Wednesday, May 29, 2013

{Review} The King's Deception

What it's about: 

Cotton Malone is back! Steve Berry’s new international adventure blends gripping contemporary political intrigue, Tudor treachery, and high-octane thrills into one riveting novel of suspense.
Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son, Gary, are headed to Europe. As a favor to his former boss at the Justice Department, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England. But after he is greeted at gunpoint in London, both the fugitive and Gary disappear, and Malone learns that he’s stumbled into a high-stakes diplomatic showdown—an international incident fueled by geopolitical gamesmanship and shocking Tudor secrets.
At its heart is the Libyan terrorist convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103, who is set to be released by Scottish authorities for “humanitarian reasons.” An outraged American government objects, but nothing can persuade the British to intervene.
Except, perhaps, Operation King’s Deception.
Run by the CIA, the operation aims to solve a centuries-old mystery, one that could rock Great Britain to its royal foundations.
Blake Antrim, the CIA operative in charge of King’s Deception, is hunting for the spark that could rekindle a most dangerous fire, the one thing that every Irish national has sought for generations: a legal reason why the English must leave Northern Ireland. The answer is a long-buried secret that calls into question the legitimacy of the entire forty-five-year reign of Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, who completed the conquest of Ireland and seized much of its land. But Antrim also has a more personal agenda, a twisted game of revenge in which Gary is a pawn. With assassins, traitors, spies, and dangerous disciples of a secret society closing in, Malone is caught in a lethal bind. To save Gary he must play one treacherous player against another—and only by uncovering the incredible truth can he hope to prevent the shattering consequences of the King’s Deception. (view source)

What I thought: Well, I loved this book. I'm a huge Steve Berry fan. Have been ever since I stumbled upon him in the library a few years ago. I've not picked up a Berry book that hasn't sucked me in from the first minute, and this one was no exception. The long wait between Malone books is always worth it because the sites and historical facts are investigated throughly, which makes the books even more fascinating.

A new twist for me was the historical element - I've never been that interested in England's history. I'm not sure why, maybe because they still have a monarch so I'm "whatever". Somehow the mystery behind the former Iron Curtain has always intrigued me more. That may be a thing of the past though after reading this.

This has all the intriguing characteristics of the Berry books, lots of historical facts (mixed with some fiction), mixed in with some subterfuge and back stabbing. I was ready for a break from Cotton Malone when The Columbus Affair was released - but I'm glad he's back! A few more threads woven into the fabric of his life and we are set for another book.

The one drawback I have to reading Steve's books in eReader format is there are always pictures of things he's talking about. I like those best in the print books.

Thank You Ballentine Books and Netgalley, through whom I received an advanced readers copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

{Memorial Day 2013}

It was an eventful Memorial Day weekend this year. I tried not to be too sad and snotty because my dad's birthday is the 26th and my sisters is the 27th. I miss them both dearly.

We started the weekend bright and early Saturday morning - with our Scouts, placing flags on the graves of our local veterans. We had one of our best turn outs that I can remember. I love the fact that we get to teach these young men {and boys} the true meaning of this holiday and what freedom really costs.

To make this weekend even more awesome, our small slice of South Carolina was honored to host the Traveling Wall. Even in small scale it was heart stopping, one day I hope we make it to D.C. to see it full scale. What another great opportunity for teaching history up close.

Impatience {or why I made my own planner}

This past year I discovered The Well Planned Day planner. I fell in love with it too. So much so that I ordered one for next year for both my son and I. And I waited for them to arrive

and waited

and waited

And while I was waiting I came across New Bee Homeschooler and their free curriculum planner. And I thought about it.

and thought

and thought

Then I figured "what the heck?" I mean if I don't like it, I still have my Well Planned Day, you know? So I started printing out forms and putting them together. Then I let it sit for a few days and took a bunch of pages out. In the end, I ended up with a planner I'm pretty happy with. It feels like it will fit my needs. Some pages I got from New Bee Homeschooler and some I tweaked from Donna Young

So here is my finished planner. I hope it works out as well as I think it will!

But now I needed a new way to schedule. This year I wrote weekly assignments in my planner, copied it to my sons planner and erased like crazy when we went off track. So, I thought some more and decided to try this 

This way, I don't have to erase. When assignments get finished I just write them for the day in my daily planner and my son still knows what's supposed to happen during the week.

All in all, a new plan that I'm looking forward to implementing in July!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

{Mother's Day}

Happy Mother's Day!

My mom has been gone for almost 7 years, and I still miss her a lot ~ but it feels like it gets easier every year.

If you watch any TV you know what Mom "wants" this year. Chocolate diamonds, a new car, flowers, blah blah blah. Well, as a mom I know what I want - and believe me, it's none of those things the commercials are touting as what will make mom happy.

I barely wear jewelry, not even my wedding rings {gasp!}. I have a van that I love. My husband knows not to waste any money on flowers {a lesson I taught him early in our relationship!}. So, what does this mama want?

I'd really like to not cook dinner OR do dishes for the day. But, I scared my husband away from doing dishes by rearranging all his hard work too many times! So I will end up doing dishes (and probably cooking dinner too - who goes out to eat on Mother's Day? Imagine the crowds, ugh). I can't say "nothing" because that's not an appropriate answer in this house =)

So I asked for my van to be washed and detailed ;) yep - fingers crossed....

~ Waiting ~

I pre ordered my favorite planner The Well Planned Day, a long time ago. Actually, I ordered two - one for me and a student planner for my son. And I've been waiting for it to come in, but the shipping date keeps getting pushed back ~ and even though I learned a long time ago to never plan more than a week at a time, I still want to plan the first week of school for next year!

I know, we still have 9 days left this year - but we take a super short summer break and I don't want to spend the whole thing planning! So I started searching online for forms I can print out, just to get the first week (or maybe two) in writing.

In my many searches I found New Bee Homeschooler which gave me a whole new way to look at planning my homeschool year. By day - not date. As in day 1, 5, 180 (not Monday - Friday). What a concept! I'm completely in love with her make your own planner and I spent a few hours trying to figure out how to print it correctly. I still haven't figured it out, which is completely frustrating to me, but I know that's some error on my part.

Then I thought - why can't I make my own planner anyway? I only have one child, I don't need a ton of blocks for many children. We don't study Bible, which is always a spot on most homeschool planners. So while I'm waiting I've been trying to figure out how to make my own planner. Deciding what forms I absolutely need, how I'd like to organize it, how to make it mine. I'm having a ball and it's surely keeping my mind occupied while I wait for the Well Planned Day to arrive.

I would like to give making my own planner a shot. Especially since we're getting closer to high school but think I'm going to play with the idea a little more and then give it a shot.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

{Pour Your Heart Out ~ In Laws}

I wish I could tolerate my mother-in-law. She's the only grandmother my son has left - and to say we don't get along would be one of the biggest understatements ~ ever.

Although she won't agree with my point of view I spent many years (about 13) trying to be the good daughter-in-law. Supporting my husband because I know she's his mother and he loves her. Enduring things like:

hearing about his old girlfriend (whom she wanted him to marry)
watching both his parents treat him like crap (and keeping my mouth shut)
being obligated to spend Christmas with them every year (even though we literally lived across the country)

And yes, the year I decided I wanted to spend Christmas with MY family (husband was gone) I started getting locked out of their lives. Or should I say we - because she's also locking out her son and grandson.

And I've never told my husband he couldn't take the boy to go visit his parents, (they live about two hours away - and the last time we saw them was about 4 years ago ~ and we went to them). what I have done is made it perfectly clear that I won't go with him. I make sure she gets flowers on Mother's Day {because I love my man!}, and even sent pictures to his sister to make a collage for his mom this year {yes, they were all sans me}, so I'm trying to walk the middle ground of being there for my husband ~ while excluding myself from his family.

And I know, I shouldn't put my husband in that spot. But I'm not making him choose {I say to myself}, I'm choosing to not be involved with someone who feels the same way about me as I do about her. I don't want to put up with the drama so I just excuse myself from it. I went full blown bitch in this post, and that's the last time his dad, mom, or sister ever spoke to me.

And if I'm being honest {which this is all about} I'm still not sorry.

Today I'm linking up with Shel at Things I Can't Say