Busy Morning {a poem}

As summer comes to a close, let's take a step back to the beginning of the season and fully savor this warm weather before it gives way to autumn.

A wren stands on the stone sidewalk,
legs extended to peck at the seeds of a dandelion
in the yard; white dots fan out around it.

Having bared the once-fuzzy head,
it hops onto the dewy grass - then startles back -
and tilts its head to eye more dandelions
towering just out of reach
before resuming its previous position to glean.

Another small brown bird joins the first,
this one rounder - perhaps they had been
calling to each other - chirping and trilling abounds
this busy morning.

It, too, eyes the taller stalks,
hopping bravely into the wet grass,
an then cleverly springs onto a long stem,
bending the laden head to the ground
where the round wren can easily gather breakfast
while the first, having truly bared its own flower by now,
hops off to investigate the mulched beds nearby.

Two catbirds swoop by in a blur;
a blue jay observes from its perch on a fence post.


Symphony of the Woods

The woods at first seem silent,
but listen:
The trees whisper and chatter
with the prodding of the wind,
and birds in the distance - and then closer - sing,
each with its own thread of song;
a branch creaks, an acorn falls,
the brook down the hill trills a percussive tune.
With eyes closed, observe
the symphony of the woods.


Ecofiction Roundup no. 1: Flight

Hello, friends, it's been a while! While I was living in Peru for six months, I let this dear blog fall by the wayside. Again. I have since started up a new blog, Enough, and the following is cross-posted there. But never fear! I plan to continue publishing bookish things and poetry here.


Recently, I discovered the genre of "ecofiction," and I've been wanting to shout the titles I've read from the rooftops, because they are simultaneously terrifying and inspiring. Ecofiction ranges from contemporary fiction to sci-fi but with environmental or nature-oriented themes. Although the name may sound new, the idea is not - if you've read anything by Barbara Kingsolver, you've read ecofiction.

As I began compiling titles for this Ecofiction Roundup, I began to notice a theme: flight. Whether they're attached to bees or dragons, these books all have wings.

Flight Behavior | Barbara Kingsolver

One of Kingsolver's many excellent novels, this book contains themes of relationships, conservation, nature, science, rural communities, and church. Nothing has an easy answer, and no one is perfect - life is complex and messy. Everyone has a story. Everything is connected.

The Crows of Beara | Julie Christine Johnson

This contemporary novel contains beautiful Irish landscapes, refreshingly believable characters, and a poetic story. It is a narrative of both people and place, and I love the relationships, the struggles, and the openness to the voice of the land.

The History of Bees | Maja Lunde

Three very different stories, ranging from historical fiction to dystopia, weave together beautifully by the end in barely more than subtle ways. The suggested possibilities are horrifyingly realistic, and yet hope has a place as well. This is a beautiful tale of bees, family, and humanity.

The Dragon Quartet | Marjorie B. Kellogg

This fantasy/sci-fi crossover is both entertaining and relevant. It has compelling characters, interesting cultures and landscapes, a brilliant weaving together of times and places, and settings eerily parallel to our own. And dragons, of course!

Where to Buy

Interested in reading any (or all!) of these wonderful books? Here are a few suggestions of where to find them:

1. The library
2. A local bookstore
3. A big box bookstore (think Barnes & Noble)

Like this post?
Read more about sustainable and ethical living on my new blog, Enough!


Worlds Beneath {blog tour + giveaway!}

I read K. A. Emmons' first book, The Blood Race, after winning it in a giveaway last year, and it was amazing. So naturally, when asked if I would participate in the blog tour for Worlds Beneath, I enthusiastically signed up! Read on for my thoughts on this powerful sequel, followed by a chance to win your own paperback copy of The Blood Race (believe me, this is a journey you want to take).

I used to think that seeing was believing, but now, as I struggle to stay alive below the ravine, I begin to realize that - good or bad - I will see whatever I believe.

“Who are you, Icarus, that the earth opens its mouth to receive your blood?” Sensei’s words were my last thoughts before I fell into the bottomless ravine, plunging toward my own death, and bringing about Hawk’s at the same time. Or so I thought.

I woke up underwater. I awoke in a strange and unfamiliar world, filled with maze-like forest, shadows, and nightmares seemingly as vivid and dangerous as reality. I had no idea who I was, or how I got there - I couldn’t remember anything, until I remembered her: Hawk. The other half of my soul. 
--from Goodreads

Book Review

In a word: powerful. Worlds Beneath picks up right where the first book left off, and it's at least as good - no "soggy middle syndrome" that many trilogies suffer from! It's a gripping, nail-biting story with beautiful prose. I found it to be rather unpredictable, like a puzzle that slowly, haltingly came together. Themes of faith, hope, and finding courage support a beautiful, subtle allegory that contrasts human nature with the seemingly upside-down love of God.

The plot is brilliantly woven and full of vibrant, real characters with wonderful depth and raw emotion. Amid the tense action, thought-provoking dialogue and text often had me slowing down to savor the book. The characters remain much the same as in the first novel, with Hawk still mysterious and yet familiar, though we are given a more complete backstory for some of them. I love it.

Powerful, gripping, thought-provoking, beautiful.

5/5 leaves

About the Author: K. A. Emmons

When she’s not hermiting away in her colorfully-painted home office writing her next science fiction, passionate story-teller and adventurer Kate Emmons is probably on the road for a surf or hiking trip, listening to vinyls, or going for a power run. Emmons’ debut novel The Blood Race is the first book in her YA science fiction/fantasy thriller series. Get connected with Kate on your favorite social platform, and be sure to check out kaemmons.com!

facebook | goodreads | instagram | twitter

Giveaway Time!

If you haven't yet read book one, The Blood Race, and would like a chance to win a paperback copy, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below! Both books are also available for purchase at the following links: The Blood Race and Worlds Beneath.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Livy for coordinating this awesome blog tour!


reading slowly {bookshelf love}

About six weeks ago, I challenged myself to read 10 books in 10 weeks, and more than halfway through, I've read far fewer than half the books on my list. I'm laying partial blame on the 800-plus-page mammoth of a book (Island of the World) that I'm slowly working my way through. I also read a library book almost immediately after starting this challenge, so that didn't help either. In any case, here's the updated list, with one lonely mini review.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Dragon Winter by Niel Hancock
Song in the Silence by Elizabeth Kerner
Planted by Leah Kostamo*
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Island of the World by Michael D. O'Brien*
A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor
*In progress.

Song in the Silence
by Elizabeth Kerner

Lanen Kaelar has spent her life being told just how wrongheaded and foolish she is by her entire family. When Lanen's father dies, she chooses to leave her abusive relatives and search out the great dragons she has always dreamed of, though she knows what she seeks may not be real. (from Goodreads)

Although a bit slow in the beginning and somewhat predictable, this book soon became captivating and engaging. I loved Lanen and her fellow characters, as well as the excellent world building. The Kantri (dragons) were brilliantly written, with a unique culture and language. A weird romance with an interesting resolution contributed to the lack of a perfect rating, but overall, I found this to be a very good read.

4/5 leaves