Monday, July 31, 2017

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Wither by Laura DeStefano, a book review

Wither by Laura DeStefano follows Rhine Ellery from the time she is kidnapped from her regular life into that of one of three forced brides. She lives in a dystopian future in which people have messed with their genetics to such a degree that females live only until they are twenty and males only until twenty-five. It's a really interesting premise and DeStefano tells an interesting story within it.

My girls will not read it until they are significantly older since there are many mature topics mentioned and investigated throughout this trilogy. I liked it, overall, but there were points in each novel that moved very slowly for me.

Have you read Wither by Laura DeStefano? What did you think?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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my thoughts: on becoming a master

Have you mastered a skill? Are you comfy calling yourself a master of anything?

As for me, I've long considered myself a “Jane of all trades, master of 1”… until recently. I don't think I said it pridefully at all. I just really did think I was quite good at crochet. Even a master crocheter.

Then the challenge. A friend asked me to make a particular hat for her granddaughter. I was excited about being able to do something for this sweet friend and set to the task. First, looking for a pattern. To not much avail. I found one, but it was in Russian and the English translation was missing key phrases and words here and there. Ugh!

Still, I felt sure I could figure the hat out simply by studying the photos of it. Ha!

Okay, so, I think I mostly did figure it out. But this challenge kicked my boodalicious bum up and down the street before I did! And it took me months! Yes, not all of that time was spent on crochet. But when I was crocheting, I was working on that bootybumkickingHat!

As a result of all this, I no longer consider myself a master crocheter. Oh, sorrowful day kalookalay! I return myself, head downcast and shoulders hunched forth, to the named rank of “Jane of all trades, master of none”.

Yet, I have hope that I may some day regain confidence in my skill… perhaps a new challenge that will not kick my boodalicious bum quite so long!

Have you ever felt yourself lose confidence in a skill you once felt masterful in? I'd love to hear about it… we can commiserate together!

Monday, July 24, 2017

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Demon King a Seven Realms Novel by Cinda Williams Chima, a book review

Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima is an interesting beginning to the Seven Realms series in which Raisa is living in the castle with her mother and being trained to become the next Grey Queen. Han Alister is trying to stay off the street, on which he was once a leader of thieves, and support his mother and sister. This is the beginning of their story.

Since I read the second and third installments of this series before this first part of it, I found it perhaps less interesting in some ways and more interesting in others. Less because I already know what happens to the two main characters and between them. More because it's interesting to see how the author laid out the events that lead to what I've already read.

This series is full of mature content. I knew my girls would have to wait to read this first part of the series based on the second and third parts I've already read. That is the case. I do recommend the series to older teens and adults. I particularly enjoy the appearance of the wolves and the meaning of them and Raisa's ability to see them.

Have you read Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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writing life: power in observation

Recently, I have been inspired by other home educating Mamas who have sough to improve their ability to do something simply by growing their ability to observe.

One Mama went from drawing a basic line drawing with some rudimentary shading to drawing a very lifelike image of the same thing a few months later. She simply grew her power of observation between the first and last efforts.

Isn't that amazing?! And what a lesson!

More than likely, any of us could grow in any number of abilities and do a great many more things by simply growing our ability to observe. There is power in observation!

There are some folks, like me, that require some explanation of things to really grasp them. For instance, I might see the same thing over and over, yet without a verbal explanation of it (if it's one of the skills that I have difficulty with, especially), I may not comprehend how to replicate what I have clearly seen! I can usually even describe what I've seen, but it's like there is a disconnect between that and comprehending HOW to do it myself.

My eldest daughter is not like me. She can watch something done a few times and then almost perfectly do it herself thereafter. What a gift!

Which are you? Or somewhere in between? Have you ever learned to do something simply through observation?

Monday, July 17, 2017

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Monument 14 Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne, a book review

Monument 14 Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne is the final book in the Monument 14 trilogy. It is a good conclusion to the story of Dean and the others of the 14.

This story continues to follow Dean, Alex, Astrid, Niko, Josie, and the rest until we know the majority of what happens to them during this time of cataclysmic changes and their aftermath.

I recommend this book only for older teens and adults. The subjects handled within are definitely for mature audiences. There is a horrific scene and a few upsetting ones that could be disturbing to tender-hearted youth and may not be appropriate at all for younger than sixteen-year-olds. I will help my girls avoid this series until they are sixteen or older.

Laybourne does a good job of describing what could happen after a series of seriously destructive natural disasters followed by the release of really bad chemical compounds. I think, in many ways, some of the things she describes would be worse than what she portrays, really. I did like most of this book and the series in general. I did not like the description of really horrific stuff, but I know many enjoy that kind of thing.

Have you read Monument 14 Savage Drift? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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my thoughts: on winning

What is it about winning that is so very… enticing? I mean, war is, at least in part, seeking to win… to the extreme. Winning an argument. Winning a prize. Winning is exciting, right?

Are we pre-wired to seek to win? I think we are, honestly. The thing that is misunderstood in this plane… because we are in a fallen state… is that one person doesn't need to lose for another to win.

Stephen Covey is the main one I know in our modern day who coined the term #win win#. Even though we are in this fallen world, we are not required to be of the world in the way it thinks and does things. It is easy to fall into thinking that there can only be one winner (like the Highlander)… but God's way is so much better and, by far, preferable.

There are some instances when one winner is really necessary. Like in a race. Or in a game. And similar. Yet even in those instances, we are able to choose to celebrate together rather than the winner lauding it over the other(s).

I think it takes greater strength, courage, and character to help others feel like winner even though they may not have officially won the game, or prize, or race, or whatever.

What do you think?

Monday, July 10, 2017

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Monument 14 Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne, a book review

Monument 14 Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne is fast paced and easy to read. I started it in the evening and finished it before I fell asleep. The action and my care for the characters kept me hooked til the end. I look forward to reading the next in the series.

In this second book of the series, we learn more about what happens to Dean, Alex, and the rest of the 14 children we came to know in the first book. One group out on the road, their progress is tracked through Alex and in the bottom of the page marks the miles. Dean and the four with him remain at the big box store and the day count continues to mark their lives on the bottom of the page when the story is about them. I like that denotation at the bottom of the page. It makes it really easy to differentiate and give a sense of place and time while reading.

As with the first, I will not have my girls reading this installment until they are significantly older. There is one intimate scene. Not as detailed as the one in the first book, but definitely older teen to adult entanglement issue. The gore was less detailed than the first, which was a relief to me.

Have you read Monument 14 Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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writing life: it takes time

I love to write. Usually it comes pretty easily… especially when I sit down to write some of the stories of my life for my family. My novels take a little more effort for me to sort of submerge myself into the given world of whichever story before I can write what I feel like it something good for that story.


I have been using most of my time lately focusing on building my Lilla Rose business again. And I've had a few good paychecks as a result. Those are definitely encouraging. Still, all the time I've spent on my business efforts (and efforts to help my children with their business, too!) takes away from time I could spend writing.

Still, I work on my business stuff because I hope to earn enough through these efforts to accomplish things around our property, provide some things for our children, AND self-publish some (or all?) of the stories bumping around in my head.

Also, my business is good practice, really. I've done enough reading to know that Indie Authors (self-published) must market themselves to achieve any sort of success in selling their works.

So, all this time spent on Lilla Rose is valuable for more than just earning dollars! Though, we will definitely put those dollars to good use. I am also learning valuable skills for marketing my novels! In these ways I can see part of why Heavenly Father was nudging me to get back to my Lilla Rose business! He is so awesome!

Monday, July 3, 2017

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The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb, a book review

The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb is described as a 'supernatural romance' on the cover. Through the first third to half of the book this description was not realized at all. By the end it is. It is a very tasteful romance with little physicality.

Calder chooses something no other fetch has chosen and then must make amends to return to where he belongs. I'd never heard of a fetch, so learning about that role is part of the story and was very interesting to me.

I do like this novel and recommend it, though it moved really slowly for me in the beginning. Reading the whole thing was worth my time, though I did wonder a few times if it would be. My twelve and ten year old will be allowed to read it if they want to.

Have you read The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb? What did you think of it?