If I had noticed that this book was written by J.K. Rowling, I would not have read it. But it turned out to be a good read. A fascinating plot idea.
Title: The Ickabog
Author: J.K. Rowling
Original Publication Date: 2020
Genre: Middle School Fantasy
The Ickabog was a fictional ferocious man-eating monster, invented by conniving advisors to take over the prosperous and free nation of Cornucopia. Steep taxes, mock trials, and elaborate lies followed, as well as extreme censorship, poverty, and complete insanity.
Some people completely bought into the lie, others did not believe but had to stay silent - otherwise, they could be murdered or imprisoned.
But what if the Ickabog IS REAL? What does it want? And if it's not vile, where did all the legends come from?
My rating here is a little complex.
The story idea is very good, but the characters are shallow and the writing style seemed a little simplistic.
Story Idea: 9/10
Character Development: 4/10
Writing Style: 4/10
Overal Rating: 6/10
Granted, it's a pretty good book.
That might be the worst pun ever.
Wow, where do I start?
With the basics.
John David Anderson
Original Publication Date:
Middle School Fantasy
Alright. Now about everything else.
Ophelia is a fairy. All her life, she's wanted to be a granter -- someone who goes out into the human world to grant the wishes that people make as they blow out candles, toss coins into water, and see the first star. Now, after lots of training, waiting, and planning, Ophelia finally gets her wish granted. After she's given her assignment, Ophelia heads out with lots of optimism and a little too much confidence.
But nothing goes as planned. And finally, Ophelia will have to choose between following the rules of the job she loves, or doing what she knows is right.
Disguised as a charming piece of children's fantasy, Granted
is a fascinating look at a question that has plagued people and governments for centuries: can the human conscience be trusted, or does it need to be regulated?
I've read a lot of fiction, yes, but I haven't branched out that much. Most of it was by a few select authors that I was already comfortable with -- such as Kathryn Lasky, Brandon Sanderson, or Shannon Hale. But I decided to take a leap and try something by an author that I had never even heard of before, in a genre I wasn't the most comfortable with.
Robert A. Heinlein
Original Publication Date:
Wow. Just wow.
It's an incredible, masterful, thought-provoking work of fiction that I'll definitely be reading again!
Laurence Smith is an actor down on his luck, wasting his life in a bar when a stranger enters, buys him a drink, and offers him a job. Slightly sus, to use some Gen Z slang
. Laurence Smith looks into the offer and ends up accepting it, but he has no clue what he's getting into.
It turns out that Bonforte, the giant, the statesman, the linchpin of a movement for respectful inter-planetary relationships, has been kidnapped, and Laurence Smith must impersonate him.
And that's just the beginning.
I won't tell the rest, but it's a fantastic book and I highly recommend you go check it out!
There are a lot of great books out there. A lot. More than I will ever be able to read in my lifetime! However, truly exceptional
literature is a lot more rare. Today I am going to review a truly exceptional piece of literature, The Price of Freedom
, which is a collection of speeches by Calvin Coolidge. I'm pretty sure it was compiled by Calvin Coolidge too. Yup, that's right -- Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States of America. And, in my opinion, one of the best presidents this nation has ever had.
Now, about the book.
Title: The Price of Freedom: Speeches and Addresses
Original Publication Date:
I've read a lot of books, and I have a lot of favorite books, but this is definitely in my top five! (I'll do a post about my top five fiction and nonfiction in the future.) In fact, when I first read this book, I was like, "It could be canonized as TJEd scripture!" (TJEd
, as in Thomas Jefferson Education, a method of leadership education that is fantastic!) Seriously, it's that good
Here are some of my favorite quotes from The Price of Freedom
and the speeches they can be found in:
"Of course there is a need of a better understanding of the American form of government. Self-government is still government. There is no such thing as liberty without restraint. My rights are always represented by the duties of others. My freedom is always represented by the obedience of others. Their rights and their freedom are represented by my duties and my obedience."
"There are evil forces at work now. They are apparently organized and seek the disintegration of society. They can always be recognized by a direct appeal to selfishness and nothing else... the answer to this lies in a knowledge of past human experience and a realization of what man is."
"Mankind has always had classics. They always will. That is only another way of saying they have always set up ideals and always will. Always the question has been, always the question will be, what are those ideals to be, what are to be the classics?"
"Independence is exceedingly exacting, self-control is arduous, self-government is difficult. Always there is the temptation that some element of these should be surrendered in exchange for security and ease."
"The fundamental principles on which American institutions rest ought to be clearly understood. Being so understood, the can never lack for defenders."
"We review the past not in order that we may return to it but that we may find in what direction, straight and clear, it points into the future."
“Many of the technical choices we’re about to make will be strikingly political. Who has access to what data? Where is the line between human choice and machine intelligence? Why is one computer architecture better than another? These decisions — and the people who make them — will determine power’s new aspects. Banal technical choices will reverberate through the our future with the same influence that the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, the Analects of Confucius, and the Koran retain long after they were first written down. The real contests ahead will concern networks — but this means, in fact, a deeper conflict over values. Networks are like churches or schools or congresses; they reflect the aims and ethics of the people who build them. The price of meshing so many passionately held aims and sensibilities, hopes and hatreds, will be high.” — The Seventh Sense, pages 51-52.
“Your assignment is to write an essay on the ethics of editing human DNA,” my biology teacher said.
As some of you know, I started going to a charter school, Leadership Academy of Utah (which sounds a lot better than it actually is) when I entered highschool. I dutifully took the classes I was supposed to take, did the assignments I was supposed to be, and said what I was supposed to say. The first year was fantastic. The second year was frustrating. The third year was bad enough that I dropped out and dedicated myself wholly and completely to TJEd.
I took biology in my second year, during Tenth grade. The teacher was spectacular, the class itself was fine. But mostly, it just felt completely irrelevant. Especially once we started talking about editing human DNA and creepy stuff like that. So when I was assigned to write an essay on the ethics of editing human DNA, I balked. That’s just for scientists, I thought, and I’m definitely never going to be a scientist.
So I raised my hand and asked that eternal question: “Why? When am I ever going to use this in real life?”
Now, my teacher knew me pretty well. ‘Teacher’ doesn’t really even describe him; he is a mentor first, and a teacher second. So he just looked at me with wide, horrified eyes for a second, then said, “You want to be a politician, right?”
“Yeah,” I said. “So what?”
What he said next completely changed my perspective: “The future and limits of science are not created by the scientists, but by the government. Scientists push the limits of reality, but the government decides what science is ethical.”
Hmm… well, when it’s put that way… let’s just say that essay was written with gusto.
This doesn’t just apply to the ethics of editing human DNA. It also extends to the ethics of technology and networks. To paraphrase The Seventh Sense, congresses reflect the aims and ethics of the people who build them. So while the people have a ton of sway in the debate, in one sense, the verdict is up to the legislature.
So of course, it’s going to be a deeply political argument. Everything that happens in the government is deeply political at this point. Censorship? Political. The Bill of Rights? Political. The Constitution? Political. Education? Political. Technology? Political.
Though they may seem inconsequential or trivial now, these decisions – decisions that will be made in a fourth turning – will change the course of history. They will play a major role in the cycles of history; their answers will help determine whether we have a forceshift or a freedomshift.
However, “The price of meshing so many passionately held aims and sensibilities, hopes and hatreds, will be high.”
There is danger to letting the government make the decision. If they choose wrong – a forceshift, and a precedent for even more government control. If they choose right – a freedomshift, possibly; but along with it, the creation of a precedence that says yes, the government is allowed to legislate about these sorts of things.
It kinda feels like there is no right answer, only dozens of wrong ones.
But, well, that’s the intricacies of freedom.
And that’s the power of statesmen.
I made myself a shirt! I LOVE how it turned out. I've already worn it twice, and it's incredible! It's fits well, the fabrics are so soft, and the colors... it's a match made in heaven! And it was for a school project... #TwoBirdsWithOneStone
, by MoodFabrics (free sewing pattern!)
Time: 7 hours, counting shopping/photo shoot
PS. Thanks to my wonderful Mom for taking pictures!
I have six new pieces in my Etsy shop, LilianaKayDesigns!
The first piece
is a pink princess-inspired dress for Welli Wishers w/ puffed sleeves and is going for $12.
The second piece
is a St Patrick's day dress for 18" dolls; it has a slim skirt with a ruffle and is going for $14.
The third piece
is a nautical-inspired dress for 18" dolls; it's made of seersucker, a fabric that's really fun to work with! It's going for $14.
The fourth piece
is a basic brown and white plaid dress. It's really cute and going for $13.
The fifth piece
is another one for Welli Wishers, but this time it's a deep navy blue. It's going for $12.
, and last, piece is a jumper for 18" dolls. It's made of a tan and floral-patterned fabric. It's adorable, and I'm SO proud of it! It's going for $12.
It's been forever since I last posted, which I'm really sad about. Today I am going to share what I've been up to lately.
Just today, I added a new listing to my shop, which you can find here
. It's for faux-denim dresses with red contrast stitching, designed to fit AG or other similar 18" dolls. It's modeled by Elisabeta, and her friend Jasmine (thanks, Madeline!).
I'm planning on making a lot of spring-time clothes, from floral dresses to embroidered jumpers to skirts and blouses!
And coming soon, hopefully before the middle of March, pdf patterns! I have such fun drafting my patterns, I thought, why not sell some? They could be cheap, and since their digital, it's an instant download, meaning I don't have to ship anything.
During the in-person days at LAU
, I'm taking a ballroom dance class. It's a lot of fun! So far, we have been learning the foxtrot, and now we are starting to learn east swing, AKA triple step swing.
Another fun thing I've been doing is listening to Hinge Point
! It's a new musical group, composed of three sisters, with fantastic voices! Their music is clean, and uplifting, and fantastic!
Detoxinista has this great recipe for brownie bites.
They're super health-nut-ish, but they're surprisingly good! I've probably made them six or more times in the three-ish weeks since I discovered the recipe.
2020 has been an absolutely insane year. A lot of stuff has happened, including CoViD19, the 2020 election, BLM protests, CHAZ, and libraries being temporarily closed.
So what could be better than some good books to read? Especially if they're inspiring, insightful, and take longer than two seconds to read
. This is an incredible play by William Shakespeare about a man who assassinates the King and then takes the throne. He's told by three witches that he will keep his kingdom until the forest marches against him. So he's safe, right?
2. Mao: The Real Story
. This is a super huge
biography of Mao Zedong, who made China communist. It's well written, insightful, and gives you a whole new point of view of the Cultural Revolution.
. What if there was only one way to stop a communist alliance from taking over the world? But what if that one way is by subjecting your own people? Then what? Intelligence, Eliza DeMille Robinson's debut novel, has such deep and insightful thoughts on freedom, the fight for freedom, what it means to be free, and the individual's mission. The writing, character building, and plot weaving is outstanding. It's the first in a series (the second in the series is on the printer now
but I haven't been able to read it yet) and I highly recommend Intelligence!
4. The 5000 Year Leap
. W Cleon Skousen, who served in the FBI for 16 years, has incredible insights into how our nation was made, why it's survived, and how it can be fixed. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about freedom.
. Calvin Coolidge is my second favorite president of the USA, and this is definitely my favorite biography of him! It's a bit long, but very insightful, detailed, and inspiring.
6. Tyrant: Shakespeare On Politics
. Some people say, "those who can't do, write." I don't think this is necessarily true, and I think that Shakespeare is proof of it. His understanding of human nature is unbelievable, and sorely needed today.
7-9. The Reckoners
. This fictional trilogy by Brandon Sanderson is an intriguing exploration of power, abilities, and the duty of citizens and people.
10. Glenn Beck's Common Sense
. The original Common Sense
, written by Patrick Henry, advocated the separation of the colonies from the British Empire. Beck's Common Sense advocates the return to sensibility, an understanding of what makes the USA the USA, and the importance of returning to what we had in the original Constitution.
I've added a new piece to my Etsy shop
! It's an adorable winter dress with the cutest bird-&-cherry print for 18" dolls.
Lately, I've been super busy with lots of cool, and sometimes stressful, stuff.
- learning Latin. It really takes time, especially when you're behind in school! However, it's also loads of fun, and I'm glad I'm doing it.
- my Etsy shop! Right now, I'm working on drafting patterns for, and then sewing, Christmas doll clothes for Etsy! I'm super excited about this, especially because I have some fantastic metallic fabric I want to put to use for this.
- reading. Obviously
Just yesterday I finished reading United States of Socialism
, which is a fantastic book! I do recommend it (beware, the last third or so is falsely advertised, in my opinion. It's labeled something along the lines of "how to stop it" (and by it, I mean socialism) but then it mostly just says that since we know socialist takeover tactics, we can do something about it. That's great, but what???). I'm also working on a short essay about that book, which is exciting to be writing for me. I've been doing lots of essays on books for my American Lit class, so now it's time to write about things I'm interested in!
- NaNoWriMo. It's November... the stress-and-write-and-write-and-sleep-and-maybe-eat-and-write-and-write time of year. I'm only 15% of the way done, which is really bad, because we're about 84% of the way through the month. So yeah... it's an adventure.
- Children of the Republic
. This is a fantastic website championing freedom, and lately I've been working on a lot of stuff for them.
. This is another website, and I've been doing a TON of stuff there.
- going to the library! I haven't done this super much since CoViD19 hit, but I've gone a few times since the library reopened. I like to do full-day trips, and just relax and binge read books like The Federalist Papers, browse through political sections, find some new good novels, and just enjoy myself in an environment of learning.
- being awesome
This includes doing all of the above while dressing stylishly, being confident in myself, and trying my best to be kind to others.
Last Friday, I visited this really awesome book store in Logan, Utah. It's called Becky's Bookshelf
, and it sells used books! I am so tickled pink with it, I found so many good books and I will definitely be returning!
If you live nearby, you should totally check it out!
I decided to "splurge" and buy this really adorable Vogue! doll on Etsy. Her name is Jan
, and she was (most likely) made in 1959. She is 10.5" tall and utterly adorable! I got her from SweetLilyStudio
Man, it's been a long time since I've posted! And a lot of things have happened.
I've made several garments, crocheted a hat and scarf, tried in vain to crochet a sweater (my problem is I was trying to make up a pattern as I went, since I couldn't find any cute, simple, and free crochet patterns), bought some adorable fabric (for a dress and a twin sweater set), set up an Etsy shop
, and felt totally jipped when Governor Herbert made another state wide mask mandate
Other than that.......... life is "normal." I am kinda getting used to the whole CoViD19 "crisis," but I'm not sure whether or not that's a good thing!
Anyways, this post is basically just to say I'm really busy, I want to start posting more, and I have some great crafts planned. So see you later!