Monthly Reads: May / Writing Results + Goals

Hello.

MONTHLY READS: MAY

I only finished two books last month.

Promise’s Prayer / Erika Mathews

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

When I first finished this, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I also tried to do the whole spoiler tag thing but when I went to go grab it for this post, I realized half of my review was hidden when it shouldn’t have been. Fixing it didn’t work so I just revised it.

Here is the revised review:

So…it wasn’t bad, but I can’t say I love it either. Please take this as my personal subjective opinion.

BASICS

1. Aside from a few confusingly worded sentences, such as ‘her little girl laugh chuckled at him,’ my main beef, for lack of a better word, was that the plot came across as somewhat passive.

That isn’t to say there wasn’t action, but it came across as being told more than shown. When it comes to showing and telling, the two need to have a balance. They’re essentially two sides to the same coin. Puzzle pieces that are a perfect match so to speak.

But yeah, I thought there was a bit of telling in here.

2. I wish there had been a little more description, especially when it came to character descriptions. I had no idea what Kaelan looked like until halfway through the book.

CHARACTERS

1. Kaelan. I get that 19-year-olds still have a bit of naivety, but I kind of expected him to figure things out sooner than he actually did. Some of his reactions confused me a little. I could kind of see his character arc, but ultimately, the change he had was told more than shown.

1a. As a minor aside, I think Laelara should’ve been older, like 15-16. Even before their mother died, she sounded and acted far older than an actual 11-year-old girl. I’m not saying 11-yros can’t cook bc they can or that children can’t act older than they are but even in the latter case, they’re still a child.

2. I still don’t understand why the relation between two characters was kept secret. It didn’t seem like a genuine reason to do so. Not to me at least. And I honestly thought around the last twenty percent of the book that there was an attempt to start hinting at a future romance between two other characters but then they turned out to be related. I have no problem with mind-blowing plot twists (a certain fantasy author comes to mind), but this one fell flat for me.

THE MESSAGE

For a little background context, I read through Ecclesiastes last month (April). While reading this, the context of what I read in Ecclesiastes came to mind a couple times.

Now, there’s obviously nothing wrong with declaring sinful pleasures sinful. That wasn’t my quibble. My quibble was that aside from a few comments, there was little to no talk about how there are also GOOD pleasures that are given to us by God to enjoy. It didn’t help that Kaelan said something about how we don’t have to have fun – which is really not what Ecclesiastes eventually concludes in some areas.

Ecclesiastes certainly warns against mindless self-indulgence, but it also encourages us to enjoy life – with discretion and boundaries of course. I don’t recall reading that that charge includes the notion that we don’t have to have fun because it certainly sounds like we ARE being told to have fun – again, with discretion and boundaries.

Edit: After thinking about it again, I’m not sure I entirely agree with the ‘prayer being the work’ conclusion. I was under the impression that spreading the Gospel – the Great Commission – was the work.

I’m not doubting the power of prayer and certainly we can pray for the salvation of others. But Jesus’ last command to his disciples before ascending into heaven was to spread the Gospel throughout all the nations.

Yes, some of us will be called to spread the Gospel here at home and not abroad. That was recognized towards the end of the book…I think. But I’ve always been under the impression that the Great Commission is the work…

OTHER THINGS

1. The girl. If you know, you know. I think somewhere in the back of my mind, I was expecting a certain character to do more about that whole situation and actually help rescue her but nope.

2. MINOR VILLAINS

This may be extremely nitpicky, but some of the minor villains came across more as cardboard cutouts than actual people.

3. VERSES

Specifically, the issue of taking Jeremiah 29:11 out of context. Yes, friends. That verse does not mean what you think it means, or rather, what you’ve been taught it means. Let’s look at it with verses 10 and 12:

For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. – ESV

Honestly, I could go on (and actually started listing other translations), but I think it’s time to wrap this review up. But I’ll eventually write a blog post about it…

FINAL THOUGHTS:

The concept is great. It really is, and honestly there should be more books like this, because there’s really nothing wrong with casual, relaxing reads about the Christian life.

Yet, with regard to some of the aspects, I can’t help but look back and think it might’ve been missing something that ultimately resulted in it falling a bit flat for me.

I think I have to rate it around 2.5-3 stars.

I’ll still read the rest of the series though.


THE EDGE OF BELONGING / Amanda Cox

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Literally all I had to say was this: Man, I love books where everyone is connected.

Originally, I gave it 5 stars, but looking back, I think it’s more of a 4 star for me. It’s really good and I didn’t want to stop reading. It also may have inspired me to make The Woodsman a time-slip novel instead of peppering it with flashbacks every few chapters.

The characters felt alive and real, the romance sweet, and can I punch the jerkface?

Anyway…it’s a good book.


WRITING RESULTS: MAY

The Woodsman fluctuated in word count the entire month. It’s still like that. First, I get the idea to make a time-slip novel. Now I’m shifting things around.

I can’t say anything about any other story because TW has taken over.


WRITING GOALS: JUNE

Honestly, I’m not even going to try and finish TW this month. I’ll just take it slow and see where it goes. Maybe I’ll finish, maybe I won’t. For now, here’s a tiny snippet:

“Alright, lemme grab-” Jonathan yawned again as he reached for the sandpaper.

“Maybe it’s time for bed, sleepyhead,” Will joked.

“Daaaad. I’m fifteen.”

EXTRA STUFF

I launched my knitting blog last month, but I haven’t posted about any projects yet. I’ll probably get to that sometime this week.

Also, I went on a hike to a ghost town called Melmont, which was a mining town, last week. There isn’t much left of it, just a few foundations and walls. It’s nestled above the Carbon River:

And the place where most of the town used to be is one giant field now, with a couple of shotgun shells, fragments of bricks, and rusty old car parts left. But it’s still a beautiful trail, with beautiful scenery.

The field where the town used to be
A wall. You come across this on the trail to the town; we have no idea what is used to be part of.
This is Sammy.

To get to the town, you have to cross an old bridge first and park in a small gravel area:

Then come down this steep walk:

Trust me, it’s a lot steeper than it looks

And ta-da! The trail!

It was raining (off and on), it was muddy, and it was beautiful.


Anyway, that’s about it. How did your May go? Ours was more rainy than usual – apparently the last time May was this rainy (at least here) was in the ’40s!

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