My Goodreads Quotes

Allison’s quotes


"Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing a book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right--in the way that's best for us."
Do you really believe that, Mother?" Peter asked quietly.
Yes," she said, "I do believe it--almost always--except when I'm so sad that I can't believe anything. But even when I don't believe it, I know it's true--and I try to believe it."— E. Nesbit

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Nightstand Books: May

Hello, dear readers!  Once again, I am capitalizing on Jenelle Schmidt's and DJ Edwardson's delicious blogging prompt: a picture of my nightstand in all its book-laden glory!

Behold.



As you can tell, my stack is significantly less ambitious than last month's.  Although my schedule is far from busy, I've been much more productive in other venues this month, which leaves me less reading time.  Alas!

The top book is The Heaven Tree Trilogy, by Edith Pargeter, which I confess I haven't read yet.  I've heard wonderful things about it, but thus far, I haven't touched it.  I still have four days until June!

Below this, you see A.D. 30, by Ted Dekker... which I also haven't read yet.  It is, for the record, the most difficult book to search for on Goodreads, because you must get the punctuation precisely correct.  Two periods.  No spaces.  A.D.  Like The Heaven Tree, I've heard great things about it.

Thirdly, we have The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas.  This is a reread in honor of summer.  I adore the swashbuckling, over-the-top, ridiculously improbable adventure of this book because it doesn't take itself too seriously.  It knows it's crazy.  This translation is by Lowell Bair, who also abridged it.  I generally don't like abridging books, but I've compared it to the original, and the abridgement is very subtly, tastefully done.  I watched the movie last night while re-alphabetizing some bookshelves, and it was delightful despite the massively altered ending.

Beneath that, you have The Dragonbone Chair, by Tad Williams.  It's exciting to read what is often considered a classic in the fantastical canon.  I'm only a hundred or so pages in, and I'm finding it somewhat technical in its exposition of the world.  I feel like I have to take notes on various historical events and figures, and that isn't necessarily a feeling I relish.  I still plan on finishing it... eventually.

Fifthly, I present The Gospel According to Tolkien, by Ralph C. Wood.  I've barely finished the introduction, and I can already tell I'll love this book.  It focuses largely on the fact that Tolkien didn't maintain a one-to-one connection in his allegory, and what the ambiguity of this means to the overall impact.  I'm reading it in preparation for a grand reread of the series, then a first-time read of The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin.

Next comes The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis.  This is another reread, although only barely.  (I read it for the first time last summer.)  This time, my Wonderful Mother is reading it aloud to me, which is truly a special experience!

And finally, squashed beneath all the other books, is my Bible.  I've never read it all the way through, so I am embarking on a voyage to read it in its entirety.  I just finished Ecclesiastes and am twiddling my thumbs and dithering before starting Song of Solomon, also called Song of Songs.  I am perpetually amazed by the beauty, wonder, and wisdom of this awe-inspiring work.

So there is my nightstand!  What are your thoughts on these books?  What's on your nightstand?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cover Reveal: Half Blood, by Jaye L. Knight

Hello, dear readers!  Today I am pleased to present the cover of Jaye L. Knight's latest novella, Half Blood.
 
 
 
The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.
 
 For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.  
 
Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?
 
 See where Jace’s story all began . . .
 
 Coming This Summer
 
Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
 
 You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
 
As part of a month long celebration for the one year publication anniversary of Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles - Book 1), Jaye is giving away several fun prizes! Enter for a chance to win using this link! U.S. entries only please.
 
I, for one, am intrigued by the cover/blurb combination!  Have any of you read the Ilyon Chronicles yet?  What's your favorite element of the series?


Monday, May 18, 2015

Cover Reveal: A Wish Made of Glass, by Ashlee Willis

Hello, dear readers!  I am oh, so terribly pleased to share this new cover with you!  It's for Ashlee Willis's newest novella, A Wish Made of Glass.

Isn't it lovely?

Deep in a forest glade, the fey folk dance with Isidore, a young human child. Their kinship is the very fabric of her childhood. When her mother dies and her world darkens with sorrow, Isidore finds her belief in the fey folk wavering.

The love of her new step-sister, Blessing, proves an unexpected gift in her time of need. Yet even as their friendship blooms, Isidore begins to see that Blessing is everything she herself has always wanted to be, but is not. Jealousy grips Isidore as she watches this beautiful new sister steal away all she holds dear.

Driven to desperation, Isidore turns to the fey folk once more. She has only one wish to claim from them, one chance to make things right. But she must tread carefully. For wishes, like hearts, are easily broken. And obtaining the one thing she desires could mean destroying the one thing she truly needs.

Ashlee Willis is the author of fantasy for young adults.  She lives in the heart of Missouri with her husband and young son.  While most of her days are balanced between writing, reading, and being a stay-at-home mom, she also finds time to enjoy forest rambles, photography, and playing the piano.

Follow her on Goodreads, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest, and on her blog.

I was fortunate enough to serve as a beta reader for this novella, and although I can't review it officially yet, I can say this: A Wish Made of Glass is exquisite, haunting, and perfectly fairytale-ish.  I, for one, am excited to reread this wonderful novella!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Used Books!

Unlike many book lovers, I do get rid of books.  I don't have a choice, because I also have a chronic inability to not buy books.

Allow me to set the stage:

A used book sale.  Bins of overflowing paperbacks crowd between stacks of hardcovers.  Each costs only one dollar.

Me (brandishing a hefty volume with difficulty; arm shaking): Look, it's Schneffenborg's "The Imperial Science of Philosophy and Thought Among Primitive Agrarian Societies in the Arctic"!  I'll totally read this!"

Let me be clear, readers.  I will never, ever read this.

But I have no willpower when it comes to books!  If it comes packaged between a cover, I'll buy it, especially if-- even worse!-- it has a faded, shaky signature inside the front cover with-- the horror!-- an interesting, vintage-sounding date like '47.

Because of this terrible habit, I owned a huge, towering bookshelf specifically for books I planned on reading.  It had it all: Tolkien's The Silmarillion, a four-volume collection on philosophy, the complete works of Sophocles, the biography of Stephen Crane.  I have no idea who Stephen Crane is, nor why I felt compelled to buy his biography.

This habit extends to the library, too.  For example, today I was strolling through the nonfiction section, my bag bursting with books, in-- let me stress-- absolutely no position to get any more books!  But the darn thing just fell into my hands, and I checked out Julius Caesar's commentary on the Gallic Wars.


I will never read this. 
(By Adriaen Collaert (The British Museum) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Finally, last week, I surveyed the feeble amount I had read and the towering inferno left to go and conceded defeat.  I packaged up those books and returned them to their demesne, the used bookstore.  I think they were glad to leave me.  I wasn't a very good owner.

But in exchange for two laundry baskets full of books, the cashier gave me a generous gift card to the used book store!  So getting rid of books is going to result in me getting more books!

I mused on my injured feelings for a while and summed up this situation in the following poem:

Ode to the Used Book,
 
by Allison Ruvidich
I.
 
O, Book!  We are old companions, you and I.
For years you have waited patiently on the shelf,
Dull cover, painful blurb,
And for years I have passed you by.
Once in a blue moon, I’ll picked through your pages,
Old but untouched, smelling faintly of dust.
For years and years, your bland yellow price tag deterred me.
But today you’re on sale.
 
II. 
 
No offense, Book, but I’m sure you’re not any good,
Though your spine is a familiar sight to my wandering eye.
Maybe we’ll pass in a library someday, and our eyes will meet,
And then, O Book!  We shall be thriftily united!  But no—
It’s not you, it’s me; it would never work out; I don’t want to hurt you.
I’ll just look at the price.
 
 III. 
 
O, Book!  You pain me, though for once your price does not.
If I bought you, what would happen once you’re read,
And your secrets no longer tempt me?
I can’t invest ¾ inch of shelf space in someone I don’t know.
Someday Robin McKinley will be caught dead in a used bookstore,
And I’ll need your precious ¾ inch again.
Then the cycle continues, and you’ll sit on the shelf
Of some other used bookstore until another girl comes along.
She’ll tell you she loves you until her Robin McKinley comes, and you’re back—
On and on until someone far stronger than I
Puts you in the Goodwill donation box.
 
IV.
 So you see, Book, there’s nothing for us but pain.
I’d be far better off leaving you here where you’re happy.
I’m a terrible person to put us both through this,
But today you’re only one dollar, and you’re coming with me.


Does anyone else have this problem? I can't believe I'm the only one out there suffering from Compulsive Book Purchaser's Syndrome. Are there any methods to avoid this grievous fate?  How big is your to-read shelf?


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Summer Begins...


One of these days I will be able to write a post without first apologizing for how long it's been since I've posted.  This, alas, is not that day.  Sorry! 

As an extension of this apology, I must explain that I had a bad semester.  Not a-few-late-nights, a-few-scary-deadlines: full-blown, hysterical busyness, and the feeling that I'm juggling too many balls and one of them is about to drop and explode like a glass Christmas ornament.  It was so crazy that I'm turning into one of those people who manages to work their course-load into every conversation.

Friend: So-- 

Me: Not well.  I took too many classes this semester.  I don't take weekends anymore, or afternoons, and I have rehearsals most evenings.  If I ever want to take this many classes again, don't let me.  I promise here and now that I will take the easiest senior year ever and try and enjoy myself before college.  Don't even get me started on applying for college!

An awkward pause. 

Me: And how are you? 

That, my friends, was my semester. 

But today I turned in my English 112 final, which means I am officially On Summer Break.  (Except for literature.  But that's so fun it's practically not a class.)  It means all sorts of exciting things, like I can read whatever I want to and write as much as I want, and I can stop complaining about deadlines for at least three months. 

But it also means that I am at a loss, because my hands are suddenly full of this exquisite stuff called free time, and I've forgotten what I used to do with it. 

It's not that I won't have a busy summer.  I have been accepted to a six-week summer school called Governor's School-- if you're not in North Carolina, you probably haven't heard of it-- and I'm trying to figure out how I will occupy this blog for those six busy weeks.  (I'm thinking of writing short essays on book series that many of us know, in the hopes of sparking some debate and conversation.)  But my summer isn't busy yet, and I want to kick it off with something more exciting than cleaning out my closet and buying summer clothes. 

Are any other students out there feeling the same way?  How do you cope with it?  I'm trying to cultivate an interest in something fairly mindless like rereads or a TV series to pass the time; does anyone have suggestions? 

Happy summer!