The Wish Granter

The Wish Granter (Ravenspire)
By C.J. Redwine

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Once upon a time…

Humans were pathetically predictable. Always longing for more. Always desperate to get their way. Shamelessly grasping for what remained out of reach, even when it cost them dearly.
He despised them.

Does that just not grip you right from the beginning?!?

This tale is not your usual Cinderella-happily-ever-after fairy tale. This story holds more true to The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm.

C.J. Redwine does a fantastic job of weaving bits and pieces of the authentic story of Rumpelstiltskin while giving it a fresh twist to create a compelling and unique modern fairy tale. While this novel is geared towards young adults, those of us who are “old” adults that enjoy fantasy fiction and fairy tales can lose ourselves in this quirky fable as well.

The Wish Granter is filled with magic, adventure, mystery, murder, revenge, hatred, innocence, greed, family strife and even contains a minor love story. However, C.J. Redwine does it in a way that I feel comfortable with having my 13 year old son read it. There are a couple of scenes that may be a little more graphic for some of your teens. Be cautious of their sensitivity level and stay true to your own family values. My son has been reading fantasy, sci-fi and mythology books for quite some time and I am not concerned about his ability to handle the content.

The author does a marvelous job of giving depth to each of the characters as she weaves you in and out of their lives. I loved that she gives each of the main characters their own voice by telling part of the story from their perspective.
The heroine in the book, Ari, is written as a more “real” kind of princess. She doesn’t treat the staff as if they are beneath her, she loves to still go into the kitchen and cook, and also is a little more plump then your average princess. I think Ari is a character that many teens, especially girls, will be able to relate to and it gives the fairy tale authenticity.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Wish Granter and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a stellar fantasy novel to indulge in. I look forward to her next installment of the series.

The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire) is the predecessor to The Wish Granter.
It is a novel that also gives a unique twist to a well-loved fairy tale.
You do not need to read the books in order and one does not rely upon the other for their stories.

 

“I have survived betrayal, exile, and the miserable pretense of obeying human law, and you can be sure I will survive you.”

The Wish Granter (Ravenspire)

*post contains affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps to stock my library shelf*

Monday Musings

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I have encouraged reading and books to my children. Books have always been available to them. From board books as they were babies just learning to grasp items all the way up to bookshelves full of books bought and given as gifts.

This is currently my oldest son’s headboard.

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I think that *maybe* access to all of those books his entire life might have stuck. LOL
Like me, he tends to read multiple books at a time, depending on his mood. He also reads the same books over and over; some as many as 10 times.

He has always been an avid reader. Whether this is nature or nurture, nobody knows.
His reading ability and level of comprehension has always been way over his actual age level. I have struggled almost his whole life to find new and interesting books; for a 13 year old boy who reads at a college level vocabulary and comprehension, loves fantasy and science fiction, but that is age appropriate in the content and story-line. The struggle is real people.

I have put together a list of resources for book lists in case you have struggled with this as much as I have.

The 50 Best Read-Aloud Chapter Books for Young Kids
50 Books for Kids
67 Books Every Geek Should Read to their Kids
The Big Long List of Good Books (Grades 4-6)
A Summer Reading List for Tweens
Middle School Classical Books
100 Must Read Books for Books for Middle Grades for Summer
Summer Reading List for 8th and 9th Graders
Great Girls from Books You Daughter Should Know
40 Chapter Books for Girls
Top Read-Aloud Books Starring Mighty Girls
10 Books to Read to Your Daughter
The Ultimate Book List for Boys
Character Building Chapter Books for Boys
Book List for Christian Boys
The Mighty Boy Reading List
Historical Fiction for Kids

Do you know of a great Book list for kids?
Any suggestions for my own 13 year old avid reader?

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A Cup of Dust

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl
By Susie Finkbeiner

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I am part of a Christian Ladies book club. We get together once a month to discuss the book we had voted on at the previous meeting the month before. This month’s book selection was A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner.

The book takes place in the 1930’s, during the depression era in the state of Oklahoma. Before reading A Cup of Dust, I had no previous knowledge of The Dust Bowl. It is not something I recall ever reading about in my history books, which to me is sad because of the huge impact it had on the mid-western states in the 1930’s.

The Dust Bowl was the name given to the Great Plains region devastated by drought in 1930s depression-ridden America. The 150,000-square-mile area, encompassing the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles and neighboring sections of Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico, has little rainfall, light soil, and high winds, a potentially destructive combination. When drought struck from 1934 to 1937, the soil lacked the stronger root system of grass as an anchor, so the winds easily picked up the loose topsoil and swirled it into dense dust clouds, called “black blizzards.” Recurrent dust storms wreaked havoc, choking cattle and pasture lands and driving 60 percent of the population from the region. Most of these “exodusters” went to agricultural areas first and then to cities, especially in the Far West.

*source here*

A Cup of Dust was able to shed light on a major historical event that does not get discussed a lot as being a part of The Great Depression era. Learning about The Dust Bowl and how it affected cities, homes, families and people was quite interesting, from a historical perspective.

Overall, I thought the book was average. Besides the history within the book, I felt like there was not a lot of other meat to the book that pulled me in.

I thought there was a lot of stretching within the book in order to have enough words included to constitute a novel. The plot took quite a long time to develop and once it did finally unravel, it was quite predictable.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for light historical fiction around The Great Depression Era.

“Last, and only on clear days, I could see straight out to the sharecroppers’ cabins. The folks that lived in those little shacks had to pay the rent with the crop they harvested. Seeing as nobody had a crop to speak of for years, most of them had been forced out by the banks.  A few had managed to hold on, though nobody could figure out how.”

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This section was added after my book club met and includes some thoughts and opinions of others on the book and how the discussion may have changed my perspective of the book. 

There were a couple of reader discussion questions we talked about that did give me an enlightening perspective on the book. We had some great dialogue about the racism towards African Americans and Native Americans. We had a great conversation about sin and how churches of the past used the sin of the community to explain away and condemn things like the Dust Bowl; about how the pastor of a community can set the tone for the church.

We also had some great conversation about what it means to love when you come from a family upbringing where that seems to be lacking; how do you overcome your own past?

Where you come from isn’t who you are.

Many of the ladies in my book club enjoyed this book and found it quite an emotional read. Another factor we discussed is that most of the other ladies read the book in 2-3 days while I read the book in 2-3 weeks in small chunks; perhaps I was not able to fully immerse myself into the emotional aspects of the book.
After discussion, I did see that there was some merit to this book and it is definitely worth giving it a chance. It is not a book that I would read again nor will I read the second book in the series, A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression, however it is a good read for anyone looking for a historical fiction book to read.

 

 A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps to stock my library shelf*

Monday Musings

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As you know, I have always loved books and I have always been an avid reader. However, my choice in books has not always been stellar. The content and subject area of my book choices have not always been appropriate nor great literary accomplishments. The majority of my book selections were for entertainment and enjoyment purposes. Reading for entertainment and enjoyment is of course the point

Looking back, I wish I had taken the time to read more of the classic literature books. Now that I have grown and matured in my reading preferences, I feel like I missed out on a lot of amazing pieces of literature.

I found this list of 99 Classic Books Reading Challenge. Out of those 99, I have only completed 10 and started 2 of them that I ended up putting down to never finish. That’s only about 10%. Not a very great percentage rate. Plus, there are a lot more books that are considered Must-Read Classic books that are not included on this list that I have yet to read as well.

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What are your favorite Classic Literary Books? What books would you consider to be on the Must-Read Classic Books list that I should add to my never-ending stack of books?

There are just so many amazing books, both classic and modern, that deserve to be on every stack. WHY do I have to be an adult with responsibilities?!? Why can’t I just sit on a beach or in a comfy chair by a warm fire all day and read?!?

At least now, I can use the excuse that I am reading with my kids to get book time and work on some of those classics. 🙂

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Loving My Actual Life

Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me
By Alexandra Kuykendall

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This right here. This is my actual life. It is busy. It is messy. It is chaotic most times.
It is not perfect. But it is MY actual life.

“Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others.”
~Galatians 6:4~

I am a work-at-home, homeschooling, every kid in sports and activities, 2 kids with autism with another 1 on the maybe side, trying-to-hold-it-together-sometimes kind of mom. My life is often quite challenging.
I know life is challenging for everyone and everybody’s story is THEIR story. However, God has thrown some gigantic, demanding wrenches into my story.

Recently, after some of my posts on Facebook and many weeks of showing up looking quite frazzled, a friend of mine recommended this book to me. I will be forever grateful to her for that recommendation. Just from the title alone Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me, I knew that I needed to read this book.

I have struggled many days loving the life that God has granted me. My life has been filled with battles, dark days, and questions as to why God allowed me down this particular path. I found it difficult to truly love my actual life.
If He had pulled me from the wreckage of all that rubble, then WHY had He not put me on a path to do exceptional things with that mess? WHY wasn’t I living in abundance, full of overwhelming joy and happiness; much like I continued to observe from those around me?

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Enter this book. In a time when my life was feeling low, when I felt like the endless chaos was at its highest point, when I was feeling utterly lost, completely broken and profoundly insignificant.

This book has taught me much; tangible things that I can DO as well as a change in my   perspective about my actual life.

What if our big is found in the small? What if we do each small thing with great passion because we can? Because we are here and we are able to and yet do it with the knowledge we can’t change the world in a day. But we can leave our small, unique imprint on it. ~Alex Kuyukendall

Alex helped me realize that my actual life is not about this giant, amazing big work of art. My actual life, in this moment, is about my husband, my children, my family, my friends, those dirty dishes, those piles of laundry, those endless trips back and forth between sports and activities, feeding the dog, wiping down counters, putting toys away, and cooking meals. Those things create my giant, amazing big work of art.
THAT, is where I need to be, right now, Loving My Actual Life.

One life. Portioned into segments. Years. Months. Weeks. Days. Hours. Minutes. Seconds.
One life. God has granted for now. It is temporary. It is now. And if I’m not careful I might miss it.
One life unique to me. Not like anyone else’s, nor should it be, and yet I’m always longing for that next thing.
One life I want to cherish. I want to hold close and appreciate. To not waste. To not take for granted.

~Alexandra Kuykendall~

I highly recommend this book. It will change your perspective, it will impact the monotony of your days, and it will guide you in learning to love YOUR actual life.

 

 Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps to stock my library shelf*

Monday Musings

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Book.

Just the word books brings a smile to my face. It fills me with a sense of happiness, love, hope, nostalgia, memories and freedom.

Book
1a :  a set of written sheets of skin or paper or tablets of wood or ivory
c :  a long written or printed literary composition
3:  something that yields knowledge or understanding
4a (1) :  the total available knowledge and experience that can be brought to bear on a task or problem

So many definitions for a simple, 4-letter word.

Within that simple word, magic happens. Stories unfold. Knowledge is discovered. A single book can become so much more than just “a set of written sheets of skin or paper”. A single book can provide answers, entertainment, adventure, understanding, compassion, empathy, comfort, support, and an escape.

I grew up in a dysfunctional home. There were many days and nights that I wished for a different life; that I wished I could be somewhere else than right where I was. “A set of written sheets of skin or paper” provided so much more for me then that.
Books provided me with an escape from the here and now. A place where I could feel loved and at home. A place where I could find family and friends to call my own. Books became my lifeline and was one of the main reasons I was able to survive.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
~Charles W. Eliot~

When I started having my own children, I wanted to share that experience and that same feeling with them. I started reading to each of my babies while they were still in the womb and I’ve never stopped.
I don’t get the opportunity to read out loud with my 13 year old as often as I would like, but I do still occasionally find time to sit down with him and read an amazing book that we both enjoy. It is a time that I know we will both cherish and remember for a lifetime.

Continuing to read aloud to your kids shows them that books are important through all ages and stages of their lives. Love and learning happen when a parent takes the time to read books with their children throughout their life at home; not just while they are a small child and they can still fit in your lap.

They will cherish the knowledge, the memory and the extra time you took to spend with them. They will thank you later for it, even if they grumble and roll their teenage eyes at you. 🙂

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty.  It should be offered to them as a precious gift.”
~Kate DiCamillo~

The Reason I Jump

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
By Naoki Higashida
Translated by KA Yoshida & David Mitchell

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I have read a lot of books on autism. A lot.
My 2 oldest children are on the autism spectrum so I have done a lot of reading on this particular topic.

The majority of books and resources out there are written by medical professionals, which is fabulous because knowing the WHY behind autism and how the brain works is great knowledge as a parent.

There are also books written by those who have autism. However, they are written after the person has become an adult. Those books do give a good perspective of life with autism, but it still leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
Most adults with autism have already worked through a lot of their disabilities. They have discovered coping mechanisms that help them to thrive in society.

As a parent of a child with autism, I wanted to know why they do some of the things they do. I wanted to know why they react to some of the things they react to. I wanted to know why certain things can cause a certain behavioral response for them. I wanted to know what goes on inside their head currently; not what they remember it being like once they have become an adult.

The Reason I Jump is unique in the fact that it is written by young teenage boy. It is written by someone who can give us true insight and perspective on the inner workings of a child with autism. Yes, each child with autism is different. However, there are some things that are the same or similar across the board for those on the spectrum.
Naoki Higashida gives us something that many parents of children with autism are seeking; answers.

I loved that the book was set up in a question and answer format. A question about a specific behavior was asked and Naoki answered it. There were times when he did not have an answer or reason; sometimes he really just did not know the cause behind a specific behavior or reaction.

Intertwined with small stories of his creating, The Reason I Jump gave me a unique perspective into the minds of my own children. There were a lot of light bulb moments for me that have helped change and shape some of my own responses and reactions to my children. Naoki helped open up the communication in our home even further.

I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who is looking for some insight and perspective into the mind of any child with autism. It is hands down, THE best book on autism I have read thus far. I had originally borrowed it from the library, but after reading it, I realized that it is a book that I will refer back to again and again in the future so I went ahead and purchased my own copy.
Buy the book. Read it and then read it again. Then give it to anyone else who is in your child’s life. You will all be better for it.

I wish there were more books written by children on the spectrum. The insight and perspective that I gained from Naoki is priceless.

Maybe I can convince one of my own children to write a book.

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps to stock my library shelf*

Welcome

Welcome to Missy’s Literary Reviews and Musings! 

I am Missy.

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Jesus follower, wife, busy homeschooling scout mom to 3 children
(Jayden who is 13, Dakota who is 11 and Nolan who is almost 8)
Teacher, bibliophile, football fanatic, self-proclaimed nerd, crafter, and an extroverted introvert.

I have loved books my entire life. As soon as I learned to read, I devoured any and all books that I could get my hands on. I never leave home without a book.
Books have given me an escape, a lifeline, an outlet for my own head. Books have shown me there is an endless, beautiful and amazing world beyond my front door just waiting to be explored.

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If asked “what do you love most in life?” Books would be my answer.
They have given me a place that I could call ‘home’ when I felt like I didn’t have one. They have given me hope when I felt like there wasn’t any. They have given me information when I felt lost. They have given me quality snuggle time with my children. Books have brought me happiness and good memories.

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I definitely have a list of my favorites and books that I will read again and again. I truly do just love books. I read all kinds of different genres. It is rare that I do not ever finish a book, even if I don’t particularly like it or it’s not something I would typically read.
There are a few books that I will never read because of my faith and beliefs, but for the most part I am open to just about anything.

As I embark on this new adventure, I hope to dig up some undiscovered favorites, meet some new friends and travel to new countries.

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I hope as you take this new journey with me, you will find an escape, a lifeline, or an outlet. I hope that you can learn to love books *maybe* as much as I do.

So grab a cup of coffee or tea, snuggle down in your comfy chair, put your feet up and sit with me as we explore the endless, beautiful and amazing world that is out there within the pages of our books.

 

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