Succession- A Review

 

 

 

Can you believe there was a Scott Westerfeld series I had not yet read? I couldn’t either. Scott Westerfeld usually writes young adult books, but these are science fiction and don’t fall into the young adult category. So, you get no parental blurb on these.

I’ll admit it, I had to start the first book book twice. The beginning really threw me off. I’m a sci-fi fan, but I’m not particularly interested in battles and such. So, the beginning was difficult for me to get through. I thought, “There is absolutely no way I’m going to like this book.” But the second time I tried to read it, I pressed through the beginning battle. I’m glad I did. Because I actually ended up really liking the book. Though I will tell you, my eyeballs glazed over when it got into battle or tactile detail. I’m such a girl about some things.

This book reminded me so much of the Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card.Ender’s Game (Ender, Book 1)

And a note about the cover. Who on earth chose that cover for the MMP? It looks like one of those books an old man reads, not something from Scott Westerfeld. I felt like I needed a book cover for reading in public. I felt like I needed to tell everyone that glanced at me and the book, “No! No! This isn’t a book I lifted from my Grandpa. It’s really cool. It isn’t a book for old men, I swear!” I felt judged because of carrying this book’s cover around. (All that was said jokingly, if you cannot tell. So don’t hate mail me about the virtues of not caring what other people thing. Please and thank you.)

The second book wasn’t as hard to get into as the first. Mostly because I knew where the story was going and had wrapped my head around the micro-machine aspect of the fighting stuff. The second book had much more of the love story of the main characters in it, though it wasn’t too very sappy or girly.

All in all, a good series. I gave the books 4 out of 5 stars.

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Reading A Lot

My camera is still broken. I’m not sure when I’ll get it fixed. I’m not blogging for the kids until I replace it. I won’t be blogging here as much until it is replaced. Not sure when that will be. But I have been reading bunches!

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

After reading Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras, I had to see what else Scott Westerfeld had in his head. Turns out, it is vampires! This is a non-sparkly vampire story. In fact, this is vampires portrayed as the innocent contractors of a parasite. Yep. Lots of gross parasitic information between these pages, and I like it. I know, who likes parasites? Well, science geeks do, I guess. In this book, a carrier of the parasite seeks to send those he unknowingly infected to a treatment facility, but finds himself in the middle of something much bigger and stranger than it seemed.

This is a young adult book, so here is the nitty gritty for parents. There is no foul language that I can recall. There are gory details of parasitic infestation (the real kind, hookworms and such). There is a lot of talk of sex and wanting sex. In the story, one way the parasite is transmitted is by sexual contact. That fact is mentioned often. Sex outside of marriage is a common theme in the book. However, to the author’s credit, there are no details of any sexual encounters- just the mentioning that such encounters did occur. Add another STD to the book- have sex outside of marriage and you might become a vampire.

Steady Days by Jamie C. Martin

This book is a very quick read. It is broken down into 40 very small chapters, 1 to 3 pages each. This book offers practical insight to providing our children a steady life. You maintain a flexible schedule to optimize your performance as their mother and provide them some stability. I do wish the book was a bit longer, going into more detail in some areas. But this is an encouraging and uplifting book.

The best insight I gleaned from the book is that I am the expert when it comes to raising my children. Too many times, I’ve read a book from an expert telling my what to do. This book give me the tools to do my best, whatever my best might be. Whatever my plan, it is my plan. Only I know my children and my family, so only I know what they’ll like and what will benefit them the most.

It was also extremely encouraging to read that the author is the mother of 3 preschoolers. I find that most “experts” in parenting are older- they’ve raised their children- they are done. It is refreshing to find a young expert. It gives me confidence in myself, because if she can be an expert at this stage, so can I. I would consider this book a “must read” for stay-at-home moms (and even working moms).

Ask Supernanny by Jo Frost

I know you’ve probably seen the show Supernanny. I have seen the show a few times, and that is why I bought this book. It exceeded my expectations. I have read a lot of parenting books. I’m sure some of you have me beat, but I’ve read quite a few. I was expecting some simple demonstration of her “Naughty Seat” technique and maybe one or two others. What I got was a book FULL of various techniques for the various issues that arise in raising children. I can say her “Back to Bed Technique” worked immediately with my trouble sleeper (Aidan). It also puts many of the issues into a much better perspective so you can better handle the issue.

I will say, I’m now extremely curious about baby care in Europe. From this book, it seems to be different from the baby care we are taught (or pick up) here. I’d like to know more about this aspect of her parenting advice. I am more than a little confused by her advice to completely wean a 9 month old. I’m intrigued by her advice to not make the move to a “big boy bed” before 3, even if they are climbing out of the crib. I’d like to know more about her position on certain baby care techniques before I come to any conclusions about them. Maybe it is just one of those slight cultural differences between Europe and America. I think I’m going to buy her baby care book to find out more!

What I’ve Been Reading

My camera is dead. I’m pretty sure he’s all dead. (Only thing left to do is empty his pockets and look for loose change.) He was simply broken. I fixed his brokenness, but unfortunately the cure killed him.

So, instead of my usual pictures of things I’ve made and instructions so you can so the same, I’ll do a post of reviews of books I’ve read recently. (And I’ve been reading, A LOT!)

The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Bauer (click the book title to go buy it)

The Pastor and I are considering (more like planning) homeschooling the beautiful little ones. We decided to look into the classical method more thoroughly, so I bought The Well Trained Mind. I like their method. It makes a lot of sense to me. We will more than likely be going this route. The book lays out a classical education in a very straight forward method. Jessie and Susan give you the books they recommend and even give you helpful links to find them (though most of the resources are available on Amazon). They even suggest how much time you should be spending on each subject for each grade level.

Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras by Scott Westerfeld

So, yes, I am a nerd. I did read this series (originally intended to be a trilogy, but ended up a trilogy plus one- or maybe we should call that a Trilogy Plus or a Super Trilogy!) intended for teens and I really liked it. I’m going to briefly describe it, just know that it is infinitely cooler than it sounds!

Set in the future, after man was almost wiped out by a … well, I don’t want to give any of the book away… a 15 year old Tally finds herself awaiting the day she’ll be made pretty. In this new world, one your 16th birthday, you are surgically transformed to be pretty like everyone else- creating a perfect world where everyone is equal. Tally’s new friend Shay has other ideas and Tally’s world is turned upside down. As she fights for what she has always wanted, Tally finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy bigger than herself.

Believe me, you’ll finish Uglies and move right into Pretties. It is too captivating to put down. For parents wondering about the appropriateness for teens- here are the nuts and bolts for you. There are brief mentions (mainly in Pretties) of sex, but nothing in detail or explicit. They are simply passing remarks about the danger of having sex with the first Pretty you meet. There is also a main character who lives with her boyfriend in Pretties. Nothing at all is mentioned about intimacy during this. There is no foul language that I recall. There is a lot of drinking, especially in Uglies and Pretties. It isn’t condoned or necessarily condemned, just the way the world is at that time. ¬†You can decide if that is okay for your kid.

Tithe by Holly Black

Yes, another teen book. However, I did not like this one. The story was intriguing enough, but the writing quality and poor taste ruined the book. Needless to say, I’ve got no desire to read any more by this author.

It is the story of a girl, Tithe, who sees fairies. She gets caught up in a mystical fight for control over the magical beings.

Parents, here are the nuts and bolts for your teen. There is underage drinking and smoking, which seems to be accepted as a normal thing. The main character is a high school drop out, which seems to be condoned, but not directly. This book also deals with homosexuality, as one of the main characters is gay. It also has many sexual undertones without being explicit. There is a lot of cursing, especially in the beginning of the book.

Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson

I really like this book! It is an encyclopedia of all this cleaning! Mendelson offers many insights on making your house a home- from your dinners to how you wash your shirts. This book is fabulous!

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

If you don’t know the value of reading to kids, or don’t see the value in reading to kids, then this book is for you. If you know the value of reading to kids, but need a good list of books to read, then this book is for you.

The first half of this book is about reading aloud to children. It has the whys & statistics. The last half of the book is recommended books to read. Yes, you could spend the ime searching all that out yourself, or you can buy (or borrow) the book and save a little trouble.

To Spank or Not To Spank by John Rosemond

I’m still not quite sure where I stand with John Rosemond, or rather, where he stands with me. At times, I think, this man is making a lot of sense. Other times I think, this dude is nuts if he thinks I’m doing THAT to my child. Regardless of how I feel about Rosemond, I don’t like this book. It came across as a defensive response to some unknown argument. It was very “everyone but me is wrong” in it’s tone. If you’re looking for a discipline book, read his other stuff. (Most of his books are repetitive and he is very vocal about discipline in all of them, so you’re sure to find his opinion on the subject in any of his books you pick up.) Unless, of course, you enjoy a good one-sided argument.

Absolutely A-line by Wendi Gatz

I bought this book to make Imogene’s Easter dress and possibly some summer clothes. It did come with a pattern. I’m not sure about you, but I can always come up with dozens of ways to alter/embellish a simple pattern without a book to tell me how. The embellishments are simple. The alterations are not mind blowing. However, I didn’t have an A-line dress pattern, and now I do. And it made me feel pretty good when my dress turned out as nice (if not nicer) than most of those pictured in the book.

The dress I made using the book.