Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin

IceForgedI just finished reading The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga by Gail Z. Martin. I’m not entirely sure what to say other than I really enjoyed it and couldn’t put it down.

This is a four book fantasy series (first book: Ice Forged) about a group of convicts who ultimately find themselves responsible for restoring a kingdom destroyed by the collapse of magic. Sent away to prison for various crimes, this group of convicts soon finds that being exiled to Velant was the only thing that saved their life when magic broke and destroyed their home country of Dondareth. Determined to find answers, they return to Dondareth and discover that the loss of magic isn’t the only problem that Dondareth faces.

From humans to vampires to mages to necromancers to ghosts to wraiths, this book has a host of characters that will either endear themselves to you or make you hate them.

Like I said, I couldn’t put the series down. I read all four books within the span of 2 or so weeks. This is definitely going on my “favorites” list for young adults.

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Mara, Daughter of the Nile — Diary of a Nerdy Bookworm

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw My stars: 5! Recommended for 6th Grade and Up! My Review: Ingredients: 1 scoop of Egypt 1 part of royalty 2 parts mystery And a dash of romance… Mix together and you get…. MARA, DAUGHTER OF THE NILE by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. I really love this […]

via Mara, Daughter of the Nile — Diary of a Nerdy Bookworm

Books for Job Seekers

As I am currently looking for employment, I borrowed some books from the library on job searching, changing careers, and determining what career path is right for you.

Career Match: Connecting Who You Are with What You’ll Love to Do

Career MatchThe first book I read, and my most favorite, is Career Match: Connecting Who You Are with What You’ll Love to Do by Shoya Zichy with Ann Bidou. This book uses the Color Q model to help you determine your primary and secondary personality-type. Once personality-type is determined, the book lists several strengths and weaknesses related to those personality-types in relation to job searchies and interviews as well as tips to compensate for those weaknesses. It also helps you gain a better understanding of the type of work environment and supervisory style people with your personality-type prefer and suggests jobs that people with your personality-type generally find meaningful.

My favorite chapter in the book is Chapter 27: A Road Map for Putting It All Together (don’t worry, you don’t have to read the entire book; you only read the sections that are pertinent to your personality-style). This chapter provides a “formula” to help you narrow down what jobs you think you would enjoy based on your work-related strengths, ideal work environment, ideal boss, and five jobs you think you would enjoy. It then provides suggestions on how to learn more about your top 5 jobs and determine how they relate to your strengths, ideal work environment, and ideal boss.

This is one book I would recommend for anyone who is searching for guidance on meaningful careers as well as high schoolers who are searching exploring future career possibilities.

Job Applications In a Week

Job ApplicationsJob Applications In a Week by Patricia Scudamore & Hilton Catt is an easy read. In addition to beneficial tips, it also provides an interesting perspective on how potential employers select candidates. This book is particularly good for people with limited interview and job-search experience. However, as someone who has experience searching for jobs and interviewing, I did find some valuable tips and encouragement in this book.

 

The Career Cowards Guide to Changing Careers by Katy Piotrowski, M.Ed.

CareerCowardAs I consider myself a coward when it comes to changing careers, the title of this book alone was enough to spark my interest, and while I have not started reading this book, I definitely intend to.

After skimming it (like I always do with library books to determine if I will even read them), I liked how the first chapters in this book help you “Discover Your Natural Talents and Best Skills” (Chapter 1), “Visualize Your Ideal Carer” (Chapter 2), and “Pinpoint your Passion Zones” (Chapter 3. Obviously there are more chapters in the book, but those are the three that caught my eye.

10 Insider Secrets to a Winning Job Search by Todd Bermont

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I’ve only read part of this book, but it offers some good advice thus far. It covers everything from believing in yourself to creating resumes and cover letters to interviewing to networking and much more. This book provides a good overview of the entire job search process.

 

These will definitely be added to my non-fiction “favorites” list.

Splendors and Gloom

Splendor's and Gloom.jpgWeird. That is the only way I can describe Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. As far as children’s fiction books go, this is rather dark, and the story is confusing. The story bounces back and forth between different character’s and perspectives, and the real focus of the story does not become clear until much later in the book. (About ½ way through the book you finally figure out what happened to Clara, and ¾ of the way through the book you finally realize how all these characters relate to one another.)

The synopsis of the story makes it sound like the focus is discovering what happened to Clara, however, in truth, her disappearance is only a small part of the bigger picture. Perhaps a better synopsis would be:

An old curse, two enemies, and the lives of three unhappy children collide in this tale of magic and greed set in London in the 1800s. Cassandra, a witch who will stop at nothing to dispel her curse, and Grisini, a master puppeteer with a desire for power and money, care little for the lives they must take and the happiness they will destroy in their quest for freedom and power. Caught in between are three children – Clara Wintermute, Lizzie Rose, and Parsefall – each being viewed as a tool – a puppet – for Cassandra and Grisini to achieve their desires. Life was hard for the children, and thanks to Cassandra and Grisini, it just became harder.

The story though, is not without merit. The children, even Parsefall who is the most “hardened” of the children, are examples of selflessness and courage. Lizzie Rose in particular is a good example of compassion, showing mercy and kindness even to those who hurt and mistreat her. The story also has an interesting way of dealing with each character’s grief and helping them find the peace and healing they very much need.

Sevenfold Sword

sevenfoldswordThe Sevenfold Sword by Jonathan Moeller is the most recent series of books I’ve been enjoying. While the story is slow at times, overall it is an enjoyable read (or listen).

I really enjoy the relationship between the husband and wife. Their fidelity to each other is not a common trait seen in media these days. I also enjoy the internal conflict of the two supporting characters as they endeavor to find themselves and/or heal from past trauma.

One of the things I thought was most interesting was that when you meet the wife for the first time, she is suffering from depression as a result of the death of her infant daughter. After having withdrawn from the world for many months, she decides it is time to return to her duties. However, as she tries to fulfill her role as the Keeper of Andomhaim, she still struggles internally with her feelings of despair and depression. Throughout the early part of the story and occasionally during the latter part, you see her fighting her feelings of self-loathing and guilt as she strives to move past her grief. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, I appreciated seeing a character who, despite suffering mentally, refused to be conquered by her mental illness and was still valued and respected. (I guess what I’m trying to say is I felt it showed that there was more to people with a mental illness than just the illness itself. I could see in the wife some of the thinking patterns/struggles I had experienced when I was at my lowest, and I appreciated a book that showed how it is hard to remain interested in life when life doesn’t seem worth living.)

I will be adding this book to my “favorites” list.

Note: Audible has the series broken into 3 parts, so I’m not sure how many books I’ve listened to because there was more than one in the version I bought. However, the first book in the series is called Champion.