Monday, June 5, 2017

[Book Review] Wonder by R.J. Palacio







My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ebook Edition
Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction



Part 1: From The Book Cover

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school — until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R.J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.


Part 2: Recommendation

I normally don't read anything that is about bullying or deformities. I don't need to read such books to experience how hard it is to be bullied or have a deformity because I myself have been subjected to bullying from kindergarten to 6th grade because I have a scar on my upper lip due to surgeries to fix my cleft lip and palate. I don't wish to resurrect painful memories from those 7 miserable school years. Then I saw a trailer for the movie Wonder that is coming out in November 2017 and since it was on my TBR list and available to borrow from the library, I thought I'd give it a try. 

"When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind." How I wish all of our teachers or at least a teacher during those 7 early school years taught this instead of turning a blind eye or laughing behind my back. The girls were definitely nicer than the boys as clearly depicted in this book as well. 

So, if "we carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness…", how come a lot of kids don't always choose to be kind or sympathetic? Is it because of what they see in their own families or is it because of what they see their friends doing or both? I love how the author shows both sides where kids with kind, sympathetic families tend to choose to be kind even if they were mean at first while the kids with families who are judgmental, unkind and unsympathetic tended to remain a mean-spirited, spoiled brat throughout the book. 

And some days when I wish I had a different face, a perfect, beautiful face like my sister's, I will always remember this line and be reminded of how my mom must've felt: "I missed seeing your face, Auggie. I know you don't always love it, but you have to understand… I love it. I love this face of yours, Auggie, completely and passionately. And it kind of broke my heart that you were always covering it up." 

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is beautifully written in different points of view other than Auggie's. The reader gets to experience the the story from the following character's points of view: Auggie's older sister Via, Auggie's school friends Summer and Jack, Via's boyfriend Justin, and Via's best friend Miranda. Throughout these different points of views, there might be some overlap but the story still progresses very nicely. I was just a bit thrown off because Justin's section of the book doesn't properly use proper writing styles. I'm not sure if that was deliberate like reading off of Justin's journal or something. I didn't like that part, to be honest. 

All the characters especially Auggie and Via are very well developed and as the story progresses, you not only see how Auggie grows, but you see it in his family and his classmates too. The plot is not complicated at all. It did not feel overly dramatic. In fact, it reads like a memoir, being written in first person and sounding matter-of-fact. It is what it is, no special effects, no embellishments. Simple. 

In the end, I hope to be able to laugh about myself more like how Auggie can laugh about himself (he's quite funny but I, on the other hand, have a very serious and quiet nature. It takes a special personality and patience to bring out my funny side) and live these words from Mr. Tushman: "Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness." 


To conclude this review, I highly recommend Wonder by R.J. Palacio before watching the movie because for sure, there will be a lot of scenes that won't make the cut to the final movie version. This is one of those books that you will love to hug several times and most especially when it ends. It moves your spirit to kindness and I was just thinking how serendipitous it is to have come across this book in my personal year of kindness. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Chipping Away At The TBR List




GoodReads Shelves as of 05/04/2017



GoodReads Shelves as of 05/25/2017




I don't know about you but I originally have 233 books on my Goodreads To-Read shelf. Not good. So, the last weekend of April, I went through all 233 books on my list and purged those who have fewer than 4 star-rating average. Those that don't have at least a 4-star rating but managed to stay on my TBR list are those that I still really want to read. It brought my list down to 172 books. Better.

Then, since my new Kobo Aura Edition 2 finally came in the mail after much delays, I noticed that a lot of books that I side loaded to the device are not even on my TBR list on Goodreads so I had to add those that I'm still interested in reading. 189 books to read. Still better than 233 books originally on that list. I feel better about that. The TBR list purging goes on. The night of May 4th, I was going through the TBR list to see which one to read first with the intention of prioritizing those already on my device and I noticed that there were still some books that I was pretty sure I removed last weekend but it's still there so I went through the list again and removed them. I also added the rest of the ARKANE books by J.F. Penn and the rest of the Leopold Blake books by Nick Stephenson. My TBR list is now down to 150 (way better) and I’ve also removed ebooks from my device that didn't make the cut on my newly purged TBR list. Hopefully both device and Goodreads TBR list remain the same tomorrow morning. I wonder if it was a Goodreads system glitch or maybe I was adding back all the books I purged in my sleep? Hmmm… I wouldn't put it past my “unconscious, sleeping self” to act of its own accord and add the books back. 


Speaking of eReaders (I don't think I ever mentioned the ones that I have used), I ditched my iPad Air and went back to using my Sony Reader PRS-T1 during the last quarter of 2016 especially because a single charge lasts up to 3 weeks instead of the iPad's 10-hour battery life and I can read clearly outdoors without having to deal with glare from the sunlight on the screen. Yes, I'm one of those who read everywhere (on a dog walk, walking to the grocery store, waiting in line at the checkout counter, waiting at doctor's offices, waiting at restaurants, etc.). Anyway, I'm not exactly sure what happened but all of a sudden, I'm having issues with downloading and reading public library ebooks using my Sony Reader PRS-T1 and the poor thing would only be recognized by the Calibre software on my Mac. The Sony Reader Desktop software and the Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) software don't even recognize it. It was telling me it's time for it to retire. My faithful and beloved 2nd eReader ever has finally retired. The first eReader I've had was the Sony Reader PRS-300 and it was very basic and slow compared to my PRS-T1 and now, the Kobo Aura Edition 2. The Sony PRS-300 only has 500mb of internal memory, no WiFi, so I have to connect it to my computer all the time to upload ebooks to the device (as if I don't do that now). Then I was gifted with the Sony Reader PRS-T1 for Christmas in 2011 with the book light cover so the PRS-300 got recycled at Best Buy. Sometimes, I wish I'd kept the PRS-300, for what purpose, I don't know. It's probably best to recycle stuff instead of keeping them around, cluttering space. And now, my PRS-T1 has retired. I am definitely growing attached to my Kobo Aura Edition 2 despite initial frustrations such as getting used to the new user interface (UI), issues with ADE ID and Overdrive. Click here to read my in-depth opinions on the Kobo Aura Edition 2. 

2009 Sony PRS-300: My Very First eReader

2011 Sony PRS-T1: My Second eReader

2016 Kobo Aura Edition 2: My Third and Current eReader


With all the many different brands of E Ink eReaders out in the market today, I chose to purchase the Kobo Aura Edition 2 instead of the better ranked Kobo Aura One and instead of the more popular Amazon Paperwhite because if an Indie Bookseller has a partnership with Kobo (like they have a Kobo affiliate link on their website), I can still support them by buying eBooks thru their special affiliate links and they will in turn, get a percentage of the sale. On top of that, I like how Kobo gamified the reading experience by having awards and badges for every milestone like Scout Leader award or Highly Decorated award or Deep Thinker award or Night Rider award or Fanatic award or the Papillon award or Total Recall award or the Juggernaut award or Page Turner award, etc., etc. Earning those reading badges is really fun. I still have a handful of badges to earn: Deep Thinker, Papillon, Witching Hour, Lost In Austen, Off The Wall, Quoth The Maven, and Author-ized Reader.

On the crafty side of things, for about 2 years now, a nagging thought has been telling me that I need to focus on one type of craft to be successful at making a living out of it but lately, a few months after reading the last Julia Cameron book from the library, I came to the realization that I don't need to give up any of the crafty things that I love to do in order to turn it into a business (like choosing between writing, crochet, watercolor painting or piano playing). I mean, look at Julia Cameron. She's into a lot of creative endeavors and she's managed to turn them all into something profitable that is part of her creative living. With that freeing thought, I've updated my blog's name from Booktalk 'n More to Ambidextrous Crafter because I want to focus my patterns to specialize in using both dominant and non-dominant hand and because I myself am ambidextrous. It feels like I've completely outgrown my blog's original name ever since I've fully embraced my ambidextrous nature and accepted the fact that a year for me consists of crafty seasons: I'm more crafty in the areas of writing books, playing music and crochet during the Fall - Winter seasons and then for the rest of the year, I'd rather read, bake, play music and crochet. So, with the new blog name, I've updated my blog's logo and my Ravelry store name to Ambidextrous Crafter as well. I've also uploaded PDF versions of my patterns to Ravelry (you can still find the patterns on my blog with the Ravelry download links on it) before I add my almost ready Ambi Crochet Blanket pattern. I'm really excited to share this blanket pattern with you all because it's really very pretty and I'm proud of how it turned out. I worked really hard on it to make sure the instructions are clear and I hope crocheters will love the construction technique.


Books I've Read Since Last Blog Post



Currently Reading 


Currently Writing

  • No progress made on Chapter 4 of Helena and the Dragon - too much reading going on.


Finished Objects

  • Ambi Crochet Blanket





  • Anna Estella Mae's Baby Blanket - I used the same pattern as well as 3 of the same yarn colors I used for the Ambi Crochet Blanket.





Currently Crocheting

  • Elizabeth Bennet Meets Mr. Darcy Shawl - I'm currently participating in my first ever Crochet along (CAL) called Summer of Romance CAL (#SRCAL) hosted by the lovely ladies Claudia of the CrochetLuna podcast and Clarisabeth of the CrochetCakes podcast. I'm using the beautiful Virus Shawl meets Deichspielerei pattern by Angie Nelson of Bumbly Designs because the lacey sections reminds me of Lizzie's playfulness & femininity and the dc sections reminds me of Darcy's serious nature & masculinity. The yarn I'm using is Ella Rae Lace Merino Extrafine Superwash 100% Merino Wool in the 151 Peach/Deep Pink colorway because the color reminds me of their passionate relationship from the first moment they met to Darcy's declaration of love to finally Lizzie admitting to her dear father how she's so very much in love with Mr. Darcy. 

Virus Shawl Meets Deichspielerei Pattern by Angie Nelson

Ella Rae Lace Merino Extrafine Superwash Merino Wool Yarn



Product Reviews


My 2016 Kobo Aura Edition 2 eReader



Announcements

Just in case, I would like to share the blogs and/or podcasts I'm really enjoying which are also listed on the side bar...and these are in the order I discovered them...hope you'll enjoy them too!

Friday, May 26, 2017

[Book Review] An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Series by Chanda Hahn






An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Series by Chanda Hahn

My Average Rating: 4.4 of 5 stars
Ebook Edition
Genre: YA Fantasy, Fairy Tales



Part 1: From The Book Covers


Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated; until she saves her crush's life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her it's next fairy tale victim.

To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.



Mirror, Mirror, on the wall,
Who is the Fairest of them all?

In the sequel to unEnchanted, Mina Grime discovers that all is not fair when it comes to the Fae and their tales, especially when they don't all play by the rules. Barely surviving the Story's first fairy tale quest, Mina still has hundreds to go before she can end the curse on her family. But a new player arises to challenge Mina while new rules revamp the game she has just barely begun to understand.

All the while, people are mysteriously disappearing, including Jared, whom Mina must finally determine to be friend or foe. And with the loss of her greatest weapon, Mina must try to outwit a deadly hunter. Can Mina survive the most difficult quest yet while protecting those she loves from falling victim to one of the lethal tales of all? Or will she become a pawn when she strikes a bargain with the Queen of Fae?



All that glitters is not gold.

When something precious is stolen from sixteen-year-old Mina Grime, she will do anything in her power to get it back, even if it means traveling to the dangerous Fae plane and battling one of the strongest fairy tale villains yet.

However, nothing can prepare Mina for the dangerous obstacles she will face in the Fae world, or the choices she must make when love and life are on the line.



Going to the Fae plane against Jared's orders has cost Mina dearly. Her decision continues to haunt her as a new danger surfaces. The Grimms are fading.

To save her family's future, Mina Grime will have to travel to the past with the help of her Fae Godmother and a magic pair of shoes.

She must go to where the Story first began, to the beginning of the dark prince's reign. But can she finish her quest before her time runs out or will she be trapped in the past forever?



With the Godmother Guild destroyed by Teague's army, Mina finds herself without guidance of her Fae Godmother. Alone and confused, she must lean on her friends for support. The dark prince threatens their very existence with a show of power on the human plane that has everyone running for their lives.

To save them, Mina must make a deal with the prince to become his prisoner or lose her friends forever. But is there any hope for Jared and the love they briefly shared, or must beauty destroy the beast she created?




Part 2: Recommendation

This YA series was an amazing experience for me overall. I enjoyed how each book was such a page-turner that by the end of UnEnchanted, which I got for free, I was compelled to buy Fairest, the second book and by the end of the it, I ended up buying the rest of the books in the series except for Jared's Quest, a short story about Jared's whereabouts when he's not helping Mina fight off fairy tale villains or annoying her in school since I'm not too keen on reading about what he does apart from Mina. 

This series by Chanda Hahn for me has been a breath of fresh air in the sense that my YA reading habits went down ever since reading Always You by Kirsty Moseley (you can read my review of this book here) in May of 2013 and the decline can easily be attributed to utterly stupid characters and the lack of interesting plot lines. Between June 2013 and today, I've been really picky about reading YA books as I love the genre and I hate seeing it destroyed by insipid, stupid characters. 

Hence, I call this series a breath of fresh air because Mina Grime/Grimm is a very likable and relatable character. Not overly dramatic, protective of her family and friends, slightly wary of new people, loyal, brave when she needs to be, and she easily earns the reader's trust and sympathy right away. The main supporting characters that form Mina's immediate support group consist of her younger brother Charlie, her best friend Nan Taylor, and her long-time crush Brody Carmichael for the humans and Jared, Nix and Ever for the Fae. These support characters are just as likable. You can't help but admire Nan and Brody for their unconditional loyalty and friendship and though newer to the group, you can't help but find Nix quite adorable and brave. And Ever, OMG, Ever is just freaking amazing. As for Jared, I still have mixed feelings about him. 

Now, the plot. It's not your usual fairy tale retellings and it's not like the Grimm TV show either. I have not yet come across a fairy tale retelling that is more focused on the point of view of the Brothers Grimm in a whole new way. The plot line was not about collecting the stories but more like reliving the stories that the Brothers Grimm collected in a contemporary way in quest format where Mina could either be the hero or the villain and as the books progressed, you can clearly see Mina develop as a character as she discovers her Grimm powers, her heritage, and what she must do to save both the Fae and human worlds. 


To conclude this review, Chanda Hahn cleverly weaves in famous and not so famous Grimm fairy tales throughout the books in the series and it is up to Mina and the readers to figure out what the fairy tales are. If you are a fan of fairy tales and their retellings, this series should be on your list.

Monday, May 8, 2017

[Product Review] Kobo Aura Edition 2





Kobo Aura Edition 2 eReader

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Part 1: Description and Technical Specs

Discover a simple and natural eReader experience with Kobo Aura. Get lost in your story on the 6" Carta E Ink touchscreen that's lightweight and comfortable to hold for hours reading. With a print-on-paper look, you can read in direct sunlight without glare; and with the built-in, adjustable ComfortLight, you can read late into the night with minimal eyestrain. The Kobo eBookstore gives you access to over 5 million eBooks and your Kobo Aura lets you store up to 3,000 eBooks so you'll never be without a great read. Discovery is easy with personalized recommendations based on your reading habits, plus you can read ratings and reviews from Booklovers like you.

Screen: 6" Carta E Ink touchscreen, 1024 x 768 resolution 212 ppi
Weight: 180g
Size: 159 x 113 x 8.5mm
Storage: 4GB  on-board memory, holds up to 3,000 ebooks
Front-Light: Built-in, fully adjustable ComfortLight with micro-thin coating for durability and even light distribution
Customizability: TypeGenius: 11 different fonts and over 40 sizes to choose from; Exclusive font weight and sharpness setting
Supported Formats: 14 file formats supported natively (EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, & CBR); Read ebooks from borrowed from Public Library
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Micro USB
Battery Life: Up to 2 months depending on usage
Languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese, Japanese, Turkish
Other: No advertising, no interruptions


Part 2: Recommendation

It was actually anti-climactic when I finally received my Kobo Aura Edition 2 in the mail because it got delayed in Hodgkins, IL and the UPS facility in Colorado Springs, CO sorted my package incorrectly and so it went all the way to Englewood, CO instead so that added 1 more business day for a total of 2 business days that it was delayed in getting to me. So in short, it took a total of 7 business days to arrive, though still reasonable and within the timeframe Kobo specified in the confirmation email, my excitement in receiving the Kobo Aura Edition 2 has significantly waned. 

When I opened the packaging, the actual box was no longer sealed (and I'm assuming this was due to customs?), and there's a very noticeable damage to the side of the box. Inside the box was the device itself with a clear plastic film on the screen, some documentation and a micro USB cable to charge and transfer data to and from the device.

When I powered on the Edition 2, it has a battery life of 97%. I wanted to try setting it up over WiFi without having to connect it to my Mac but since my home network is setup differently for security purposes, I connected the Edition 2 to my Mac, launched the Kobo Desktop App and from there, followed on-screen prompts to setting up my Edition 2. Setting it up was really easy and didn't take long. I did have to leave it to charge for 4 hours as prescribed. 

Once it was fully charged, I side-loaded the eBooks that were on my Sony Reader PRS-T1 onto my Kobo Aura Edition 2. Then played around with the user interface (UI). At first, it felt strange not having that physical home button and navigating through my device's library did take some getting used to. It frustrated me a bit because I would swipe at the screen to move on to the next page of my list of books but instead of moving to the next page, it would open up the book. And it did that several times. If I swipe towards the top where the header/sorting options are at, it would sometimes select the sorting option. Other than that, the Kobo Aura Edition 2 was okay. I think I still prefer the UI on my Sony Reader though and having the option to use the physical page turn buttons are very helpful. I didn't realize how helpful they were until I started using the Edition 2.

Reading under direct sunlight during my lunch break walks with my dog, Mowgli, is better because of the higher screen resolution and with the front light compared to the Sony Reader because whenever I step under the shade of a tree or my Sony Reader falls under the shade of my own shadow, there's a bit of a strain to see the words on the screen. Very minimal and almost negligible but with the Edition 2, because of the front light, it gives you enough light to be able to read in any lighting condition and because it's E Ink, you can obviously read clearly under direct sunlight. So that was a real pleasure in having upgraded to the Edition 2. Reading on the couch in the front room of the house in front of a large window when the afternoon sun is setting and the light is changing, it handled the changing light conditions very well. I didn't have to manually turn it on (because I never bothered to turn down or turn off the front light) and I really loved that experience. Definitely front lit E Ink readers is the way to go. 

When it comes to the browser and downloading ebooks from public libraries, the browser is pretty fast for a beta feature and you can save favorite sites like your favorite Indie Book Store's Kobo link, Goodreads, your public library's overdrive link and Dropbox. Other reviewers on YouTube have suggested to use Dropbox to side load ebooks if you don't want to use the USB cable. I have not tried that yet but I did try downloading ebooks from the public library (which uses Overdrive) but somehow, that did not work. I was able to download the same ebook file to my Mac and open it on Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) and I was able to download and open the file using the Overdrive app on my iPhone. The Edition 2's browser showed that it did download the book but when I looked in my device's library listing, the borrowed library ebook was nowhere to be found. I tried transferring the file via USB cable and it took several tries to get the Edition 2 to list the book but when I tapped on it to open it, it kept showing me an error message about the ID issue not matching which is not true because everything uses the same Adobe ID that is authorized on the Edition 2. So I'm not sure what's going on there. It worked all the time on my Sony Reader's browser and it would show up on the Recently Added books on the home screen of my Sony Reader but somehow, it did not work on my Edition 2. I'll probably try that again later. Or try the Dropbox workaround. Or wait until ADE sends out an update.


Despite the initial frustrations surrounding Overdrive and ADE (to the point where I wanted to send the device back for a refund), I think I will keep it because it is faster, it has a higher memory, higher screen resolution and way better front light than my Sony Reader with the reading light cover combined. Besides, I can't download ebooks from the public library anymore on my Sony Reader because of the ADE ID issue and because the browser keeps disconnecting from the WiFi every time the Sony Reader attempts to download the ePub file. And with the ADE ID issue going on, there's no borrowing public library ebooks on both devices except thru the Overdrive app on my iPhone. I would have rated it 5 stars if I could download Overdrive public library ebooks directly via the browser and until now, my Kobo Aura Edition 2 still has yet to be updated to the new UI that Kobo released last February 2017.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017 Update:

My Kobo Aura Edition 2 UI has not updated to the new one yet but last week, a public library book that I recommended became available for me to borrow and guess what? Not only did I manage to download the file to my Mac but I also managed to successfully transfer the ePub file to my Edition 2 and read it. No ADE ID error messages this time around. Woo hoo!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017 Update:


My Kobo Aura Edition 2 UI has finally updated to the new UI and it looks like, in order to read public library ebooks on the device, you have to download the file using your PC/Mac, open the .ACSM file using ADE then transfer the converted EPUB file to your Kobo Aura Edition 2. It should open without any ADE ID error messages. Apparently, you can't download the file to any other device even though you're using the Overdrive App on another mobile device. But isn't that the whole point of signing up for an Overdrive account so you can access the same digitally borrowed library book on multiple devices? 

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Sad April

I miss my mother-in-law. She died of a stroke that took out 35% of her brain on April 4, 2017 at 9:20am, a week after being rushed to Memorial Hospital at 9:00am and we buried her on April 12, 2017. Easter Sunday will never be the same or any other holiday for that matter. I have been one of the few lucky ones who actually have a great relationship with their in-laws. In every way, she has become my mother in the past 7 years that I've known her. She may not have been rich, famous or influential but she has taught me how to truly forgive someone, shown me what true strength means and that family — not work — is more important next to God. In my heart, I know she's moved on to a whole different journey where I can't follow (at this time at least), but it appears, my brain still needs to catch up with this new reality. I often find myself grabbing my phone to either call or text her only to realize that she's not physically here anymore and my heart breaks anew. I need to be strong for my husband and my father-in-law and there are days when I don't know where to get the strength from. I'm guessing, take it one day at a time and from the knowledge that she is no longer in pain. 





On the yarn-y side of things, I completely forgot to mention last March that I finally got a shelving unit to hold my small stash of yarn instead of them being stored in a 56 gallon purplish-pink Sterilite plastic box at the bottom of my closet, which is also quite cumbersome to get to as there are things piled up on top of it. I originally thought to get this shelving unit from Target:

 My Dream Yarn Storage

But it's way too expensive and not very portable in the event that we move to a different house. So, for the meantime, I got this hanging sweater organizer instead from Bed, Bath & Beyond and it just fits the amount of yarn that I have and is ultra-portable at a quarter of the price of my original plan. I'm really happy with it because now, when I open my craft room/office closet to get some yarn or a hook, it is right there in front of me and I don't have to dig out the Sterilite bin in order to get to my yarn stash. Yes, I still keep all of my yarn in ziplock bags to keep away dust and moths. And because the shelves are so open, I can clearly see what kinds of yarn I have in my small stash and it also motivates me to keep my stash small since I obviously have no more room (err shelf) to spare. The top shelf contains my test & review kit, a small bottle of wool wash, some felted sheets and the big ball of Bernat Baby Sport in Baby Taupe yarn that couldn't fit in the second shelf reserved for Acrylic and Acrylic blend yarns with side pockets for hooks and needles and notions. The third shelf is reserved for plant-based yarns and the fourth shelf is for animal-based yarns. The fifth shelf is reserved for project bags and the sixth shelf is for the poly-fill that I use for crocheted/knitted toys.

My Actual Yarn Storage

This year's Yarn Along The Rockies yarn crawl goal is to find and purchase a yarn swift and the budget is about $50.00 and maybe a project bag as I already got a yarn bowl last year when one of my favorite LYS closed down. 




Books I've Read Since Last Blog Post




Currently Writing

  • Chapter 4 of Helena and the Dragon


Currently Knitting/Crocheting

  • Ambi Crochet Blanket


Product Reviews





Announcements

Just in case, I would like to share the blogs and/or podcasts I'm really enjoying which are also listed on the side bar...and these are in the order I discovered them...hope you'll enjoy them too!



Monday, April 17, 2017

[Book Review] The Idea Of You by Amanda Prowse





My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
ARC Edition
Genre: Women's Fiction

Disclaimer: As a member of NetGalley, I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.


Part 1: From The Book Cover

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn't be more perfect.

But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah's teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn't have. Jonah's love and support  are unquestioning, but Lucy's struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille's presence straining the bonds of Lucy's marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…

This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today's hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?


Part 2: Recommendation

The Idea Of You by Amanda Prowse is a well-written, heart-wrenching, piece of fiction that is somewhat close to hitting home on a personal level for me in the sense that being a married woman, I'm expected to pop out children. In the seven years that I've been married to my amazing husband, it hasn't happened and the pressure is still there to the point where I've started avoiding physically attending baby showers (that and because I'm a shy, introvert). I'm on the fence about having children of my own because I honestly feel that I'm selfish and self-centered (to a degree) where I'll be classified as a horrible mother if I ever have children (I already have such a high standard of expectation for my future child's behavior, character, creativity and intellect that it would be impossible and super stressful for said future child to meet). I'm awkward around humans especially kids and I prefer the company of dogs, books and older people. I'd rather not have kids and just be the greatest aunt in the world to my nephews but my husband still hopes for at least one child (or triplets). 

With that said, every month that goes by, I can relate to what Lucy goes through: the disappointment, heart-break, pain and depression that follows every one of her miscarriage. Because of this book, I now know what it feels like to have that home test kit show that you're pregnant only to find out that the baby you've been hoping for does not have a heartbeat and you end up with another miscarriage. I haven't been there and I hope to never know such pain especially the pain that would cause my husband. I would not wish such pain on anyone.

Lucy's tumultuous journey to motherhood and accepting her reality is not exactly a happy one but inspiring nonetheless in the sense that women who can't have children can still have that sense of fulfillment in other ways: by loving the children around you as if they were your own (or you can always adopt a baby). It is definitely a hard lesson to learn and even harder to apply in real life especially when I see how much my husband enjoys being around our little nephew. 


In conclusion, The Idea Of You by Amanda Prowse did have a big twist, which I did enjoy but this book is not for everyone especially for those who like highly satisfyingly good endings. This has a sad but good ending. All the supporting characters are well developed, the plot is a bit slow and sometimes I feel like the tension in the story was added on just for the sake of having a bit of drama. The way the end of the chapters was laid out with a sort of journal entry-ish style was a bit confusing but it does clear up in the end, so that part was okay. Overall, it was a good book and definitely geared towards women (and their loving partners) who are struggling with the pain of miscarriage(s) or their inability to have children of their own.