Posted in Reviews, Books, Product Revews, reading

My very first booksleeve from The Cozy Life ~ Review

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(So, somehow, in the pictures I took, I managed to put the cozy backwards each time, failing to showcase “The Cozy Life” fabric tag….oops! I’m still learning on picture-taking. ;))

 

My Book Cozy! My first from The Cozy Life. I have seen the cozies from this etsy shop all over, was very familiar with the name, and drooled over the cozies in the shop frequently.

And then I got to receive one for the purpose of this review. And I couldn’t be more excited about it!!

The owner is so kind, and super quick in mailing the cozy out – I received it right away. And when I took it out of the package, I found it wrapped so perfectly.

 

 

 

Perfect little package tied up in string – so cute and special!

Now, for the quality…Um, it’s beautiful. Need I say more? I mean, that word encompasses the whole thing! It’s durable, and thick, and soft, and sturdy, and I adore it. I was surprised by its thickness and softness upon receiving it – it’s almost like a pillow! You can tell it is extremely well made, and I love knowing it protects my books so well. Because if you know me, you know that I do my best to keep my books in like-new condition, but I still have to have my current read accompany me wherever I go, so this book cozy is perfect for that.

It’s just the right size for my paperbacks, and they fit snugly inside.

 

 

 

 

If you couldn’t tell already, let me tell you that I am utterly thrilled with my cozy from The Cozy Life, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her shop!

 

 

 

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Posted in Books, lists, Questions/answers, reading, Uncategorized

The First Book You’ve Ever Read Challenge

Hello readers! Marrok McIntyre created a tag-like challenge about the first book you’ve ever read that also inspired you to become a writer. In his words, “I thought it would be a pretty cool idea if we writers would share what originally inspired us to pursue this path of artist expression.”

 

Quite a fun idea, so lets get started!

 

 

 

The rules are simple
  • Challenge at least 1 person
  • Share what was the first book you’ve ever read
  • Why you read it in the first place
  • How did it inspire you to become a writer

 

 

 

Okay, so the first book I ever read.

Well, this may be hard to believe, but I actually hated reading at first. I know. But I did. I resisted it for quite a while. I didn’t want to learn, I didn’t like it, and I didn’t want to. I’ve always been a little envious of others who could say they loved reading from the get-go. Especially since reading is now one of my biggest hobbies. But, alas, it was not so for me. I remember how hard my Mum tried to get me to read. My older sister was one who loved reading right away. But not me. I liked The Bob Books that helped teach us to read, but only a little. I liked them in the way that they were entertaining, but the struggle to learn the words was aggravating.
So what switched me on reading? Well, again, I wish I could say that it was some amazing book. But it was…
Image result for spongebob older books
Yep. SpongeBob. I now realize it wasn’t even the first book in the series. I just remember sitting down at my sister’s bookshelf, wondering why she liked reading so much. I picked this one out (wish I could remember my motivation for this choice particularly!) and realized, “Hm, this is actually…enjoyable. The story isn’t boring,” and that was it, so to speak. Now, I don’t think I took off reading like a mad-man at that point, but it was my start. I realized that books took you on great adventures. Even silly ones. ^.^
However, I don’t think I really began wanting to write until I read this book:
I don’t remember much about the book, other than the thought of “I want to write a story too”. So I did, and it was basically a carbon copy of this book, with different characters. XD I don’t believe I finished it either.
But once I started writing, I found that I liked. For a while most of my writing energy was poured into journals (I had discovered “Amelia’s Notebook” series, and the Dear America series coincidentally) as I processed life. Then I eventually came upon another book that boosted my desire to write, and since then I haven’t looked back. Well, I mean, I’m looking back right now, but I think you know what I mean. ;)
The book that made me want to write more was:
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That was at about 12/13, and I reread it several times. It’s been several years since I read it, but I hold it in fond remembrance for being the book that I loved to read the most and what made me want to write more. And as for the motivation of why it made me want to write in ernest…well, it was creative, and captivating, and I loved how it transported me to a new world, to new things. I wanted to be able to do that too.
So, there you have it! A too-long posts about books from a now-book-lover who was once a book-hater! Sometimes I forget that I didn’t always love to read and I wonder how anyone couldn’t like it, but all I have to do is remember. And know that everyone is different. My younger sister has never been a fan, and that’s okay. She’s started to enjoy it a bit more now, but as more of a side-hobby.
So I’m more understanding now that I might’ve been before.
And I do really love books now. Really, really love books. ;)
Now, I hearby challenge, should they accept:
And I’d love to also challenge my bestie, author MacKenzie Morganthal, but she does not have a blog. However, I would like to know your answer, Ken… :D ;)
And that is that. Hope you all enjoyed reading, and if you were not challenged and would like to be, consider yourself challenged and please let me know when you post, because I’d love to read it!
Posted in Book reviews, Books

“The Hunter and the Valley of Death”

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Happy first Monday of July! And boy is it a hot one.
I know that I normally do an Author Interview on the first Monday, but June was such a busy month that I was not able to line one up…so I do apologize for that. But I do have something else in store for today :)
It is the release day for the first book in the Psalm series by three different authors. The first book is…”The Hunter and the Valley of Death” by Brennan McPherson.
And I had to absolute pleasure of being able to read and review it. So I would very much like to share about the book today, as well as my review.
Happy Release Day!

“The Hunter and the Valley of Death” by Brennan S. McPherson

 

A man wakes up in the Valley of Death and realizes he’s given up everything to attempt to kill Death so that he can bring his Love back to life–but when he fails, who will be there to rescue him?

The Hunter and the Valley of Death is a profound meditation on life, death, loss, and love. Formatted as a fantasy parable based on Psalm 23, this story shows that there is only One who could kill Death–and because of him, and him alone, we say, “Oh, Death, where is your sting?”

 

 

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Review copy from the author

 

 

This was an extremely profound story. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but it really did astound me. It felt very much like Pilgrim’s Progress or “Till We Have Faces” by C.S. Lewis. A fantasy parable/allegory. And it was beautiful and powerful.
The way it was written – so unique, and it just flowed excellently. It captivates the reader and fully draws you into its world.
The symbolism of Psalm 23 was lovely, and how it was all portrayed through the story – brilliant. I found numerous truths in “The Hunter and the Valley of Death”. And oh, the beauty of that truth, specifically regarding suffering. That couldn’t be more apt for me to read right now.
I feel like I can’t even give this book justice in a review for the beauty of it, and the deep meaning.
The only thing is I would have liked just a tiny bit bigger emphasis made of the repentance stage, as that is very important. And personally, my favourite version of Psalm 23 is the KJV or NKJV – I feel it holds the most reverence. So I would’ve preferred to see that in this, but as I’ve stated in past reviews, I know that everyone has different opinions on Bible versions.
Otherwise, I really did love this book, and the notes at the end. It was a short novella, but full of meaning. I am looking forward to rereading it, just to digest more of it. Excellent!
*I didn’t make the graphics; they were provided by the authors of the Psalm series.
Posted in animals, Books, Random babblings, reading, update

June ’18 Recap

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June was an extremely busy month – I felt that I barely had time to breathe sometimes. Summer began in earnest, though there were a few days of cooler weather tucked within the June days. Not as many as I would like, but then I would gladly have a longer Fall and Winter ;)

The heat really has been sweltering lately, and without air-conditioning…I feel like I’m going to melt away. Haha.

We started selling at our local farmer’s market again once a week, which has been going well, but takes up a lot of our time in prep-work. I’ve added to my necklaces – now in addition to the Pixie Dust and ‘Drink Me’ ones,  I have some “Message in a Bottle” necklaces, “Dragon Scales”, and “Wishes”. They look pretty cute if I do so say myself. ;) I need to update the blog site I created for them at some point….

 

June was just filled with life-stuff, as usual. We got butcher chickens, and they are quickly becoming annoying and ugly. XD We got the garden in, and spent a whole day weeding (I got sunburned, of course), re-fenced the horse pasture (still need to add the wire line but so far the tape keeps Pepper and Adora in), and other life stuff happened.

I was happily introduced to the amazing movie, “The Greatest Showman”, and that has been a near-constant high. ;) It really is a remarkable movie, and probably shouldn’t even get me started on it… ;)

 

So! Among the busyness and constant running, I managed to actually read a decent amount this month. My sister and I read before bed each night, which helps immensely with that. ;)

 

A Breath of Hope by Lauraine Snelling  Among the Poppies by J'nell Ciesielski  Trust and Obey by Faith Blum  All for Love by Mary Connealy  The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson  The Hunter and the Valley of Death by Brennan S. McPherson  I Don't Dance by Jesseca Wheaton  Dangerous to Know by Megan Whitson Lee

 

 

If already reviewed, you can click on the covers to go there. :) I will have the remaining reviews posted soon, hopefully!

 

Added to my collection:

 

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Isn’t that cover of “Anne of Avonlea” stunning? And I found it at a Free Little Library! So cute.

Oh and see that little Paris lamp to the right? I found that at a garage sale and was so thrilled because I’ve been wanting an Eiffel Tower figurine thing and this is perfect. :)

 

 

Main Monday Posts from June:

 

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LindsayH Megan Jacobs CI

 

Devotional Type Post: “It’s Okay”

 

Bucket List

 

Books Reviewed:

Jesus Calling // Quest for Leviathan // Among the Poppies //  Enchanting Nicholette // The Orphan’s Wish // A Breath of Hope // Trust and Obey //

 

Posted in Books, lists, Random babblings

Bucket List

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On this fine Monday, I thought I would take a page from “The Heart Between Us” by Lindsay Harrel, and share my own sort of Bucket List. I’ve never actually really made one before, but I thought it might make a rather fun blog post. ^.^ So, enjoy reading some things I would like to do one day! In no particular order. :) And if you feel so inspired, please do share your own bucket list either in the comments or in your own blog post and share the link with me – I’d love to read it!

 

 

 

Raechel’s Bucket List

 

 

Publish a Book

Meet my best friend for the first time

Get married/raise children

Visit India and experience life there (and buy a sari :) )

Have my own personal library

Visit Russia, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Scotland, just because these are all amazing places

Attend an old-fashioned ball

Ride on a train

Explore a castle in Ireland

 

Own and ride a dragon ;)

 

 

 

 

So, obviously that is only a small list, but given more time I’m certain I could name a few more things I want to do.  In on odd way, I’m not a huge future-planner. I like day-to-day plans, but for the future…it’s not something I think of much. I figure that what will happen, will happen. It’s in God’s hands. :) But it is fun to dream isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

(In case you missed it, I interviewed Lindsay Harrel at the beginning of this month, and shared a character introduction for one of her characters, as well as reviewed the book. You can check those out here: Interview   Character Introduction   Review  )

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! Are any of my items on your own bucket list? :)

Posted in Book reviews, Books

“Among the Poppies” by J’nell Ciesielski ~ Book Review

Among the Poppies by [Ciesielski, J'nell]

Among the Poppies by J’nell Ciesielski 

WWI Fiction

I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Can their love survive? Or will it become another casualty of war?

The ideal lady wears lace, speaks quietly, and never—under any circumstances—fixes an automobile. But Gwyn Ruthers has never cared two snaps about being the ideal lady. With the war to end all wars exploding across the English Channel, she leaves behind her restrictive life as a chauffer’s daughter to serve in an all-female ambulance unit in France. She’s not about to let her social status or gender prevent her from serving her country. Not even a handsome captain can distract her from her mission. Most of the time.

Captain William Crawford wouldn’t wish the ravages of war on any man, much less the captivating woman who insists on driving into battle instead of staying safely at home. He can’t deny that the troops need more medical help, but not when it puts innocent women in danger. How can he lead his men against the Jerries while worrying about Gwyn’s safety?

Bound together by circumstances, Gwyn and William can’t stop the love growing between them. Can their relationship survive, or will it become another casualty of war?

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was quite the beautiful story, and a great debut novel. Not to mention that the cover itself is stunning, too. :) At times, it felt very Downton-Abbey/Crimson-Fields-esque, which was rather fun, since I enjoy both of those BBC shows.
The writing style was extremely well done. It flowed brilliantly, and was truly captivating.
The characters were very likeable as well. I couldn’t help picturing Sybil from Downton Abbey for Gwyn. She was a very independent young woman with a mind of her own. Of course, she wasn’t completely like Sybil – Gwyn grew up as the chauffer’s daughter, learning to work on cars which was her passion. She could be a little too strong-headed at times, too, thinking it was bad to be a woman. And honestly, that view does kind of wear on me. I find it is slipped in constantly, no matter the time period of the book, that “woman belong in the kitchen” is akin to a swear-word, and women’s rights, etc. I’m a woman, I’m not a fan of cooking myself. However, I do help out in the kitchen because I do believe that a woman’s place is to *serve*; where ever, however, including the kitchen. It’s not a bad thing. I don’t believe that woman are lesser or should be treated with less respect, or anything of the sort. I just wish that feminism wouldn’t be so pushed in every book I read.But anyway! Rant over, yes? Back to the actual review…
So I enjoyed the book, there were just a couple of things like this that I didn’t care for as much.
Of course I loved the two main characters. But I need to mention Roland. Side-character, yes, but oh my word. He was so fantastic. ^.^ His little quips always made me laugh, and his attitude was just the best. <3 <3
I liked Gwyn’s best friend, Cecelia, but sometimes I admit she could be a bit annoying. Still, their friendship was admirable.
I will also sort of ‘warn’ that there were several passionate kisses in this book. I think they went a little far at times, but I know that everybody’s preference regarding kissing in books is different.
The plot-line was great. It was very drawing, and I didn’t want to leave its pages. The action was well-played out, and WWI depicted realistically. I cannot imagine the horrors, really. All of it would have been so terrible.
But these characters handled it admirably, and it was fascinating to see the battle side of things of WWI.

 

SPOILER!! Please don’t read if you want the book to be a surprise as this gives away a plot-line!!

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.(Highlight words below to see, at your own risk. ;))
 But Roland! I was so, so, so upset. Like, why?? He deserved his own happily ever after. I think I can say he was my favourite character, and therefore…yeah, I wasn’t happy with his ending. Made me terribly sad and upset.
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END OF SPOILER

 

 

 

Among the Poppies 1

Among the Poppies 2

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Posted in Books, character introduction, Give-aways

Character Introduction: Megan Jacobs // Giveaway Winner Announced!

Happy Monday! Today not only do I have the pleasure of sharing a character-introduction for Megan Jacobs of “The Heart Between Us” by Lindsay Harrel, but I also am here to announce the winner from the giveaway featured last week of this very special book! So be sure to read till the end to see who won!

 

LindsayH Megan Jacobs CI

 

(If you’re new to these posts: The idea behind them is just to spotlight the character a bit, give a little description of their personality, and for fun, a few books I’d recommend to them if I could.) 

 

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Meet Megan Jacobs, a 32-year-old wannabe travel writer who finally received a heart transplant after years of childhood illness.  When the story opens, Megan is just plain stuck--she still lives at home, working the same job she worked in high school.  So when her heart donor's parents show her the teenage girl's journal, its pages filled with unfulfilled bucket list items, Megan is inspired to complete each item. Can she finally break free of the fear that's been holding her back?

(Photo found on the author’s pinterest page; used only for enjoyment -I do not claim any rights to this picture)

 

 

Megan is a courageous character. She struggled with health complications growing up, and eventually received a heart transplant.

These things kept her “grounded” – she lived her life carefully. But then she meets the parents of her heart-donor and they lend Megan their daughter’s journal. I would say that this was a life-changing point for her.

As Megan sets out to fulfill her heart donor’s Bucket List, she learns about herself too, realizing she has been courageous all along. The Bucket List quickly becomes her own..

I like Megan because she is relatable. Yes, she did live her life in fear sometimes, but she also stepped out in crazy faith and grew so much along her journey. And I loved following her on her adventures. :)

 

 

 

Books I would recommend to Megan:

 

Well, she is more into travel books, not necessarily fiction. None the less, I would suggest…

 

“The Josey Series” by Susan May Warren// I think she’d enjoy these as I did, as they begin in Minnesota, and proceed to travel – to Russia in this case.

 

Melissa Tagg’s books// The writing style of these books is fun, not to mention the stories are great. I think Megan would enjoy them for sure.

 

“A Song Unheard” by Roseanna M. White// While this is WWII historical, and I  kind of think Megan would read more contemporary fiction, I do believe she’d like this book and its heroine. I just get that feeling. :)

 

 

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Meet Megan for yourself in “The Heart Between Us”:

The Heart Between Us: Two Sisters, One Heart Transplant, and a Bucket List Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.

When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.

As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.

 

 

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And now….how about we get to that giveaway winner?!

 

 

 

 

!!!!* Beth Tate *!!!!

 

 

Congratulations, Beth! I hope you’ll love “The Heart Between Us” as much as I did!  I’ll be in contact with you to get you the book from Lindsay Harrel :)

 

And a HUGE thank you to each of you who entered – I was very thankful to see the entries! :) I’m sorry you can’t all win, but I do definitely encourage you to check out the book!

 

 

 

If you missed the Author Interview from last Monday, or my review of this book, you can find those here:

 

LindsayHarrel AI (1)  004 (4)