Posted in Books, God's Lessons, Pinterest favourites, Writing

Pinterest Favourites Week Five

Hiya, and happy Friday!

How has your week been? Mine has been fairly productive in the writing area, which I am so thrilled about. God is so good! I was getting a little down that I wasn’t writing as much or as fast as many of my friends, but He continually reminds me that I am to write in His time only. And even after a bit of complaining on my side (yes, I know…), He blessed me by letting me write a ton. He is such a loving and merciful God, I am continually amazed by Him! The book I am writing in is the story of my heart; I’ve visited with this story for several years, and now I’m nearing the very end. It’s bittersweet. But I am excited. :)

Anyway! This is a Pinterest post, not a writing (though some pins may be related to it…). So, enjoy!

 

By God. He writes through me, and I am so thankful!

This is exactly it – God writes the book completely. He gives me the words and the story just comes together.

Praise God!

This quote is beautiful and one to think on, isn’t it?

.

I just thought this was pretty. I love nearly all things Norse/Vikings.

toothless wrist warmer:http://www.etsy.com/listing/162719628/sale-35-off-toothless-how-to-train-your?ref=market

Aren’t these just adorable?? I want a pair. Toothless wrist warmers. They could keep my wrists warm as I write. ;)

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/dOsC6ldpFSE&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

I looooooooooovvvvveeeeeee this video. It’s one of my favourite songs (Tenth Avenue North’s “On and On”) to one of my favourite movies (How to Train Your Dragon, obviously). <3 And while the lyrics are much more beautifuller and have greater meaning when it is in its context, I think this video is still beautiful. *Sigh*

Okay, I’ll try to move on now….

So, this past week I was reading this:

New blog post: Book review Adventures and Adversities (Tales of Taelis Book 1) by Sarah Holman                and now I’m reading this…         Remember the Lilies my review- http://reviewingnovelsonline.blogspot.com/2015/02/remember-the-lilies-liz-tolsma.html

I greatly enjoyed Sarah Holman’s “Adventures and Adversities”, which you probably know if you read my review that I just posted. :) And I’m sure I’ll enjoy “Remember the Lilies”. :)

Do share about your week – what you’ve done, what you’ve pinned, read, written…etc.! I’d love to hear. :)

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, God's Lessons, Reviews

Book Review: “Adventures and Adversities” by Sarah Holman

http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Adversities-Tales-Taelis-Book-ebook/dp/B00HFFDCEE/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1424880225&sr=8-5&keywords=Sarah+Holman

“Adventures and Adversities” by Sarah Holman

Tales of Taelis Book One

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About:

One day Alditha is content living with her family, the next she is taking her friend’s place to serve at the king’s castle. Her father’s final instructions, to keep smiling and to do what is right, will be harder to live out than she ever imagined. She will face a royal nephew who delights in making people miserable, an angry servant girl who will stop at nothing to get what she wants, and noblemen who plot murder. Will she be able to keep the promise she made to her father? Will she find the faith she longs for during all her Adventures and Adversities?

My Thoughts:

I was very impressed by this book.  It felt so real, so life-like, and that, even when I finished, I didn’t want to leave.

Sarah Holman writes a beautiful, intricate story that is so filled with faith and struggles that you cannot help but relate to it and the characters. Alditha was a strong character – she faced so many trials, yet she kept faith through them all. And one of my favourite lessons of this book was how she learned that God can handle our tears and our laughter, our joy and our sorrows, both. He understands that we struggle, and He helps us with it. The book also taught to look at all the blessings He has given us in this life; not to focus on the bad. Her attitude really encouraged and challenged my own.

There were a few spelling/word errors, but they were easy to overlook for me. You knew what she was saying, so it still came across beautifully. This book is more of a journey-type book. We get to watch as Alditha journeys through her life and how she handles it. Sometimes it felt like it might have lacked a bit of a strong plot, but for me, that didn’t hinder it at all. The overwhelming sense I got from the book was how Miss Holman shared God and our faith in Him – it was so well done. It is something I want to see in every book – if God is present, the whole book will come together. And He was present here.

I also appreciate the historical details she added to it. It helped make the book come even more alive. And the medieval period is one of my most favourites. :)

I greatly admire Sarah Holman and her willingness to share her own faith and struggles. She wrote a note at the end of the book, and said that often she felt that her writing was so God could teach her – and I love that! I’ve experienced that in my own writing. She was being real, and that showed through her novel beautifully.

This is a book I would gladly recommend to anyone.

 

Thank you, Sarah, for sending me a complimentary ecopy for this review! It has blessed me!

 

(Side note: the song “He Knows” by Jeremy Camp came to mind while reading this book – I thought it fit well!)

 

Posted in Guest Post, Writing

A Guest Post….”When the Mirror Lies” by Kenzie M. Part Two

Hello again! Here is the second and last part of this splendid story, “When the Mirror Lies” by Kenzie M.  Once again, enjoy!

***********************************************

“When the Mirror Lies” Part Two

Bridget closed her eyes and consented. All I want is to be beautiful.

After hours in the dress shop trying to pick the right dress for Bridget to wear to the pageant, she finally pointed to a blue dress in the corner. It was a simple pattern, but it fit Bridget’s personality and she loved it. “I want to wear this one.”

“No,” Diana pushed another mirror in front of Bridget and held the blue dress up beside her so that she could compare it to the extravagant dress she had on. “It’s too plain. It makes you look drab.”

Bridget was determined to put her foot down on this argument. “I like it. I want to wear it.”

Diana squinted at her in the mirror. “You foolish girl; you’re never going to be beautiful enough. You have to try harder. Look at your complexion,” she pointed at

Bridget in the mirror, “You’re so flawed. We need to get more make-up on you.”

Bridget watched Diana walk away and she continued to stare at her reflection in the mirror. A few tears silently slipped down her cheeks.

“Don’t cry,” Diana barked at her, “It makes your eyes look red. And we need to talk about getting you on a diet. Your waist isn’t quite thin enough.”

Bridget wiped her tears with the back of her hand. She closed her eyes and tried to bring to memory all the times her Father had told her she was beautiful. After all, He was the King. She should be seeking His approval alone. But His words of endearment and the way He always told her that she was His beautiful princess seemed to fade from her mind as she gazed in the mirror. All she could see staring back at her was Diana’s smirking face telling her that she was not good enough. And suddenly she didn’t see anything beautiful about her reflection. She could only see flaws staring back at her.

She resolved in that moment to do everything that Diana instructed her to do. I’ll do anything to be beautiful. But as the days progressed, no matter how hard Bridget worked, Diana was always there in the mirror reminding her that she was somehow still not beautiful enough.

Finally, the day of the pageant arrived. Before heading to the dress shop, Bridget took a detour and stopped by the lake that was behind the castle. She stared out across the shining waters and let the tears fall freely down her cheeks. Even when she wasn’t in the dress shop, Diana’s words were ringing through her head. And she realized that she believed every single word. I’m not beautiful enough. She reached into the pocket of her plain skirt and pulled out a mirror that Diana had given her. Gazing at her reflection just brought on a fresh rush of tears. “You’re not beautiful!” she cried aloud as she took the mirror and threw it as hard as she could. It landed with a splash in the middle of the lake.

“Who told you that?” a voice said softly from behind her.

Bridget whirled around. She saw her Father standing there and her eyes fell down to her feet. “Diana did,” she whispered, “And the mirror.”

The King walked to His daughter’s side and touched her shoulder gently. “My beautiful Bridget,” He tilted her chin up so that she was forced to look into His eyes. “Do you really think that their opinion of you matters?” He asked gently.

Bridget nodded vigorously. “Of course,” she replied.

“But it doesn’t,” He corrected her. “To the mirror you will never be beautiful enough. There will always be something wrong with your reflection. But to Me, you are the most beautiful girl there ever could be. I made you, my dear girl. I made you beautiful for Me. You don’t have to try harder or be someone that you’re not. You are already beautiful, because I say you are beautiful.”

Bridget felt more tears falling down her cheeks. She took a step forward and fell into her Father’s open arms. “How do I get the voices in the mirror to stop screaming inside my head, Daddy?” she said quietly, looking up at the King.

“Remember My words, my princess,” the King smiled at her lovingly and directed her gaze to the shimmering lake in front of them.

As Bridget gazed at her reflection in the water, her breath caught in her throat. The voices in her head stopped and she suddenly didn’t feel a need to change anything about her reflection. As she stood on the shore beside her King, she knew she was beautiful. And it wasn’t because of her hair or her dress. It was because He told her that she was.

“Never forget, my daughter,” the King whispered as they continued to gaze at the reflection in the lake. “When the mirror lies, remember the truth….You are beautiful.” 

*******************************************************************

And there we have it! I, for one, enjoyed it, and I hope you did too! Thank you so much, Kenzie for contributing your writing to share here! I really appreciate it! <3

I thought I’d share some thoughts I had on “When the Mirror Lies”, so if you’d like, read on…

We are beautiful because He says we are. How true is that?

And why does He tells us we are beautiful? Because He is. And we are made in His image.

Beauty is not just a picture, a look. Beauty is who God is. He is beauty. Beauty is within each of our grasps, because it within us – designed in us as we reflect our Lord’ awe-ing image, His beauty. It is awe-inspiring, to think that beauty is not how we look – it is Who our God is and what He sees in us! Truly magnificent, if you ask me.

Once again, thank you, Kenzie!! And readers, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this short story! (If you would like to read more by this author, she frequently posts short stories in her sister’s magazine, which I shared about here).

Posted in Guest Post, Writing

A Guest Post….”When the Mirror Lies” by Kenzie M. Part One

Hello! Today I have a special treat for you all. A guest post from my lovely friend Kenzie! And it’s a remarkable story, too, one I hope you will enjoy. I will be splitting it up into two parts – one half today, and the other tomorrow, so be sure to check back! And as always – I love to hear from my readers, so please don’t be afraid to comment. =) Enjoy this short story:

********************************************************

 

“When the Mirror Lies” By Kenzie M.

 

     It was exquisite.

     Bridget was sure she had never seen anything like it before. She cupped her hands around her face as she peered into the window and squinted at the marvelous dress. Her fingers longed to touch the soft silk material, and her eyes took in the beauty of the delicate beads and lace neckline. “Oh if only I could have that dress”, she thought to herself as she reluctantly pulled herself away from the window. She pushed her dark hair over her shoulder and cast one last look at the beautiful dress with her piercing blue eyes. With a sigh, she slowly turned around so that her back was to the dress shop. 

     “Aren’t you going to come in and try it on?” a voice called to her as she was walking away.

     Bridget whirled back around. She peered curiously at the middle-aged woman who had called to her. This wasn’t the owner of the dress shop, and none of the employees ever came outside to chase after customers. “No, I have to be going. But thank you for the offer,” she replied politely. She pulled her hooded cloak more tightly around her shoulders. Perhaps this woman had recognized her as the King’s daughter? She had hoped to keep her identity a secret on this trip into the village.

     “Come now, you have to at least try it on,” the older woman persisted.

     Bridget hesitated for a moment before finally relenting and following her back into the dress shop. “Where is Miranda?” she asked curiously, inquiring about the shop owner.

     “Miranda isn’t here today.”

     Bridget stopped in the doorway of the shop and crossed her arms across her chest. “If you don’t mind me asking, who are you?”

     The woman winked at her and smiled. “I’m glad you asked. My name is Diana. I’m sure you’re curious as to the reason I am here.” At Bridget’s nod, Diana continued, “I’m here looking for a star.”

     Bridget was confused. “What do you mean?” she asked slowly.

     “The next village over hosts an annual beauty pageant and it’s the largest around. So I am here looking for a beautiful girl who can be the next pageant star. If you think you have a chance, why don’t you try the dress on?” Diana explained.

     Bridget stared at the dress in the window for a long time. She hesitantly pushed her hood off of her dark hair and looked up at Diana. “I’m the princess,” she admitted, “The King’s daughter. I don’t think I should participate. Besides, my Father has taught me that true beauty is not how many beads you have on your dress or the amount of jewelry you wear. I am beautiful because my Father tells me I am beautiful. His opinion is the only one that matters. ”

     Diana threw her head back and laughed. “Silly girl, I’m not sure your Father has been honest with you.” She touched Bridget’s hair and looked her up and down critically. “There is so much we could do to improve your beauty. Let’s get started right away.” She called to another employee and hurriedly set up a dressing room for Bridget to change in. They also pulled up a chair and dumped a pile of make-up onto the table.

     Bridget gazed on the scene, her mind swirling. I should just leave. Everything inside of her was pulling her out of the shop and back to the castle, but yet she stayed. It was something that Diana had said. “There is so much we could do to improve your beauty.” What did she mean by that? Was Bridget’s beauty somehow flawed that it needed improving? The fear of not being beautiful enough latched its icy fingers around her heart, and so she pulled the dress into her arms and hurried into the dressing room.

     The rest of the day passed in a swirl for Bridget as Diana gave her a make-over and made her try on every dress in the store. By the time she got home, she was exhausted. As she fell asleep, she resolved to not go back to the dress shop the following day. But when the morning light awoke her from her slumber, she felt a pull clawing at her to go back to the shop. I need to be more beautiful. Diana had warned her that if she didn’t come back, she would never be beautiful enough.

     “I’m here,” Bridget murmured as she walked into the dress shop to the sound of the clanging bells on the door handle.

     “Finally,” Diana grumbled as she pushed Bridget down into a chair and pulled out a pair of scissors from the drawer. “I need to give you a hair cut right away.”

     Bridget touched her curls and shook her head. “No, thank you. I think its fine the way it is.”

     Diana gazed into the mirror with an amused look and locked eyes with Bridget. “You want to be beautiful, don’t you? Then do everything that I say.”

     Bridget closed her eyes and consented. All I want is to be beautiful.

 

     …….To Be Continued TOMORROW!

Posted in Books, Pinterest favourites

Pinterest Favourites Week Four

Happy Friday! Here are this week’s Pins:

 

 

Olde Book Messenger Bag | I seriously need this.

I need this. A literal Book-Bag. !!!

 

The Chateau of Chambord in the Valley of the Loire, France

The Chateau of Chambord in the Valley of the Loire, France – Beautiful!

Story prompt…lovely.

 

Haha so true! I get excited over new books...

Just thought this was funny! I get rather excited for a new book….

 

Which brings me to another thing…I thought that along with sharing the weekly Pins from Pinterest, I would also share what I am currently reading. :) Sooo…This past week my nose has been buried in…

How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck and many more #bookreviews!! #booklove

“How to Catch a Prince” by Rachel Hauck – third in her Royal Wedding Series.I have not actually read the first two, but I am not finding that a particular problem in this third one. I’m sure it would be helpful and add insight, but so far it has not been impossible to understand. I wasn’t sure what I’d think about this book, but I’m enjoying it! It’s a review book, so when I’m done reading, my review will be posted in the blog tour schedule dates in March. :)

What are you reading and/or pinning this week?

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

Revell Book Review: “The Crimson Cord” by Jill Eileen Smith

http://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Cord-Rahabs-Daughters-Promised/dp/0800720342/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423085582&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=The+Crimson+Cord+by+Jill+eileen+smit

 

“The Crimson Cord” by Jill Eileen Smith

Review copy from Revell

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Age recommendation: at least 18+

 

About the book:

Wife to a gambler who took one too many risks, Rahab finds herself sold as a slave to cover her husband’s debt. Forced into prostitution by Dabir, counselor to the Syrian king, Rahab despairs of ever regaining her freedom and her self-respect. But when Israelite spies enter Jericho and come to lodge at her house, Rahab sees a glimmer of hope and the opportunity of a lifetime. In one risky moment, she takes a leap of faith, puts her trust in a God she does not know, and vows to protect the spies from the authorities. When the armies of Israel arrive weeks later, Rahab hopes they will keep their promise, but she has no idea what kind of challenges await her outside Jericho’s walls–or if she will ever know the meaning of love.

My Thoughts:

There were things I liked about this book and things I didn’t. I think “The Crimson Cord” is one of Mrs. Smith’s better books, but there was still more romance/romance details than I think necessary. I am aware that it is the account of Rahab and that she was a prostitute, so there are bound to be ‘unfavourable’ details, though they can be handled delicately.

I do really love the redemption account of Rahab. It is one of my favourites in the Bible. I have enjoyed reading a couple of fiction works of the account, so it was pleasant to read another.

It was interesting to read the author’s perspective of Rahab’s previous life, before she became part of the tribes of Israel. Though I think I would have enjoyed the book being more equally split – half of her previous life, and the rest of her redemption process in Israel, instead of the majority being her life leading up to her joining Israel.

Oh, I loved the little cat that Rahab “adopted”! I have a definite soft spot for cats, and thought that was absolutely adorable. :)

There were parts that made me cry – some out of sadness and shared grief with the characters, and some out of shared joy with them. I am glad for the opportunity to read “The Crimson Cord”, even if I didn’t fall head-over-heels in love with it.

I received a complimentary copy from the publishers through Revell Blog Program in exchange for my honest review which I have given. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Posted in Book reviews, Reviews, Spiritual beliefs

Book Review: “An Uncertain Choice” by Jody Hedlund

 Jody Hedlund          Facebook            Amazon

About:

Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, shortly before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice—if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the knights’ arrival results in a series of attacks within her land, she begins to wonder if the convent is the best place after all. If only one of the knights—the one who appears the most guilty—had not already captured her heart.

My Review:

 

First, before I start this review, I would like to say that as always, what I say is just my opinion – you may think something completely different about any book I am reviewing, and that’s okay! Our opinion is just that –  our own thoughts. Thank you for keeping that in mind!

 

This book has many strengths and weaknesses. As with many books, there were things I liked and didn’t like.

The cover sure is enticing though, isn’t it? It really grabbed my attention personally. :)

I thought that Jody Hedlund’s talent really shines through her writing – it flows nicely, and is so easy and delightful to read. I really appreciated that! This book was written in first-person, and I know how difficult that can be sometimes, but she handled it marvelously, and so the writing was very enjoyable. I liked getting to read from two of the character’s point-of-view.

I will be honest and say that I wished God could’ve tied into the whole story more, and a bit more clearly. This book was fun, and very well done for its age group (YA fiction), but I personally wanted a bit more depth to it. There were a couple of things I was uncomfortable with, having to do with the ancient Vow, and some things relating to the convent/monastery. It would be one thing if ‘the vow’ wasn’t from the Bible, and therefore made up, but the fact that it was taken directly from the Bible and then used as fiction/fairy-tale, I wasn’t really happy with. The Bible is clear that we should not make vows ( James 5:12) and according to the Old Testament, if they did, then only the head – father, father figure, or husband –  was allowed to undo that with the Lord (Numbers 30).   The Tear of the Virgin Mary also made me wary, because it seems a bit superstitious to me; I don’t understand the belief that there would have been any ‘tears of Mary’ saved and I don’t agree with using it as a potion or a purchased miracle. My understanding of the Bible is that only God performs miracles. Mary was a godly young woman who God used to bring His Son into the world, and we shouldn’t worship her or hold her higher than the Father.

And while I don’t want to give away the ending, I have to say that the whole character of the Abbot was quite confusing. I mean, I understand what she was going for – I don’t mean for that part to be confusing, but how it started out (even in the story prequel, “The Vow”) and then how it ended – it didn’t really match up.

Otherwise the story-line was good, very fairy-tale like, which is always fun. I liked each of the Knights that vied for Lady Rosemarie’s attention and heart (I really liked Sir Collin, but the two others I was fond of too!), though sometimes it seemed a bit like a medieval bachelorette. :D But each of the knight’s had pretty strong characters, and it was very enjoyable to read about them.

There was a bit of mystery to this book, and I was quite surprised at the ending and the result. It was one I wasn’t expecting.

As I said, I think this book is very well geared for its prescribed age-group. It is just the right length, with its drawing-in attributes, and keeps the pages turning.

For myself, there were a few things that kept me from adoring it as I stated, but I trust that you will find out for yourself what you will like about it.

 

I am so grateful to Jody Hedlund for allowing me to be on her influencer team – I am truly thankful! It has been really fun. The group she created for us influencer has been loads of fun. :)

(Also, I do recommend that you read “The Vow” before “An Uncertain Choice”, as it is the prequel to the story, and gives the background really well. It was likewise well-written, and I enjoyed it. It’s really short, so it’s not a problem to read before hand! You can get it here)

 I received a complimentary copy of “An Uncertain Choice” from the author and publishers for the purpose of this review.