BIHR: Stork Trilogy Wendy Delsol

This modern setting fantasy was very interesting especially for its mix of Nordic theology with an American Midwest setting. I really enjoyed the personal growth of the main character in the first book Stork and how she discovered how to fit into the small town her mother was from.

The second book Frost was fantastic for me mainly because the heroine rescues her boyfriend from the clutches of evil. I like it when the roles are reversed and the female is the rescuer.

The third book Flock deals with consequences from both of the other books and neatly wraps things up in such a way that with a group of people our heroine is able to rescue the world from evil but with a serious drawback of giving up a lot of the very things that made her unique.

For more about the author Wendy DelsolWendy Delsol  you can visit her site.

All book cover photos were stolen from Amazon.

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Kubota Japanese Garden Seattle

One of the lovely places we discovered a few years ago was the Kubota Japanese Garden in South Seattle. It is an absolutely amazing garden created by one man who emigrated to Seattle from Japan in 1907. He had established a gardening company and in 1927 purchased 5 acres in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle. Fujitaro Kubota wanted to showcase the beauty of the Pacific North West in a Japanese manner. Several other public examples of his work include the Seattle University campus as well as Bloedel reserve Japanese garden on Bainbridge Island. Fujitaro Kubota was awarded in 1972 with rare honor from his native Japan of the Fifth Class Order of the Sacred Treasure, “for his achievements in his adopted country, for introducing and building respect for Japanese Gardening in this area.”  He died the following year at age 94.  It took until 1987 for the City of Seattle to acquire the historical landmark as a park.

The Kubota Foundation has much of the history above on there website as well as current park information.

And now some photos from my last visit to the park.

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BIHR: Once Upon a Time by Dennis McKiernan

Overview

There are five books in this series, also referred to as the “Faery Series” on the author’s homepage.  I eagerly waited and devoured them all upon their release. The series tells the story of four siblings from Faery who inhabit the four seasons realm and their parents. It deals with an ancient enemy of faery and how each sibling find their partner and help with the defeat of the enemy. I love how all are equal and that the females are just as likely to be the heroines and save people as the males.

These were just very satisfying reads and I have read them several times now. They actually take up bookshelf space as they are worth reading more than once.

Each book title is a link to the cover page and foreword from the author’s website.

Book 1: Once Upon a Winter’s Night

I must confess that upon finishing this book I actually wrote a fan email to the author. This time I received an answer and found out that I had apparently written to him on his birthday. I adore faery tales of all kinds but East of the Sun and West of the Moon was always my favorite growing up. Dennis’s retelling is an expanded but faithful rendition of the story.

Book 2: Once Upon A Summer Day

 

Book 3: Once Upon an Autumn Eve

 

Book 4: Once Upon a Spring Morn

 

Book 5: Once Upon a Dreadful Time

 

To learn more about the author and see a list of his other books might I suggest either his wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_L._McKiernan

or his author page and more about his other high fantasy setting Mithgar

http://mithgar.com/

Small confession that all cover pictures were copied from Amazon.

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An Owl Purse

A good friend of mine had a birthday the beginning of March. She had told me how she wanted a real cute purse for when she went out without her children as she was tired of diaper bag size bags. It still needed to be big enough for her water bottle and other items she needs to carry with her. She also told me about an adorable pleather owl purse she had bought but due to her chemical sensitivities couldn’t even touch as it. I used her owl purse as a jumping off point, along with some inspiration from Pinterest and some help from my Mom had me designing this:

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I am really pleased with how my initial drawing and then the pattern Mom and I came up with translated to the finish piece. Since I have a similar waterbottle I was easily able to confirm that it fit fine along with room for everything else.

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I adored the color combo and it was perfect for my friend. The best part was how excited my friend was with her gift. Once I started everything I wanted to make a little zippered bag to match so she could have a way to organize her purse.

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Both purses together!

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Give me hope for a few other designs I have sketched out.

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BIHR: Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa

Want to read about a heroine who learns her own destiny and how to save both her own world and the world of the Fey?

What I loved most about this particular series was the combination of how the author combined the increase in technology with the world of the Fey and how the consequences of that interactions turns out in the long run. Unfortunately there is a lot of the guys trying to save the heroine but ultimately she is the one who saves them all.

More information:

http://theironfey.com/

This site has an amazing overview of the entire series, links to interviews with the author and even wallpapers for download.

The authors website:

http://juliekagawa.com/wordpress/

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Visit to Oregon Caves National Monument

We had hoped to stop here during our August 2013 road trip. We really didn’t know much about it other than the little bit we saw online. The drive up was on narrow switchback roads and very steep.

The lodge and visitor center once we walked up from the parking lot was very interesting. I loved the texture on the outside of the lodge as well as the sunken patio with the little pond and waterfall.

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I can see why it is a popular place to stay. You are deep in the mountains and near the entrance to the cave.

We lucked out and when we arrived the very next tour had spots for all 4 of us to join them so we paid our fee and stashed our stuff (no packs allowed) and got ready to head into the cave. The first thing we found out is that the creek inside the cave is called the River Styx. Because of the limestone formations you are not allowed to touch the walls or any part of the cave as it can damage them. You can see where people have touched them in the past and how it changed the continued formations. It was dark and confining in places but gorgeous. There were several part where you cannot touch the walls and must kind of crab walk underneath several overhangs. There were lots of steep stairs, ladders, and narrow walkways.  It was great and we were all surprised that none of us got claustrophobic or anxious in the cave. It was an awe inspiring tour and was a first real experience for several family members.

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BIHR: Pellinor books by Alison Croggon

This is a series I only recently discovered and wow was I missing out. There are four books in the series starting with The Naming.

 The Naming

This was an epic fantasy along the lines of Tolkien. In some ways I found this a much more rewarding and rich world than some of the standard epic fantasy I have previously read. I really loved the main character Maerad and how her coming into herself, her femininity, and how the challenges were atypical. Her challenges were all the more engaging for her point of view. They were fairly hefty books to finish but I enjoyed them and often stayed up late reading each book. I really liked the recurring theme throughout her books that how you react to your choices and what happens to you matters. Strong people can learn to move on and get better. The author shows several examples of the opposite throughout the series and you learn that your choices matter.

To learn more about Pellinor:

http://booksofpellinor.com/home.html

From the author’s website:

http://alisoncroggon.com/fantasy/books.html

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