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Five Weeks in the Amazon, by Sean Michael Hayes, is the “book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit” selection for my 2017 Reading Challenge.

5 Weeks in the Amazon

When I first downloaded Five Weeks in the Amazon, I thought it was a backpacking travelogue. After I realized the subtitle leaned way more heavily toward the Ayahuasca and less toward the backpacking, I still wasn't deterred. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but I'm perfectly happy reading about a skateboarder's quest for Universal Truths via jungle plant medicine. I hoped it might delve more deeply into the shamanic aspects of Ayahuasca usage. Other than vaguely describing his diet, it didn't.

Which, I mean, maybe he tried but just doesn't understand those aspects himself. It's a decent enough read if you like reading about other people's trips, explosive “purging”, and masturbatory fantasies. All of which I'm a-okay with, for the record! But this book basically boils down to a privileged, nearly-30-yr old “kid” trying to determine the meaning of life through psychotropics. Far too many passages read as seriously preachy once he thinks he's found an epiphany. He wants to be deep and evolve as a man, but he has no problem airing his ex-wife's and friends' dirty laundry or insulting people throughout the whole book. I appreciate the frankness and honesty, and I know that these epiphanies can be really great, but none of it is as deep as the author seems to think. It's not just that maybe tripping is way better when you're the one doing it, because I've read about shamanic epiphanies that were a joy and really educational to read.

This book really wasn't like that. It's a travel journal about hostels, doing drugs, fantasizing of and writing poetic odes to his girlfriend-not-girlfriend back home, and maybe a smidgen of growth (though that's questionable given his mocking judgments of the flight attendants and their 'unnecessary fakeness' on his way home...)

So if you like that kind of thing, it's an easy and okay read. If you want something a bit more – more about the Amazon, backpacking, or actual shamanic insight – then this is not the book you're looking for.

Cold Fear, by Rick Mofina

Cold Fear, by Rick Mofina, is the “mystery or thriller” choice for my 2017 Reading Challenge.

Cold Fear

I tried really hard to get into this book, and then I tried really hard to stay there. I mean, I really tried. I even kept going after “gorgeous hunk of manhood”, for crying out loud – though to be fair, I knew I should have stopped right there.

I usually give up after multiple typos and grammatical errors, but the story initially hooked me. We start with a scene of a girl running off, her last memory of her camp being Daddy's ax dripping with blood. Okay, great hook. It gets a bit muddy as the girl is terrified of whatever 'monster' her mom said was out there. Which isn't a smart idea from a parental viewpoint, and also from a writing viewpoint. Please don't string the reader along for three or four chapters before you start clarifying whatever Mom's Monster is. Especially when Mom is a viewpoint character and if she knows, we should know.

But Mom is not the only viewpoint character. The book hops around from character to character, which would work a lot better if it didn't immediately go into physical description (often using clichés), emotional description, then backstory info-dump. Every single time. “And unfortunately, the dialogue does not fair much better! It is very stilted and full of exclamation points! And lots of repetition!”

This was a good idea, I think, with poor execution. My eyes glazed over as I scrolled through info-dump after info-dump, and I finally gave up at 14% (couldn't even make it to my goal of 15% before making a DNF decision). I only read that long to get some inkling of what this supposed 'monster' was. Nothing that enticed me to read further, I'm sad to say.
The Walking Dead: Compendium Two, by Robert Kirkman, is one of my “To Be Read” books for my 2017 Reading Challenge.

TWD Compendium 2

I gave Compendium One four stars, and I waffle between two and three stars on this one. I'm leaning toward three stars, because part of the problem may be that I have read this and watched the show multiple times, so it didn't keep my interest as well this time around.

It starts out strong with the group scattered after the showdown with the Governor. The introduction of Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene lends some much-needed new blood and a sense of purpose to the storyline. The biggest problem for me is that all too often, Rick or someone (but usually Rick) goes off on a long, boring, info-dumping monologue. It's not even once or twice but time and time again. There are better ways to get the info across, especially when you have the chance to literally draw things out and show everyone first hand. The book really suffers from this one glaring weakness.

I devoured it the first time, eager to know what happened. Once you know, well, the execution of it isn't nearly as captivating. It's still an important part of The Walking Dead world, but it definitely feels like a middle book just biding a chunk of time until Negan arrives.
The Woman in the Shaman's Body, by Barbara Tedlock, PH.D., is my 'Nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes' choice for my 2017 Reading Challenge.

Woman in the Shaman's Body

This was an excellent, well-researched book about shamanism in general and women's roles in shamanism in particular. Tedlock shows us the lost history of women as spiritual leaders through examples and first-hand accounts. This book covers women shamans' roles and sacred wisdom, including our menses and connections with both the moon and each other, sexual energy, midwifery, sacred herbs, weaving, leading, fighting, and much more.

There's also a frank look at gender and gender roles, including the importance of experiencing both genders as a shamanic practitioner. Tedlock herself has a wealth of first-hand knowledge and experience in Mayan shamanism and culture, but she covers a vast area looking at shamanic practices around the globe and throughout history.

I really enjoyed this book, and I think it's a must-have for anyone interested in shamanism, women, &/or gender roles. I learned a lot and enjoyed doing so.

Mission 101 Update

I really like the idea of mission101, where you make a goal list of 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days (which is about 2 ¾ years). Unfortunately, it's such a long amount of time – and my memory has been getting consistently worse – that I keep forgetting about the damned thing!

My last Mission 101 list ends in March, and as I look over my goals from that list, not only have I forgotten to work on them, a great many of them have changed entirely. Still, I need to focus on my goals. I'm torn between continuing with this list for the next three months, starting a new list entirely, or falling back on good ol' NYR and forgetting the 1001 days portion.

I figured I'd better do an update anyway. If only to keep myself mindful and accountable. My shame will kick my butt into gear at least a little bit. I did manage to do better than I expected, having not looked at this for almost 2 years. Whoops. I will now give a lot of thought to what my current goals should be and some realistic time frames for those.

Italics – goals I'm currently working on
Strike – goals completed: 32
Bold – goals which have changed

Old List: June 9, 2014-March 6, 2017Collapse )

Title: What We Become: A Supernatural/Walking Dead Crossover

Chapter 15: After

Author: Ahavah

Fandoms: Supernatural/The Walking Dead (TV and comics). Cameos from Being Human (US) main characters.

Rating: Mature

Warnings: Spoilers for TWD through Season 4 and SPN through Season 6.

The BH(US) characters are following an alternate Season 3+.

Pairings: N/A for this chapter

Summary: (This Ch:) The group is scattered after the prison showdown with the Governor.

Chapter 1 I Chapter 2 I Chapter 3 I Chapter 4 I Chapter 5 I Chapter 6 I Chapter 7 I Chapter 8 I Chapter 9 I Chapter 10 I Chapter 11 I Chapter 12 I Chapter 13 I Chapter 14 I Chapter 15


Intro Post

I have a lot of new friends, so I thought I'd do a little intro post.

Hi, I'm Ahavah! I'm a mid-30s writer, doula, Reiki Master, and shamanic practitioner. I home/unschool my three girls, whom you will meet below the cut. Seven years ago, we moved out to Missouri to live our dream of homesteading. We have 40 acres, and we've named our little farm The Grateful Stead.

We had a lot of setbacks recently, but we keep moving forward. Right now we have four chickens, three dogs, and two horses. Well, one horse and one pony. We had an outbuilding fire about a year ago, and my husband lost all of his tools, which has been a huge loss to the farm. Still, we're replacing them one by one, and he's currently building me a new brooder box so that we can start building our little stead back up this year.

I've just completed my first novel. Well, not first I've ever started, but the first I've ever completed. I'm working on revision and hope to start sending it out this spring. My little blurb is:


Fifty years after leaving the solar system, colonists aboard Akupara, Earth's first generation ship, discover that magic is real. They encounter what becomes known as The Anomaly, where everyone who was asleep at the time awakens to find their dreams manifested in inexplicable ways.

Captain Adele Mills struggles to maintain peace and order while searching for answers, but as fear and division spread, a civil war seems imminent. The captain's credo is Above all, the Mission - but finding a planet is a long way off, and every aspect of the Mission has changed.


I also enjoy writing fan fiction, and I'm trying to get into fandom more (since that's where everyone/potential friends seem to be). My main fandoms that I write in are Kushiel's Legacy, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, and Firefly, though I do dabble in some others when time allows. Especially femslash drabbles, as I really enjoy the femslash100 community. I go through spurts there.

Let's see, what else for my little blurb...poly (but my husband is not, so stuck in mono-land); kinky/waaaay into bdsm (but my husband is not anymore, le sigh), pansexual, fat (but trying to fix that), struggling with mental illness (but looking for a service dog), and I have severe memory issues which cause has not been found yet. I often can't remember things about my own family (or yesterday), let alone internet folks whose faces I have never seen, so please don't take it personally if it takes me years to remember things about you or to stop mixing you up with other internet people. I truly mean no offense by it and simply struggle with remembering everything anymore.

I've recently started a 'memories' tag where I am logging a lot of good memories that I don't want to forget. Because I used to have a perfect memory, but now I can't remember a thing, and it's the greatest source of stress in my life right now. I try, I really do.

I talk about my family quite a bit, so please allow me to introduce all of us. This is me (please excuse the no-makeup selfie):

Amanda selfie

Meet the FamsCollapse )

So that's our little family!

I've recently quit facebook, and it was the greatest thing I have ever done. But if you want to find me anywhere else online, I can be found here:

[archiveofourown.org profile] ahavah
[twitter.com profile] ahavah (rarely)
[pinterest.com profile] amack0202
NaNoWriMo, where I am Municipal Liaison for the MO: Elsewhere region.
LinkedIn, where I am new and could use more connections.

So that is my rather large nutshell. It is a pleasure to meet you, and I look forward to getting to know you better!



Hello, friends!

Well, I have imported/backed up my livejournal to dreamwidth. I also have friends on dreamwidth now. *waves* I'll try to do an intro post soon.

Right now I'm testing to see if I managed to set up my crossposting settings correctly. Hopefully I did.

I look forward to getting to know everyone and to making new friends!


Speed Reading For Beginners: Learn How To Read 300% Faster in Less Than 24 Hours, by James T. Rose.

Speed Reading

Somebody read through/skimmed his own book far too quickly, because this is full of glaring typos and grammatical issues. Not sure where the editor was on this one. Judging by the length and quality, I assume this is yet another self-pub with no professional editing beforehand.

With that out of the way, I found the book mediocre at best. If you're a slow reader, perhaps this will be more helpful for you. I'm already a decent reader, and I got very little out of this. A huge chunk of the book was devoted to “how to skim”! I want to learn how to read & comprehend everything much faster, not how to skip it altogether. The best tip/realization I got was that I “regress” in my reading far too often, and I will now watch out for that. This ebook is filled with exercises he wants you to print out or hide portions of, which, if you read on a phone like myself, is impossible &/or impractical.

There are surely better books on the subject out there. I'm glad I got it for free, because it is not worth the kindle price (currently $2.99 for 48 pages!!!). I'm surprised by all of the 4- and 5-star ratings in its handful of reviews, which makes me further side-eye the author, tbph. I did not watch the free video that was linked, so I can't speak to that.

Dear Chocolate Box Author,

Thank you for offering me a story in one of these amazing fandoms! I'm looking forward to anything you come up with, but this letter expands on my choices in case you'd like more specific ideas. I have a horrible time coming up with prompts, so seriously, please don't feel locked into these or believe these are the stories of my heart. I'm including some just because I know people like them. I am remarkably easy to please, so if none of these ideas/prompts call to you, feel free to write the fic of your heart and I will surely enjoy it.

I'm also Ahavah on AO3.

No Thank Yous/DNWs:

[Cut for potential trigger content]

  • Rape/Non-con

  • Mpreg

  • A/B/O

  • Mundane AUs

  • Abuse/Humiliation

  • Cannibalism

  • Scat/watersports/vomit/snot

  • Weddings

General likes &/or loves

  • I pretty much like most darker tropes not listed above. Violence, addiction, apocalypse/dystopia (LOVE those), mindfucks, etc. are all fine.

  • BDSM/kink (except humiliation)

  • Happy as well as horrible/tragic/OMGWTF endings

  • Gen, het, slash, ethical polyamory

  • Magic/supernatural

  • Porn! For a short fic exchange like this, no plot necessary unless you just want to

  • Crossovers/fusions (it helps if it's a fandom I'm familiar with – my AO3 lists some of them)

  • Crackfic

  • Casefic/Monster-of-the-week

Thanks for reading, and for considering writing a story for me!

-Fandom info listed under cut-

Contains SPOILERS for Kushiel's Legacy, Supernatural, The Walking DeadCollapse )


Ahavah Ehyeh

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