Monday, September 18, 2017

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Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano, a book review

Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano is the second book in the Internment Chronicles. In this part of the story, Morgan and her friends continue to experience the new world to which they made their way. Some of the characters don't want to be there at all. At least one has an ulterior motive for making the trip. Most of them are outcasts. If all of them were outcasts and knew that leaving Internment was best for them, the story would be far different than it is.

This book continues the interesting premise, but also the story telling style that lacks vigor. I didn't feel compelled to return to reading, but had to remind myself that I enjoyed the story and wanted to find out what would happen to the characters. This is a strange reaction for me and I can't quite figure out why I feel this way about DeStefano's writing style.

Oddly, I found that the totally disconnected covers caused me a problem. For one, I started reading the second book before the first even though I had both of them because I didn't realize they were part of a series. Lately, at least, I've seen a continuity in book covers such that I've grown accustomed to knowing that books belong together without checking too closely. So, the completely different covers for Perfect Ruin and Burning Kingdoms threw me for a loop.

I recommend this series only to older teens and adults. It is full of many mature topics. My twelve year old and younger daughters will not be reading this series any time soon.

Have you read Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano? What did you think of it?

Monday, September 11, 2017

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Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano, a book review

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano is an interesting book that begins the Internment Chronicles. The premise is unusual: a piece of a planet has broken free of the surface and floats in geosynchronus rotation almost above where is broke free. Because of the small space available to them on their floating island, the people of this place establish very specific rules to manage themselves and their lives. Among those rules: married women can only get pregnant after receiving permission and the gender of their baby will be predetermined, the people will live a set number of years no matter what, and everyone grows up knowing who they will marry from birth.

The premise of this story is such that I wanted to finish the book, but something about the story telling wasn't super compelling for me. As a result, I found myself not rushing back to read more. So I do recommend this series, but reservedly. I do not recommend it for youth under sixteen. There are many mature topics broached.

Have you read Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano? What did you think of it?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

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Self-Improvement Saturday! Dare to Dream… Then Do it, What Successful People Know and Do by John C. Maxwell, a book review

Dare to Dream… Then Do It by John C. Maxwell is a wonderful encouragement. It's a small book in both size and length, but it packs a wallup with lots of lifting ideas, including profound quotes, and solid truths.

The chapter titles are: commit to your true dream. Ummm… YEAH! We all need to do this! Believe in yourself… yes. Must have belief if we will accomplish anything! Think differently. If we haven't been successful before now, we definitely need this one! Take action. Yep. Doing something is the only way to bring a vision/dream to life! Develop great people skills. Since no man is an island, we will definitely need to rely on others in some way, shape, or form… so learning how to interact with others is surely a necessary skill! Stay with your strengths… for the most part. I do believe in stretching to the limit to break out of old patterns! Never stop learning… absolutely necessary! Never give up… If the dream is part of your life's calling, giving up is simply not an option!

I enjoyed this little, easy-to-read book. I read it twice almost back to back and have had my three eldest daughters read it. I'll probably start reading it with my son (fourth child) pretty soon. Obviously, I recommend it to anyone interested in self-improvement!

Have you read Dare to Dream by John C. Maxwell? What did you think of it?

Monday, September 4, 2017

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Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi, a book review

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi finishes the trilogy begun with Under the Never Sky. This final installment of Aria and Perry's stories is good. The two are, for the most part, together in this part of the story and working to reach the fabled place in which they can live in safety away from the destructive Aether storms.

The violence and deaths are the form most of the mature content takes in this final book in the trilogy. My girls will definitely have to wait until they are older teens to read any of this trilogy. Thankfully descriptions of the fighting and deaths were not overly detailed or gory because I would not have finished the story if they were. I do recommend the trilogy for older teens and adults.

I have to say, more than other books and series, this story followed me into my dreams.  Very strange dreams they were.  This seems to me an indication of a good story... when my mind plays versions of it while I sleep!

Have you read Into the Still Blue by Veronic Rossi? What did you think of it?

Saturday, September 2, 2017

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Self-Improvement Saturday! The Rubber Duck Principle: Quack Your Way to Happy by Jeanne Bice, a book review

The Rubber Duck Principle: Quack Your Way to Happy by Jeanne Bice is another good personal development and entrepreneurship sort of book.  The format is light and happy... like a scrap book of good thoughts and encouragement.  At least, that's how it felt to me.

I was surprised to find myself almost sobbing at times as I read the beginning of this encouraging book.  Seriously!  Jeanne Bice says it like it is and what she has to say, though some of it is said in other places, is said in such a way as to be deeply touching to me.  This is another book that I have added to my children's entrepreneurship reading list.

My eldest daughter has already finished reading it.  She did not complete the exercises as yet, but probably will have by the time this posts.  She likes that it's written as if the author is speaking to the reader.  She likes the way it's designed and she enjoyed all the positive sayings throughout it.

If you've read The Rubber Duck Principle: Quack Your Way to Happy, tell me in the comments what your favorite thing about the principle is without stating or rephrasing the principle (which would give it away and enable others to comment even if they haven't read it!).  Also, tell me whether you enjoyed the book and explain why or why not!

Monday, August 28, 2017

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Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi, a book review

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi continues to follow Aria and Perry as they attempt to make their way through various difficulties so that they can be together. Aria ends up doing a lot of traveling and Perry practically battles to earn his right to lead the Tides, his tribe. Although many changes happen over the course of the story, Aria and Perry's feelings for each other remain a constant.

I like the premise of this series and found this second of the trilogy interesting and enjoyable. As with the first novel in the trilogy, my girls will have to wait until they are older teens to read this because of the mature subjects handled within it.

Have you read Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi? What did you think of it?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

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Self-Improvement Saturday! Loyalty is Love, How to Keep Your Clients Close for Life by Beverly A. Koen, a book review

Loyalty is Love, How to Keep Your Clients Close for Life by Beverly A. Koen, though specifically written for those in the house building business, has innumerable helpful and useful points for anyone in business.  The premise of the book is that customer service means customer retention, which then means repeat business.  This is definitely the goal for anyone with a product to sell!

I highly recommend this book.  It was relatively easy to read.  It did take me a while, since I had two other books working at the same time.  I have added this book to my children's require reading for their "class" which I call entrepreneurship.  None have begun reading it yet, so I'm not sure how well-received it will be by them, but I will make sure they learn what I found the most important bits and they will likely point out valuable lessons as well.

My Lilla Rose business efforts, being what they are, I have begun planning training for the ladies in my team.  The first book I would like them to read is 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.  I will review it also, in this series of business and personal development related reviews.  So far, I am planning for Loyalty is Love to follow 7 Habits.  It really is that good!  And since hair jewelry definitely means there's plenty for customers to come back for, I think it will readily provide insights to the ladies on my team (ANYONE who wants to keep their customers coming back!)!

Have you read Loyalty is Love, How to Keep Your Clients for Life by Beverly A. Koen?  What did you think of it?
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Self-Improvement Saturday! The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, a book reviewed

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is a tremendous opportunity to grow in understanding of how to better negotiate life positively. I was challenged to shift my paradigm when I first read it and as I understand from someone whose read it a few times, this holds true with each reading! Not many books can do that!

One area that I seem still to need a great deal of work in is focused on is Habit 3… principles of personal management… particularly the Time Management Matrix. It's a four square way of considering activities and their nature. On the left, there are urgent activities and on the right are not urgent activities. The top boxes are Important things and the bottom 2 are not important things. The first square called quadrant one, which is the top left (both urgent and important) includes things like crisis, pressing problems, and deadline-driven projects. The top right, which is called quadrant two, (not urgent and important) includes: prevention, relationship building, planning, and more. The bottom left, which is called quadrant three, (not important and urgent) include: interruptions, some mail, some meetings, popular activities, and more. The bottom right,, which is called quadrant four (not urgent and not important) includes: trivia, busy work, time wasters, some mail, and more.

“Effective people stay out of quadrants three and four because, urgent or not,
they aren't important. They also shrink quadrant one down to size by spending
more time in quadrant two.
“Quadrant two is the heart of effective personal management. It deals with
things that are not urgent, but are important….” (p. 153)

Habit 4 is the other that impacted me in a deep and also good way. I believe I already felt to live this way, but it seemed I had more tools to do it after reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Think win/win is truly the greatest way to think and be in both intra and interpersonal relating! There's no reason, in most daily interactions, that anyone need lose!! What a wonderful world this will be when all know, understand, and live out the truth of win/win being the very best way to relate!

Have you read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey? What did you think of it?

Monday, August 21, 2017

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Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, a book review

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi is the story of how Aria is expelled from the protective shelter that has been her home for her whole life and what happens to her after she's expelled. It is also equally Perry's story. He is among those who have always lived outside the protective shelter. The first time we meet him is when he intervenes to protect Aria.

In this possible future, earth now has a layer of magnetic storm above the clouds. These storms wreak havoc when they touch down to earth, which they do regularly. Perry is sure the storms are increasing and his tribe needs to move. Although he thinks he should be their leader, his brother is.

This is an interesting and enjoyable read. I do recommend it for older teens. My 12 year and younger daughters will have to wait until they are older because there are some mature subjects brought up in the story.

Have you read Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi? What did you think of it?

Monday, August 14, 2017

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Sever by Laura DeStefano, a book review

Sever by Laura DeStefano is the final book in the Chemical Gardens trilogy. In this book Rhine and Rowan are reunited and Rhine finds that her life since her kidnapping and her brother have been much more connected than she could have ever realized.

I like that Rhine and her brother are reunited and find it interesting that he has willingly participated in things Rhine would not. The end with all its unlikely revelations is really interesting. This book is definitely the most interesting of the three to me. Again, though, my girls will have to wait until they are much older to read it as it deals with many mature subjects.

Have you read Sever by Laura DeStefano? What did you think of it?