Christian

The Hobbit

A very ordinary hobbit finds himself in an utterly unlooked-for adventure, thanks to the meddling of Gandalf the Wizard. He never wanted to cross distant lands to get dwarven treasure back from a dragon! Or did he? Perhaps the Took side of the family was stronger in him than he knew? Regardless, he finds himself as the 14th member of an expedition to reclaim the gold rightfully belonging to Thorin Oakenshield- once King under the Lonely Mountain. Despite the lack of proper meals and lodgings, Bilbo begins to enjoy his adventure, despite encountering trolls, Beorn the wild bear-man, wood-elves, goblins, Wargs, a wretched Gollum creature, and one very greedy dragon (Smaug). Whatever would their company have done without Gandalf? They surely would have been eaten by trolls or goblins or both!

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The Final Storm

This book, third in the series, picks up chronologically immediately where Book 2 left off. Aidan and his dad are back in Maryland, trying to meet with Robby and convince him of the Scrolls' truth, and Antoinette is still in The Realm, imprisoned in Paragor's prison. Paragor is amassing an army larger than any before, complete with a stronger-than-ever Wyrm Lord (a dragon whose very breath brings death) and the Seven Sleepers ("wolvins," which sound a lot like Tolkien's "wargs"). Sentinal Kaliam is doing everything in his power to defend & gather his allies and build new defenses. Aelic (Aidan's glimpse) is found, badly injured, but alive. Back on Earth, Aidan has discovered that his best friend Robby already believes in The Realm, but that he has been convinced by Count Eogan (the impostor emissary from the previous book) that Paragor is the true hero of the tale.When Count Eogan tries to kill Aidan, Robby decides to serve King Eliam, and is swept into Alleble. Like Aidan & Antoinette before him, he becomes a Twelfth Knight and sets out on a mission, racing against Paragor to find both the Scroll of the Prophecy and King Eliam's scribe Zabediel.

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The Rise of the Wyrm Lord

Aidan, recently returned from his voyage to The Realm, meets Antoinette, a fellow Believer. They realize that she is being drawn to The Realm this time, and Aidan passes on to her his concern for Robby, as he fears that his Glimpse is following Paragor. Antoinette is drawn into the Realm and becomes a Twelfth Knight just as Aidan did. (Antoinette is Gwenne's human twin) Soon she is off on her own mission defending Alleble. Several of Alleble's former allies are turning from them, citing unfair treatment at the hand of an Alleble emissary whom King Eliam never sent. Rumor has it that Paragor is also trying to awaken evils from ancient prophecies in his desire for power. Antoinette's team sets off through the Blackwood Forest to Yewland in order to try and re-establish their alliance while doing reconnaissance of Paragor's dealings.

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The Door Within

Aidan is a teenager who has just moved across the country to care for his wheel-chair-bound grandfather "Grampin." And he isn't happy about it. He misses his best friend from Maryland, Robby, and does not look forward to trying to start over making friends. Amidst his fuming, mysterious scrolls appear in his basement, telling an engaging story about life in a parallel world simply called "The Realm." This land and ours were once the same, but after The Schism, the two were separated, with each human in our world having a twin in the other-- not human, but a Glimpse. At the end of the Scroll, a riddle appears, inviting him into the Realm itself, should he go through the "Door Within," which is belief. Hardly daring to believe his luck, Aidan ventures into the realm, where he finds himself welcomed as the "Twelfth Knight" of Alleble-- the last member of a select group sent on a vital mission against Paragor.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Bottom line? This is an odd-numbered HP book, meaning it is intensely psychological. We are all up in Harry's angst, identity crises, and confusion. Alchemically speaking, this book represents the "black" (nigriedo) stage, which is all about breaking the character down to prepare it for purification from of all impurities to create a pure and beautiful Gold in the end. This book is full of Harry being stripped of every part of his identity, with everything that he holds dear being taken from him in some measure: his identity as a wizard, as a Quiddich-player, as a part of the Weasley family, as "just like his father," as an honest and sane person (the newspaper reports that he is attention-seeking and slightly deranged), future career goals, and even as a hero are all questioned.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The more I read, the more I see!! J.K. Rowling is the queen of narrative misdirection; I can see why she loved Emma (Jane Austen), which is a book ALL ABOUT thinking you know where the characters and plot is going, and being totally wrong. This book is amazing at that! For any who haven't read the sequel I won't spoil anything, but I will say that this book does a wonderful job making you lean one way, and then letting go so you fall over. :)

Bottom line? This book is chock-full of lessons on mercy and trust. But really, it's incomplete without Book 7!!

Cautions? The death at the book's end is in some ways unexpected, and it is very very sad. I cried. Some of the material is clearly for older readers-- the boy-girl relationships are quite full of "snogging" (kissing), though this is poked fun at and shown to be immature.

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The Jesus Storybook Bible

Ryan gave me this book as a gift on our honeymoon, and we immediately loved it. The illustrations are striking, even humorous, Jesus isn't a pale blonde, and it covered the WHOLE Bible, even less-storified things like Psalm 23 and Isaiah. But as I've used it for teaching this past year, I have realized the huge capacity for worship-building held within its cardboard covers. The thing is chock full of GOSPEL! As I assemble and outline the curriculum for our preschool next year, I've been researching a lot of books and Bible story books we may use. An interview with Sally Lloyd-Jones (the book's author) that I just read just left me speechless. And I don't just say that because I'm the only one home! I just wanted to stop and think and praise the Lord when I read it.

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North! Or Be Eaten

Ryan & I LOVE Andrew Peterson's music.

We also love children's books. Especially children's fantasy.

So when we found out that we could get both Andy P & Fantasy in one package, we were eager to try it out. Andrew Peterson has recently begun to try his hand at another form of word-art. Not only is he still writing songs; he's now also writing a children's fantasy/adventure series called The Wingfeather Saga. Ryan & I read Book 1 (On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness) aloud to each other in the first year of our marriage, and lent our copy out to as many folks as we could. Book 2 came out ON our second wedding anniversary (August 18th '09), so of course we planned to order and enjoy our own copy. Imagine our excitement when we got a chance to participate in the North! Or Be Eaten blogtour! Basically, we got our own free copy of the book, and then "have to" write up a blog post on it during this week. Oh, please don't throw me in the brier patch! =D (Although it does sort of feel like I'm back in school with book reports due, lol.)

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