Review: Children of the Mind

Welp, through lots and lots of tears, I finished the Ender Saga.  There are still plenty of books in the Enderverse, but the story doesn’t continue after this one… so far.  Orson Scott Card has said that he’ll connect back to the Ender Saga with Shadows Alive, but as far as I’ve heard, there’s no date on that.

Children of the Mind blew me away.  I loved each and every storyline, though some more than others for sure.  It was a great next step and conclusion to (most of) what was set up in the rest of the series, and while Xenocide was very similar to Speaker for the DeadChildren was incredibly different – in great ways.

As usual, I don’t want to spoil too much — but to completely share my thoughts, I’m going to have to spoil some things.  So here are my non-spoiling thoughts:

Children of the Mind explored some fascinating topics, just like the other books in the series.  It dove into guilt, self-perception, souls, politics, and love.  And when I say dove in, I mean head-first, no holds barred, giving-it-all-you’ve-got dove.  It was thought-provoking, challenging, and made me uncomfortable in all the best ways.

Here’s your warning though: if you haven’t read it and don’t want things to be spoiled, quit reading right now.

 

Here’s another warning for good measure: there are some spoilers below.

 

Ok.  My conscience is clear.

 

More thoughts: I absolutely LOVED Young Val.  I drank up every single word of the scenes that she was in, whether she was interacting with Miro, wrestling with Jane, or being awkward around Old Val (who I also love fiercely).

I thought that Ender being split between his own body, Young Val, and Peter was awesome, and the fact that he had to end up entirely in Peter was genius.  The Jane/Young Val combo was stellar.  And of course, being the Novinha fan that I am, seeing her wrestle with letting Ender go shook me to the core.

And one last thought: I NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE DESCOLADORES.

Which is why I really hope that Shadows Alive comes out soon and that it tells me more about them.

 

After finishing Children of the Mind, I turned to my husband and told him that Speaker for the Dead was PROBABLY still my favorite book.  He was shocked, I was shocked, and I’m still pretty uncertain.  All I know for now is that Children was amazing.  Absolutely amazing.

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Per usual, I’m a little late to the game on this one.  But hey, I didn’t read past The Prisoner of Azkaban until I was 22…  So at least I’m not THAT late.

I really enjoyed reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  It was a fun adventure featuring the next generation of Hogwarts students, which was refreshing in a way.  We got to meet new characters, as well as spend a bit of time with the old beloved ones (and those we hated, too…).

The plot itself was a touch unbelievable at times, but hey, I’d say the same for all 7 HP books.  It didn’t make it any less enjoyable for me, and while some of the things that happened were a bit unlikely from my perspective, I also didn’t see any gaping plot holes.  Though maybe some did?  Now I’m curious, but I’m fighting the urge to google that.

Anyway, I don’t want to give too much away, but let me just say that as far as characters go I LOVED Scorpius, Albus was ok, and Harry was annoying (but he was in all of the other books, too, so it was consistent).

It was fun to see how the wizarding world had evolved after 25ish years, both for the good and the bad.

And just as a warning: there were some definite big-emotion moments for me.  I’m not saying tears, but I’m not not saying tears either.  I’ll just leave it at that.

Have you read Cursed Child yet?  If so what did you think?

Review: A Year of Biblical Womanhood

From September 2015 to September 2016, I spent every other Sunday evening helping to teach a class at my church.  A group of 10 of us set out to read and discuss the entire Bible in a year.  It was both challenging and eye-opening, and we ate a lot of snacks and got into a lot of arguments – two of my favorite things.

During that experience, I really struggled with how women are talked about and treated in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament.  It’s something that I talked about with my class and other friends as well.  Once the class was over, I still didn’t feel like my thoughts had been resolved, and I didn’t see others really wrestling in the same way  I was.

Until I found A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans.

In this book, RHE sets out to follow the commands and emulate the exhortations of the Bible regarding woman – all of them that are within her power, anyway.  She changes the way she dresses, the way she communicates with her husband, the way she makes the decisions, the types of food she buys and eats, and so much more.

Evans has received a lot of criticism for this project, particularly from Evangelical Christians who claim that she was practicing poor interpretation and application of the Bible.  But here’s my take on it.

Rachel Held Evans took a subject that was incredibly raw and real and dove right in.  She didn’t stray from the difficult parts of the Bible that so many people ignore.  She chewed on them, tried to apply the principles of them to today, and tried to really get a sincere understanding of what the Bible has to say about women: something that I don’t see anyone else doing in that same way, but I think desperately needs to be done.

Evans made me laugh out loud, she made me cry multiple times, and I’ve found myself continuing to come back to many of her thoughts as I think through what it means to be a woman in the church and a woman in this world in general.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood was refreshing, challenging, and encouraging and a very accessible and easy read for anyone who’s thought about the disconnect between what many Christians say they believe about woman and how they actually treat them.  And for those who haven’t thought about that disconnect: this book might be even more eye-opening for you.

New Year, New Goals

It’s 2017!  Huzzah!  I’m nearly 3 weeks late on that – sorry, friends.

 

I wanted to share a few of my goals for reading and writing (and blogging) for this upcoming year.  You know, give you all something to look forward to.

My Goals for 2017

Writing

  • Send out more queries for Bombshell
  • Finish first round revisions for The Legend of Elliot Major
  • Send The Legend of Elliot Major to my writing group for feedback
  • Finish second revisions on The Legend of Elliot Major
  • Finish the first draft of Novodah’s Myth

Reading

  • Read 52 books this year
  • Read 6 more Hugo Award winning novels

Blogging

  • Review each of the books I read
  • Post on my blog at least 4 times per month

 

There you have it!  I know that last goal is a definite decrease from my blogging this past year.  But I really want to focus more of my time and energy and writing and revising.  So, while I’ll keep you updated on my reading and writing journeys, it may be less frequent.  Just trying to manage your expectations.

 

What are some of your goals for 2017?

Blessed with Books

Oh goodness.

I just wrapped up my fifth Christmas celebration: two for my family, two for my husband’s family, and one small one involving quiche, almond croissants, and strong coffee for just my husband and I.

And let me tell you: I am so loved and so blessed.  Truly.  I love giving gifts, so I had a great time with that.  My loved ones also gave me stellar gifts.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I do want to share with you all the books that I was given because those are (some of) the reviews you can look forward to in 2017!

Check it out:

 

  • Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
  • A War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card
  • Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. Michael Knost
  • Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
  • Savor by Shauna Niequist
  • Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
  • A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans (I’m currently reading the library’s copy of this one)
  • Moments like These by Jenny Bravo

 

(I’ve already read the following, so you might not get a review any time soon, but now I own these to round out my collections.)

  • Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
  • The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
  • Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
  • Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

 

Oh, and I also got 4 journals – my family knows me so well 🙂

 

Did you get any new books for Christmas?

Here We Go! Back to Revising…

Happy December 22, y’all.

Today is an important day for three reasons:

  1. The Winter Solstice has passed which means the days are getting longer again.  YES.
  2. My birthday is one month away!  YES.
  3. I’ve started the revision process on The Legend of Elliot Major.

After taking three weeks off post-NaNoWriMo for some much needed rest, I’m back in the saddle.  For the next few days, I’ll be reading through Elliot Major and making notes on my rough draft.

I’ll keep you updated on the process: how it’s going, what I’m doing, what’s working and what’s not.  I’m mostly excited, though this feels a little daunting – especially since I spent the majority of 2016 revising Bombshell.

It’ll be worth it, though.  I’m sure.