Unboxing Falcon Travelers’ Book of Faerie Traveler’s Notebook + Photos

I’m so excited to finally have this beautiful leather notebook cover in my hands! I ordered it early in February, and because this is a small business owned by Monique (aka Lady Falcon) and Martijn in the Netherlands, I expected some wait time. The company is called Falcon Travelers and they make leather traveler’s notebooks and folios. What’s unique about them is that they not only make your basic leather notebooks/folios, but they also make artistic-work notebooks.

The one I ordered is called “Book of Faerie.” I had been visiting their website for awhile and at one pointed wanted to get their “Pendragon” notebook cover, but by the time I was ready to order, the Pendragon leather was no longer available, however, something else caught my eye, and it was this very lovely engraved book-style cover.

I got it in the classic B6 size. Classic means there are no pockets. I regret not getting pockets because I’ve actually come to really like them, but I still love this one without pockets, nonetheless.

Book Review: Bartholomew

Decided to try something different and make a video of books I unbox and review. Let me know what you think.

Title: Bartholomew
Author: Mark Lages
Genre: Fiction; Literary; Memoir
Year Published: March 17, 2022

Date finished: April 23, 2022

This story is written like a memoir and opens with the main character, Rick Harper, celebrating his 65th birthday. He reflects on his earlier life, remembering his invisible friend as a child, and how that friend visited him again in adulthood.

Rick comes across very nonchalant. He tells us all the mistakes he’s made through his life. He doesn’t really give reasons or excuses as to why he did the things he did. He does, however, show us that he doesn’t understand how he ended up in his life with all the mistakes he’s made. He shows us that he doesn’t understand what happiness is because his life had been both good and bad but not too extreme in either direction. He seems to just exist and thus his confusion with what happiness means.

Bartholomew is Rick’s invisible friend, and he (Bartholomew) is sort of a guiding energy for Rick. He makes Rick think about his purpose and his definition of happiness. Along the way, Rick begins to understand what it really means to live.

I got so much out of this story. My favorite scene was when Rick cheated a co-worker out of a job, and then a few years later, he helped a co-worker earn a spot in the company even when he was on a tight deadline of his own. I totally understood that. It wasn’t because he liked one co-worker over another, but because it was timing. The first situation, he was a young person just out of college and needed to do what he needed to do to gain status. Later, when he was experienced and had gone through a lot in his career and in his personal life, he then sacrificed his time to help another. This speaks so much about humanity. No one is perfect, yet we tend to judge others as though they have to be perfect, forgetting to look at ourselves and see that we too have faults.

This was a wonderful read. I think everyone can learn something from this book, but even if that’s not something you care for, you’d still enjoy the humor.

Who should read this book: I’d totally recommend it to everyone.

Book Review: Planet Q

Title: Planet Q
Author: Peter Quinones
Genre: Literary; Quotes
Year Published: 2022

Date finished: April 15, 2022

This book was an interesting read. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of it because it’s not your typical book. It’s a bunch of short and long phrases/clips of thoughts that provoke…thoughts. It’s sort of like a comedy show but book-style. Some of the phrases are short and to-the-point while others are longer and requires more dissecting and thinking them out. The variety makes for a very intriguing read.

I found this book to be quite fun to read. You have to take each sentence and phrase lightly. Some of them are truly hilarious and had me laughing, some had me thinking and agreeing, some had me surprised, and some I wasn’t too fond of because they didn’t make sense to me, but I’m pretty sure they’d make sense to others, and that’s what I found likeable about this book. I felt like I could relate to a lot of the situations stated (that I’ve had situation in my life similar to what the author experienced). Also, not all phrases were the author’s personal experiences. Some of them seemed like observations or situations the author heard or was told of. It’s really a collection of human encounters and situations. It’s a bit unusual to describe because it’s very different from what I’ve read.

Who should read this book: If you’re not in the mood to read a full-on story or a genre book and want something a little fun with dark satire and phrases to ponder about, give this book a read. I truly recommend reading with an open mind because some of the stuff mentioned was a bit gross, but not in a bad way. I found myself laughing a lot but agreeing a lot too.

Unboxing and Photos of the Lancaster Leather Notebook Cover

I don’t normally use the personal size leather covers because I just find that they don’t have enough room to write, but the Lancaster Traveler’s Notebook cover was so tempting that I had to get one. I already have a personal cover for my address book, etc., but went ahead and switched the notebooks out into the Lancaster. I really like the button closure and I think it works better for the address book.

Here’s the unboxing video if you want to watch it. It’s a no-talk video with music in the background. It’s just shy of two minutes.

Here are the photos of this gorgeous leather cover.

These photos were taken after I had put in the notebooks.

This leather scratches easily but it’s okay because sometimes I just want a very rugged scratched up leather. Right now because it’s still pretty new, it looks smooth and divine, but given time it will show all the wear and tear it’s meant for.

Book Review: Mr. Booker’s Summer Vacation

Title: Mr. Booker’s Summer Vacation
Author: Mark Lages
Genre: Sci-fi; Literary
Year Published: September 25, 2017

Date finished: April 10, 2022

Mr. Booker’s Summer Vacation is a story about a man who wants to go by the name of Mr. Booker to hide his identity. He is interviewed by a writer who is fascinated by aliens and such. The story is mainly about Mr. Booker and how he was abducted by aliens but also learn a little about the interviewer which ties the story together nicely.

In the story, Mr. Booker is planning a vacation and as he’s about to take this vacation, aliens abduct him. These curious aliens have questions, and based on their research, Mr. Booker was their best candidate to teach them about the human race. There’s a lot of thought-provoking messages and phrases. It gives us a look into how another race would see humans if they were to come upon humans for the first time. Mr. Booker also learns about the aliens.

I enjoyed this book. It’s a smooth, fun, and light read about humanity. I love how the author was able to throw in contemporary stuff but not get political. I enjoyed the humor and the jokes. This isn’t your typical sci-fi book. The sci-fi of it is excellent (it’s soft science), and basically the background or the setting to the real point of the story. There’s no big, action packed climax or extreme story arc. It’s a mellow story with literary themes and requires just being open-minded.

Who should read this book: Totally would recommend this to anyone who enjoys science fiction with a twist.

Book Review: Project Hail Mary

Title: Project Hail Mary
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Sci-fi; Outer space
Year Published: May 4, 2021

Date finished: April 6, 2022

 I’ve heard a lot of hype about this book and because it’s sci-fi and looks to be outer space I thought I’d read it. This book is unique in that there are two stories going on. One is a back story that’s sprinkled within the main story. At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like this idea but once the story picked up, it all made sense.

The story is about a scientist and schoolteacher named Ryland Grace. All he wants to do is live a simple life doing what he loves, teach. However, he is recruited to join a small team on a mission using his science skills. Upon waking up from their long sleep as they journeyed to outer space, Grace learns that his team members didn’t survive the trip, so now he is left to finish the mission. He ends up meeting an alien and the two of them work together to get each other back to their planets. It wasn’t that simple though. Another problem arose which led Grace to make a difficult decision.

I enjoyed this story. Unlike other more serious sci-fi stories, this one was a fun and lighthearted read. There were poignant moments, but overall, it was humorous and refreshing. As I mentioned earlier, I was a little confused as to why the back story was inserted within the main story, but it all made sense. It was meant to create a sense of chaos and thus provided the reason why Grace chose the path he did. Without that, his reasoning might not make a lot of sense.

Who should read this book: If you love fast-paced sci-fi with humor, a bit of sadness, and lots of technical terms—mathematical terms, this is an excellent one. Even if you’re not into the technical stuff, you can breeze/skip through that stuff and still not miss the plot of the story.

Book Review: Anthem

Title: Anthem
Author: Ayn Rand
Genre: Sci-fi; Dystopian
Year Published: 1938

Date finished: April 2, 2022

This book was recommended to me by my 15-year-old daughter. She knows I enjoy dystopian stories and knew I would like this one, and she was right.

This book was published in 1938 and takes place in a far future after a war that destroyed everything. In this world, everyone is part of the collective doing their part to maintain a steady life, not growth, just life. The story is about a character named Equality 7-2521 who’s brighter than the average person and very curious about the world he was brough up in. His curiosity leads him to find electricity, which he thinks will give him praise when he introduces it to the Leaders and Scholars. That isn’t what happens though. Instead, he’s tortured, and eventually leaves the collective society and finds truth.

This is one amazing book. It’s a very short read but I got so much more out of it than a lot of the extremely long books out there. No time was wasted on info dumps and unnecessary back stories. It’s very straightforward and to-the-point. I loved Equality 7-2521’s determination and excitement. I was heartbroken when he was tortured for simply introducing electricity. Had the leaders told him from the get-go that electricity once existed and that they didn’t want to use it, and explained why, he wouldn’t have been so excited about it. How would he have known that they already knew if they never told him they knew? That’s really not the main point of the book though. That’s one situation that stood out to me. It’s about being a part of the collective and not having the ability to be an individual. This book is written in first person plural (we) and eventually becomes first person singular (I). It was so incredibly well done that you could feel the power of “I” in the last few pages. Who knew a single word, a single letter, could be so powerful?

My favorite line from the book was when the girl said:

“We are one…alone…and only…and we love you who are one…alone…and only.”

Since individualism didn’t exist in that society, there was no way to say “I” or “me,” and that was the only way she was able to say she loved him.

Who should read this book: Anyone into post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and totalitarian sci-fi such as 1984, Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.

Photos of Sugarplum, January, and No. 8 Leather Notebook Covers

Earlier this year, I shared an unboxing on video on Youtube of the three full-grain leather notebook covers above but didn’t get the chance to share the photos (you can watch the video here >>> Unboxing 3 Notebook Covers), so here they are.

Sugarplum B6

January (this is the name of the leather) A5:

I’ve been using the January notebook cover the most and it’s one of my favorites. It hold just one notebook. I currently have a Wonderland 222 in there. I’m using it to track my writing but I think it will work better as a book review notebook, so next year that’s what I’ll be using it for.

No. 8 Standard Wide

I’ve got two more leather unboxings and photos to come so be ready! I’ve also finished reading three excellent books and will be reviewing them soon.

Book Review: A Dog’s Collar

Title: A Dog’s Collar
Author: Sam Knupp 
Genre: Spiritual, Memoir
Year Published: February 16, 2022

Date finished: March 29, 2022

This book is a collection of stories throughout the author’s life as a chaplain. It’s written as a memoir of sorts where we get to experience the stories with the author, and at times, about the author.

Sam takes us through a handful of moments/instances during his time working in a hospital, a jail, and a few other places. These stories are very heartfelt and have a purpose. They allow us to see the reality of the human soul. We see the raw pain and sorrows these people go through, reminding us of how fragile we all really are, not only physically, but mentally, and emotionally as well. We get to see what Sam has to do and be to these people. Even if he wanted to walk away and hide, he couldn’t. He chose this career, or maybe it chose him, but either way, having to find the right words to say, the right prayers to pray, and doing the right thing to comfort these souls takes so much willpower, and Sam did it as though it was second nature. And because he is telling us these stories, we get to experience his true thoughts and how much he too is human.

I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. There were moments when I had to pause to wipe away tears. Sam is a true hero. He put up with so much yet received little in return. It was a wonderful read and I’d recommend it to everyone. It’s not a religious book and Sam doesn’t force any type of religion or God upon anyone. It’s lighthearted, humorous, and poignant. At times, Sam even questions his own beliefs. This was a wonderfully written book and I’m glad I was able to read it.

Who should read this book: Anyone looking for hope and spirituality.

Book Review: The Heart of Prayer

Title: The Heart of Prayer: The Essential Guide to Knowing God Through Prayer
Author: D.M. Stahlheber
Genre: Non-fiction; Spiritual
Year Published: December 7, 2021

Date finished: March 4, 2022

I’ve never read a book about how to pray so this one really piqued my interest. I wanted to know what the author had to say about praying. I was mainly curious as to whether I would be lectured or forced to believe someone else’s belief. Turns out, it was neither. This is a beautifully written book on guiding the reader towards being a better prayer for themselves.

This book provides a lot of scriptures from the bible in reference to each topic the author covers, and she covers topics about things everyone deals with, things we all struggle with, such as, loneliness, sadness, love, frustration, anger, ambitions, wants, and needs, etc. She has taken the time to research specific scriptures to help in all areas of prayer. She includes the books, chapters, and verses so that you can easily locate them in your bible and read further if you want to. If you don’t have a bible, no prob. The scriptures included are enough. This book helps you focus on prayers without telling you what to believe or who you should believe in. It has a way of putting you as ease when you are feeling turbulence in your life.

What I really love about this book is how the author shares pieces of her life and how she overcame difficulties. There were times when she struggled with her belief, but she pulled through with the guidance of prayer. I’d have to say, everyone can benefit from this book. It’s worth checking out especially if you find it difficult to focus on what to pray about and how to go about prayers that will benefit you the most. This book is very well put together. I will definitely be using it as a reference to help me become a better prayer.

Who should read this book: Anyone in need of guidance on how to pray or simply learn how to pray in a way that will benefit you.