January 11, 2013

Fiction Friday: Dead Man's Hand by Eddie Jones

     Nick Caden wishes he never would have had to come on this mind-numbing trip. There is not even cell phone coverage, much less internet. When he first arrives in the copycat old west town, he is pretty sure that it will be the most boring vacation ever, until he witnesses a murder. When he is able to get a hold of the sheriff, he is told that it was just acting, and that he need not worry. He could have sworn it was real blood, and that the man’s pulse was gone. In a second, he is thrown from his mandatory family trip into a murder mystery. Will he find the real killer?
     I liked the overall plot of this book, as well as the unique perspective. It is not often that you read a murder mystery from the worldview of a thirteen-year-old boy. I enjoyed the laughable sections, as well as the uniquely vivid descriptions on the part of the author. The only thing I disliked was the fact that I did not really relate to any of the characters. I will let that slide though, knowing that I am almost 18 and the characters in this book, well, aren’t. Overall, I would recommend this book to any tween readers, up until the age 15.
This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Insatiable Quest For Beauty by Tiffany Dawn

Have you ever wished you were beautiful? Again and again, we are told that true beauty is on the inside, but in a photo-shopped world, it is hard to find our true beauty in Christ.  In this heartfelt and honest book, Tiffany Dawn shares her struggle of trying to feel beautiful. She shows how a quest for beauty is an insatiable one, no matter how much makeup you wear, or how few clothes. In a blunt, yet touching manner, she lets every girl know that they are indeed loved by God, and truly beautiful, inside and out.
I liked:

  • Everything! This is one of the best books on beauty I have read. I loved that at the beginning of each “coffee date” (chapter) she shared what kind of coffee she was having. I enjoyed her brutal honesty, as well as her chapter reviews. I loved this book because she is very well spoken, yet still approachable. She is sincere about her struggles, and she does not sugar coat what the quest for beauty is.  Throughout the book, I found myself sympathizing and relating to her struggles, and this book pushes you to be a better person.

Overall, I believe this is the best book on beauty that I have read thus far.  If you know any girl ages 13+ who is struggling with her body image, I would recommend this book!
Thank you so much to Tiffany for letting me review her fantastic book!
Check out the author’s website for some awesome music as well as some book-related material. http://bit.ly/11oH54h
As it happens, you can buy this book for your kindle for the marvelous price of $2.99! So go, my friends, and purchase this fantastic manuscript!

Fiction Friday: Waiting for Morning by Margaret Brownley.

In this humorous, entertaining tale, Molly Hatfield is the next wishful woman who has dared to try her hand at cattle ranching. In 1890s, reputable work for a single woman was hard to find. Not to mention that her brother is unable to walk, and must have constant care.  That is, until she meets Dr. Caleb Fairbanks. As a handsome, youthful doctor, Caleb is often ignored, thought to be lacking experience. When he meets Molly and her brother, he is shocked at Molly’s beauty. Through the rigors of life on Last Chance Ranch, Molly must choose between her brother’s well being, and that of her heart.
I liked:
  • The cover. I believe, although you should not judge a book by its cover, the cover is important.
  • The humor. One of my favorite things about Margaret’s books is the humorous sections.
I disliked:
  • The sickness. While I realize that there was sickness in the 1800s and 1900s, I honestly cannot find a reason that books consistently talk about modern-day illnesses. I am not talking about her brother’s disability, more so the different diseases mentioned in the book. I read books as a form of entertainment, and I want them to be uplifting. If I wanted to read about sickness, I would read a medical journal.
Overall, if you do not mind reading about sickness, it is reasonably good. I understand that this is completely my opinion on the matter, and therefore I am still giving this book three stars. If you read the first book in this series, Dawn Comes Early, then I will warn you that this book is not nearly as good as the first. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a humorous read along with medical science.
This book was given to me courtesy of the publisher, in exchange for a review. 

January 08, 2013

Why be Happy when I can NOT be? {guest post} by Miranda H.

I think that people have a misconstrued view of happiness.
people who are actually happy- whats up with them? Everyone has their own story, and I know that sometimes it's hard not to compare your story to someone else's you know- even Edgar Allen Poe had a longstanding rivalry with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (a poet) back in the day. Sometimes the people who are unhappy take out that unhappiness on those who are happy. But hold on a just a second, that's a whole lot of happy and unhappiness going on right there- so what IS the definition of happy?

1. delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing.
2. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy 

So there you have it folks, happiness in a nutshell, right? Every single person on this revolving planet has different difficulties, tragedies, sorrows, hardships, challenges and joys. but we all have one thing, life. referring back to the definition of happy- the first example is joy over a particular thing- life is a thing. you can't argue that fact. if your alive you have something to be happy, pleased, glad and delighted about. the definition doesn't say: 

"Happy- being characterized by joy and gladness but only if your past and present circumstances allow you to be and you have a great life which enables you to feel so." 

      no one would be happy if that's what happiness was, thank the Lord that it isn't! What some people don't seem to realize is that it's much harder to have a good attitude and be happy than it is to be depressed all the time. Gee, I just get depressed when I don't feel like I have the energy to do anything else. That sounds pretty lazy right? believe me I know. But before you start getting frustrated about me not knowing what I'm talking about- I also know this isn't the case for everyone. Some people have things going on in their lives that it seems no one should ever have to go through, and those people have reason to be depressed all the time (or most of the time)... Um, no. sorry, maybe that sounds like the right answer for a lot of people today but it's not the truth, it would be a lot EASIER if it were, but it's not
      Look, my mom and dad aren't divorced, I love my brothers and sisters (though we all go through rough patches- okay, sometimes cactus-like patches, but still) and I have friends that I would truly die for, not just as a figure of speech. I've still been through plenty, I've cried myself to sleep sometimes, I've had to leave the house just to get away from what was going on inside, I've felt like screaming or kicking something, I've felt helpless and many more things. But you know what differs between two people who go through hard things and come out either woebegone or actually happy? the choice TO BE HAPPYHappiness doesn't just come skipping up the road and decide to make it's home inside you- ppphhht. Its a decision, a really, really,really,very, incredibly important choice. No one controls it but you. Not the Jerks, not the pessimists, not the hurt, not the gossipers, not the judgmentals, not physical or psychological things,not your girlfriend/boyfriend, not the betrayers, not your parents, not where you are in life, not how many times you feel like giving up,not even other happy people, or anything else that comes to mind. you do. That makes it a lot harder now doesn't it? though some people would tell you otherwise, when we are unhappy we use these exact things as crutches to be such. Its your happiness, so don't blame other people's sinfulness or contentedness with the state of it. 
      Like anything in life, it comes with time. a priceless treasure doesn't happen over night, it happens with time. Happiness is a treasure. NO ONE is happy all year: 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,765 hours, 525,949 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds. Just try being happy on a hard day- you know how hard it is. But nothing worth having comes easily. I'm not just talking about the happiness that shows, but the happiness that is a part of who you are. because, lets face it, it's not as if while our parents are fighting or our friends are hurting us we walk around with a smile on our face all happy. No, I'm also talking about the kind that is still there while going through the trials we all face. The kind that still gives us hope and helps carry us through those times of loneliness- if you keep reading, I'll tell you how you can have this kind of hapiness. 
      Other then some other things going on in my life, here's the quote that sparked this blog post: 

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."
-Agatha Christie 
      Anyone and everyone is capable of doing something great in this world, I don't care what anyone else has told you out of seeming good-will or out of anger. The Greatest things done are made up of the smallest of things. A war isn't won by an army, it's won by individual, courageous soldiers that chose to be a part of something greater than themselves or their past. I know we are kinda getting onto a different subject, but how would any of the accomplishments that helped change the world happen, if everyone involved decided to just get bogged down in the sorrows of their life and never reach outside of that? So you see, Happiness isn't just what one feels but what one DOES and how one LIVES.  
      And outside of knowing Jesus Christ, this isn't possible. You can have the perfect life, or maybe not, and just try to be happy- but something will always be missing. That hole you feel in your very being? that can't be filled with the plastic, fragile, worldly happiness. It can only be filled with the happiness that comes with a new heart and soul that lives, breaths and longs to do everything to the glory of the one who changed it. This entire post is useless without the working of the Holy King, GOD. So, if you want the kind of happiness that never leaves you, even in the times when the world seems to shrink in on you and the darkness of the evil in this life caves in on top of you: pick up your Bible, drop to your knees and HE will save you. God will give you the Happiness you seek, when you seek HIM.  
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." 
-John 16:33

"It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness."-Charles Spurgeon 
"If you’re going through hell, keep going."
-Winston Churchill 
"The three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for."
"Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open." 
 ~John Barrymore

About Miranda:
First and foremost I’m a daughter of the King, Jesus Christ. He gave me a new heart and mind that yearns to live and breathe for His glory. I always talk about my family first: I come from a relatively large family, eight (including myself) to be precise. The fact that four of those siblings are older brothers definitely has helped shape me into who I am today, though, my only younger brother has probably shaped me the most. Thankfully, I was blessed with two younger sisters as well; one of them (second to youngest) has Down-syndrome. And let me tell you, she is the most caring, loving, and sweet-hearted person I know. We adopted quite a few years ago, but it became a terrible situation and we had to dissolve the adoption. Those years were really hard.
I’ve enjoyed many things through the years, starting from swimming, to dance, to horseback riding, to track, to photography, to volunteering at animal rescues, all of which were/are amazing. I’ve always been able to find beauty and wonder in the small things in God’s creation, maybe that’s how I manage to be happy the majority of the time, because how can one be depressed surrounded by it? Coming to the end of my high-school days, I’ve had to learn to keep my attitude how I want to feel and not let it be controlled by the situation I’m in or others attitudes. I hope this blog post is a blessing to you and I pray that with God’s help you will be able to as well. 
Thanks so much Miranda for sharing your writing talent!  Miranda is my great friend, and one of the kindest people you will ever meet! Hop on over to her super-fun blog, "Adventures are Funny Things", and leave her some comment love!

January 06, 2013

what I wore// graduation dress...ed down.

{What I Wore: Dress-eShakti.com//Boots- They were my great grandpa's//Jacket- kohls.com//Leather camera necklace-  A gift from my fantastic sister//earrings-gift}

  Today my goal was to dress down my graduation dress. It is super formal if you just wear a black shrug. I thought the denim would give the illusion of it being more casual, and I thought the cowboy boots helped. I would have worn leggings, but the skirt is a bit too long for that to look good. Overall, I liked the look.
 What would you do to dress it down?

January 03, 2013

Fiction Friday: A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano

Lady Eliza Summer is on a quest for justice. Disguised as a governess, she is determined to find the man who stole her fortune when her father died. She seems to be making progress when she has a major setback, and is forced to become the governess for Mr. Hamilton Beckett’s two unruly children. When she begins to fall for Mr. Beckett, she has to choose whether to pursue her fortune, or his affection.

        This was a great book. With much more suspense than I was expecting, as well as a beautiful love story woven throughout, I believe this book is a great example of Christian historical romance. I love when there is a completely pure romance in a book, and, unfortunately, that is much too rare in today’s society.  
     The character development in this book is phenomenal to say the least. The author certainly knows how to create a unique character. Also, what a beautiful cover, I love it!
    The only thing questionable for ages 13 and under is violence. Personally, I did not feel uncomfortable at all, and Jen Turano does a great job at not making it graphic. That said, there is a murder, and depending on your personal standards, you could be squeamish about that.
     Overall, I found this book to be fantastic, a great use of my time.  If you are looking for a well-written book, then make sure to buy this one!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for a free review