Book Review: The New Class (Chestnut Hill #1) by Lauren Brooke

I’ve thought about doing reviews of books for younger readers before, but I’ve pretty much stuck with YA or adult, partially because I’ve simply never been offered children’s books for review and because I just don’t spend that much time around children’s books, so it is more difficult to determine what is really good and effective. I couldn’t pass up the chance to return to Chestnut Hill though. Continue reading


A Natural Recommendation

Last night the world watched as the sky put on a dramatic yet understated show. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, on the evening of September 27th a lunar eclipse occurred in conjunction with a supermoon, which means the moon appeared to be larger than normal due to being closer than usual, and was red because of the way sunlight refracts around the Earth during a lunar eclipse. I’m not a science person, but I can definitely appreciate when natural phenomenon like this happens.

Somehow I managed to convince a few of my friends who tend to spend their evenings glued to a TV that this was something we needed to see, and it turned into a very enjoyable evening of deep thinking and just hanging out. We loaded up blankets, candy, and homework and found a relatively open space to camp out for a few hours. To our surprise, a significant amount of people from our university had the same idea. I ended up learning more about some of my classmates on this random night than I had in over two years of classes together. This is just another reassurance of how good it is to unplug every once in a while, and pay as much attention to the physical world around you as to the virtual one of social media and electronic entertainment. But I digress.

As the moon shifted through the multiple colors associated with an eclipse, my mind turned to my latest philosophy class. We are discussing various arguments regarding the existence of God, currently tackling the argument from design, or Fine Tuning. Staring up at the red moon with no clouds in sight, a soft breeze making the temperature perfect for lounging outside, and not even being bothered by bugs, I couldn’t help but consider exactly that topic. I know that not everyone had as convenient or enjoyable a viewing experience as I did, but, for God to make such a perfect environment for my friends and I…how could I not acknowledge and praise Him? I can only see such an experience as a blessing; the fact that lunar events like this one happen often enough that we are able to mostly understand them and to a degree predict them, but not so often that they are commonplace, is so in tune with humanity’s reality it has to be seen as intentional. If the moon changed size or color every week, we wouldn’t go out of our way to watch it, and by consequence would not experience the atmosphere of last night. The world stood together to look up in awe at God’s handiwork.

If you’re like me, and enjoy reading about things like this when they happen in the real world, you should check out Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass. I’m still in the process of reading this book, but it’s so good so far. The story follows three middle school-aged students over the course of a summer in which a significant solar eclipses is supposed to happen. They each have various levels of interest in the actual eclipse, and vastly different lifestyles are represented. It is aimed at a lower reading level than I typically read, so there have been points where it has briefly lost my interest, however the story as a whole and the characters especially are very well developed and sustain the story through the sometimes-predictable plot. That said, I have no idea how this one is going to end. I am a little over halfway through, and I cannot pick a theory on how everything is going to be resolved. I’m expecting something big.

I wasn’t able to get any good pictures of the Super Blood Moon, but I made a memory worth more than any pictures. Whether you were able to experience this or not, I hope you can get something out of my experience. And, if you have any interest, check out Every Soul A Star!