Saturday, August 31, 2013


I'm going crazy over here! It seems like all I've done in the past four days since getting home, is sit around and stare at screens. I feel so useless and potato-like.


I'm feeling very antsy to start school and get busy accomplishing things! Is that why I took up knitting? First and foremost, it's to send scarves to orphans in Russia (don't laugh. Our church has a ministry). My other reason was to keep my hands busy when I'm just sitting around.... But now I just had a thought. What if I started to knit because I want to accomplish things, even when I'm watching TV or a movie? Oh dear, is this a problem?


Live long and prosper.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Something very exciting!

Guess what, guess what, guess what?! My very good friend Jessica Hammond, has published her second book today!

Isn't this the most amazing cover ever? I love the colors and the vibrancy.
Here is the blurb from the author:

After crashing on a foreign planet that shouldn't exist, Kat and Kadet should be trying to find a way home. Instead, Kadet is stuck in dreams of fame and fortune, and Kat is stuck with people who don't understand him. When Kadet goes missing, though, Kat and the people around him must work together to bring her back, or he risks losing all he was ever made for.

You can read Kat and Kadet for free on Wattpad HERE.

I haven't read the finished story yet, but the rough draft was amazing so the finished draft should be extra fabulous!

Go and read it! Now. You will not regret it!

Live long and prosper.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Emma by Jane Austen - a review.

Title: Emma.


Author: Jane Austen (O.o I did not know that her name was spelled with an E instead of an I until just today. So the label on this post will still say Jane Austin, instead of Jane Austen. Funny thing to not notice, right? EDIT 12/22/14: I've just got an changed the label because otherwise it would annoy me.)

Synopsis: Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.
(From Goodreads, because I couldn't think one up.)

My rating: 9/10 stars.

Things I didn't like/things you should know: I can't think of a single thing that was wrong about this book, in terms of cleanness. Emma takes God's name in vain a few times near the end of the book.... But that's about it.
One thing, however, annoyed me. Numerous times throughout the book, instead of saying, "I went to the store and bought some apples because I am going to make an apple pie," Jane Austen wrote, "She went to the store and bought some apples because she is going to make an apple pie." She would put it in quotations, but write it as if it weren't in quotations. That annoyed me.

My thoughts: This was a great book! I'm a fan of Jane Austen anyway. Emma doesn't quite top Pride and Prejudice (or Sense and Sensibility... though I'd need to re-read that one before making up my mind entirely), but it is a wonderful book! I especially loved the last 19 chapters (part three, in my version). The last 19 chapters is when all my favorite parts happen - the ball, Box Hill, the proposal.... *dreamy sigh.*
Emma is very well-written and has Jane Austen's usual humor, which I love.
What I really loved about this book, though, was the character development. The book takes place over a period of about a year and Emma learns and changes through that year. You can see her innermost thoughts, and can see how her mistakes make her into a better person. She's a totally different person by the end of the book, than she was at the beginning. I love seeing that in literature.

Would I recommend this book? Yes! To fans of books like Jane Austen's, Emma will delight.

And if you don't want to read the book.... go watch BBC's 2009 version of Emma! It is amazing! Very accurate to the book, I think - and just beautiful to watch.

Live long and prosper!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Home, sweet home!

We're home from Minnesota! This year was a bit hard for me - going away... It seems like I haven't been home at all for the past two months. We went camping twice, and then I was away at a youth conference, and then we headed straight out to Minn. I'm happy to be home finally where I can sleep in my own bed. I'm even looking (really) forwards to starting school up again soon! Yet, I'm going to miss Grama and the peace that a small town brings.
Well, I just wanted to let you all know that I'm back, and that more regular posts should be coming soon.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Algona, Iowa.

On Tuesday, my grandparents, mother, and I took a road trip down to Algona, Iowa. Our premise for going was that my mother, who is a quilter and therefore follows lots of quilting blogs, won a pack of fabric and also a gift certificate to a restaurant where they house the largest cheeto in the world. While we were down there, though, we decided to go to a museum and the Algona Nativity Scene. Here I must sidetrack a bit, and tell the history that we learned at the museum, before I go on and tell you about the Nativity Scene and the restaurant.

Nearly everyone is taught about the World Wars. While studying World War One, one learns about the trenches, and mustard gas, and the United States entering near the end. While studying World War Two, one learns about Hitler, and the gas chambers, the Jews, and V-Day. One learns about the Pacific Theater, and the awful battles between America and Japan; one learns about the Japanese Internment camps (where the United States took all of the Japanese or Japanese-American people and shut them up in camps during WW2 [one of those that was interned, was George Takei, who played Sulu in Original Star Trek]); and one learns about the awful treatment that American soldiers received in German Prisoner of War camps.
What does one not learn about? The Prisoner of War camp (P.O.W. camps) in the United States.
In 1943, Europe's P.O.W. camps were overflowing with German prisoners (with other nationalities, such as Italian, mixed in) and Great Britain asked the United States to take some of the prisoners. The United States people weren't happy about it, but in the end, they did take in the Prisoners of War. Over 450,000 P.O.W.'s, during the course of 1944-1945, stayed in 700 camps scattered throughout the United States. Here is a map - every dot is a P.O.W. camp:


So what happens now? 450,000 German prisoners are now in America! Well, unlike American prisoners in Germany, these German prisoners were treated very well, in accordance with the Geneva Convention (which says that prisoners will be treated as well as the army that watches over them).

This is where the museum that we visited, and the Nativity Scene, come in.

In Algona, Iowa, they had a P.O.W. camp. Though the camp is no longer standing, and is now an airport, they have a museum with lots of articles and bios about German prisoners from the camp.

The Algona camp (and, indeed, mostly all of the other camps), prisoners could be hired out to local farmers, as farm hands. They would be paid in slips of paper, that they could spend at the Canteen - the store inside the P.O.W. camp.
In camp, prisoners had a variety of things that they could do.... They had arts and crafts, and sports. Many beautiful pieces of art came out of the camp, as well as poetry and journal entries, talking about every day life. Prisoners were allowed to send and receive letters (though they were looked over very closely by both America and Germany before being allowed to get back to family or sweethearts). In the Algona camp, they had an acting troupe, a choir, a newspaper (the P.O.W.-WOW) and a 15 piece orchestra. They say that idleness is the tool of the devil - these prisoners were anything but idle! They had a million things to do and were treated very well by all. Several of them became great friends with their farmer employers. There is one story about a farmer who had lost his son to the war, and started calling his German farm hand his son, because they were on such good terms. Later, after the war was over, and the prisoners were sent back to Germany, that prisoner came back to the farm with his family, and was reunited with his employer. There are many, many stories like that.
In 1946, the German prisoners were sent back to Germany, because the war was over. But many of them didn't want to go! Several escaped and lived in the United States, falling in love and creating a family, until found out by the government. Most of the time, the government would let them stay, if they would consent to going back to Germany for x amount of time first.
One man, his named was George, I think, was an amazing carver. While still a P.O.W., he carved something that took the fancy of one of the officers. The officer asked for it and George wondered why. "To show my grandchildren," replied the officer. George asked for five dollars (and not in slips of paper to spend at the canteen). The officer wondered why George would want five dollars. "To show my grandchildren," George replied. So they traded. George ended up selling two more carvings for $5 each. He had $15 and escaped to New Mexico. He met and fell in love with a woman. They married and had at least one child. But George was always looking over his shoulder, sure that someone would find out that we was here illegally. He didn't want to go back to Germany! He had experienced freedom - and had a beautiful family.
He had also started a bookstore, and was a flourishing businessman.
Well, one day, the officer who had bought George's carving for $5, walked into the bookstore, and recognized him. After that encounter, and after 40 years of living in the United States, George turned himself in. Our government made him go back to Germany for 6 months, but then said he could return and become a citizen. George did so. Eventually, though, he ended back up in Germany, and ran a successful bookstore there.

In 1944, one P.O.W., named Eduard Kaib, made a Nativity Scene. It was relatively small... something like six or eight inches per figure; but the officers were so impressed, that they asked for a bigger Nativity Scene for next year's Christmas. Eduard Kaib, and six other people (only one of whom has been identified) set to work, and by Christmas 1945, they had a huge Nativity Scene, where the figures were half life-size, to show to the people. And the people did come! Every year since 1945, at Christmastime (or, if you live more than 100 miles away, like us), Algona opens up the Nativity Scene to show to people.
It was quite amazing. There is over 35 sheep, over 20 figures, four camels, one angel, one cow, and one donkey. All of them are original, from 1945. To make them, Eduard Kaib poured cement over a wire and wood frame, to get the basic shape. Then he covered it with plaster, and painted it in what colors he supposed to be prominent back at the birth of Christ.


Blue lights added to the atmosphere. They played a recording of the history of the Nativity, and even had Kaib talking about it! He returned to Algona in the '60's to see his Nativity again.


Look at all those sheep!


I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend these two museums (the Nativity Scene, and the P.O.W. Museum, in Algona, Iowa) which tell about a piece of lost history. It's really quite incredible. They are both run entirely by volunteer, by the Methodist's Men's Club. It will be a sad day when all of the old, Methodist gentleman, die and no one is left to take care of the museums. I hope that never happens, because this piece of history is an amazing story, and one not often told.

After these two museums, we went to Emeralds, a restaurant with the largest cheeto. Their food was very, very good (though a tad bit expensive, maybe) and their restaurant was cool - nautical themed! They had model ships and portholes and diving suit helmets.
And, of course, the largest cheeto in the world:


(That's my mom with the cheeto.)
Here's a picture of it that I found online, compared to a regular cheeto and a quarter.


So there was our day on Tuesday! It was a great trip.

Live long and prosper! And go visit those museums!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt.

Remember that video that I mentioned a few posts back? I said that I couldn't find it in my documents... Well, I found it!
This was filmed a few weeks ago; but, since I couldn't find it, I'm only putting it on here now. Enjoy!

If you want to do the bookshelf scavenger hunt, here are the things to find:
• Find an author's name or title with the letter Z in it
• Find a classic
• Find a book with a key on it
• Find something on your bookshelf that's not a book
• Find the oldest book on your shelf
• Find a book with a girl on the cover
• Find a book that has an animal in it
• Find a book with a male protagonist
• Find a book with only words on it
• Find a book with illustrations in it
• Find a book with gold lettering
• Find a diary (true or fictional)
• Find a book written by someone with a common name (like John Smith)
• Find a book that has a close-up of something on it
• Find a book on your shelf that takes place in the earliest time period
• Find a hardcover book without a jacket
• Find a teal/turquoise colored book
• Find a book with stars on it
• Find a non-YA book
And here is the link to the original video. Original video!
Live long and prosper!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Ankulen by Kendra E. Ardnek - cover reveal!

Hi guys, my blogger friend Kendra (from Knitted by God's Plan) is coming out with her fourth book on September 5th!
She released the book's cover today and I'm doing my part by posting about it!
Here is the beautiful cover:


I've said it before and I will say it again, self-published authors have the best covers. They're just so creative and beautiful! With very nice color schemes, I may add.

Here is the book's blurb:
Fifteen-year-old Jen can't remember her imagination. She knows she had one once, though, and honestly, she'd like it back. It's been eight years. One day she finds a young boy who claims to be one of her imaginary friends and that her imaginary world is being eaten by a hydra-like monster called the Polystoikhedron. He helps her find the Ankulen, a special bracelet that had given the ability to bring her imagination to life and together they embark on a quest to find friendship, healing, and perhaps even some family.

Sounds pretty exciting!

So who's the writer behind the words?

Kendra E. Ardnek  is the eldest daughter in a homeschooling family of four. She has been making up stories since an early age and published her first book, Sew, It's a Quest, when she was sixteen.

When she isn't writing, she's usually knitting, crocheting, making swords out of paint-stir sticks, or looking up random facts. You can follow her writing adventures on her blog, Knitted by God's Plan.
And now a mini-interview with the author herself:
How did you come up with the name Ankulen, and how do you pronounce it?
Honestly, I have no idea where the name came from. My Grandpa is constantly giving my siblings and I random and unusual objects, and one Sunday while my cousin and I were plotting the play that would become this book, he gave me a cheap, plastic, yellow bracelet. I stuck it on my arm and brought it home. On a whim my cousin and I decided to shove it in, and I think Ankulen was just a string of syllables that fell out of my mouth when the thing needed a name. It stuck and has been the official name ever since.
It is pronounced An-koo-lin, and I honestly don't care anymore which syllable gets the emphasis, thanks to listening to Microsoft Mary reading it to me on my kindle.

You talk a lot about worlds... the world of the Ankulen is partly set in our world, and partly set in Jen's imagination, if I'm correct. Would you ever write/do you have plans to write any other books set in Jen's imagination?
Well, there is another layer to the world that I haven't mentioned before, but you'll have to read the book to find out what it is. So, as far as you're concerned, you're pretty much correct. The book is mostly set in Jen's imagination, but there are about four and a half chapters in the real world.
I've been waiting for someone to ask me if I was going to write anything more about Jen and her imagination. Truth is, when I started the book, I thought it was a standalone. I'd write the story, polish it up, hit the publish button and then wash my hands of the whole affair. However, by the time I finished the first draft, I realized that there was still a lot of story potential, and that this was a lovely little world that I would love to spend more time is. When I wrote the second draft, I purposefully left some unresolved plots and hinted-at secrets. It will be at least five years before I write an official sequel, however I plan to have a short story about one of Jen's childhood adventures in my next collection, and Jen has been talking about writing a Little Mermaid inspired story about Mynna the mermaid princess for NaNo. I also have some books set in the imaginations of some of the minor characters planned. So yes, I plan to keep writing about Ankulens.
Did you have fun writing The Ankulen?
No. I didn't. Every word was agony and I was bored out of my wits.
Do you detect a high level of sarcasm?
I did have fun writing The Ankulen, perhaps more fun than I've ever had writing a book. There were times when I wanted to pull my hair out, but that wasn't often. This book behaved beautifully, and beautifully behaving books make for a happy author.

Kendra always has very fun parties for the release of her books, and this time it's no different. So head over to her blog (link above) and check it out!


Live long and prosper!
P.S. Here is the link to The Ankulen's Goodreads page:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Majestic Zip-It.

(The first line, which kind of gets cut off, is "The Majestic Zip-It is a mysterious creature....")

(The last sentence, which also gets a little cut off is, "This is Al B. Tross, signing off.")
I was bored last night. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What we've seen the past few days.

Here's me driving 75 on the freeway:



On Saturday the family went to a zoo. I got to see my very first polar bear and giant tortoise! That was exciting. Although I felt really sorry for the animals - their cages were too small.




Things with horns:



Today, driving to Grama's, we took a detour to visit a two story outhouse.


It had five holes... Three in the bottom and two on top. There was a wall on the bottom floor that separated those holes from the stuff coming down from the top floor... Either way, I wouldn't want to be on the bottom while someone else was on the top, if you get my drift!

I've been doing some re-writing. I had hoped to have it all done by today.... But then I decided to re-do a pretty major part, which means re-writing a whole bunch more. I'll work on that a lot tomorrow, I think.
Also, of course, I've been reading. I'm waiting for the perfect moment to start The Return of the King (aka, sometime when I'm not about to fall asleep on my feet). I'm still reading Emma. And I started another Agatha Christie. This one is called Dead Man's Folly and so far it's one of my top favorites, even though I'm only a few chapters in and nobody's been murdered yet. I like it because it has Ariadne Oliver. She is a character! I'm not exactly sure how she and Poirot met... I haven't read that book yet. But she's a detective writer whose just a little bit dunderheaded. She's hilarious. I love her. I think she's one of my top favorite characters ever.

Here's a scene with her that I find fits us authors particularly well.
The pretense of the book is that Mrs. Oliver has set up a Murder Hunt (which is like a treasure hunt or a How to Host a Murder game). She has come up with all these clues and suspects for people to solve. The only problem is that she thinks something far more sinister is going on... So she calls in her good friend Poirot.
In this scene, she's trying to explain the plot of the Murder Hunt.

Mrs. Oliver gave a deep sigh and turned to Poirot. "Well, I'll  have to tell it you, then. Only I'm not very good at telling things. I mean if I write things, I get them perfectly clear, but if I talk, it always sounds the most frightful muddle; and that's why I never discuss my plots with anyone, I've learn not to, because if I do, they just look at me blankly and say - 'er - yes, but - I don't see what happened - and surely that can't possibly make a book.' So damping. And not true, because when I write it, it does!"

Anyways, I should be off to bed. Early to bed and early to rise makes a (wo)man healthy, wealthy, and wise!
Unfortunately, it's a little too late to be calling this early so... I'll just leave.

Live long and prosper.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

On the road again.

I just can't wait to get on the road again...
Who else loved that Veggie Tales CD (and still do) when they were younger?

Anyway, I apologize for my absence the past few... weeks, really. I've had scheduled posts, sure, but most of the time, I've just been gone gone gone (I've been watching Eloise At Christmastime too much... I'm starting to sound like Nanny - she's from England and likes to say everything three times).
Now we are on the road again. We're driving across the country to visit my grandparents in Minnesota. Right now we're somewhere in North Dakota and I'm super sore because I drove three hours on the freeway today! 75 mph is pretty scary.... But we all survived. Although my shoulders will never be the same, I fear.

As well as driving, I have been knitting a scarf (while listening to The Swiss Family Robinson - love that book), reading Emma, watching Doctor Who, adding the necessary scenes to Part Three, and sleeping.

When we reach our destination, I'll do a longer post!

Live long and prosper.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What I've been up to the past month.

Writing: I didn't get too much done in the past month. I did, however, make good progress on a short story. And also have been doing some editing of Part Three here and there - though not as much as I should be doing.

Reading: I finished six books in July, as well as finishing one today. Overall, I rated them 9/10.
Books keep getting marked off on my reading list... Observe:

  • The Future Door by Jason Lethcoe - A good sequel to a good book.
  • Crater by Homer Hickam - Loved this book!!
  • A bunch of random Agatha Christie - I've read three now. Murder at the Vicarage, the first Miss Marple mystery; And Then There Were None, an amazing book that every mystery fan should read! and Death on the Nile, which I just finished about half an hour ago. It was very good and had a very great ending!
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - Brilliant book, if you can get past the swearing and slang phrases. (By the way, I LOVE the idea of blotting out bad words. Thanks Writer4Christ!)
  • Emma by Jane Austin - I haven't been able to finish this one yet, but I'm still enjoying it! I just need to find time to enjoy it....
  • Sew, It's a Quest and Do You Take This Quest? by Kendra E. Ardnek - Check! These are great books. I especially liked the second one.
  • The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss - We're going to try and take this one out of the library, to listen to in the car on the way to my Grandma's.
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - LOVED this one! Great.
  • Assignment: Eternity by Greg Cox - I exchanged A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court for this Star Trek novel.
  • The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien - now that I've finished with The Two Towers... I want to take on the final part in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I'm planning on reading this one next month.

  • I took Anne of Green Gables off of the list because I know I'm not going to get that one read this summer. Perhaps this coming fall or winter... or even next spring or summer.

    Nerd Life:
    Nerd Life (hosted by Clair over at Working Title) is sadly over. I had lots of fun doing it and actually got quite a few of my books read! Plus I got to write up some nerdy articles about the Enterprise and StarGate.
    Here are the books - and their mini-reviews - that I read and finished for Nerd Life!

    Crater by Homer Hickam. I already did a review for this book, that you can find somewhere. Just a recap, though.... Crater Trueblood is an orphan living and working on the moon. He is given the dangerous mission of accompanying the convoy across the lunar plains to the great Armstrong City. Crater runs across many adventures and enemies and must choose who to save, and who to ally himself with.
    I really really enjoyed this book. It was right up my alley - a sci-fi adventure with quirky elements that defied the current expectations for novels. It had some violence, but nothing was described in too much detail. Go find and read this book!

    And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Oh my goodness. If you need a thrilling, spine-chilling, adventure mystery, this is the book for you! Caution: do not read this book while camping on an island, it will make you frightened for your life.
    Ten people are invited to an island by the mysterious U.N. Owen. There is no way off of the island and one by one people are being killed off.... The only logical solution is that the killer is one of the ten. But which one?

    Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie. I just finished this one tonight, so I'm not sure it counts.... But I'm going to count it anyway.
    Poirot, the detective, is on holiday. He's taking a tour up the Nile, in Egypt. Also on the boat is the extremely rich heiress, Linnet Doyle, recently married and on her honeymoon. Unfortunately, she also proves to be the perfect incentive to murder....
    This book moved very slowly at first. Nothing really exciting happens until about halfway through the book. But, considering that there's probably fifteen main characters, this might be a good thing. We get to know the characters, we get to know that some of them aren't all they seem, and the tension builds.
    The ending was very satisfactory, I enjoyed it. And I'm always a fan of how Agatha Christie puts so many characters into her novels that she has the reader running in circles trying to figure out who's who and if they're important or not. Also, I loved the setting. I used to want to be an archaeologist when I was younger, and though that ambition has flown away, I still retain my love of Egypt.
    Though this wasn't my favorite Agatha Christie that I've read, it certainly doesn't fall short and would greatly enthrall any mystery and Egypt fan!

    Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I still can't wrap my mind around this book. It was so brilliantly written and thought out and executed... And so sad. Yet, it has a lot wrong with it as well.... Mainly the swearing and slang words.

    Emma by Jane Austin. I haven't finished this one yet, but I'm getting close. I have about 21 chapters left (out of, like, 50).

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I really enjoyed this book. I think it's a sweet novelette that anyone should read if they need something short, sweet, and easy to read.

    And finally... Assignment: Eternity by Greg Cox. I didn't get to this one. I might wait until fall to read it.

    And there you have it!

    In the coming month I hope to finish Part Three of After the Twelfth Night. I would also like to finish Emma, read another Agatha Christie, read (and finish!) The Return of the King, and read Crescent (the sequel to Crater) by Homer Hickam. As I said above, we're getting The Swiss Family Robinson out of the library to listen to in the car, so hopefully that gets done. Also, I'm hoping to get The Phantom Tollbooth out of the library, after reading Kendra's blog post on the world of that book. It interested me and I decided to randomly get it out and read it!

    So there you have it!

    Live long and prosper!

    Saturday, August 3, 2013

    I'm back from the conference!

    Thank you all SO much for the prayers! I really appreciate it. By the grace of God I did not get a migraine the whole week! Hurray!
    Though I didn't have any huge spiritual awakenings, I realized several places in my life where I could stand to be more Christ-like, and therefore, will be working on those areas. Also, I learned some great new verses! Like these two (which kind of go together):

    Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
    Deuteronomy 31:6

    Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.
    Ephesians 6:19

    Thanks again for all your prayer.

    Sometime in the next few days I should have my finishing post for Nerd Life (hosted by the lovely Clair) and my end-of-the-month update thingy with next month's goals tagged on at the end.

    Before I leave you, I want to tell you about this amazing deal I got today. My mom and I went tennis shoe shopping and on our way home, just randomly stopped at an estate sale. Guess what I got? The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, illustrated by Rockwell Kent, published in 1936.... FOR ONE DOLLAR!
    I have been searching for Shakespeare's complete works for a number of years, and I wanted a specific version - the kind where they put the whole name of the characters, instead of abbreviating them. This version has their whole names! Hurrah!

    And now I leave you with this - the best thing you've seen all day:

    Live long and prosper.

    P.S. Excuse any confusingness... I'm practically asleep on my feet. I can't think I'm so tired. Goodnight.

    Thursday, August 1, 2013

    Ender's Game - a review.

    Warning: This review will have spoilers so beware.

    Title: Ender's Game.


    Author: Orson Scott Card.

    Synopsis: Six-year-old Ender Wiggin in brought away to battle school, where he will train to become a soldier, to fight in the horrible bugger war. (That's dry-sounding... I know. But I'm tired and can't come up with anything better.)

    My rating: 7/10.

    The bad/what you should know: The whole first half of the book is, shall we say, interesting in some parts. In the first chapter Ender (who is six) beats up a boy who was teasing him.
    When Ender gets up to battle school (which is above earth, in orbit, I believe), he finds that all the boys (and the few girls that are at battle school) walk around naked when not training or doing battle.
    As well as a bunch of swear words (mostly the d and h words), there is a bunch of slang used (balls and piss are used a LOT!).
    At one point it is said that a boy's genitals are displayed on a screen.
    In the second half, there are still swear words but the slang is greatly diminished.
    Ender beats up another person in self defense.
    None of the above is described in detail (except maybe the beatings).
    This whole book is filled with disturbing principles - like child-soldiers and taking over the world and telling your brother you want to kill him.

    The good/what I liked: Wow. This book was REALLY well done. I am flabbergasted that someone can write as well as Orson Scott Card. I don't know how he did it, but he emotionally invested me into Ender's life. Perhaps it was the fact that, at six years old, everyone basically hates him for being the third child (in the future only two children are allowed, unless the government orders another child). Because of this, Ender decides to accept the offer to go up to battle school in the stars. There, everyone hates him too. The teachers have purposefully isolated him from the other students (by making him the object of teasing) so bring out his full potential, because they believe that he is earth's only hope. They believe that he will destroy the buggers, advanced aliens that had invaded earth two previous times.
    Oh yes, and did I mention that Ender is genetically enhanced, making him very very smart, even at six years old?
    The little children in this book act like adults, training and fighting wars, and planning to take over countries.
    Orson Scott Card makes us sympathize with Ender. We are allowed to see secret conversations that Ender's teachers have. They talk about isolating him and breaking him so that his full potential will be reached. It's heart wrenching, because he's just a kid. But also, we sympathize with Ender because he doesn't want to be a killer. His older brother Peter is a ruthless child who skins squirrels and watches them die. He has threatened to kill Ender more than once. Ender doesn't want to be like that, yet he sees himself becoming that. He hates himself for beating up Stilson - but at the same time, Ender didn't want Stilson hurting him.
    Gah, the writing was so amazing. You really feel like you're hovering, invisible, next to Ender, watching his every move.
    Then there were the plot twists. Not only do we see Ender and the teachers talking about Ender, we get to see Ender's brother and sister on earth, plotting to take over the world. They are also genetically advanced, so, at 11 and 13, Peter and Valentine create fake IDs and go onto the political forums and start writing political papers with radical ideas. Slowly the world comes around to their ideas, not knowing that they come from two kids. Those parts were brilliant.
    And the plot twist at the end! Wow! And the actual ending. That was kind of cool. Like, really.
    I'm still reeling from the amazingness of the writing of this book. I've tried to do a comprehensive review, but I don't think I can do the book justice until I read it a couple more times.

    Would I recommend this book? Yes, to a certain audience. Certainly not to children. I would say that you should be at least fourteen, if not fifteen or sixteen to read this book. And maybe not even then. This book is for mature readers who are able to handle the ideas this book throws at you (not to mention the swearing). If that's you, up there, and you like science fiction and amazingness and concepts that need thinking about, then go read this book!

    Will I read this book again/closing thoughts: I don't know if I will read this book again. Probably someday, because I think it's a fantastically well-executed and well-written book. I am not, however, looking forward to reading those swear/slang words. Bleh. That was the worst for me. I hate reading swear words; it's different than hearing them spoken.

    Live long and prosper.