate chip cookies. In her own words: "Basically? I. Just. Love. Books."

The Jumping Bean | Wendy Greene
How do I begin to categorize The Jumping Bean? It is a delightful conglomeration of books, writing, and just general fun--in short, it refuses to be put into a box! Wendy Greene has a wonderfully upbeat writing style, keeping each of her unique posts positive and engaging, not to mention sprinkled with wit and sarcasm!

An aspiring writer, Wendy recently began publishing a story on Wattpad. She also enjoys reading, art,  walking on beaches, and seeking adventures. Chocolate, of course, is a given, as are dragons. She began a BookTube channel back in May, so be sure to check that out, as well!

O Ye Scribes | Candice Williams
"All things bookish" sums up O Ye Scribes quite well, as every post relates to books in some form or another. The book reviews are thorough without being too long, and I always enjoy reading them. Other posts include life updates, bookish lists, and discussion posts centering on topics like "Am I Being too Critical of Christian Fiction?" Occasionally, you may be treated with a glimpse of Candice's delightful wit.

I am convinced that Candice is my long-lost sister, as the more I find out about her, the more I discover we have in common. A fellow small-town introvert, she likes the color green, chocolate, Emily Dickinson, and maple trees (sound familiar? Those are a few of my favorite things, as well!). She currently works at a library and is writing a steampunk novel.

Totally Graced | Grace Anne
Totally Graced is a blog dedicated to words--a celebration of creativity and the journey of life. As Grace Anne says, "Words. They're constantly swirling around in my head, an endless cycle. I don't see them stopping anytime soon. And neither am I." Her posts center around writing and blogging, with lifestyle and a few bookish posts sprinkled throughout. She certainly does have a way with words, and I love her upbeat writing style!

A homeschooled teen from the southern U.S., Grace Anne is passionate about performing and writing. She also likes dancing, singing, reading, makeup, and photography. She believes that we were all created to create and that the world always needs a little bit more magic.

What are some of your favorite small blogs?
If you plan on joining in the tag (please do!), leave a link in the comments so I can meet some new bloggers and share your post!



summer {poetry thursday}


hummingbird at the bee balm
gone as soon as it arrives

sun-warmed berries bursting
eyes close in reverie

and the over-burdened tomatoes
break their bonds
to lean across the aisle
and consort with the kale

a forest appears
where once fingers of asparagus
had sprouted

cultivation makes nature no less wild