Saturday, September 28, 2013

Taste, Swallow, Digest

Some quotes & thoughts I'd like to remember while embarking on my Well-Educated Mind journey with Susan Wise Bauer:

from chapter 1:

Take responsibility for your education! - "Any literate man (or woman, we may add) can rely on self-education to train and fill the mind. All you need are a shelf full of books, a congenial friend or two who can talk to you about your reading, and a few "chasms of time not otherwise appropriated."" (15)

"A well-trained mind is the result of application, not inborn genius." (16)

You can't expect to be a master reader without applying yourself regularly. - "reading is a discipline: like running regularly, or meditating, or taking voice lessons." (17)

Stages of the trivium: - "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." - Francis Bacon

Grammar ----- taste --------- gather facts
Logic ------- swallow ------- evaluate them
Rhetoric ----- digest --------- form your own opinion

Don't spread yourself too thin! - "Engage not the mind in the intense pursuit of too many things at once, especially such as have no relation to one another. This will be ready to distract the understanding, and hinder it from attaining perfection in any one subject of study." - Isaac Watts

I NEED to do this! It's something that has gone through my mind so much over the last few months, & I honestly function so much better when I follow this counsel. - "early to bed and early to rise is the most effective path to wisdom." - Benjamin Franklin

Don't give up what you want in the long run for what you want now. Moving slow & steady is better than holding still. I little something is better than nothing. - "We do those things which are rewarding to us, and immediate gratification always seems more rewarding than slow progress toward a long-term goal." (23)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A New Project

I have a new project & purpose for this blog. I started homeschooling my Preschooler/Kindergartener this year, & with all of the research I've done on the topic, I am continually drawn to a literary & classical approach. For this reason, I personally want to have a greater knowledge & comprehension of some of the world's great literature - namely classics (of course I will continue to read my other fun &/or more modern books as well. How else would I survive this daunting task I'm preparing to take on?).

While going through some homeschooling blogs, I was really excited to find women who were working their way through The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had. Since classical education is one of my focuses, I was thrilled when I saw their in-depth, yet fun studies of literature throughout history. My favorite blog is: A Classic Case of Madness. These women are hilarious!

 The author of The Well-Educated Mind recommends reading chronologically & by genre, starting with Novels, then Auto/biographies, Histories, Dramas, & finally Poetry. This is with the intent that the reader will master how to analyze & work through the different literary genres by focusing on one at a time, with the difficulty of analysis increasing with each genre.

I am feeling quite intimidated by this task, but am also really excited. I just hope that I can slow down enough to go through these literary studies for the correct reasons instead of just checking them off a list as I tend to do.

 Feel free to join me in any reads that interest you!

The complete list of books (minus a few that I just can't get myself to re-read - namely, Gulliver's Travels) is here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Tale of Lunarmorte series

While looking at my friends' updates on goodreads, I noticed that one of them had recently read a bunch of books by an author named Samantha Young. I'd never heard of her before, but after looking at the books' descriptions & then seeing how inexpensive they were on the Kindle, I decided to give them a try. Plus the fact that they were YA paranormal fiction just added to my curiosity. If you didn't know yet, I'm a huge sucker for these types of books. I blame it on my Twilight obsession from a few years ago. From there, it just bloomed & grew (that doesn't sound nearly as good as "bloom & grow" (quick, name that song!) in fact, it just sounds awkward . . . oh well, I'm sticking with it).

Well, once I got started on this series, I was hooked, & it took a lot of will power to put them down. They were fun & fast-paced, & after finishing, I didn't even want to start reading a new book b/c I was stuck on my high from these. Are they really that good? Maybe, maybe not. They needed a serious editor b/c the errors were everywhere! But being completely sucked into the story, I quickly got used to ignoring them. I loved the strong female characters, & the author's format in telling the story was so well done. It made me think of watching a TV show, namely Alias, where you'd see the character in a certain situation, but then it would suddenly take you back to . . . for example . . . earlier that day to let you know why such & such person is acting or thinking a certain way. By the time the series was over, I had laughed out loud, cried, wanted to b-slap some of the characters . . . . Perhaps it's because I read them so close together that I was so caught up in the story & felt so many emotions while reading. Whatever the reason, I really loved these books & would recommend them to anyone who loves a fun, creative, paranormal YA series.

(Warning, they are for older YA. The recommended age is 16+, but I might make it 18+.)

click on book covers to go to goodreads descriptions

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review - Angelfire, by Courntey Allison Moulton

Released: Feb 2011
Publisher:  HarperCollins / Katherine Tegen Books
Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: NetGalley

Summary from Goodreads:

This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.


Is this seriously a debut novel?! I had to go back & check just to make sure. I am just amazed at how much I loved it, & I mean really, really loved it! There have been so many novels out this year that have received a ton of hype, & I've felt let-down by pretty much all of them.  Sure, they were good, but not as great as so many led me to believe. THIS book, on the other hand, was fantastic (I haven't seen as much hype over it, so maybe that's part of it? But I doubt it.). It was clean, interesting, fast-paced, the characters were fun to be around, & I couldn't read it quick enough.
Moulton wrote a very polished story. The history of the reapers, angels, & war in Heaven was well thought out & explained, and I really liked the fact that she revealed bits & pieces of information throughout the book, so that the reader continued to learn (or remember) the mysteries of this other world alongside the main character, Ellie. I also loved the flashbacks that Ellie kept having from her previous lives. It was fun to see her at different times & places in history & get a better idea of what her purpose was & the cost she paid time & again to achieve that purpose.
Moulton also did a nice job with the characters in this book. Each character was distinct & realistic, & I found I quite liked most of them (other than the ones that you're not supposed to care for). My favorite characters, as they should be, were Ellie & Will. While Ellie seemed weak much of the time, the author let you know why. It was acceptable. She redeemed herself many times though with incredible bouts of power & bravery (in the present & with her flashbacks). And what do I even say about Will? I have a major literary crush on him? He's frustrating, yet perfect? Scratch the crush part, I'm in love with him?! He was just so likeable!

Another thing I appreciated about this book was that it was nicely wrapped up, but still left things open for a sequel. It didn't have a horrible cliff hanger like so many writers seem to rely on in order to get you to read their next book. This book was great without the cliff hanger, & I most definitely have the next book on my read-it-as-soon-as-I-possibly-can list. I'm really excited for Courtney Allison Moulton & the incredible start to her career.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, action-packed, paranormal love story.
"That’s the point of believing in something. There’s so much doubt and tribulation during your journey that you’ve got to hang on to something, or else you’ll fall."  ~ Courtney Allison Moulton, Angelfire

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Breaking Dawn Movie Trailer

I put off reading the Twilight series for quite a while b/c I just couldn't stand all the hype around it. Once I finally gave it a shot, I was hooked - obsessively hooked. (I'm guessing part of this was because I'd been trying to read Les Miserables for 8 months without opening any other books, & I had finally had enough. Twilight offered a huge relief from the verbose French classic.)

While the excitement surrounding Twilight has ebbed over the last couple years (even moreso in the last year), I was still so happy when I saw the newest trailer for the Breaking Dawn movie. I'm still not convinced this book needed to be made into two separate movies, but after watching this trailer, I'm getting anxious for the next installment of the series to come out.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mini Reviews

1. Daughter of the Forest - Juliet Marillier (4*): It's been a while since I've read an epic fantasy (not sure if this is considered epic or not?), & I really enjoyed it! I love fairy tale retellings & quite liked this one. The bonds between brothers & sister were well developed & strong, & the love story was very sweet. I did, however, think this book was on the wordy side. The same story could have been told in fewer words &, in my opinion, been more effective. I found myself wanting the story to get on with it. At the same time, I couldn't begin to focus on any other books I was reading b/c this one was so difficult to put down. I will most likely continue this series, although I'll need to take a break from it for a bit.

2. The White Queen - Philippa Gregory (2.75*):  It took me a long time to get into this book. I just didn't feel much of a connection with the main character (I actually thought she was pretty unlikeable). I've read & liked plenty of Philippa Gregory's books, but this one wasn't my favorite.

3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (4*): What a bizarre family! I put this book off for such a long time b/c I tend to avoid non-fiction or depressing sounding books. So I was amazed at how much a liked it. The stories of Jeannette Walls' childhood are outrageous - I'm surprised that she survived it & with such a positive attitude & sense of humor. There were laugh-out-loud moments throughout the book, as well as many times I just wanted to cry for the way the children in Walls' family were brought up. I really enjoyed this book & am glad I finally got around to reading it.

Book Review - The Lying Game, by Sara Shepard

Released: Dec 2010
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Audience: YA
Genre: Mystery
Source: NetGalley
Summary from Goodreads:

I had a life anyone would kill for.
Then someone did.
The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.
Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?
From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.
Let the lying game begin.


Talk about twisted & creepy! This book pulled me in from the start. I never read mystery or suspense novels because I scare easily, so I was surprised with how much I liked this one. Yes, the premise of a long-lost twin coming into town & so easily convincing everyone that she's her twin sister is far-fetched. From their personalities alone, they sound like such opposites that this doesn't even being to seem plausible. However, the author engaged me so well with the story that I was willing, for the most part, to ignore the impossibility of the situation.

Shepard did a wonderful job putting the reader inside Emma's head & making it feel like you were experiencing all the anxiety, hope, & fear along with her. I sat up late many nights needing to know what happened next (possibly to calm my own anxiety & come to a good stopping point where I could fall asleep without needing to keep the lights on). This book kept me turning the pages. My heart literally raced with the suspense - I just couldn't conceive of how twisted & horrible this "game" was that the girls were playing. I thought I had things figured out one moment & then was completely surprised at the new possibile answers to the mystery.

My one complaint is that this book ended with such a cliffhanger. I still don't know what's going on! I'll definitely read the sequel. While cliffhangers often frustrate me, I'm fine with the need to read the next book in the series to see how things play out. Sara Shepard engaged me enough with her characters & story that I'm anxious to get to the next one.
"At least she had a clear picture of what the Lying Game was now: Girl Scouts for psychopaths." 
 ~ Sara Shepard, The Lying Game