Monthly Archives: September 2014

I Chopped My Locks for Charity!

Fotor0904174956A little over a month ago, I wrote a blog post called Birthday Resolutions. In that post, I wrote down the top ten things that I wanted to accomplish before my next birthday. One of the things on my list was to donate my hair to charity.

I had never donated hair before, but I had wanted to for years. I didn’t want to rush into anything so for the last couple of weeks, I had been doing some serious research in my spare time. I looked into several nonprofits that accepted hair donations and ended up deciding on Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

Pantene is best known for their line of hair care products, but they have formed a nonprofit in partnership with the American Cancer Society. Their mission is to provide free wigs to any woman who is fighting cancer. I know that a good hair day has always brought me a bit of confidence and if I could help boost another woman’s confidence, I was all in. The requirements were pretty standard: no processed hair, hair must be secured in a rubber band, and the length must be a minimum of 8 inches. I actually think the 8 inch minimum is the smallest amount of hair required by any of the hair donation nonprofits.

I had planned a trip out of state to spend Labor Day weekend with my best friend from college and I thought that it would be a perfect opportunity to make the big cut. I had told her about how I wanted to donate and she wanted to witness the event. I made several calls to different salons near her and decided on a Great Clips. Although I still had to pay for the hair cut, the stylist was incredibly sweet and cutting my hair was an amazing experience.

After I chopped my hair, I sent it off to Minnesota where the hair will be received by Pantene. Although I was very attached to my long hair, I am loving my short hair. I think the best thing about the short hair is that it reminds me of the donation.

I think that donating hair is an incredibly unique way of giving back and I felt like it was a bit more personal than just donating money. My hair will be in a wig that a woman may wear for years and that’s such a neat feeling. If you would like to learn more about Pantene Beautiful Lengths, click here to take a look at their website. Donating hair is not for everyone, so I hope nobody ever feels pressured to make the cut. If you are interested in donating, I highly encourage you to do your research and pick the best organization for you. If you’ve donated hair before, I would love to know where you donated and if you would do it again.

Until next week,

Debbie

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Book Review: The Paper Magician

papermagicianTitle: The Paper Magician
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Release Date: September 1, 2014
Rating: 3/5

The Paper Magician is a young adult fantasy novel that focuses on a young girl, Ceony Twill, who has just graduated from Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined. Upon graduation, Ceony is to begin an apprenticeship and bond with a man made element that will be the source of her magic. Ceony is assigned to be a Folder, a magician whose magical element is paper, and is assigned to work under the very eccentric Magician Emery Thane. Ceony begins to learn paper magic under Magician Thane’s odd teachings, but soon Magician Thane disappears. When he returns, an Excisioner, a magician who works with flesh magic, steals his heart from his chest. Ceony must risk her life to retrieve Magician Thane’s heart and save his life.

Unfortunately, I feel like world building is one thing that The Paper Magician is really missing. Holmberg doesn’t do much to bring us into the world and I left myself wanting to know more. Are people born magical or is magic learned? I couldn’t quite tell because Ceony Twill had wanted to be a caterer before beginning magic school. I don’t view catering as a magical profession. Are there non-magical people in the world? If so, do the non-magical people know about the magical people? Ceony mentions that there was a place in Parliament Square, in view of all people, that she would have apprenticed at if she would have been bonded to metal. It doesn’t seem like the magic is being kept a secret. The only time I felt like the setting was really well described was in Magician Thane’s house. Holmberg does an incredible job of describing almost every detail of the house and that is the only time I could really picture myself in the story. It was almost like living in a house and not knowing what is just outside your front door. I couldn’t envision the world outside of Magician Thane’s house because I don’t think the outside world was really introduced or explained.

I feel like back story is another thing that was a bit frazzled. Ceony Twill mentions how she would have been a chef and caterer if she didn’t become a magician. Since we don’t know much about the magical world, this doesn’t seem to make sense. Holmberg then alludes to a troubled home life, but this never really becomes relevant in the story. Ceony reveals a dark secret to Thane,  but it doesn’t seem like this detail was really necessary and doesn’t seem to affect her much throughout the novel. It’s just convenient at one part of the story. Ceony’s family is vaguely touched on but not really expanded upon. I just felt like I didn’t really know Ceony as a character, and there was a lot left to be desired in terms of who she really was. I couldn’t connect with her at all.

Lastly, I didn’t really like the journey through Magician Thane’s heart. In order for Ceony to save him, she must journey through the four chambers of Magician Thane’s heart. Although I did enjoy learning more about Magician Thane, I thought the logistics of the heart scenes were a bit off. There were some parts where Ceony could communicate with Thane and other times where she couldn’t. It is never really explained why she could or couldn’t communicate with Thane. I really didn’t like how Ceony began to view Thane as more of a love interest by the end of the novel. I also wasn’t massively impressed with the portrayal of the villain, the Excisioner who removes Thane’s heart. We learn that she is Magician Thane’s ex-wife, but there’s not really any motivation to her actions. I thought that she was a rather flat villain and would have liked a few more complexities.

Overall, I really enjoyed the first half of The Paper Magician. It was a quick and easy read and I thought that the premise of the story was really promising. I really enjoyed Fennel, the paper dog, and I loved the quirky side of Magician Thane. However, I didn’t really enjoy the second half of the book as much as I wanted to. I feel like we learned more about Magician Thane than Ceony, who was supposed to be the main character. A few actions didn’t seem to make sense and I really did miss the world building in this story. Holmberg has announced a sequel to this novel and I hope it clears up the questions that this book left unanswered.

If you have read The Paper Magician, I would love to hear your thoughts as well. To view The Paper Magician on Amazon, please click here.