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January Book Wrap Up

I’ve made a goal to do more reading in 2014. I don’t have a set goal, like 50 books in a year, or anything, but over the years I’ve noticed I was reading complete books less & less often. Pretty shameful, for a librarian…

I also have enough social media sites to manage as it is, so instead of keeping Goodreads updated, I’m keeping a running spreadsheet of the books I read in 2014.

I’m off to a running start! 9 books in 3 weeks (I didn’t start until the 7th). I’m counting audiobooks, because I’m the boss.

bookimage

In January 2014, I read:

  • On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality series #1) by Piers Anthony
    Genre: Fantasy Recommend? Yes.
  • Bearing An Hourglass (Incarnations of Immortality series #2) by Piers Anthony
    Genre: Fantasy Recommend? Yes.
  • With a Tangled Skein (Incarnations of Immortality series #3) by Piers Anthony
    Genre: Fantasy Recommend? Maybe not.
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Audio book)
    Genre: SciFi/Humor Recommend? Yes!
  • Wielding a Red Sword (Incarnations of Immortality series #4) by Piers Anthony
    Genre: Fantasy Recommend? Nah, unless you’ve read the others.
  • Being a Green Mother (Incarnations of Immortality series #5) by Piers Anthony
    Genre: Fantasy Recommend? Nah, unless you’ve read the others.
  • For Love of Evil (Incarnations of Immortality series #6) by Piers Anthony
    Genre: Fantasy Recommend? Yes, this one is enjoyable again.
  • A Girl’s Gotta Do What a Girl’s Gotta Do by Kathleen Baty
    Genre: Self-Improvement Recommend? Yes.

The Piers Anthony Incarnations of Immortality series is one I read many years ago & enjoyed. I had tried to put together a collection of the books over the last 15 years, but some are out of print. Huzzah for ebooks!

I have mixed feelings about the Incarnations of Immortality series. The concept is really intriguing, Death, Time, War, Fate, Nature, God & Satan are offices held by mortals, temporary made immortal while they carry out the tasks required of their office.

On a Pale Horse is a solid fantasy, enjoyable, as is Bearing an Hourglass. Then they become deeply flawed books. Anthony’s writing of the female characters is so painfully sexist that I was actively rolling my eyes while I read. Intelligent, capable women exist only to be partnered with men, but then in later books, the gross sexism balances out when we learn that men are only big balls of rapey lust, who exist to sexually conquer beautiful women.

Book 6 is enjoyable again, but really only if you’ve read the first 5. I’m on the last book in the series right now (with an additional extra book which was written later).

Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy audiobook is pure win. It is read by Stephen Fry, delightful in his own right, who was friends with Douglas Adams. I couldn’t dream up a better executed project. We listened to this as a family on a road trip & everyone was giggling.

A Girl’s Gotta Do What a Girl’s Gotta Do by Kathleen Baty is another book I sincerely recommend. If you’ve read Gavin de Becker’s Gift of Fear (which I also recommend) Kathleen Baty’s book is based on similar ideas (in fact, the forward is written by de Becker), but it’s geared towards young women. A Girl’s Gotta Do What a Girl’s Gotta Do teaches girls to listen their gut feelings about men, what to do if you find yourself in certain situations & provides a solid list of resources.

This is a fantastic conversation starter with the young women in your life.

That’s my book round-up for January!

The links in the post are Amazon Associate links & I receive a percentage of sales made after clicking those links. My opinions aren’t biased by this. All proceeds received from my Amazon Associate account go towards the kids’ homeschooling materials & supplies.

Kids’ Book Reviews: Star Wars: Jedi Academy

My 11-year-old read Star Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffery Brown. We all LOVED Brown’s first books, Darth Vader & Son and Vader’s Little Princess, which are full of adorable illustrations showing what may have been, had Darth Vader raised Luke & Leia & were very excited to see this new, longer format, book out by Brown.

 

Here is his review & summary of Star Wars: Jedi Academy.

A very good book that I would recommend to everyone, but mainly middle-schoolers. It has the art style of Vader’s Little Princess and the format style of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

**spoiler alert**

Roan is a farm boy on Tatooine, who gets rejected from pilot school. So the Jedi academy notes this and sends him a letter and paperwork to fill to be enrolled.

He reluctantly goes and meets his teachers, including a wookie for P.E and Yoda for Using the Force class and Light Saber class. He joins the light saber dueling club and learns to use a light saber and competes in the annual light saber dueling competition.

There are three rounds in the light saber dueling competition. Roan fights round one and loses. In the third round when the school bully (a Zabrak) fights against one of Roan’s friends, Roan accidentally turns off the bully’s light saber using the force. The teachers are then forced to give the match to the bully.

For end of year exams, they have to lift a boulder with the force. Roan succeeds and passes.


The links in the post are Amazon Associate links & I receive a percentage of sales made after clicking those links. My opinions aren’t biased by this. All proceeds received from my Amazon Associate account go towards the kids’ homeschooling materials & supplies.

Great Shakes, Palm Springs

While in Palm Springs recently, my best friend took her sisters & me to Great Shakes, the most amazing shake shop on Earth.

Great Shakes Menu

Great Shakes Palm Springs

That’s a caramel milkshake. Great Shakes makes their own caramel sauce and whipped cream, both of which they’re generous with. If that’s not decadent enough for you, that’s a MINI DOUGHNUT on the straw, fresh baked. You can’t make this stuff up!

My best friend got a pine nut milk shake. This is where the shop really shone. My BFF & I have both fallen victims to “Pine mouth” or “Pine nut syndrome” & will not suffer cheap Chinese pine nuts, so my friend asked where they sourced their pine nuts from. Quick as a bunny, the girl went to find out! THEN the owner came out, chatted with us, while fresh roasting the pine nuts for her shake.

This shop is doing things right!

Great shakes also has a very endearing supply of old-timey candies & sells gift baskets of retro candy themed by decade.

Definitely check out Great Shakes next time you’re in Palm Springs, CA, but take my word for it, you can get by with the smaller-sized shake. I was challenged into getting a large by a 17-year-old girl (remember being able to eat anything you wanted all day long?) & I have forever sworn a vendetta on her, it was that over-whelming. If someone says “YOLO!” when you’re decided between sizes, they mean it as a threat. 😉 Get the small.

Make Gnome Mistake…

This is the AMAZING garden gnome I found while out shopping with my husband! He was not spotted at Gnome Depot, despite your best guess.

HUGEgnome

I nearly cried when I had to leave the store without him & his giant gnome twin. But alas, giant gnomes aren’t cheap ($130!) & my husband was with me. Frickin’ husbands, haters of joy & whimsy. He obviously has not heard the popular saying “to gnome me, is to love me”.

From this gnoment on, I will mourn the loss of my soul-mate & the joy he would bring to my garden.

(If gnome puns were dollars, I’d be well on my way to purchasing said gnome.)