Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thoughts on IIllusion

Frank Peretti's last published novel (not including House, co-written with Ted Dekker) was Monster, published in 2005. Peretti's novels are dark, filled with demons and monsters, and most often deal with spiritual warfare. When I learned that Peretti was releasing another novel after seven years of publishing silence, I was ecstatic. However, Illusion is a different side of Peretti that I had not seen before.

Illusion, on the surface, is a love story. Dane and Mandy were a popular magic act until Mandy is tragically killed in a car accident... or so Dane thinks until he meets a talented young magician in a coffee shop... Two magicians are separated by death, space, and time. But they still manage to find each other. 

I really did enjoy this lighter side of Peretti. I didn't have a hard time accepting the theory that Peretti uses to explain how Mandy is brought back as a younger version of herself (though I won't give away any spoilers!). However, when it came to the end, I did have a hard time with it. I felt like the ending was too forced, too fantastic to believe. Of course, reading fiction is all about suspending belief, but I felt that the ending, Mandy's final illusion, was too odd, and I was lost.

That said, what came before the ending makes up for it. Peretti's writing is engaging, as always, and he easily draws you into the lives of his characters.

I truly hope Peretti doesn't take another seven years to write another book!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DIY Wedding #1

My wedding is over! And what a crazy event it was! I'll be posting about that later. Right now, here are pictures of the centerpieces.

The flowers I folded out of pages from an old art textbook. My husband (I am still not used to that...) and I met in an art history class so it meant something--even if nobody else knew it! I was very to see after the wedding that no one had taken a good pictures of the entire centerpiece! Oh well, maybe a relative has one that I can get later. You can see them in this picture.

The centerpieces were simply branches put into non-matching glass vases with rocks in the bottom. For a little sparkle, I put a couple silver color stones in the bottom of the vases as well. I then put the paper flowers on the ends of the branches. They turned out simple, yet elegant. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

DIY Cake Stands

I knew from the time I started planning my wedding that I wanted to make some DIY projects to use for the wedding. My first project was the origami flowers that I posted a picture of before. Those flowers will be used as centerpieces (pics to come later!). The projects I completed a few days ago were cake stands.

Ta Dah! Aren't they beautiful? All the stands are made of are glasses turned upside down, and plates. The shorter one actually has a candle holder as a base instead of a glass.

I epoxied the base of the glass/candle holder to the bottom of the plate, then spray painted, and voila! Simple, right? And they were cheap, too! The glasses I bought at an antique store for $6. The candle holders were about $2 at a consignment store, and the plates, also from the consignment store, were $1 each. With the cost of the epoxy and spray paint, I'd say the cost of the cake stands (I made 4 even though there are only 3 pictured) were about $5 each!

The plan is for the stands to hold cheesecakes at the wedding. :) This one will hold the "wedding cheesecake" (no wedding cake here!).

Elegant and beautiful, but also simple and cheap. Love it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Different Take on History

Shakespeare wrote about a Richard III who was deformed and evil.

The playwright took his information from Tudor historians - the victors. The men writing about Richard III after his death were trying to put him down in order to make Tudor look better.

Richard III, in short, was treated unfairly. In her book, The Sunne in Splendor, Sharon Kay Penman presents a much more sympathetic picture of Richard. Gone are the physical deformities. Gone are the evil actions of child murder and poisoning. Instead, Penman's Richard is a man with a conscious, and who loves only one women.

The reader follows Richard from the time of the battle of Wakefield, where his father and brother Edmund were killed, to Bosworth where Richard himself was killed. Penman skillfully crafts her characters. By the Battle of Bosworth, the reader has come to know Richard, crying with him as he loses the people he loves.

Penman's depictions of battles are as vivid as her characters. She also remains as close as possible to historical fact. When Richard's nephews vanish from the tower, Penman puts the blame on the suspect with both motive and opportunity. What actually happened to the boys is lost to history, and Penman does not try to say what happened. She only logically places blame and does not try to invent historical fact.

The Sunne in Splendor was a gripping read until the very last page. It's filled with vivid characters, battles, and scenery. It's also informative because of Penman's careful adherence to fact. She ends her narrative with two characters talking about their fears that Richard would be remember by the Tudor propaganda that had begun to be written at that time. Not only was that a fitting way to end the book, but it also leaves a careful reader wondering - how will history change the leaders of today? Will heroes be turned into monsters by vicious propaganda? Only time can tell.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Shades of Gray on Shades of Grey

Even if this book wasn't brilliant, I was predisposed to think that it was. Jasper Fforde's books are off the wall, hilarious, and original. Shades of Grey easily lives up to the work that came before it.

The novel is set in a post-apocylyptic world, but is not filled with bleak and desolate landscapes or cannibals as many novels in the same setting contain. Instead, whatever ended the previous world is no longer of any (perceived) importance. In the world of Chromatica, social structure is determined by a person's color perception. The Greys are at the lowest end of this order and Purple is at the top.

The narrator of the story is Eddie Russet, a Red who finds himself on the fringes of the known world. He is a reluctant hero with whom the reader shares the discovery of secretes. As Eddie's views of his world are challenged, Fforde pokes fun at today's society. Then, just when the book seems like it is going to hold love up above the expectations of society, duty to a greater cause triumphs.

Many questions still remain to be answered, and I look forward to reading more in this series.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Eating Cheap in College

I'm a poor college student.

I have a cup of coffee and something small (like a bagel or yogurt) for breakfast. Then I take a sliced apple to school for lunch.

When I get home in the evening, I have limited options since I try to save money at the grocery store. Noodles, peanut butter and jelly, frozen pizza, you get the idea.

However, I'm also trying to eat healthy. It's hard. I feel like I have little variety. So, today for dinner I decided to do something different with my pasta. I made a delicious pasta dinner with only three ingredients:

Tomato sauce
Cream cheese
Noodles (I used penne)

I put about a cup of the sauce in a pan, then added about two spoonfuls(teaspoons) of cream cheese. Over low heat, I stirred the sauce while the cream cheese melted, and thickened the sauce.

When the cream cheese was all melted, I simply poured it over the cooked penne noodles.

Simple, but delicious, a change from the mundane, and (most importantly) not expensive. I figure the box of pasta cost me about a $1, the sauce about a $1.50 and the cream cheese $1.20. I can get more than one meal out of these ingredients, so I have a few meals right there for about $1 each. :)

Next time, I think I may try adding some ground beef... or chicken.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Job Hunting

I am about five weeks away from graduating from college and entering the real world dun dun duuun. Dramatic music aside, it is scary! I am searching for a job in the field I have come to love-book publishing-while hoping that I can find one where I can telecommute so I can stay here with my fiancé. What if I don't find a job? A good job that is. I also have to find time to work on my writing. I still hold the dream of publishing my story close to my heart. I will do it. No matter what.

What happens to a dream deferred?
..does it explode?

Ok, being dramatic again. But really, I know I'm probably graduating with a sparkle of idealism, a head full of dreams, and the idea that the world is mine. At least I realize this, even if I'm not willing to let it go. Ask me again in a year.