August Challenge

As if the month of July wasn’t enough discomfort for me I decided to challenge myself again in the month of August.

Let’s Go Digital

For a while now I’ve been toying with the idea of going digital. Setting up my life set up digitally where I can have access to all things all the time and where I don’t have to worry about storing or shredding papers. I am not going to sit here and claim that I’m doing it for the environment, although it is a perk. My motivation is mostly a selfish one. It is time and portability that I crave.

Time: Being able to just tell Siri what I need done. Telling Siri to remind of something at a specific time and place or when I arrive somewhere. Being able to schedule my appointments on the go without having to reach for a planner;

Portability: Being able to schedule appointments or write a note or, again, remind myself of something without having to always carry a purse or a planner. All this can be done on my phone, my iPad or my computers. I am sure you have all been in the situation when someone needs to schedule an appointment with you and you have to respond “let me get back to you when I get home after I look at my schedule.” Admittedly, some times this is a great excuse if you just need a little time to get yourself out of a situation but more often than not it’s just because you are not carrying your planner.

A few days ago I was out for a walk and had an idea for a post. I had my watch with me (that whole thing about closing my rings every day) so I was able to quickly dictate a note to myself on my watch. By the time I got home I had totally forgotten what my idea had been. Had I not dictated it to myself I would have lost it. Instead, I opened up my dictation tool and was able to transfer that to my notes on Good Notes on my iPad and now it’s something I’m going to be working on.

In my last post, if you recall, I was torn between two planners, the B6 Stalogy and the standard TN with two notebooks. I had tried the A6 Stalogy and I had loved the size and portability of it but I was not able to fit everything I wanted in each of the pages and I didn’t like having things all over the place. The TN works because I can fit one day per page, including an hourly bar (which I draw out) and a to do list. If it’s not a particularly busy day I’m even able to journal a bit and add special notes on each of the days. This is all good. I love the space and the Tomoe River paper is so amazing with my fountain pens. I really enjoy using my fountain pens on it.

So I decided to turn my planning life upside down and go digital for the month of August. Not just digital on my calendar, I’m going digital on my journaling, my to-do list and my notes.

Starting tomorrow, I’m putting my TN on a shelf and my pens in my desk drawer and for the whole month I will only be using my iPhone, my iPad and my computer.

The apps I’m using are:

  1. iCal for my appointments and calendar blocking;
  2. Productive for my habit tracker;
  3. Reminders for my to-do lists;
  4. Day One for my journaling;
  5. Notion for project planning, weekly and monthly reviews, reports and other random stuff; And
  6. GoodNotes 5 for work notes, personal notes and when I’m missing the look of a regular planner;

I think these will be all I need to make sure I’m on top of all objectives and goals for the month.  I’m excited to see what I learn in the month of August and I’m excited to see what happens when my calendar reminds of appointments and tasks that need to be done.  I will update here once a week. Although this is a challenge for just the month of August (at least that’s what I’m telling myself), I am hoping to make this a habit and a forever thing.  There’s a sexiness about going digital and having your life one your wrist (my watch) or on a piece of technology that’s with you all the time.

Come by and give me some support and let me know how you’re challenging yourself in the month of August.

The next post is probably going to be about the books that I read in the month of July (not that many at all) and I will work the updates in between the book posts as I am able.

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy wherever you are.  Looking forward to connecting with you all.

Ana

 

 

Two Things I learned in July

July was a month of lessons for me. One of them disappointing at first something that made me feel broken. The other something I always suspected but never gave a lot of thought and considered it something everyone is able to do. So not very special right?

#NaNoWriMo  

I  once again, entered the NaNoWriMo craze all energized to write my book. I decided on a political thriller because that’s what I was enjoying reading the first part of the year and thought that perhaps I would do well in writing one myself. I planned and I outlined and I even wrote over 2,000 words before July started. I couldn’t wait! Quickly the energy I felt in the beginning of the month waned and I no longer wanted to or felt compelled to write. I am not interested in writing a novel. I’m not interested in spending large amounts of time putting together a world and characters. I lost interest in their lives and their worlds. It was no longer interesting to me. So I stopped. The novel still lives in my Scrivener file. Not because I have dreams of ever finishing it or publishing it but because it is a reminder of a lesson that although painful taught me about myself.

Just because I enjoy reading doesn’t mean I have to write a book. I love stories and the written word. I enjoy losing myself in a novel and sometimes, more often than not, a good non-fiction, self improvement type book are my “go-to” for relaxation. I enjoy spending time in different worlds  but that does not mean that I want to create those worlds. Perhaps because creating those worlds makes the world lose its magic. I want to feel the magic and can’t if I’m the one creating it. I’m not sure if that makes sense to you, but it does in my own head.  Does that mean that i have no imagination? NOPE! It just means that I am not interested in writing a novel and that’s ok. We can’t all be writers. Some of us are readers/consumers. Where would the writers be if there were no consumers of their writing? We have to have both and I am the second type.

I’m not broken. I’m just never going to write a novel.  Never say never right?  Things may change but for now.  That is not my thing.

#OneBookJuly

OneBookJuly is the month when those of us who like to plan our lives and live by a schedule or a to do list pick one planner or one journal and use that for the entire month. 

This year I decided to enter #OneBookJuly. For the first week I floundered and even almost gave up and switched to a different planner.  For one week I moved to a Stalogy A6. the A6 size is very small but very portable – – not that we are going anywhere these days but that was my thought process. I quickly realized that the A6 size is too small for me to write everything I need to write. I wanted to journal do a timed schedule and create to-do lists. That’s how I work best. I enjoy planning my day in the morning when the house is quiet and create the list of things that I want to get done that day. I then enjoy crossing them off – – or in my case, crossing off the little dots next to the tasks to be accomplished, once I accomplish them. The A6 pages were so small that I had to squish everything together or separate my days’ schedule from my to do’s from my journaling. Having everything separate did not work for me so I put aside the Stalogy and went back to my TN (travelers notebook) for the rest of the month.

My OneBookJuly experience taught me that although I appreciate the small size of some planners, they just don’t work for me. I need things all in one place and that means that I need more page real estate. I need to be able to see where my time is free and I can “fit in” some of my to-dos. That is how I’m most productive.

So, was my #OneBookJuly a failure?  Perhaps.  Technically, yes.  I didn’t start and finish my month in one book.  I changed after the first week.  But I learned what works for me so ….. isn’t that a win?  a success?  I now can go on planning and journaling and crossing off my to-do’s knowing that I have all the space in the world to do what I need to do.  Does this mean that I am going to stay in one book, a TN, for the rest of my planning life? Absolutely not.  I’m already thinking that I may want to experiment in a B6 Stalogy.  But, I have learned that I need space on a page and that is going to be my guiding principle.

Lessons NOT Failures

So, were these experiments failures? I don’t think so. I learned from each of them. I wanted so much to write a book and was even going to start dedicating hours and hours to that practice. I’m glad I found out what I don’t want to do before I spent hours doing it only to realize that after all, that was not my dream. I much prefer sitting and reading a book than creating a book.

I also wanted so much to have a pretty and tiny planner that I could stick in any purse. I learned that I cannot do that. I need everything in one place and that’s how I’m most productive. After all, the purpose of a planner is to help me be as efficient as I can be so I am glad I learned that tiny planners are not for me. 

To be honest, my TN is not large. I keep two books or inserts in it. One is the monthly calendar and the other is a grid notebook where I plan my weeks and my days. I’m playing around with different spreads to see which work with my brain and every week I figure out something else that will work better. My planning style has evolved this month and it’s so much fun to go back and see how much. What worked one week doesn’t work the next and I always find new ways to make things “tighter.” I’m enjoying the process so much and most of all I’m enjoying the fact that I am finally in the size planner I enjoy.

What about you? What did you learn in the month of July? What habits will you stick with and which ones will you let go of?

NaNoWriMo – A Rambling Post

This is not going to make much sense.  It’s a stream of consciousness!!!!!

So I decided to do NaNoWriMo again this July ….. Camp NaNo to be exact.  I’m not sure what made me think I would be able to keep up but something in me is convinced that it’s just a matter of really wanting something badly enough.  So here I am.  Five days in and I’m not sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

I have decided that I want to write a political thriller.  Why not?  There’s so much going on in the world that can provide me with ideas.  Yet, when I look for ideas they seem so mundane that I’m not sure they would make a good book.  But I go forth……I have a main character (I’m not sure I like his last name) and I have a love interest – there’s always a love interest right?  I even have an ex and a villain, a location and I think a motive.  At least what sounds like a good motive for now.

The weather has been nice here where I live so I’v been spending some time outside in front of my computer and since I’m working from home I really have no excuse to not write after I’m done with my work day, right???? Yeah, well I set out to start other challenges this month also and those seem to be conflicting with my writing.  Yet, my brain is still telling me that I can do it all.

I’ve set up my Camp Nano and I’ve decided not to give myself too much stress.  I’ve set at a very low number of words.  Something I know I can reach and I have started…. yesterday I forgot to update it but it’s ok.  I only wrote 200 words.

Because I couldn’t come up with a good way to tell the story I’ve also decided that I want to challenge myself to follow the “Save The Cat Writes a Novel” beats and read the book while I write my book.  So that’s going to make things a lot slower for me.

Here we go.  It’s Sunday, July 5th and I’m determined to make things work for me.  It’s a new day.  I can do this and I will do this.

To all of you who are going to be taking part in the new July Camp NaNoWriMo, GOOD LUCK and I hope you achieve your goals.  To those of you who are considering entering or considering writing something…. Go for it.  Take the plunge.  Don’t be afraid of failure because failure can be a great teacher.  Standing on the sidelines will only make you feel like you’re standing on the sidelines.  Time goes by so fast that when you notice how much time has gone by you realize that you could have already written or done the thing that you’ve been thinking about.  It’s never too late to be or do what you want to do.  Even if at the end of the thing you realize it was not for you and it wasn’t as fun as you thought it was going to be.

See you all as soon as I can

Ana

On My Writing

I haven’t done all that much.  Not only have I not done much but I’ve been jumping from project to project as if I were aimless with no direction.  Perhaps because I am, aimless and have little to no direction these days.

Right now I have three projects logged into Camp NaNoWrimo and I don’t think I’ve written on any of them except the romance project that I started back in the beginning of May.  I have over 9,000 words on that one.  I don’t want to write romance now though.  The words are not coming to me and I’m not inclined to write about a woman and a man falling in love.  Nothing wrong with that.  We all need to fall in love with someone, right?

Then there’s the non-fiction project about becoming a witch.  That has been an idea for quite a while but I don’t have the experience to write a non-fiction work and there is so much research to be done….. I feel overwhelmed.

Today, I added the new fiction.  I think I can say that it will be a science fiction.  I’ve never written science fiction but I don’t know what else to call it.  I can say it’s dystopia but I don’t particularly like dystopian novels so I’m not sure what to label this one as.  It’s just writing.

This new project makes more sense for the times.  I think it came about as my way of trying to make sense of all the things going on and what is going on in my personal life.  But as I write I lose interest in writing.  It just feels like everything is so mundane compared to what is going on outside my four walls.  The longer I stay out of the office the more I forget how it feels to get into a crowded subway or walk the street of New York City as if in a trance focused only on getting to the office and then once in the office focusing only on getting out of the office and out of the city which sometimes, as beautiful as it is, it becomes suffocating.  The more I sit here and try to write the more my words seem to not have much meaning and the new project just sits there on my scrivener file staring back at me wondering if I’m going to open it and start the story at some point.

I wonder if we are ever going to have some type of normalcy.

Some Books Just aren’t for Me

These are some really difficult times we are all going through.  The past couple of weeks, as I’ve been “forced” to stay home with little more to do than think, read, binge documentaries and other mindless shows, I’ve had plenty of time to come to terms with the fact that some books just aren’t meant for me.  It’s not necessarily the book that’s bad or the story is bad.  It’s just that the book does not resonate with me.

For the past four years I’ve made it a mission to read Anna Kerinina.  I’ve even downloaded the movie thinking that if I watched the movie I would feel inspired to read the book.  For four years I’ve beaten myself up because I still haven’t been able to accomplish that goal.  There is always another book, another something to do.  I can’t focus, I need water.  There is a blockage, I thought.  Why can’t I read this “stupid” book?

This week I came to terms with it.  It’s not the book and it’s not me.  We just aren’t meant to cross paths at this time.  I’m not going to force myself to read something that I’m not interested in reading.  Reading should not be painful and I always felt stressed when I sat down to read that book.  I don’t know why and perhaps I will never know why but does it matter?  Perhaps one day, without forcing it, I will pick it up again and read it and love it.  Right now I’m pretty certain that if I sit down and force myself to read it or listen to it, I’m going to resent it.  That will not be fair to the author or the book or the words written on the page.  A book should bring you pleasure and allow you to dream and envision yourself in the story.  Right now I would be reading it just to say I’ve read it and that’s no reason to read a book.

Anyway, I hope every one is doing well and staying healthy and enjoying time with a special book.  What is your special book?

Thanks for stopping by

Ana

Book Review – A Witch in Time by: Constance Sayers

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A week ago I was walking through Barnes & Noble not searching for anything in particular.  In fact I had decided, before walking into the store that I was not going to pick up any books.  I have a few on my Kindle that I’ve started and not finished yet.  Not because I’m not enjoying them but …. shiny object syndrome.

Anyway, true to self I wound up walking out with a new book (after paying for it, of course).  A Witch inTime by Constance Sayers.  I knew nothing about the author and I knew nothing about the book.  In fact, I hadn’t even seen anyone talking about it or seen it on any of the review publications I read.  Regardless, I picked it up from the new arrival shelves and read the inside cover.

Helen Lambert has lived several lives….

How could I not bring this baby home?  The book took me by surprise.  From the first page… Actually, from the blurb I was so completely taken in with it.

The story follows the lives of three women who are actually one woman.  Helen Lambert’s marriage to a famous art dealer is falling apart and her friend set her up on a blind date with a strange man who winds up revealing to her that he had been protecting her for centuries and that, in fact, she had been the one who had summoned him to that blind date.  At first she thinks he’s a crazy guy and doesn’t want anything to do with him but shortly after the date she begins having very vivid dreams about all her past lives.

Helen, a witch, is a woman caught in a course badly performed which winds up throwing her and her protectant into a loop where every 35 years, around the time of her birthday, she calls for him to help her and he comes.  They begin a relationship where they both fall in love with each other and he saves her from whatever bad romance/marriage she finds herself in.  This time, during her Helen incarnation, it appears that her powers are such that she is finally going to be able to break the curse.  However, in order to do that she must kill her protectant.  Knowing how she feels about him, will she be able to do it?

This is Constance’s debut novel.  I think the writing was great.  The description was just enough to make me feel like I was included in the story.  The characters were three dimensional and we could see Helen’s growth throughout the story.

If I had one complaint about this book would be that the third incarnation felt too unreal and maybe even rushed.  I could not understand all the people involved in it and was not sure what their real role in the story was.

I am so glad I picked up this book and I cannot wait to see more by this author.

My first five star read of 2020.

Book Review: The Age of Witches by Louisa Morgan

Publication Date: April 7, 2020

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The Book is a tale of friendship, family, honor and respect for the old ways.  It’s also a battle of good and evil.  I received the book as an ARC from NetGalley after requesting it.

The story follows a family descendent of the Bishop Family of witches from the Salem Witch Trials.  Although the story is fiction it is based on facts. The family line had been broken in two.  One line of the family practiced the old ways as herb medicine women who harness their power for the good and the other line of the family practices their craft for themselves and although able to do go they choose to use the dark side for lack of a better word.  Annis must learn her craft in order to save herself.

I found the book to be a bit slow to start and I will admit that at points I was very tempted to put it down.  It picked up at some point around the midpoint of the book and I found myself not being able to put it down at that point.  I took me almost a month to get to the midpoint of the book and then I read the the rest of the book in one day.

The book was well researched.   Louisa Morgan gives enough detail to make the craft sound believable and achievable with bits of “that’s not possible” mixed in.  Although with a magical book I expect to need to suspend my beliefs for a moment at times.  I appreciate that some of the spells seemed to have been very well researched and the incantations that were spoken seemed very real as well as the explanation as to why witches speak their spells and why very often the spells rhyme.

Words have strength and spoken words have the greatest weight

I thought the main characters seemed had depth.  I was able to feel sympathy for the Villan (Frances) even though at the same time I was hating her for being so calculating and selfish.  I really enjoyed reading about Harriet and even the Strega from the old herb store was believable and I really liked her.  I wished that she had had a bigger part in the story.  Perhaps another book???? (hint)

What I thought was lacking:

I did not like the way Morgan wrote the two ladies’ maids.  I found them to have no depth and no interest.  I thought that more could have been said about them.  Even Harriet’s house keeper was a bit just thrown in there.  She could have had a bigger part.

I hated reading about the trip to the asylum.  Maybe that could have been dealt with differently.  I was not expecting that much horror.

I found the ending to be a bit abrupt as if something was missing and there was no little bow tying the whole thing up together.

James, the love interest was soft and blah.  He had no mind of his own and it felt like he was in the book only to be a poppet in the hands of the women.  I did not like the way he was written and I can’t imagine Annis marrying him.  She is a strong woman and I get the feeling that she would walk all over him.

Putting it all together:

I enjoyed the book.  It was entertaining to read and it was researched well.  Some areas of the craft were still a bit off but they were very minor.  I rated the book 3 stars on Goodreads.

Audio Book – The Deal of a Lifetime by Frederick Backman

The Witch Chronicles is not doing it for me.  It’s actually set me back on my reading the past month.  It’s not that the book is bad, it’s actually interesting in its own way.  I actually think the problem is me.  I’m starting to think that series are not for me.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it’s the fact that switching books makes me lose my momentum and by the time I pick up the next book I’m not interested anymore.  The story lost it’s interest.  I’m going to venture and say that the reason for this is that I’m a huge mood reader and also a mood writer…. more on that at a different time.

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So, I put down the Witch Chronicles and picked up two different books.  Here, in this blog I want to tell you about what I picked up as an audio book and why.

My weekends, for now, until I am no longer working, are reserved for cleaning.  Normally I put on a podcast and walk around the house picking up stuff, vacuuming and cleaning.  Sometimes I am so focused on what the podcast is talking about that I don’t even realize how long I’ve been cleaning which is a good thing.  Other times, like yesterday, there was nothing new in my podcast library to listen to so I decided to download a novella (I never read a novella) that I heard being discussed in one of the YouTube videos I was watching (sorry, don’t remember which channel).  The book is The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Bachman.  I’ve never heard about this author or this book and honestly I didn’t even do any research on it.  I just knew that I needed to get something on phone to listen to while cleaning otherwise no cleaning would get accomplished.

I am not very far into the book (I didn’t do much cleaning) but I think I’m going to love the book.  So far it does not feel like a happy story.  It starts out as a man sitting on a couch while is wife and his son are sleeping.  While he sits there watching them he begins talking to his son about a little girl in the hospital with cancer.  Doesn’t seem very interesting but I was hooked from the very first paragraph.  Especially when the father says:  “I took a life….” WHAT?????? what does that mean? my brain could not understand this unexpected turn of events.  I don’t know what is going to happen.  I can tell you that not far into the novella I really like the little girl and even the man.

I have since looked into who the author is.  To my surprise Fredrik Backman is the author of A Man Called Ove, which I haven’t read because one of my friends told me she hated the book.  Depending on how I like this novella Frederik Backman may be the next author I explore.

Stay tuned for the next installment when I will review this short novella.

Ana

Book Review – The Black Witch Chronicles

The Black Witch – Book #1

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I debated on waiting to review this book until I was done with book #2 and review the series together.  I finished the book yesterday and immediately got the second book and started reading it.  I decided that I probably should review the first book now and the second when I finish the second so we can all have my ideas as I formulate them.

There are some things about this book which I very much enjoyed and there are some things about this book that I didn’t particularly care for.  I think Laurie Forest’s creates a very interesting world and develops it in front of the reader in a way that is not too full of description nor missing any of the necessary information.

The story follows Elloren, the granddaughter of the most powerful black witch in the land.  Elloren looks exactly like her grandmother with one small detail missing.  She has no magic.  Elloren’s parents died in battle when she was young and she and her brothers were raised by her uncle who as an eccentric raised them to be removed from magic.  Elloren never owned a wand and she’s learned to build violins which is something women in her tradition/culture as not allowed to do.

At the start of the story we Elloren’s aunt, a very powerful and wealthy Guardnerian who wants her to become Wandfasted (married) which goes against what her uncle wants.  Her uncle decides to allow Elloren to go with her aunt to the city to enroll and join her brothers at the University and only after she finishes her studies will he allow her to Wandfasted.  Before she leaves he makes Elloren promise him that she will wait until she finishes her studies.  Which she does.

At University she’s exposed to a variety of other cultures and magic systems.  Especially the “evil ones” with whom she’s forced to room since she’s not willing to be Wandfasted to the boy her aunt wants her to be Wandfasted to.

After picking up the book I found out that there’s a whole lot of controversy surrounding it.  Although a fantasy book, it covers some very deep subjects the most prominent of which is a cultural one.  How different cultures see each other and the falsities we learn about each other which become harmful to society.

The story includes dragons and elves and sea creatures.  All the things a good fantasy book must have in order to make the story complete and each creature comes with it’s own history and the reasons for their existence in the story.

What I didn’t like about the book

I think Laurie did a great job at showing how what we believe about each other can cause pain if we don’t take the time to get to the know each culture for what they are.  However, although I know that the novel is a young adult fantasy novel I was not prepared for the lectures on the evils of some of the cultures.  I get the reason for them to be in the book but perhaps they could have been handled different.

I don’t want to spoil the story but there is a part in the book where students are talking about what they believe and it just felt very childish to me.  I could have done without that part and have instead action explain why some believes were prevalent.

Another thing that seemed like a stretch to me was that with every different culture, Elloren seemed to know immediately what they were.  I get that some cultures are easier to spot than others but there a whole lot that are not.  That did not seem to be present.  She and all the other students seemed to know the background of every student just by looking at them.  The exception were the fae who are able to change their appearance.  I found this to be a bit jarring.

What I liked about the book

I enjoyed reading about the different magic systems.  I particularly enjoyed how the Lupine who are the werewolves (for lack of a better description) were written.  From where I’m standing they seemed to be the ones who are able to overlook the differences in everyone else and accept the differences.  I enjoyed seeing the development of those characters.

I enjoyed how the romance was written.  It was not too much in your face but it made a point.  It was descriptive without being too much.  There is one small thing about one of the love interests that could have been developed better.  At one point he goes to military training (it appears that most of the boys go through military training) and only at the time that he’s about to return to we find out that he and Elloren have been corresponding regularly.  This was not mentioned before and I thought this could have been flushed out a little more.

How I feel generally

I really enjoyed the book.  I think it’s a perfect read for the winter time – Yes, I pick most of my books by season.  I enjoyed the description of the school and the magic system was well developed.  Some of the story at times felt a little too young but that’s not the book’s fault as this is, in fact, a young adult novel.

I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads because the book kept me interested and the ending was interesting enough that I bought the next book immediately after.  I would recommend this book to a younger audience or someone just getting started in Fantasy.

Looking forward to her other works.

Ana

Currently Reading……

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The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

Started reading The Black Witch this past week and haven’t been able to put it down.  What’s surprised me the most is my apparent enjoyment of YA Fantasy novels at the moment.  Particularly witchy and magic related YA.  This is a genre I was not prepared to like but am, in fact, having a great time with.  The books are easy to read and in a strangely easy way complicated enough to hold my interest.

The Black Witch starts off with Elloren Gardner, the granddaughter of a very powerful witch, standing in a forest with her uncle when for the first time she handles a wand and the forest catches on fire.  She’s a young girl and following the directions of her uncle.  They run out of the forest and she’s told that what she remembers from that day is only a nightmare.  But is it really?

After picking up the book I became aware of the controversy.   Being someone who does not shy away from controversy I chose to continue.  Pardon my honesty but if we were to remove every controversial aspect of a book we would be left with some very dry reading and no one wants that.

The novel takes place in a fantasy world in the very distant past and judging by the manner of dress of the characters I would say it’s in the Victorian Era, at a time when racism and discrimination were the norm.  Why wouldn’t we explore those issues as well as all other issues of the time when writing about that time?  Just because it’s fantasy there’s no reason to ignore the problems we had back then and figure out ways to not repeat them.  There is also a lot of powerful women in the story and I’m not seeing the people commenting on the racist issue commenting on the power that women have been granted.  Maybe things will change as I get deeper into the book.   Yes, there are things that happen between men and women which in our world and our time would present a problem and would make my blood boil, I am also able to put the story in perspective of the era to which it’s referring….. anyway.

If I were to say one negative thing about this book is the amount of description.  Sometimes it can go on for pages but I’m assuming it’s because it’s the first book of a series and the world needs to be set up so as to allow the reader to better understand and navigate though the story in the other books.  Still I can’t help thinking that it could have been handled differently – – I’m not a writer yet, so I’m not going to judge.

I’m only 28% through it (reading on my kindle) and yesterday I was glued to it.  I even picked it up between meetings at work.  I expect to be finished with it by the end of the year and will update you.