Saturday, February 28, 2009

Book Review: American Rust ***SPOILERS***

American Rust: A Novel American Rust: A Novel by Philipp Meyer

rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book was OK. Not one of the best I've read. Not an instant classic. Not something I couldn't put down. The story was all right. It had promise. The characters were interesting. But, that's about it. I didn't like the writing style. I thought it was kinda neat to have the perspective of so many characters. I did like that. I liked that each chapter took one character's take on everything. I liked that we learned a lot about each character because we got to see inside their heads. I did not like the way it was written otherwise. Missing punctuation, poor grammar. I'm guessing it was intended to be train-of-thought but it confused me at times. There were some times that I had to reread a bit to figure out what was being said. While I understand the idea behind train-of-thought writing, we have punctuation for a reason. What good is an interesting plot and good characters if the writing isn't easily understood. No, don't dumb it down, but also don't forgo things like punctuation. Finally, the ending left me wanting more. I didn't like it at all. I don't want some hint at what might have maybe happened to these people. I want to know. I want closure. I hate when books don't tell me the end. Did Isaac really go with his sister as he said he would? What happened with Harris? Did he get figured out, or did he end up in prison? Did Grace go to Texas? When did Poe get out of jail? The "vision" Grace had at the end - was that how he found out that she wasn't there anymore? What about Lee? Too many questions to leave me satisfied with this book. Throughout the book, I actually liked it - for the most part. But the end just did it for me. Again, I hate when books don't tie up loose ends. And that is why I gave it two stars - I would've given it three otherwise.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Book Review: Inkspell

Inkspell Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Unlike many second books in a trilogy, this one was VERY good. There were plot twists and turns that were surprising but wonderful. Character development continued from the first book in the series (Inkheart) and also took unexpected turns.

In the first book, I really liked Fenoglio. But, wow - how different he turned out to be from what I'd expected. He's an arrogant, pompous, pig-headed jerk! I hope that in the concluding book (Inkdeath) gives him a chance to redeem himself!

Dustfinger is still my favorite character - and I just love his martens. I am not happy with the turn his story took, but hope things look up come the conclusion of this tale.

I did think there was too much Meggie and Farid stuff. I preferred how it was handled in the previous book, where there only were subtle hints. I don't really care to hear about the adolescent puppy love those two share.

That said, I still thought this was an amazing book. I cannot wait to get my hands on Inkdeath!

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Product Review: Baby Sleepytime Bath

As promised in this post, I am happy to finally get around to my product reviews for EcostoreUSA. I apologize for taking so long. Things have been nuts, as I'm sure you can guess if you follow my blog! ;-) That said, let's get on with this. For more information on EcostoreUSA and their products in general, please see the aforementioned post.

I am starting with what's the easy product for me: Baby Sleeptime Bath. The description on the Web site says:
Ecostore’s aromatherapy blend of Lavender and Geranium will help your little one fall into a relaxed, calm sleep. Just use one capful in the bathwater. NO NASTY CHEMICALS are used in the SleepyTime bath and this helps keep the planet’s water pure and safe. (6.8 fluid ounces)
On the bottle it says:
Aromatherapy oils to soothe, calm & relax your baby
Now, I'll be the first to admit. I'm skeptical of aromatherapy. But, I'm all for trying something that says it'll help relax my baby. We've used it a couple of times, and it's really hard to say if it's really doing just that. We do baths so close to bed time that it's hard to know whether it's their tiredness in general, just taking a bath, the product we use, or some combination thereof that calms and relaxes them.

That said, I love this product. For one, it smells lovely. In the bottle, it's kinda strong - woodsy, for lack of a better description. But, once we have it in the bath water, it smells WONDERFUL. It's light and pleasant. I'm all for that! ;-) My baby smells so nice after her bath. And I noticed her skin's not getting very dry after her baths. I'm not sure what, but something in there seems to help her dry, itchy skin hold more moisture - or something. That alone makes me a fan of this product! Then there's one added benefit not on the bottle anywhere: my bathroom smells LOVELY for quite some time after my kids' baths! :-) Bonus points for this product! ;-)

In summary: EcostoreUSA's Baby Sleepytime Bath is an excellent product. It smells great, helps keep my baby's skin from drying out, and - perhaps best of all - is safe for our environment. For those of you in the Midwest, if you have a Meijer store nearby keep an eye out for EcostoreUSA products, as they're coming soon - if not there already! For those of us without Meijer, their products can be purchased via the company's Web site.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wow. This is so me.

A lot has happened since my last post. A lot. And, amazingly, I'm doing OK. I'm on the verge of tears almost constantly, but I have amazing peace. I have decided NOT to walk away from my site after all. It's MY site. I built it from the ground up. Before I did this, we were just a buddy group that moved from one forum to the next - often because the site went paid. I did this so we - the group, not just I - could have a home. Our own domain. A place we wouldn't have to leave. A place we could always go to. Every time we had to move, we lost people. I didn't want that to happen anymore. I didn't want anyone to be left behind. Even if someone chooses to leave, they will always know where to find us. We're not going anywhere. And I am not going anywhere. It is my site. My e-baby. My blood, sweat, and tears. It is time away from my kids, my husband, my family. It is MY money that pays for the server. What was I thinking in wanting to go away? Well, I know - I wanted to keep the peace. I thought if I quietly disappeared, things would be OK. The person I've had a problem with can go on and enjoy the site - sometimes I think she needs the board more than I do. I suffered in silence for two years. I sucked it up and dealt with it. I tried not to let that stuff get to me. I guess it was just festering under the surface, though. Honestly, I don't even remember what caused this whole mess in the first place. I mean, I do remember the post. There was a post about kids' cartoons, and I felt she was being snarky - she felt I was being snarky. I think, honestly, I was just finally lashing out against what has been a long, hard problem for me. But, I don't know when it went from that to me saying I'm gone. Oh, I do know. My co-Admins and I decided to bring up the matter (in general terms) with our Staff. See what they thought. See if anyone else noticed me being picked on and bullied. The very first response to the question about this was in support of the individual in question. Something about that post made me feel like it was over. Forget it. If no one else saw what I did, no one would support me. No one would care how this person made me feel. So, I decided to leave. I didn't want to hurt anymore, and I KNEW that this issue was going to be explosive if I didn't. It exploded anyway. I'm going to spare the details, as it's really no one's business. But, I'm torn up. I'm so sad and so exhausted and so - I don't know how to say what I'm feeling.

I was afraid this would look like a personal vendetta. It's NOT. Despite my feeling bullied by this individual, I didn't want to see her get hurt. I didn't want to see her lose something that I know she needs. I am as torn up over this whole thing as anyone else involved.

Anyway, I have been starting to feel better. More at peace. More accepting of the way things are playing out. I can only control me. I cannot control someone's reaction or emotions. I cannot force someone to see things from my perspective. I can just pray - and hope God shows one of us something we hadn't seen before. So, that's what I'll do.

That said, now I get to the point - or at least the explanation of the title of this post! LOL DH and I took the kiddos out to Chili's for dinner tonight. We had a gift card to use, and he didn't feel like cooking. I can respect that - plus, we love Chili's. On the way there, we were listening to KLOVE. There were some good songs, but the best came on shortly before we got there.

I have loved this song ever since I first heard it - and it's in my playlist thingy toward the bottom of this page. (If you wanna listen to it here, make sure to pause the playlist thingy first.) As I listened tonight, I heard it anew. I heard it in a way I'd never heard it before. I knew it was for me. I knew it WAS me - no, not was, rather IS me. Every single word to this song rings true. Every single word. I am going to give in and let God do His thing. I thank Him for this song, as it has ministered to me in a way I've not experienced for quite some time.

And after you listen to this, scroll down and listen to the song Strong Tower by Kutless. That's the other song that really reaches me right now.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My heart is breaking

As many of you know, I own and run a Web site. It has been a labor of love for me - my e-baby, if you will! But, I think the time has come for me to move on. It kills me to say that. It kills me to walk away, but I fear I must. I don't want to go into too much detail - because the last thing I want to do is slander anyone - but I need to get this out.

I have mentioned in the past how there is someone on the site who has made my life hell. She ruined the get-together we had in September, and she has done her damnedest to shut me out of my friendships. On the board, she has been rude, condescending, and anything-but-supportive for me. She has been a part of that site for a couple of years now, and I cannot tell you the last time I shared my inner most thoughts and/or feelings with my friends because she is there. I feel like I'm always being ridiculed and judged and belittled by her. I don't love being on my site anymore. I go there out of a sense of duty, nothing more. I hardly share much of anything. I can't bring myself to face her lippy bullshit anymore. I can't. I'm done.

What hurts the most is somehow I'm being made out to be the villain here. I never did anything wrong! I let her into my site - my inner circle of friends. I tried to embrace her as a sister in Christ. I got paid back by repeatedly getting belittled and ridiculed. I got paid back by getting pushed out of my own site. I am sick over this. So sad and so upset.

DH is watching Leno, so I'm now losing my train of thought. So, that's it for now. Maybe tomorrow I'll have better thoughts.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Book Review: Inkheart

Inkheart (Inkheart Trilogy, #1) Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I absolutely loved this book! I was quite surprised. It started out kinda slowly, but after a couple of chapters I didn't want to put it down. The plot is amazing - so imaginative and so well developed. I loved most of the characters - especially Dustfinger.

I wondered if Fenoglio's reaction to seeing his characters in the flesh is how Cornelia Funke would react if she was able to see her characters brought to life. It was really neat to see her writing about an author. I wonder how much of it was derived from her own experience.

Anyway, this was an excellently written book. I cannot wait to get started on the sequel, Inkspell!

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