The Blacksmith’s Daughter, by Crystal Hubbard

This short book is about the length of a serious short story. It’s 104 pages in large child-friendly print. I don’t think it really qualifies as a novella.

Instead, it’s a delightful fairy tale that I want more of.

Marcelline, the story’s heroine, is a strong willed young woman with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her father has gone blind, and her favorite sister is dying of a wasting disease only impossible magic can cure.

So when a summons from the king arrives, a contest for someone to be his desperately needed bride, and a grand prize of an impossible ish- on top of getting the crown- is an opportunity too much for Marcelline to resist. She could give two hoots about the fame and fortune with marrying the king, but saving her sister would be worth anything.

But her own personality is too strong for her to lie, and so she must earn the king’s love and respect without sacrificing herself. And they both find that he must also earn hers.

Even though it’s altogether too short for my taste, it’s a perfect beginners novel for kids, and one I’m glad to have on my shelf for my family to grow up reading!

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Books 12, 13, 14: The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

It took me less than a week to go through these. It has been a long time since I’ve been so absorbed by a book it took me less than twelve hours to read it. Less than forty eight total hours spent on it. So yes, they were very good.

Kaitness Everdeen is not the sort of character that most readers sympathize with off the bat. But when she volunteers to die for her little sister, everything changes. Her life, the life of Peeta, her fellow tribute, and both of their families.

I seriously think that when Suzanne Collins sat down to write these she had Ancient Rome, and Star Wars in her head. To be honest, I love that about these so much. You have to get towards the end before you realize what’s happened, and where I’m getting the stuff about Ancient Rome from.

It’s caused me to think, like all good books do. And when I think about it, I only really have one thing.

“Don’t let a loaf of bread and a ticket to the circus be enough to trade your freedom for.”

Ancient Rome

every day a citizen got a loaf of bread and a ticket to the circus.

which generally involved death.

Death for prisoners.

Slaves

People unfortunate enough to be born in the wrong country

A full belly and entertainment kept thousands of people pacified.

What we love is what will ensnare us, and when that happens you’ll be lucky to watch the show.

We’re not doomed to this. But we’re getting closer and closer. Think of Reality TV, we love to watch people, and we love to watch people with problems. We willfully opt for ignorance because its easier.

 

That really doesn’t have anything specifically to do with the book, it’s just a tangent it set off for me, it’s one of my causes. Why opt for ignorance when you can have intelligence and

Book 11: Smokin’ Seventeen

Smoking 17, by Janet Evanovich.

Once again Stephanie Plum finds herself in the middle of a murder plot. While starting on building the new bonds office, the construction workers uncover a hand. Now bodies are starting to come up everywhere. And what’s worse, they’re “For Stephanie”.

I’m satisfied with this book, it’s got curses, sex, violence, breaking and entering, explosions, stolen cars, acid reflux and food. What more can you want out of a Stephanie Plum novel? Not a whole lot.

Now I am dying to get the next one, and I’ve got to wait a while yet. It’d be out of sequence to order it now, plus I’ve got the hunger games to read.

 

11 books down, 89 to go!

Book 9: Sizzling Sixteen

Vincent Plum is missing!

Dun dun dun

The bonds office is so far in the red they can’t buy a stack of papers!

Dun dun dun

Vinny is caught on Stark street, pants around his ankles. Now Lucille wants nothing to do with him and even worse, her father Harry the Hammer won’t fork over the money for him.

He’s gotten into some bad deals with “Sunflower” and he is ready to do some damage if Vinnie doesn’t get him One Million three thousand dollars!

It’s up to Stephanie, Lula and Connie to raise the money, rescue Vinnie, and hide him with someone who will put up with him long enough to give him a chance to get his wife Lucille back.

A car doesn’t explode, but two buildings do.

Another satisfying Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich! Though, I’m still a fan of the earlier ones, I think I’m torn between Ten Big Ones and Eleven on Top as current favorites…But I think Four to Score may top them both…It’s hard to decide which one I like the most.

9 down, 91 to go!

January in retrospect

January was a good month for me! I made 4 different kinds of cupcakes, and I’m already seeing improvement in my baking with them. I went on a photo-shoot, cleaned my room, drew a picture and dyed my hair strawberry blonde.

The month, and the year started with a Masquerade that I with the help of my friends Jackie and Hannah planned, and with the help of a few more people got set up. I was really worried the night before we set up, I mean, really worried. I almost canceled it or dropped it on someone else last minute like a jerk to handle it. My mom wanted me to cancel it. But for a multitude of reasons (I really wanted there to be one, I had agreed to do it so I felt obliged, and I really wanted it to be awesome so I could show whoever was doubting me at this point) I didn’t cancel it.

I won. It was great, everyone had a blast, and the real marker, just about everyone who came helped clean up. It took us less than forty minutes to get everything back where it belonged, and we moved just about everything in the room.

I read eight and a half books this month, not counting the ones I listened to. Which I will eventually put reviews for on, turns out they were both James Patterson books.

So, I’m not really a “go to the movies” person. In my head I am, in my head I go see new movies in theaters all the time, but the reality is I don’t. That’s going to change this year too! I have to go see at least one movie in theaters a month. This month I saw “One for the Money” in theaters.

I’m big into scrapbooking, particularly digital. When I get my nieces completely finished I’ll post the pages up here for you to see. I work with a gal Sheri Caulkins, who’s a creative memories consultant. I went with her this month to a digital scrapbooking retreat. We stayed in a swanky hotel in Novi, I learned a lot and had a great time with the ladies that Sheri sat me next to. She put me next to Betsie and Sarah, who are both a bit older and sometimes have computer trouble and love me a lot because I’m helpful.

A few friends and I crashed a soiree at the college. No, not a “college party”, it was a charity event for Kids Against Hunger. That was a blast. I love formal events. Formal events that involve swing dancing, woot! My friend Ari and I really need to do something together, but carving a chunk of time out of my schedule is becoming increasingly difficult!

I bought two books and a cd! So long and thanks for all the fish, by Douglas Adams. That’s going to help me fill out that set, since now I have that and Restaurant at the end of the universe. And I ordered “Bed of Roses” by Nora Roberts off of Amazon. That’s the second in the Bride Quartet series, which I’m in love with. The CD I ordered was “Even if it kills me” by Motion City Soundtrack. My favorite album by one of my favorite bands. I need to own it.

The drawing I did is a picture of a tiger lily that we had from my grandmother’s funeral. When I took the picture of it, the light was really intense and made the colors really vibrant without any editing. It’s my favorite flower picture I’ve ever taken. I drew it–and consider it noteworthy–because while I’m pretty good at drawing inorganic things (chairs, tables, scissors, cameras, things like that) I’m not very good at organic things. Whether its from a picture or not, it never looks right and the pieces I see never match up with the pieces I draw. This one did, and I’m proud of that!

I also took pictures for a friend’s band “Below Sub-Zero” as they played at the roller rink.

This month however, I have to do something a little more demanding than a drawing. I’m thinking…watercolor. Watercolor what? I don’t know that yet.

Hair and Mascara are amazing things; you can change an outfit by doing your hair differently, and you can cover up any insecurities with mascara.

If you go back through my old blog posts you’ll find my movie review, my book reviews, recipes on the cupcakes, and the top 5 pictures out of the photo-shoot. Click off and enjoy!

 

Book 8: Finger-Lickin Fifteen

Woo! Back to some normal Stephanie Plum madness!

Woo! Cars explode!

Stephanie and Morelli are broken up.

Ranger’s got a security problem.

Lula has a decapitation problem.

Stephanie has a lot of problems with Lula trying to learn how to make barbecue in her kitchen and staying there, firebombs in her apartment, Joyce Barnhart trying to move in on Morelli and an all too sexy man who’s bed she happens to be sharing.

I enjoyed this one, once I was able to get over the 14th and into this one I couldn’t stop reading it and I couldn’t stop grinning.

Woo!

 

8 books down, 92 to go. I can make it!

Book 6: Lean Mean Thirteen

Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

 

Stephanie’s ex-husband is missing, right after Stephanie plants a bug in his office for Ranger…and she attacks him.

So guess who’s the main suspect?

You got it, Stephanie Plum.

Stephanie’s Nemesis Joyce is sleeping with him now, and now Joyce won’t stop following Stephanie.

How does she end up in all these messes? Nobody knows, but find out how it happened this time.

 

6 down, 94 to go!