Life Is Good

Life Is Good

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The Bishop's Wife Book Review

The Bishop's WifeThe Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars to review this...I too am a Mormon, not a Bishop's wife but a Mormon. I'm torn on this book.

The book drew a lot of its storyline from the Josh and Susan Powell story but it had some twists. I felt like by the end of this book that the author really doesn't like men. She tried to show a fairness but the underlying tone was anti-men and anti-Mormon doctrine. There were no strong character flaws in the main cast of women and there were major character flaws in the main cast of men.

I felt like the author wanted to subtly plant seeds of doubt about Mormonism in the readers. The writing style was readable and entertaining. I'll probably check out one of her YA books to see if I like that better.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meet The Mormons Official Trailer (2014) - Mormon Documentary HD

She's SO happy!

Book 18 Fiction Sycamore Row" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px">Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance, #2)
" />Sycamore">">Sycamore Row by John">">John Grisham

My rating: 3">">3 of 5 stars

Airplane read--well airplane read to Europe and back :).

I was very disappointed in the story. The writing is fine--typical Grisham but the story line was weak. It was VERY predictable. There are no surprise twists to this story. I guessed the reason for the inheritance gift within the first 1/4 of the book.

Also, I am irrationally bugged by the way Grisham writes about Jake's wife--I can't even remember her name--Leslie? Anyway, her character is so flat, so lifeless, and so unnecessary to Jake's life. Really bugged me.

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Book #17: non-fiction The Terrorist's Son

I love this TED talk book format. I hope they publish lots more of these. Easily digestible and quick--just like a TED talk. :)" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px">The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice
" />The">">The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice by Zak">">Zak Ebrahim

My rating: 4">">4 of 5 stars

Originally a TED talk. This was a quick read (90 minutes) and a very interesting read. Everyone should read this. It gives real insight into the American families left behind and the torture and torment they go through because of the choices made by their parents.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Yep, this is what we do! Ask me questions.

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> by Dale">">Dale Wight.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Book 16 and I'm on track!

Unwind!: 7 Principles for a Stress-Free LifeUnwind!: 7 Principles for a Stress-Free Life by Michael Olpin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GREAT non-fiction read. This book is so applicable to my life right now. The idea that "real" stress is rare and that everything else is about how we respond to external influences was enlightening to me. It is very logical. I'm really only as stressed as I allow myself to be.

Everything else in here was logical and I knew but a refresher is good. I did learn some relaxation techniques that I have already put to use and it always helps me get to sleep.

The other thing I liked about the book were the Sam Bracken stories woven throughout. The authors mix science with application and stories.  This is a must read.

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Book 15

Second Honeymoon (Honeymoon, #2)Second Honeymoon by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quick read and entertaining. There are two storylines running throughout the story and luckily the two do not intersect. I hate books where it's just TOO coincidental. This is a great car ride or aiplane read. You can put it down and pick it back up again and not feel like you missed anything.

I liked the John O'Hara character.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

BEA ARC and book #14--finally a good one!

Uncaged (The Singular Menace, #1)Uncaged by John Sandford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an ARC that I picked up at BEA--on sale July 22, 2014.  It's a YA novel by John Sandford and Michelle Cook. I suspect this is more Cook than Sandford. I like John Sandford but I didn't hear much of his voice in this.

It was actually pretty good--I give it a B/B+ for young adults. The story moved quickly and cohesively. I liked and cared about the characters. I really enjoyed reading a YA novel that wasn't dystopian!

This is obviously the start of a series and I will read book 2 when it comes out.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book 13 towards my goal of 24!

The Stone Wife (Peter Diamond #14)The Stone Wife by Peter Lovesey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good book--not great and it took me forever to get through because I was not engaged in the characters. Although I would like to see a series about Ingeborg. And I did enjoy the Chaucer history.

I like Peter Lovesey but this is not the best of the Peter Diamond series.  I was not satisfied with the ending--there were just too many unanswered questions and not in a good way.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Book # 12

The Big HitThe Big Hit by James Neal Harvey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this up at BEA because I liked the cover and the description. It was a quick read, entertaining, and suspenseful. I liked the main characters, the bad guy was sufficiently bad, and the Hollywood money laundering underworld story was enlightening. I'll certainly look for more books by James Harvey.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book 11--The fault isn't in us, it's in the alignment of the stars--loved that thought

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Exactly the book I expected it to be. It kept my attention, I cared about the characters, and the author did add a twist. This book is this generation's Love Story. Teenage girls will see the movie and I hope read the book. And most importantly, I hope everyone who read it takes the time to ponder the questions.

I really did enjoy the thought-provoking questions it asked. And I could't help but wonder what kind of cancer carrier I would be. Would I accept it gracefully? Would I fight? Would I be the joker? Would I be depressed? Or would I be all of those things.

The book also helped me to clarify what I believe in--what the great S is.

And lastly, what kind of parent would I be? I hope I never have to find out but I'm afraid I'd be the crier.

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#10 book of my 2014 challenge

Lucky UsLucky Us by Amy Bloom
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I just didn't like this book--at all. And from the description I was very excited to read it. My interest would wax and wane--it took me a two months to complete it and not because it was difficult reading but because it was difficult to care. I didn't love the flawed characters. They made stupid choices that I simply could not understand nor empathize with. But, I did finish it. Not sure I understood how it ended, I was just glad that it ended.

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Monday, May 05, 2014

#9 and not as good as I had hoped

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)Insurgent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not nearly as good as Divergent. I got so sick of Tris crying in this book. She drove me nuts. I wanted to smack her by the end of the book. The Divergent story line got a bit too convoluted. Too many story lines, too much drama, too many layers of who trusts whom and why, and why would you trust that person?

I've heard people say that book #3 is the worst. After reading this I'm not sure I'll finish the trilogy.

Sorry Veronica. I was really engaged but you lost me on this one.

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Friday, May 02, 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book 8 My Fave Thus Far This Year!

My AntoniaMy Antonia by Willa Cather
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love this. I read it several years ago and re-read it for a book club. I noticed that a review made a comment about not wanting to read a book with a suicide but that has so very little to do with the book.
Willa Cather is America's greatest female writer and in the top three of all American writers. The words so invoke emotions and memories and homesickness. As I pondered this book days after I read it, I realized that my grandmother was from a Swedish immigrant family and she worked as a maid. No wonder I love this--it's genetic memories.

Please read this and savor the words.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Worth Sharing

Rethinking Mormons and Porn: Utah 40th in US in New Porn Data

Statistics tell stories, and this is something that Mormons know well. While many demographic indicators speak to the social health of Mormon culture, there are some that do not.
A well-known example: in 2009, a study found that Utah had the highest rate of online porn subscriptions of any state in the US. Latter-day Saints, who form a majority of Utah’s population, profess a belief in avoiding pornography.
New data, however, offer a conclusion opposite to the findings of the 2009 study, suggesting that Utah and other states with high Mormon populations have abnormally low rates of porn use.
The Mormon blogosphere (or “Bloggernacle”) lit up with commentary after the release of the famous original study, and the conclusions of the paper became a focal point of the growing discourse about sexuality among Mormons online. Many major blogs addressed the issue head on, as in posts here and here.
After a few months, the Utah porn statistic became entrenched in conventional wisdom. Blogs would make reference to the statistic, and having drawn their conclusions, move on to provide explanations and accusations regarding the phenomenon, as represented here, here, here, here and here. The popular narrative of the shamed, porn-watching Mormon is well-represented by the views of Joanna Brooks, a well-known observer of Mormon religious practices and culture, who believes some of the religion’s teachings:
We all know LDS Church leaders have been emphasizing the dangers of pornography, especially to young men.  And yet, the statistics have shown that Utah has the highest rate of home online porn subscription.
Still, this seemingly contradictory pair of facts seems to suggest that there’s something compulsive going on with porn in the world of Mormonism.  Mormon communities are emphatic about chastity—because it is a commandment.  But Mormonism’s emphasis on chastity can impact the way Mormons feel about healthy sexuality, tinging it with shame, mystery, guilt, and unrealistic expectations. [link]
For five years the conversation on Mormonism and porn has been defined by this single data point, and psychological and sociological analyses of Mormon culture, like Brooks’, have rested upon it.
The paper’s accompanying fact that Idaho (25% Latter-day Saints) had the lowest rate of porn subscriptions per thousand broadband users in the US has only very rarely been cited. Also seldom reported is the fact that the data in the 2009 study was from an unnamed vendor, whose users may or may not be representative of the US population.
The New Data
Pornhub pageviews per capita
Annual pageviews per capita by state,
Last week, the third largest pornography website in the United States ( released data on its annual pageviews per capita by state. A chart of pageviews by state is shown at right (a link to the analysis, which does not show explicit content, is here).
The chart as presented by Pornhub is limited in its applicability, because relevant demographic variables are left uncontrolled for, but the conclusion nevertheless appears favorable for Mormons. Utah’s pageviews per capita in 2013 were 40th in the US. Idaho and Wyoming, the other states with large Mormon populations, are even lower on the list, at 49th and 46th respectively.
In order to find a more meaningful interpretation of the data that would adjust for possible confounding variables, I went to the trouble of gathering the most recent demographic data I could find for each state, so I could perform a controlled regression. I included variables for GDP per capita, internet penetration per capita, male/female ratio, age distribution, race and each state’s marriage rate.
Using ordinary linear regression methods, I generated a difference between a state’s actual views per capita and the views that would be predicted based on demographic variables. In this analysis, Utah’s deviation from the views predicted by demographics was 45th in the United States, while Wyoming was 46th and Idaho came 50th.
In other words, when controlling for other variables, there is an even stronger suggestion than before that Mormon populations do not have abnormally high rates of porn use (at least as represented by Pornhub). We might even suggest that their rates of use are especially low.
I also decided to directly analyze the relationship between Mormonism and porn use (again, as measured by this particular metric). This is something the author of the 2009 study did not do. I included a variable for the percentage of a state’s population that is LDS, as measured by official LDS membership statistics and the most recent population projections based on census data.
The regression finds, roughly speaking, when controlling for the variables already mentioned, that a 10 percentage point increase in a state’s LDS population is associated with an approximate 16% decrease in the amount of porn consumption.
This result is highly significant, even at the 0.001 level. In fact, “percentage of Latter-day Saints in population” had a higher statistical significance than any other single variable I included in the regression (the next most significant variable was internet penetration). The proportion of overall explained variation in the regression is 66%, and a test for overall significance is highly conclusive, suggesting that the model as estimated is meaningful and significant.
Why do the results appear so different for these two sets of data? It’s almost impossible to know. The author of the 2009 study did not reveal the identity of the “top ten” porn vendor who gave him credit card data, and he admitted that there was no way to evaluate whether the users of that vendor were representative of the porn industry in general. His data, which was gathered from 2006 to 2008, also did not measure consumption, but rather paid subscriptions. A possible explanation of the discrepancy is that Utah’s porn use is skewed toward paid pornography.
In fairness, we cannot be sure that users are representative of the industry overall. However, in this case we are aware of the identity of the provider, which provides both paid and unpaid content.
Statistics tell stories, and the famous “Utah porn statistic” has told far more stories than it is worth. If critics of Mormon teachings on porn and sexuality would like to continue promoting the idea that a conservative sexual culture has backfired on itself, then they will have to confront a less convenient set of data.
Here is another narrative, that perhaps time and further analysis will prove: Mormons view less porn than others, and those conservative sexual teachings are working.
EDIT: In response to a request, I obtained recent Gallup data on religiosity by state, and added these variables to my regression, in order to separate the effects of religiosity in general and religious engagement by Mormons. The same general results persist: a 10 percentage point increase in a state’s LDS population is associated with an approximate 17% decrease in porn pageviews. The p-value is once again very low, at 0.002. In deviations from projections including religiosity, Utah is ranked 38th, Idaho 50th, and Wyoming 46th. The differences from the earlier analysis are small and require no changes to the conclusions I suggested above.

Book 7 towards my goal

The ExpatsThe Expats by Chris Pavone

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I agree with all of the other reviewers of this book--from the five stars to the one star. This book kept my attention although there were some holes and problems, the story itself kept me involved. I liked the characters. I liked Kate. My biggest complaint was that the children seemed to be more like pets. It was easy to set them aside, hire a babysitter, and eventually send them to boarding school--there was simply no depth to the children. I also felt like the occasional more steamy sex scenes were thrown in after the book was written---like an editor said "we need to add some entertainment value, we need to spice up their lives." Stupid.

But I liked the idea of the mom as spy and the cyber banking and security was interesting.

I read this on a trip to London and it filled the airplane time.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Book 6 towards my goal of 24

Reading Like a Writer: Chapter 2 -  WordsReading Like a Writer: Chapter 2 -  Words by Francine Prose

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very fun read. You don't often find a non-fiction book about writing that is this entertaining and fun. Within the pages of this book I discovered so many new books I want, and need, to read.  If you're interested in being a writer then this is a must read.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

President's Day Weekend Get-Away 2014

Annie, Mark in the background. Fiery Furnace, Sunday,  February 17, 2014.

Phil and Annie, Delicate Arch, Saturday, February 15, 2014
Phil and Annie, Goblin Valley, February 16, 2014.

Landscape Arch, February 16, 2014.

Lichen on rock, Arches National Park, February 15, 2014.

Love this book! Great gift idea for birthdays.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Book #3 of my 2014 Challenge

Silver GirlSilver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is purely entertainment. Don't think too deeply or you'll be disappointed. I read it to keep my mind off a cold and it did that. The main character is a bit hard to accept as the intelligent woman she is supposed to be. She is guilty of being stupid if anything but again, this was fun and light and well-written. Oh, that we all could be wealthy and have wealthy friends and all end up happily ever after.

Read it for fun---not for depth and you'll be just fine.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Book 2 of 2014

I"m on track for my goal of 24 books this year--2 a month!

The Only Alien on the PlanetThe Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was recommended as somebody else's favorite book of all time. And I guess if I had read it in high school it might have been my favorite book too. This is a quick read and it kept my interest throughout the whole book. The book itself was great, the ending I'm not sure about. SPOILER ALERT: And as a mother I'm not sure how I would feel about my daughter with Michael. See, from my perspective nobody just gets better--it takes years and years and a person so traumatized would have lifelong scars. And really, that whole family was a bunch of red flags.

Yes, entertaining. Yes, quick read. Yes, engaging. I would recommend this to high schoolers in my life.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Icy Sparks Book 1 2014

Icy Sparks (Oprah's Book Club)Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If I were giving letters grades this would be a B/B+. I read this book because I found it in my daughter's closet and it looked interesting. I had no idea it was an Oprah pick--that actually would have turned me off.

I read this very quickly although this is not a quick read. This book has three stages--Icy's young life, her teenage life and I did like how human and real and "teenage" Icy was; and her later teens and into early adulthood. The teenage years were written very realistically. The ups and downs and confusion. I was disturbed by the "catholic" teacher. Was she really that cruel or was that Icy's memory of her? At times I was confused on whether this was written as a memoir or as a story.

And I didn't even mind the come to jesus ending. I felt like that was natural for the time and for Kentucky.

All in all, a good read.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What a great time we had in Dayton with Leisy and family. Here we are with Kent and Miss Metta at the Columbus Zoo Lights. It was actually a nice day and one of the few times we got to see Kent. Miss Metta lives in this hat--wears it to church and to bed. I love how eccentric she is.

Thanks Leisy for inviting us and for taking a great pic!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Book 1 for 2014

The ForgottenThe Forgotten by David Baldacci

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great airplane read--makes the time go by really fast. I read this in a day and it's not a short book. I like the main character, John Puller. I wasn't sure if this Army guy book would appeal to me but there were plenty of intelligent and strong women in this book.

There are a few sex scenes which felt like they were thrown in for marketing or movie purposes.

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My Family

My Family
Christmas in OH

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
Harvest 2015