Sunday, April 26, 2015

Learning to honor my heritage

Well, I didn't meet my goal to finish that book. I'll have to work harder. However I didn't want to just wait until I had read the book to update this blog. I've been meaning to do some variation on here for some time. The best I can do for today is talking about something I'm still trying to learn how to do: honor my heritage. 
Some time ago, I was visiting a museum close to where I currently reside. There I found something that talked about how a person honored their heritage by participating in the Scottish Dance. That has helped them to feel closer to their ancestors. That reminded me of a video I saw at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, about a boy who learned they were of Scottish descent and decided he wanted to learn to play the bagpipes. It took him a while, but he refused to quit, and his actions led to his sisters learning to do Scottish dances as well. 
Sadly I've known for a while that I was of Scottish descent, but I've never really done anything to honor that heritage. I didn't learn to play the bagpipes, I haven't learned any dances. I'm even willing to try haggis, but I still haven't. If only heritage honoring is a class you can take at school, or a college elective. 
Right now the only way I've been able to do anything to honor my heritage was to start doing family history and genealogy. Yet there are times when I fear that's all I'll ever be able to do, and I want to be able to do more to honor my heritage. Sadly every time I ask nobody seems to have any suggestions other than just adding sources to RootsMagic, FamilySearch, and Ancestry. 
So as a result I've been trying to figure out on my own how I could honor my heritage. I love good stories so I've been trying to read up on the books and tales told in the countries my ancestors came from. Sadly I haven't done a lot of Scottish stories, but I have been looking at lots of stories from England. That country has a rich heritage of storytelling. Many of the classic stories come from England, but I already covered how in a previous blog post. I have also been buying DVDs that have stories that are somehow connected to England and Scotland. I just hope I'm going about it the right way. 
Another way I'm trying to honor my heritage is with the world building I'm doing for my books. I've been looking at the legends and stories of the places where my ancestors lived to get ideas as to how to build up the world of Dymos. I've gotten a lot of magical and prehistoric creatures for those places, but I'm also trying to build the culture similarly. I haven't been able to find any good books that could help with that, but I'm going to keep looking. Hopefully as time goes on I'll be able to find more ways I can honor my heritage. Maybe I should practice making Shepherd's Pie more. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book Review: The Long Patrol is an exciting adventure tale of Redwall

Hi everyone. School's out for me right now, so I might be able to do a little more with this blog than book reviews. In the meantime I do have a new book to review, and it comes from Brian Jacques wonderful world surrounding the amazing abbey of Redwall. This book is The Long Patrol.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Tamello De Fformelo Tussock is a young hare who dreams of joining the Long Patrol, a group of hares that serves Lady Cregga Rose Eyes, the badger who rules the stronghold of Salamandastron. Even though both of Tammo's parents have served in the Long Patrol it takes Tammo's mother to convince an old friend, a squirrel named Russa, to get Tammo started on his journey. However the journey isn't a smooth one. An army of sea vermin known as the Rapscallions has come ashore following their defeat at the hands, or paws, of Lady Cregga Rose Eyes, and their former leader has died. His heir, through treachery and deceit, is Damug Warfang, a rat who is eager to carve a name for himself. Leading his army inwards, he learns that the peaceful Redwall Abbey has a problem. The south wall is crumbling, and needs to be rebuilt. The race is on as Damug makes his way towards the peaceful abbey. Will Tammo and the Long Patrol be able to help save Redwall? Or will the abbey fall into the clutches of the Rapscallions?
Brian Jacques always does an incredible job with storytelling and world building. I like how he manages to replace the traditional fantasy races with woodland creatures like mice, squirrels, moles, badgers, etc. He also knows how to make use of poem, rhyme, and song to help further build up the world around Redwall. The book may start out slow for some, but it gets easier to read the further you go along. It may be hard to understand the style of speech several animals have, but that helps add to the world of Redwall. If you want to take a break from elves, dwarves, and other traditional fantasy races then you should take a trip to Redwall Abbey.
Characters are in peril and threatened with death. An eel almost eats someone. Some characters end up trapped in a dark place and encounter blind cannibals. Damug Warfang's helmet has a skull on it. A badger is mentioned as having Bloodwrath. Animals fight and kill each other
Fighting is justified if you are trying to protect your family and loved ones from those who would harm them and take away their freedom. The greatest act of love is to give your life from another. We can find ourselves prepared for the future if we study the past.

Oh, just a little note, this week I'm going to be reading and reviewing a book for a friend before it becomes available online. I intend to read and review it before the week is out, so be sure to check back again this week.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Book Review: Spirit Animals: Evertree is awesome

Hi everyone. I've got a lot of stuff I need to do, but I think it's time I gave you another book review. Hopefully this summer I'll be able to branch out a little.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Greencloaks are in trouble. The Conquerors have gotten their hands on all but three of the talismans, and only two are in their possession. The last talisman is the Platinum Elk, which belongs to Tellun the elk, the greatest and most powerful of all the Great Beasts. However with Kovo the ape about to break free of his prison there's no time to go and seek the aid of Tellun. Conor, Abeke, Rollan, and the Greencloaks will have to travel to the Conqueror's homeland of Stetriol to try and stop Gerathon and Kovo. However terrible things are happening across Erdas. Continents are changing, the weather's going berserk, and the animals are getting sick. Is there a way to reverse this chaos? Or will Erdas be plunged into an era of darkness?
I liked so much in the book. I liked how the actions of the Conquerors and Kovo and Gerathon are literally tearing Erdas apart. It really shows how serious the situation is. When Tellun made an appearance it's easy to see why he's the greatest of all the Great Beasts. I won't say what, but he does some pretty awesome stuff. Definitely not your average elk. I also liked how more Erdas mythology and history is brought into this book. However due to the fast pace of the book I was left feeling like they could've done more. While the battles were epic in their own right I was just left wanting a bit more. I'm not talking graphic or gory kind of violence. When I think about it I can see the point was to try and get through, not to fight bad guys except when absolutely necessary.
A snake keeps taking control of people. Animals fight each other. The chaos the world is being thrown into might be intense for some.
The greatest act of love is to give our life for another. When the lives of our loved ones and our freedoms are threatened it's okay to fight to protect them. This is for people who are of a Christian background: The Atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to free us from the power of the Devil.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Book review: The Ice Dragon is a fun fantasy for winter

Hi everyone. School's starting to wrap up and I'm getting some great help to get caught up on assignments. I wanted to take some time today to do something I wasn't able to yesterday. Post a review for a book I finished reading.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Adara is a girl who's living in the North, a country in Westeros, with her father and siblings. Adara's noted for being a bit of an odd girl, such as she loves the winters. She would spend the time counting down to her birthday as that's during wintertime. Most do not enjoy the winters in the North, but Adara loves it. Each year Adara is visited by an ice dragon, a rare species of dragon that few ever see, and tales say it is a foul creature of death. However Adara manages to befriend the strange animal and flies around on it. That itself is a great accomplishment as ice dragons are held to be unridable. One day fierce invaders come to Adara's home and it's up to her and her ice dragon to stop them.
For a while now I've been encouraged to delve into George R. R. Martin's world of Westeros, and I was surprised to see there are books written by him that take place outside of his main series. Even though this book may be shorter and more geared to juvenile readers, I still found it a good place to enter Westeros. Most dragons are stereotyped to be fire breathers, but it made a nice change to see a dragon that could breath cold instead. Adara herself is a very interesting character. Winters can be fierce from what I read in the North, but the cold never bothers her. Sorry. Couldn't resist putting that joke in. I have read The World of Ice and Fire, and I spent some time wondering when this tale fits in chronologically with the history of Westeros. For reasons that I won't divulge so to not give any spoilers I'll say I think it happens in The Dance of the Dragons, which was the name of an old war. Anyway, I can see this book forming the basis of an animated film adaptation someday. Probably won't happen, but if you're looking for a fantasy book to read during the winter I would recommend this book.
A woman dies from childbirth. Men are mentioned as swearing, but the words are not listed. Some battle scenes, but nothing graphic. A kid accidentally snaps an ice lizard in two.
The greatest form of love is to give your life for another. We should be willing to get out and explore.