Tea and Poetry Tuesday

Today’s Tea Tip:

Tea absorbs moisture. Be sure to store loose leaf tea bags in a tin or sealed jar.

Aspiration
by Emily Dickinson

We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies.

The heroism we recite
Would be a daily thing,
Did not ourselves the cubits warp
For fear to be a king.

A Book Review: Rose’s Redemption by Donna L.H. Smith

Rose’s Redemption is the new release by Donna L.H. Smith, and the second book of the “Known by Heart” series. The first book was Meghan’s Choice, and you can read my review of that book here.

The story setting is still the old western town of New Boston, where Meghan’s Choice also was set. As a matter of fact, Meghan and the main character, Rose, of Rose’s Redemption, are friends–a friendship that began in the first book.

Rose has had a very difficult life, and in Rose’s Redemption, those difficulties aren’t over. As she tries to change her life for the better and begins to hope that she could have real love, someone from her past comes back to find her.

I enjoyed Rose’s Redemption very much. Though, in Meghan’s Choice, Dr. Scott Allison was not my favorite  character, he redeems himself in Rose’s Redemption, and he plays a big part in the new life Rose tries to make for herself. Meghan and the characters from Meghan’s Choice still played a part in this story as well, so as a reader, I got to know them all better.

The characters in Rose’s Redemption are well-developed and I enjoyed meeting some new characters in New Boston in this installment of the “Known by Heart” series. I really like Rose and rooted for her the whole way through the book.

The story’s conflict was also well written, better than the conflict in Meghan’s Choice. I found the conflict in Rose’s Redemption to be more intense and realistic, and it kept me turning pages.

Donna L.H. Smith also had an interesting way of having some of her character’s experience God that drew them to Him. It was tastefully done and not preachy nor was it overdone. I don’t think someone who prefers not to read Christian novels would be offended or find it overbearing.

Donna L.H. Smith’s writing is stronger in Rose’s Redemption and she did a much better job of developing her characters and making me like them and care about them. She also included some subtle hints as to what may come in the next book, and I look forward to reading it.

If you enjoy stories with an old western setting, intense conflict, and sweet romance, I hope you will read Rose’s Redemption too.

Christmas Carols or Christmas Songs?

Last Thursday we went Christmas caroling, and before we started someone asked, “Are we going to sing “Mary, Did You Know?” The response was “That’s not a Christmas Carol.” I was doubtful about the response, and it got me thinking, “What’s the difference between a Christmas Carol and a Christmas Song?

Here’s what I learned:

The first carols were sung in Europe and were actually pagan songs sung during Winter Solstice while people danced in a circle. The word “carol” actually came from the French word “carole” which means “circle dance”.

As time passed, Christmas Carols became popular. They are songs of a religious nature and center around the Nativity.

Christmas songs are secular and include pieces like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. They focus on things associated with Christmas that have nothing to do with the Nativity and the religious reasons we celebrate Christmas.

Then there are songs that are deemed “Christmas Songs” because radio stations only play them around Christmas time, but are really NOT Christmas Songs, but “Winter Songs” because they focus on things related to winter, not Christmas–songs like “Winter Wonderland” and “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow”.

Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that “Mary, Did You Know?” is definitely a Christmas Carol, and it happens to be my very favorite Christmas Carol.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black

Cloak of the Light is the first book of the “Wars of the Realm” series by Chuck Black. Drew Carter is the main character in this book, and an accident in a physics lab leaves Drew blind. However, his sight miraculously returns, and Drew discovers the accident has given him skills and sight beyond that of a normal man.

Drew witnesses things normal humans cannot see — invaders, causing him to question his own sanity. Then he meets Sydney Carlyle, a girl he is attracted to, who offers encouragement through her faith. However, Drew wants nothing to do with that kind of faith in his own life.

Then he begins to notice the actions of the invaders as well as the actions of human beings. Is there a connection between the invaders and the humans?

Drew becomes involved in a battle as he simply tries to help people he sees in need. In so doing, he angers a tough street gang who want him dead. The dark invaders also seem to want to get rid of him. Will Drew find the truth of the invaders in time?

What a great read! I could NOT put this book down, and it ramped up my emotions as Drew faced danger in order to help others, and yet, Drew was missing something and I wanted him to find it which also ramped up some frustration. But I could not stop turning pages. I was too invested in these characters and the plot line. I had to see how it would all end.

By the end of the book, Drew is a little closer to finding the truth, but there’s still the problem of the invaders. Therefore, it didn’t take me long to pick up the next book in the War of the Realms series: Rise of the Fallen. There is one more after this: Light of the Last, and I’m sure I won’t be reading much of anything else until I get through this trilogy.

If you like books filled with danger, suspense, action, mystery, with a little sci-fi and romance tossed in, you’ll love Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black.

The Deceit of Darkness by C.S. Wachter

The third book in “The Seven Words” series by C.S. Wachter is now available on Amazon in both ebook and print forms. If you haven’t read any of the books in this series yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. These stories are filled with lots of action and plenty of good and evil.

In The Deceit of Darkness, Rayne’s trials continue, but as the One’s Light Bringer, he manages to bring light to Veres, even though he is a “Wanted” man–wanted for a crime he did not commit. As his friends help him get from Veres to Amathea, Travis, a man from the dark part of Rayne’s past, joins them as Rayne’s quest for the scrolls continues.

Throughout the journey, the relationship between Rayne and Lexi grows. Also, new foes, as well as a very dark old one threatens. Will Rayne be able to bring the Light to all of Ochen or will the dark threat of evil stop him?

C.S. Wachter leaves a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of this book–one that, once again, breaks my heart for Rayne. Will he be able to convince his friends to help him now that this new challenge has arisen? I certainly hope so, but I’ll have to wait for the next book to find out!

This series by C.S. Wachter is quite the roller coaster ride. It keeps me turning pages and cheering for Rayne from beginning to end of each of the books. I do not grow bored or weary of the characters or the plot line as C.S. Wachter has definitely learned how to set conflict in motion in her stories to create huge mountains for her main character to struggle to climb.

If you’re a fan of fantasy/speculative fiction, I highly recommend these books to you if you are a young adult or adult, but I will warn you: if you choose to read these books, you will most likely lose sleep until you reach the end of each book because you won’t be able to put it down.

Tea and Poetry

Teatime is by its very nature a combination

of small luxuries arranged in social symmetry.

And although tea for one is certainly a fine

thing, the addition of a circle of dear friends to

share it with ensures the whole is larger than

its parts

                                                                                          Author Unknown

Today’s poem is by Robert Frost:

Love and a Question

A stranger came to the door at eve,
And he spoke the bridegroom fair.
He bore a green-white stick in his hand,
And, for all burden, care.
He asked with the eyes more than the lips
For a shelter for the night,
And he turned and looked at the road afar
Without a window light.

The bridegroom came forth into the porch
With “Let us look at the sky,
And question what of the night to be,
Stranger, you and I.”
The woodbine leaves littered the yard,
The woodbine berries were blue,
Autumn, yes, winter was in the wind;
“Stranger, I wish I knew.”

Within, the bride in the dusk alone
Bent over the open fire,
Her face rose-red with the glowing coal
And the thought of her heart’s desire.
The bridegroom looked at the weary road,
Yet saw but her within,
And wished her heart in a case of gold
and pinned with a silver pin.

The bridegroom thought it little to give
A dole of bread, a purse,
A heartfelt prayer for the poor of God,
Or for the rich a curse;
But whether or not a man was asked
To mar the love of two
By harboring woe in the bridal house,
The bridegroom wished he knew.