Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Alfâm Kuduszodikh - A Study on Music Playlists



*alfâm kuduszodikh – "music list" (ahl-faam kuh-duhs-zaw-dike – approximate pronunciation)

~~~

As promised, I bring you a post on music playlists. I would have written "music playlists" or "lists of music" in dwarvish (Khuzdul), but my source (Dwarrow Scholar) didn't have the words for those translations, lol.

Playlists are an easy way to keep track of songs that you like. You can pile all your favourite songs from one genre, or list all the songs that inspire you in your writing (or drawing, or working out, or doing paperwork or house cleaning or –).

You can build playlists almost anywhere – on iTunes, Spotify, Youtube, etc!

For example, here's a playlist from my Spotify (which I just built :P)

{ Fantasy Inspirational }
https://open.spotify.com/user/mikaelaingram/playlist/2q0A3v5f7MdOsKRq175389

The list contains these songs:

Lúthien's Lament by Eurielle
Lost Girls by Lindsey Stirling
Misty Mountains by Peter Hollens
My Dear Frodo by Howard Shore
Viverti by Mattia Cupelli
Victory by Two Steps from Hell/Thomas Bergersen
Forbidden by Eurielle

Creating playlists might just turn out to be extremely addictive.

Here's another playlist:

{ Steampunk Inspirational – incomplete }
Filled With
Euphoria (album) by Revolt Production Music
Cosmos
Breaking Away
Darkness Falls
Contageous
Euphoria
Embrace
Drive
Persecution
Nightmare
Killshot
Beyond the Wall
and
Palladio by Karl Jenkins
The Submarine by James Newton Howard
Starfall by Driftmoon
Die Walkure, Act III: Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner
Schubert: Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759, 'Unfinished': I. Allegro moderato by Franz Schubert
Time by Hans Zimmerman

Music is a fun platform to mess with. These two playlists are just examples of what I might end up building on Spotify. I encourage you to build your own if you want to - you can get a free account on Spotify, though you'll have to contend with the occasional ad.

iTunes would be the only platform out there, other than Windows Media Player, that wouldn't force you to listen to adds between ever three or four songs, but you'd have to pay for the music before you can put them into playlists.

Spotify is rather easy to manipulate, though, and forces less adds on you than Youtube, which makes you have to sit through an add at the beginning of every video, with most saying your "video will play after add".

All you have to do on Spotify is find your song and click the three dots to the right of it. There, you click "add to playlist", and it will give you the option to choose which playlist. You just need to create the playlists before you go hunting so that it shows up.

Before I end this, though, I would like to give you a word of caution. Spotify doesn't support the artists who make the songs you listen to on it as much as you'd support the artists if you bought their songs on iTunes or on a CD.

I know this might not be such a big deal for artists who are extremely popular and have money rushing in because, no matter what, their fans will buy their stuff and pay to see them live. But many of the artists who have their music hosted by Spotify are more independent than the biggest superstars and rely on the money they receive when people by their songs. The Piano Guys released a message about this at the end of their Youtube music video of "Celloopa", and they have compensated for the pennies they receive for having their songs on Spotify.

So, yeah. Use Spotify to your heart's content, but consider buying the songs as well in order to support your favourite artists. After all, it doesn't hurt to have it on iTunes or on your MP3 player just in case you go camping where you can't get LTE service or you're running low on data and you just have to listen to those particular songs that are on that playlist of yours.

The world's music is at your fingertips, folks!

– Mikaela

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Music to Write By


One of the things that I find helps me get into the mood when I'm writing is music.

Personally, I prefer lyric-less, soundtrack-like music, though once in while I find myself in the mood to write to the sound of people singing - though it slows down the speed of my writing since I have to focus on the words I want to write while being bombarded by a voice singing words at loud volumes right in my ear.

Of course, what determines what I listen to when I write depends on what genre my novel is and what is happening in the novel when I sit down to write it.

For example - when I'm writing my steampunk/sci-fi mystery novel A Murder of Whimsey, I would choose music that reflected the atmosphere I wanted. The album I ended up abusing during NaNoWriMo July in order to get out 20k words before the end of the month was Euphoria by Revolt Production Music.



This album is the perfect mix of dashing Victorian elements and energizing Sci-Fi melodies. I lived on this album, and it serves to remind me that I have to go back to that story someday.

Which I will.

When I have the brainpower to fully outline it, since I can never hold my focus long enough to do so. haha

I also find myself listening to Lindsey Stirling's musical epics, because they often fit certain moments and scenes in my stories. Her music filled my mind in July almost as much as Euphoria did, and it applies to all my works of fiction that I happen to be working on.


 





Another artist I find myself turning to is Peter Hollens, an acapella superstar who does a cover of an already existing song every two weeks or so. He's done many covers of Lord of the Rings and Hobbit songs, which I just can't stop listening to!



My favourites from this album would have to be "Misty Mountains ft. Tim Foust", "Hobbit Drinking Medley ft. Hank Green", and "Gollum's Song"! Outside of this album and far out of my reach, his cover of "Song of the Lonely Mountain" is another one of my favourites, which, alas, I cannot buy on the iTunes store!

These songs are currently helping me plow through a short story I hope to publish in the coming months, which I'll publish once I'm finished the final project of my Advanced Photography class, which will be the story's cover.






There are so many songs you can choose from and build your stories' playlists. I have so many, it's ridiculous - though I haven't had the mind to compile them into a playlist yet. I will here, tomorrow, but there is one more song that I want to show to you, one I enjoy listening to when I write, and a gem of a video I found containing several Steampunk-y/Victorian-themed songs.

The Video


The Song


The song is "Celloopa", as in 'cello–opa', by The Piano Guys, who are musicians, though not all of them play the piano. Like the guy in the video, he plays the cello. 

I love listening to the Piano Guys' music - as it is just as inspiring as the music I mentioned before - though I feel that I've yet to scratch the surface when it comes to the sheer quantity of their songs. 

I can guarantee that their songs are excellent to write to - though everyone's tastes are different. Every song I featured in this post reflect my taste in music and writing music.

Tomorrow, I hope to post a post about "playlists" some writers make while in the process of writing their novels. I have so many, and I feel I will learn something when I write it.

Thanks so much for enduring this rambling post!

– Mikaela

Thursday, July 27, 2017

True to You: a book review

True to You. Becky Wade. 2017. Bethany House Publishers. Pages: 367. [Source: bought]

Commanding voices and the clatter of a scuffle drew closer to their location. Like a sewing machine needle increasing in speed, Nora's heart picked up its pace.

"Oooh," Britt said. "I'm liking this."

A grinding sound came from above. The sprinklers that had been embedded in the ceiling descended. "No!" Nora called out.

In the next instant, cold water hit her in the face. Squealing, she drew herself into a ball, tucking her head between her upraised knees and wrapping her arms around her shins. Across the room, Britt hissed with disgust.

"Thank you so much for inviting me to partake in this fun experience," Nora said to her sister, though the words went little further than her ancient clogs. "Next time I feel overly content and dry and warm, perhaps I can come again."

The door to their room banged open. Nora angled her face toward the entranceway just as a man filled the opening. A big man. Square-jawed. His grave gaze swept the square footage in a millisecond. He seemed not to notice the falling raindrops, though they peppered his wet, spiky brown hair and drizzled down his stubbled face. He radiated complete and total competency.

The force of his presence careened into Nora like a hundred-mile-an-hour wind. In response, she could do nothing but hold her ground and blink.
~ Excerpt from Chapter 1

~~~

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭

I knew I was going to enjoy this novel when I first saw this come up in an email from the Bethany House Publishers review program. I was going to review this for them, but I ended up running out of time despite how much I was enjoying it and because I was just home from college.

I was exactly halfway done this novel when I had to stop (because they ask that the book be deleted from your kindle, or other reading device, when the month's over). I just had to order it when I ordered my last book haul from chapters.indigo.ca.

From the beginning, I was hooked. I connected with Nora so hard it was like a vice.

At the beginning of the novel, we were introduced to Nora Bradford when she's participating in an training exercise with her younger sister, Britt. Of course it takes longer than she expected, and of course everything has to go wrong when the smoke machine sets off the smoke detector and ends up dousing everyone and everything in the building.

It's at this training exercise that she meets John Lawson. Big, strong, handsome, ex-Navy SEAL John Lawson, CEO and owner of Lawson Training Incorporated.

I'm not a big fan of contemporary, or many novels that take place in the present day. The last time I did, I nearly threw my kindle across the room because I was at the end of my rope when it came to Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey. This novel, though, surprised me so much. I could hardly put it down, despite the fact it was Camp NaNoWriMo this month.

One thing I knew drew my attention to this story the most was the fact that John Lawson was an ex-Navy SEAL. When this book graced my email, I was attracted to it mostly because I had just finished watching the latest season of Hawaii Five-0. One of the main characters of the show is Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett, an ex-officer of the Navy.
Alex O'Loughlin as Steve

Because of this, I ended up picturing John Lawson as Alex O'Loughlin, the actor who plays Steve McGarrett. Despite the fact that John has brown hair and hazel eyes (like me!) and not black hair and blue eyes (like Steve).

I really enjoyed John's character, and his whole search for his birth mother and father due to a devastating medical diagnosis. His whole journey was realistic and gripping, and, in the end, made me hope that a man like him will one day enter into my life.

I didn't think that John was capable of emotionally crumbling like he did in the end, but he did. And that made him seem more human. I honestly can't wait to see more of him in the coming books.

Nora was by far one of my most absolute favourite female characters that I've encountered in a long time. I've never felt more connected to a female character than I was to her. She appreciated the old, classy things. She dressed old-fashioned, she did her hair in old-fashioned styles. She is a bibliophile like I am, though her library sounds like it's a bit more fantastic than mine. She's running out of space for bookshelves and books while I sit here with room for only 1 shelf. haha

Her job sounds absolutely divine. She runs the historical town centre in Merryweather, Washington, a place she got for a graduation present from her father. Over the years she's been working to add buildings to the place to give visitors the sense of what the town might have looked like in its early days. It reminds me of the time I went to Fort Edmonton in Edmonton, Alberta, and how I felt like I was on a real timey-wimey adventure - the most excitement I had for quite a few years.

Her main job, though, is that she is a genealogist. It's an interesting profession, though I would honestly find it a bit tedious after a while.

Nora and me shared a lot of views on the world, it seemed, and we also seemed to have the same insecurities. I also really look forward to seeing her again in the coming books, because she's the kind of character that I would follow to the ends of the Earth, need be.

This book came at the right time in my life. Every few days, I would get this melancholy feeling in my chest whenever I thought back to how a lot of the girls I know from collage had boyfriends. A girl from my Torah reading group had gotten engaged during the final reading break before the end of the school year; a girl in the same digital media program is blatantly in a relationship with a boy in the same program; another girl in the same program seems to be in a relationship with a second year (and now graduate) of my program; and once and a while, while I was walking about the campus grounds, I would walk by at least five couples, all smiling and happy.

It was depressing, because not a single boy approached me or was introduced to me, except one, to even be a friend until right before school was over for the summer.

But this book taught me that finding a man isn't everything. I don't want to be burned like Nora was. I can be content with my books and my writing and Pebbles until the right man, my John Lawson, comes walking (or running), into my life.

True to You is the first of the Bradford Sisters Romance series, and I just can't wait for the other ones to come out. I can't wait to see if Willow mends her relationship with Corbin, or if Britt finally realizes that her man has been in her life for years and she yet to realize it. It's so thrilling!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Updates | Bookstagram | FYI

Hey guys! I pause in my NaNoWriMo writing in order to come and tell you of a few updates in my life.

I get that I've been rather quiet on here. There haven't been any new book reviews, but there's been a THM recipe (which is totally easy to make and anyone can enjoy it)! I've been a bit busy with writing, and I've been in a bit of reading slump (Not by Sight drove me insane, I find the main woman character rather unlikable), but my latest book haul has come in.

I had to race a severe thunderstorm in order to get them from the mail box!

(haha... eh -_-)

I learned something today: you can ask Indigo - Canada's biggest bookstore - to swap a book you've just got in the mail for another if you were sent a damaged copy. Out of the books I got, The Tropic of Serpents: a Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan (the sequel to A Natural History of Dragons) was damaged with the cover being scratched up by extensive handling, and the cover was bent in a place. So, with my mom's advice, I called up customer service, and the nice lady on the other side of the line helped me swap it for a pristine copy of the book, and emailed me a tag for the parcel I'm going to send the copy I have now back.

So - when you run into the problem of your book arriving damaged, call, ask for a pristine replacement, ask for a return label, and say that you will return it. I don't know if it works with other book-store chains, but it should. It would be horrible if it didn't.

My book haul consists of five books - which I bought in order to take advantage of Chapters/Indigo's unplug for the summer promotion, which would net me 4,500 points ($10 worth) on top of however many I got for the books through the normal channel (which is awesome since I'm going back to college this fall). I've provided the covers, because they're all beautiful.


I didn't include The Tropic of Serpents since the copy I have is not the copy I'm keeping.

It's kind of funny that three of the books I ordered were blue, and two had green (because the dragon on the cover of Tropic of Serpents is green. I honestly can't wait to crack into these books. I think I'm going to start with True to You, since I had begun reading it when Bethany House Publishers wanted me to review it - but I ran out of time. I think I'm going to review it anyway, because I was so into it.

Another piece of news: I've finally got a Bookstagram (an Instagram focused on reading and books) up and running! My username is 'space.locomotive' - couldn't think of an interesting or witty book-themed one, so I went with the layman's term of a vehicle in my current writing project. 'Space locomotive' is another name for 'star train'.


I'm so looking forward to posting pictures of books! I've only posted one picture so far - of my TBR pile. But I hope to get a picture of my bookshelf and my newest book haul in the coming week - or maybe in the next couple of days.

Of course, my bookstagram won't only be for the books I review or take pictures of (I'll likely post a picture of the book I've just read and provide a link in the post to the review here), it'll also host pictures and updates of the stories I hope will one day publish. They'll be simpler echoes of what I post here n_n

Today was a good day, and it wasn't dampened by the thunderstorm we had this afternoon!

Though having to lower my wordcount goal for Camp NaNoWriMo another 10k was a bit of a bummer. I was hoping to have Murder of Whimsey relatively finished by the end of this month.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

10 Random Books to Tell you About me

I found this on the blog Stuck in a Book, and thought I should give it a try. So with a mug of coffee, and a break in the time I've put aside to clean my room, I'm going to use a random number generator to pick out the ten books randomly, since I don't trust my hands, lol.

I might have cheated with the number generator, and I took books from my bookshelf and my Kindle. and I chose only the ones I've read in order for more authentic responses. I also listed them in alphabetical order in order to sate my perfectionist side, which will definitely rear its ugly head once this is posted due to the errors I won't notice until then.


Cinder by Merissa Meyer




I've reviewed this book, and I found it extremely gripping despite the fact that there were a few things I didn't like. I loved the futuristic, cyber-punk take on the Cinderella story, despite the fact it didn't turn out like the fairy tale and that Cinder's story is far from over (there's three other main stories that come after this). I got this book after seeing it floating around the bookworm world, and decided to give it a shot. I bought it at a Chapters in Edmonton over a year ago. I love the simplicity of the cover, despite the fact Cinder didn't wear red glass high heels to the ball, and she ended up losing a cyborg foot instead if a shoe. haha


Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland




This was a treasure. When I think of a good book along the lines of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, Dreamlander pops to mind. Makes me wonder if I should change my penname from 'Mikaela A. Ingram' to 'M. A. Ingram' – because most of my favourite fantasy books are written by those who have more than one initial in their penname X3 I super enjoyed this book because, despite the length of it, it kept me hooked and the pace was lively. The thing I loved most about it was that the man on the cover, the main character, reminds me of Canadian actor Yannick Bisson, and so I imagined him as such throughout the entirety of the book (as he looked in Sue Thomas F.B.Eye). I'm such a nerd. And it only took me a weekend to finish it, despite the fact that it was over 400 pages long! I got it after I found out about K.M. Weiland and started following her writing advice.


Fractured by Rae Elliott





This was another good book I found through my search for writing advice. Up to the point in which I found this novel, I had wondered if someone out there had mashed science fiction and fantasy into a science fantasy that involved an android somehow. I'm so glad I was able to support an indie writer while also finding such a gem.


The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen





I got this book from Bethany House Publishers' review program a few years ago, back when I still ran my old blog "Pen to Paper". I believe this was the book that ended that review period, because I couldn't get into it when I got it. This last year, I fell into it and was unable to put it down until it was finished. It was so good! I guess I really like reading books where the main character has to stay hidden and experiences nail-biting instances almost constantly. This was so good! She was in love with the lord of the manor, but she couldn't let him know it was her!


Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie





This book let itself be known when I was in my Sherlock Holmes phase, and was sitting on "Sherlock's Shelf" section of Chapters when it was around. This was the book that introduced me to Hercule Poirot, and I found myself gripped by the happenings in the story – couldn't figure out who the killer was until the end! Through this book I would eventually come across series 7 – 12 on Netflix of Agatha Christie's Poirot, which I enjoy watching every time I have the chance to watch. I love this Mr. Poirot.


A Natural History of Dragons, a Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan





Such a treat, this one is. This was the first book I've found where a fantasy takes place in a Victorian setting, and not a medieval one (there ought to more, I think). I heard about this book from the bookworm's grapevine as well, and I think I finished it in, like, in a day. When I should have been writing my C.S. Lewis paper at college. This one's a fantasy in the fact that there are dragons, and I absolutely love dragons. I look forward to collecting the rest of the series once I have the money.


The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen





I got this one because I want to, one day, own all of Julie Klassen's novels. She's such a talented writer, and every one of her books sucks me back to the regency era. This one, though, didn't really engage me like I hoped, and seemed to stretch on longer than it should have. The atmosphere was interesting, but there was just too much going on. I'm attempting to read her The Dancing Master, but I'm having trouble, and I could only chalk it up to the fact that I'm not interesting in going to the regency era right now.


The Transformers: All Hail Optimus





Yes, I'm a nerd. A Transformers nerd. With the current storyline going on, with Optimus Prime (the mech on the cover), I was curious to see what was going on when it was said that this volume would cover events in which Optimus would try to annex Earth into the Cybertronian Empire. Poor guy, Optimus is only trying to annex Earth in order to keep it safe from the rest of the galaxy!

I got this when my uncle gave me an Amazon gift card for my birthday. So I can say that my uncle bought this for me :3


Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye Volume 4



Yeah, I'm not going to post the cover here. It's not like it depicts anything overly bad, it just has a bit of violence. So I'm going to spare anyone who's a little sensitive to that, and not post it here. Yeah, having Overlord's fist sticking out through Ultra Magnus' chest is a little violent (out of all covers of the issues contained inside it, they had to pick that one).

I bought this one back in January, but didn't receive it until I got home from college since Indigo deemed it necessary to send me Volume 5 before Volume 4, haha. I haven't really cracked it open yet since I care about most of the characters in the story, and I know they're going to get hurt (I've read a couple of the issues in it). Haha, get over yourself, Mikaela.


Two Renegade Realms by Donita K. Paul





This book left me with so many questions when I finished it. And what's frustrating was that its sequel, the final instalment of the Realm Walkers Trilogy, was slated to be released back in January-February of 2016, but then Donita K. Paul fell ill and Zondervan dropped her. Now we don't know when it'll come out.

I found this book and the first of it's trilogy in an Indigo of all places, which I found rather odd since it contains Christian themes and is written by a Christian authoress. I laugh, since Indigo seemingly doesn't know!



These are the ten books I shared so you guys could learn a bit more about me. This was fun :3

If you'd like to do this for yourself, click on the Stuck in a Book link I've provided at the top of the post.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Two-Cheese Spaghetti Squash Casserole



My bio says that I like to mess with THM recipes, so today, I've finally created a recipe I know it on-plan and low-carb.

I'd call it a S, just in case, since I used two kinds of cheese and Classico Alfredo Sauce. Like, not the light kind.

Ingredients:

1 decent-sized Spaghetti Squash (medium-ish)
1 (410 mL) jar of Classico Alfredo Sauce
Around a cup of grated sharp/old cheddar cheese (to taste)
2 Mini Baby Bells

Directions:

This is a relatively easy side to make, but it takes time. 

First, you must split the spaghetti squash, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and place the halves face-down on a tin-foil covered baking pan while the oven heats up to 350 degrees F. Wait as it cooks until its skin is soft and extremely flexible, and the innards come out in the stringy awesomeness that gives the squash its name.

Put the squash in a 2.5 litre/2.6 quart baking dish. Add the Alfredo sauce, grated cheese, and grated up Baby Bell. I put one grated Baby Bell in with the cheddar. Mix it up and put the other grated Baby Bell on top.

Alternatively, you could save the first Baby Bell and put both on top if you want lots of crispy-cheese.

Put it in the oven, and cook it until the cheese is all melty. I don't have a set time since I didn't exactly watch the clock, lol. I did it all by sight.

I hope you guys enjoy it, since I surely did! <3

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons. Marie Brennan. 2013. Tor Books. Pages: 334. [Source: bought]

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart – no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments – even at the risk of one's life – is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten....
~~~

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, knows Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

...a gust of shockingly cold air pulled at my sleeves, and ice stung my face. Wondering if we were in danger of hail, I looked up.
 I have little recollection of the next several seconds. Just a moment of frozen staring, and then – with no transition – my voice shrieking "Get down!" as I wrapped my arms around my husband and dragged him forward, off the wagon bench.


~~~

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭

(Warning! This post contains spoilers! I couldn't help myself!)

This is another book that has been sitting on my shelf for over a year, waiting for my to get through whatever books I have been reading so I could pick it up with a clear conscience (there's nothing like guilt from having too many books on the go at once to ruin the experiance of a perfectly good book).

I really wished I hadn't waited so long to get to this! It was so good, and definitely not the kind of book I should have picked up when I was supposed to be writing a research paper on C.S. Lewis!

This novel is totally unique, and so satisfactory that when I finished it this afternoon I felt a longing to continue reading about Lady Trent's life and exploits. (I can't just go order the next instalment of the series since it chocks up to being over $30 Canadian for the hardcovers, unfortunately, and I'm collecting them in hardcovers because they're so pretty. So I'll have to wait, blah).

I have never before have read a novel that was purposefully written so that it read like a memoir. I had a sneaking suspicion that it would when I cracked it open, but I wondered how the story would fare since – well... memoir + fiction? It's volatile stuff.

But it worked so perfectly for this story, and I could hardly tear my eyes away from the pages in order to write my paper!

The story opens in Lady Trent's youth, when she was young, seven year old Miss Isabella Hendemore. She went out to play one day and found a small, dragon-shaped creature lying in the grass, dead. When she tried to take it home with her, it disintegrated in her hands – later the family cook would teach her how to properly preserve one in vinegar, and when young Isabella manages to jar an intact specimen, she names it 'Greenie', after its colour.

That was the moment her dragon fever, of a sorts, was born. It continued to drive her crazy until she was involved in an incident that forced her to conform to society – until she entered into her "season", the period of every young lady of high standing's life where they have to parade around until they met a man of high standing and they come to an agreement.

Isabella, faced with a lifetime of having her interests an intelligence stifled by the society-driven assumptions of the man she may one day call her husband, agrees to go with her brother to the king's menagerie, and it is there she meets her husband: Jacob Camherst.

It isn't long after they're married that they set off on an adventure into the mountains of Vystrana, where the rest of the story unfolds.

I fell in love with all of the characters, and the form of storytelling. I love Isabella and Jacob, and Mr. Wilker reminds me of Rodney McKay from Stargate: Atlantis (same sarcastic, high-strung kind of guy).

There are a few swear words, but nothing harsher than what I've heard my mother say when she's in a right royal mood (which is rare, and since we're Christian, it's nothing above a Parental Guidance).

At the beginning, when Isabella married Jacob, I wondered why his last name was 'Camherst' and not 'Trent', since Isabella is known as 'Lady Trent' in the future and not 'Lady Camherst'. I distinctly remember thinking, He's going to die, isn't he?

Now, if you've ignored my initial warning about spoilers, I'm afraid I've spoiled some of the story for you already. But I'm going to warn you again – stop reading if you haven't read A Natural History of Dragons yet! I'm going to be discussing the end past this point and I don't want to ruin it for you!

Anyway, now that that's out of the way...

Well, my hunch ended up turning out to be right. Jacob died, and that quite upset me. I liked Jacob! I didn't want Jacob to die! And because of where he died, he couldn't even be buried at home where Isabella could visit him regularly. It kind of reminds me of how Grandpa's grave is in BC, all alone.

The dragons in the story were quite impressive, and I was mildly reminded of How to Train Your Dragon while I read. In a good way.

I love the distinction of the world in this story. Usually, in fantasy, the society and world in the story is distinctly medieval. In this novel, the world is set at a technology level comparable to what we were at from 1812 to 1900 – there were steamboats, but according to Lady Trent there were yet to be railways and steam engines, yet there were steamboats – though I think they were comparable to the ones with the large paddle-wheels on their sides instead of ones of the Titanic's caliber.

I love the illustrations in this book – there're so lifelike! One was creepy in a few aspects, the one depicting Zhagrit Mat, sent shivers up and down my spine. I half expected Zhagrit Mat to come leaping out somewhere in the story since, well, it's a fantasy! Anything could happen in a fantasy! That amped up the tension because so much was happening. It was delightful!

The story world of A Natural History of Dragons is one I would love to daydream about, and I honestly can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, The Tropic of Serpents. Maybe I can get my hands on it before I come back to college...

Ah! I love it when I come across a good book!

Alfâm Kuduszodikh - A Study on Music Playlists

*alfâm kuduszodikh – "music list" (ahl-faam kuh-duhs-zaw-dike – approximate pronunciation) ~~~ As promised, I bring you a...