The dailiness of everything, ways to create and cope, help and heal, learn and live!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Review - Lux Novels - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

The Lux series is about a group of aliens that travelled to earth to live. They have assimilated seamlessly - or have seemed to until some unexpected things occur. A Floridian named Katy that moves to West Virginia is our heroine. Her dad died of cancer and her devoted work-a-holic mom is wanting to start over in a new place. Ketterman, West Virginia is a very small town full of strange people. And there is an obvious tension from the very beginning. Her next door neighbors are siblings. Beautiful siblings. Her first encounter is with an annoying but beautiful boy named Damon. She then gets to meet his equally beautiful sister who is charming and very likable. They are destined to become great friends - in spite of huge differences. Those differences are what this book is based on. That - and overcoming those differences. And of course an undeniable sexual attraction. A girl - who doesn't really know she is beautiful and a boy - who definitely does know he is beautiful - fall in love. Each additional book opens to new characters and perpetuates the saga of Katy and Daemon as well as Daemon's family and those connected with  a secret government operation that uses people to further their plans. No one can be trusted (but the person you love and that loves you back) and everyone has a dark side.

These books are easy reading, light, fun and exciting. Jennifer Armentrout is good at hooking you into reading more.

I love that she takes different groups of characters and shows there are good ones and bad ones. There is no black and white, all good all bad. Each person has strengths and frailties - they can be good - but they can be bad. It takes into account that bad decisions can't be undone. They can be absolved by sincerity of intention - as long as that person is willing to look past what is seemingly too big of an obstacle to overcome. There is also a sense of working off your bad decisions - making it right.

Titillation (I really don't like this word - but it is accurate) is all throughout the book. It will hold a teen or young adult captive for sure. There is pre-marital sex and absentee parents abound. These kids are raising themselves. With limited help from supportive and loving parents. A teenager's dream. If only all teenagers were as mature as these kiddos.

And the kids have potty mouths. Words like douchebag, dickhead, slut shaming, and there are others - such as fuck -  but you get the picture. Really not so different than what I hear in the hallways at school. If you have a teenager - they have more than likely heard these words. It is a maturity thing. Most kids grow out of it. But you need to know it is there.

Jennifer Armentrout has young adult fiction and she labels it well. It really is all about the relationship. Which isn't in and of itself a bad thing. Katy is sassy and she doesn't cave to the male lead. She fights him and herself to be who she is. Does she care about others in relation to Daemon? Yes - she does. The couple is a happy accident though. Typical pushing away because of the inability to believe he could be attracted to her but the attraction cannot be stopped and therefore they end up in a big mess that has to be overcome because of their - da da da dum....forbidden love. But it is an enjoyable big mess.

She also does adult fiction which - if your teen tumbles into looking for more of her books - is soft porn. And it is racy stuff. You should be aware of that. And it is available from your online library - so they can have it on their device and you might never know unless you are pretty good at keeping up with what they download.

My job in this review is not to recommend one way or the other. It is strictly to give parents an idea of what their child is reading.

God bless and keep you.
Happy Reading

Reviews and Tools For Parents and Teachers

I am going to start reviewing books. I read a lot of books. I read a lot of Young Adult fiction. You know why? Because I have worked with high school kids for 30 years and I know how easily influenced they can be by the written word. Especially romance and the ideas that come with those mush laden stories. My girls - and boys - need me to know what they are reading. They need YOU  to know what they are reading. There are tools we can give them that will help them enjoy and be balanced in their reading. It's hard work. Especially if you don't love to read. But I am here to help you. (smile)

When Twilight was the thing I remember seeing some of my girls reading it and telling them, "It's a fun read - but please...PLEASE understand, a guy climbing through your window and watching you sleep is not sexy. In reality - it is seriously CREEPY. And you would freak the heck out -that's a normal response. Hear me - normal response is to freak the heck out - do NOT think that is something you want." I laughingly deliver this - but I am so serious. They know it.

Not kidding. Our kids need to be told this. OK - Some of our kids. I would have been one of those kids. The fairy tale was what I wanted to be reality and it got me into a bit of trouble at times.

Another thing that comes with the dose of good common sense while reading these books is the ability to tell myself that I will not feed into the rampant PATHOS. Yes. I said PATHOS. I cry - I can feel so sorry for the heroine - and in turn - I feel sorry for myself. This 51 year old woman has put herself in the place of the 18 - 23 year old in the book and am totally bawling over the unfairness of life. Thankfully - when I finish I can talk to myself and say it's pitiful. Feeling sorry for myself does me no good. Yes, I understand hard things happen - but I can shake it off and move forward. I don't always think our sweet girls or boys do this. They kind of hunker down in the hormones and waller. Please understand - the comforting blanket of mutual understanding these books bring to our kids, can be a dangerous place. We do not need to let them escape permanently into the realm of books and get lost. It can happen. And generally what happens is they try to live it out in their day to day life. This needs to be constructively nipped. Teach them how to talk to themselves about these books. Teach them how to disassociate themselves from the heroines or heroes in a realistic way. This will actually help them take away the good stuff the book offers and leave the weird stuff, or even the unhealthy stuff behind. Momentary loss of self in books is an amazing thing. But we do need to escape to reality. Our kids can be taught this. It is important.

As a parent or teacher, we also need to understand what context we are wanting to deliver information to our child or student. That would be our morals, our guide to living well, our religious or social beliefs. Heck yeah we are to set up a network of our teaching that will help our kiddos make it through the middle and high school years and on through college. Know what you believe, construct a scaffold of truths to live by and teach it to your kids. Teaching the love of reading with a good framework in place will lead to balance and healthy self-image. Of course as a teacher in a school, your religious and social beliefs should be yours and kept that way, parents can give their kids that information and of course the kids will make their own choices as they get older. But a good foundation of thinking of others, being aware of their surroundings, being grounded in reality and being kind, is a great point of view to start reading a book.

I hope this helps with knowing what works for your student to read. I think that knowing your child and their personality will help as well. Your best tool is to know the book to be able to discuss it with them - in a casual manner. Asking questions to get them to form an opinion about how that book relates to them is also a great thing.

Happy Reading folks!
My first review will be the series of Lux novels by Jennifer L. Armentrout. So be looking for it!


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Grace


Grace is the unmerited favor of God.

Grace is the foundation of the Christian faith. Without it, we are lost.

In my 51 years, I have found it is also a necessity in living a happy life, a fulfilled life. Unfortunately, it is not until recently that I realized how very important it is in moving away from the past. And that I was not applying it rightly.

There were things that happened in my young adult years that embittered me toward Christians and toward precious friends. I withheld my love and my forgiveness as a protection against a hurt that I could not seem to overcome. I have many times sought to exorcise these nasty hurts by writing about them, but what I ended up doing is perpetuating a hurt and thus extricating myself from these people I loved so dearly. I turned my back on a congregation and a denomination considering it baggage left well behind. But it follows me still. The blessing is that God has given me a better understanding of grace and how it plays a role in my life beyond God's underlying gift that allows me to have fellowship with Him. It is also His way of allowing me to have fellowship with other believers. And though I am sure I knew this in some manner- I did not realize I was not practicing it in my own faith. I never once applied it to the series of events that left me so wounded.

The fact is, I have always held myself as a victim of the selfishness and lack of love of these friends. Did they know they hurt me? The answer to that is yes and no. I think I made it clear I felt abandoned and unloved by their behavior toward me, but I do not think I let them know how broken I was, because of my own pride. This led to a hardening of myself toward them that caused a callous to form and resentment to build and a painful, unhealed wound underneath that managed to fester and return time and again. I would bandage it up with a false sense of piety that I was right and they were wrong, when all along, I was just as wrong. But I considered all those that so easily moved on past my own misery as disposable. What's more, this sense of being wronged has followed me into my middle age (I hate using "middle aged" - but for lack of better right now - I use it) friendships.

The fact is - I am immature. Still. But I have matured enough to understand that I was very much a part of their behavior toward me. There were things I did that led to their actions and instead of recognizing that and admitting it at the time, in my sinful pride, I heaped the blame on them and benefitted not one bit, but wallered (that's wallowed y'all) in my own misery. For YEARS.

So sad. Such a waste of energy and time. And I pushed away new friends in fear of the same thing happening. Not realizing that it was something I actually did have control of. Go figure. And me such a control freak.

So - this week I reached out to a beloved friend and found the same kindred spirit there. And she was in need. I had the privilege of praying for her and it has filled my heart and spilled over. Miraculously I have love and the desire to place myself (proverbally - please don't make me do it literally Lord) at the feet of these old friends.

If grace - unmerited favor -  is truly a gift, one we have received from God, then it is one we can and should extend - for our own fulfillment.