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text 2017-11-20 19:49
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square 4
The Unyielding - Shelly Laurenston
A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella - Liz Curtis Higgs
The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 Nove... The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 - Frederick Taylor
Forgotten Voices of the Great War - Imperial War Museum,Max Arthur

Square 4, Part 1: Penance Day

Book: A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Task: 5.5 Theses of Book Blogging

 

1. Don't sell ARCs. Donate them to a charity or stock a free little library with them, but don't sell them. I don't read ARCs for a bunch of personal reasons, yet I feel really sorry for the authors who have their ARCs sold.

 

2. Stop the "real" books versus e-Reader/app debate. We all know you are just doing it for page views/social engagement and it is a tired argument. Some bloggers bring this up at least monthly so their numbers look good - ESPECIALLY on FB. Reading is reading and some readers have disabilities/conditions that technology has helped to read more/read again. The argument is classist and ablest and I will unfollow a blogger in a hot minute if I start seeing this.

 

This goes double with audible books. Some people like to read and do crafts/garden/cook/clean at the same time and a lot of them don't have the time in their day to schedule all the things as individual tasks.

 

3. Don't be afraid to review/talk about books from your personal stash, freebie books found in the Nook or Kindle store or even *gasp* the books from your local library. In the daily push to promote NEW! sometimes bloggers get burnt out. Give yourself permission to once a month write about those long cherished books and why they hold/don't hold up. Don't lose your blog's personality in the quest to look good for publishers/blog tour operators.

 

4. Don't be afraid to address serious topics in your review. Authors really need to get over having their book babies get criticized for racism, homophobia, etc that the reader finds. Authors should coral their fans and let's not start in with death threats and slurs directed at the book blogger. And GR/BL, Twitter, and FB could give a helping hand to the blogger/reviewer when shit hits the fan.

 

5. Don't feel the need to be on every social media platform so that your blog gets noticed. Seems like an awful lot of work in creating and maintaining a page on FB for your blog for nothing, since a lot of FB's algorithim will keep your post/page hidden from readers feed. Twitter is one big garbage dump fire. Other platforms seem more in line with helping book bloggers.

                         5.5 However, if a blogger really likes a social media platform, say Instagram, and enjoys coming up with photos of books and bookish stuff, MORE POWER TO YOU. Honestly I am a big fan of "bookstagram" and love to see what you guys and gals come up with. Keep them coming!

 

***************************************************************************************************

Square 4, Part Two: Thanksgiving

Book: The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston - I read it but my review got eaten by BL's bug fixing and I don't feel like re-writing my review. I gave it 5 stars and will probably gush about the entire series for at least the rest of the year.

 

Task: Picture of my new books. The family and I went to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford on Veterans' Day/Armistice Day (cause we know how to party, lol) and let's just say I can't be left in a museum gift shop by myself....I picked up The Berlin Wall 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 by Frederick Taylor; most likely the inspiration was seeing a piece of the Berlin Wall on display at the museum.

 

On a different day earlier in the month I went shopping at my favorite local charity shop for a White Elephant gift for the upcoming library staff and volunteer holiday party. I picked up Forgotten Voices of the Great War: A New History of WWI in the Worlds of the Men and Women Who Were There by Max Arthur.

 

 

 

 

 

Total points for this square: 4

 

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review 2017-11-12 13:17
Review: A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs
A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella - Liz Curtis Higgs

This book was slated to be one of my December/holiday reading list book, but it fit in so well with the book theme for Penance Day in the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season I read it a month early.

 

As the book opens, Meg has just left her parents' home in Stirling and is making her way to the train station to head back to her home in Edinburgh. Meg couldn't take another minute of her passive-aggressive family, and after reading this story I don't disagree with her action. Unfortunately, Stirling is in the midst of a serious blizzard and the train is delayed...until a minor accident in route to Edinburgh makes travel difficult. Meg is forced to walk back to Stirling and into the den of a seriously dysfunctional family.

 

Gordon Shaw, a Stirling native who left in disgrace, had an interview in Stirling and is already itching to leave the town after the interview finished. He was on the same train as Meg and struck up a relationship with her when the train accident left them both stranded in the town they were hoping to leave. Turns out their pasts were very much tangled and bringing "Mr. Gordon" home would take a lot of maneuvering.

 

This book would have been better had Meg and her family accepted Shaw's first 100 apologies and if Meg hadn't said "I'm sorry" to her abusers every time she turned around. There was some serious gas-lighting going on in Meg's family. While Shaw was truly sorry for what happened 12 years ago to Meg's brother, no one wanted to forgive him because without their anger they had nothing. Until of course dear brother's injury was revealed to be a long con. Then everything was just so water under the bridge and we always did like that Shaw fellow.....spare me. I did believe in the Meg and Gordon's relationship and hoped that when they marry, they stay out of Stirling.

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text 2017-11-10 08:30
Friday Reads - November 10, 2017
It Had to Be You - Delynn Royer
The Toymaker - Kay Springsteen
Through Waters Deep - Sarah Sundin
A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella - Liz Curtis Higgs
The Unyielding - Shelly Laurenston

I haven't done one of these in at least two months. So what's up with me? I quit the PTO board (along with the person who held the president position, who is a friend) due to unethical behavior by a few members and by the principal and certain school staff. The position took a good 50 hours of my week and all I got was mistreatment and devaluing my work. Honestly I am not even bitter at this point; I kept my friendship intact with the other departing member and I can renew my passions that had to be put aside while others demanded my emotional, mental, and physical labor.

 

Parent teacher conferences were this week; my son's struggles with reading will require him to see a reading specialist once or twice a week (within the school day). In all other areas he is progressing at the right pace, so I'm glad his teacher is seeing the problem now and he will get the help he needs. My daughter's teacher wants her to attend one more day each week, as the teachers and specialists now see where her issues lie more fully than during the assessment phase and are tweaking her IEP. Again, it is because of dedicated teachers that my kids are getting the help they need. I treated the kids to donuts and flu shots, then took them to the toy store to see what they wanted to put on their Christmas list. No time like the present, as a friend and I are going to take advantage of the observed holiday today and go Christmas shopping in Cambridge while our hubbies take care of the kids. On Saturday we plan on going to Duxford's Imperial War Museum (one of five Imperial War Museums in England; 3 are in London and 1 is in Manchester). We are also planning on attending one of the Remembrance Sunday events this weekend.

 

As I mentioned in a book review earlier, I have decided to return to school to get my masters degree in library and information sciences. Right now I am just deciding which online program(s) I want to apply to and what the requirements are to apply. I am volunteering at my base library again (I go when my daughter is in school) and the librarians there are happy to teach me more of their job, so I will have a few years of experience "working" in a public library.

 

Reading-wise, it is all about the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season. I am having such a good time finding books from my huge unread pile that fit themes for the squares. I have one task to do, now just need to read some books. I am organizing my tasks and reading for the challenge by having each square's books and tasks in one post. Hopefully it will be easier to read and keep track of.

 

My currently reading shelf:

1. It Had to Be You by Delynn Royer - part Harlequin historical romance, part murder mystery set in the 1920s. (Square 1 All Saint's Day - black and white cover)

 

2. The Toymaker by Kay Springsteen - historical romance with class differences. (Square 1 Calan Gaeaf - heroine is named Ivy)

 

3. Through Waters Deep (Waves of Freedom #1) by Sarah Sundin - WWII romance between British Navy hero and American Navy yard worker heroine (Square 2 Bom Om Tuk - water on the cover)

 

4. A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs - Victorian romance with a hero that feels lots of guilt and shame for something he did in his past. (Square 4 Penance Day - plotline featuring characters feeling guilt)

 

5. The Unyielding (Call of Crows #3) by Shelly Laurenston - Nothing says community like 9 clans based on Viking mythology coming together to save the world from Guilveig and preventing Ragnarok! (Square 4 Thanksgiving - book about community)

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review 2016-10-22 20:18
Really Bad Girls of the Bible
Really Bad Girls of the Bible: More Lessons from Less-Than-Perfect-Women - Liz Curtis Higgs

 

Title: Really Bad Girls of the Bible
Author: Liz Curtis Higgs
Publisher: WaterBrook
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five
Review:

"Really Bad Girls of the Bible" by Liz Curtis Higgs

My Thoughts....

I loved this author's goal of writing this book..."My goal is simple: to help women embrace the grace of God with joy and abandon!" and I think she did a wonderful job at it. I will say I was able to learn from the read. Some of these characters I hadn't read about and it was quite interesting reading about them in the modern day version. I was definitely found opening up my Bible to read about these 'bad girls' and definitely looking at their stories quite differently seeing how God pulled them through it all.

 

It was quite interesting in seeing so many of these traits that were portrayed by these 'bad girls' can be found in us today. Wow, some things just don't change! This author does a wonderful job at relating the 'Biblical archetypes to the what is going on now,' giving us some 'humor, empathy and intellect.' There is also discussion questions and study guide for ones personal use or for your a study groups that are included. If you are looking for a informative and interesting read about 'Really Bad Girls of the Bible' I would recommend read to you as a good read.

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books to read and review.

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review 2015-10-11 00:00
The Girl's Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World
The Girl's Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World - Liz Curtis Higgs

I really love Liz Curtis Higgs. Like a lot. "Bad Girls of the Bible" is one of my favorite books and I'm actually planning on leading a life group at my Church about that book. And I really really loved this book, the way she writes, all of it. The only reason this is getting a three star rating instead of a four star is because of one part of the book.

I know, maybe it's harsh, but that one paragraph actually made me skim the rest of the book.

Christians come from all sorts of backgrounds, and have all sorts of beliefs. Convservative, liberal, moderate and everywhere in between. This is why it frustrates me when Christians jump on beliefs and speak about them like it's easy. Higgs makes a comment about "Why should you choose abortion because it's legal when God's word says another thing?" and "Why choose a same sex partner because you think it will make you happy when it's clearly against God's word". And stuff like that just really really bothers me. I get how easy it is to make assumptions that all people who follow Christ see social issues the same, especially when you intentionally surround yourself with people who see social issues similarly. I happen to be a progressive feminist pro-choice and pro-marriage equality Christian. So seeing something so heavy handed, and thrown around like abortion is an EASY choice for a woman, or that people who enter into same-sex relationships choose to be attracted to someone of the same sex is just...aggravating, and not loving. This left me disappointed in this book, and not really wanting to read more in it, sadly.

Other than that, this book has Higgs's typical flair, and relatability that I really loved. I learned a ton about Ruth and Boaz, and had no idea Boaz was my fav Rahab's son. This book is thorough and easy to read, and was so close to four stars from me.

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