Posted in Book reviews, God's Lessons, Random babblings, reading

“Irrelevant” ~ A review and post about Autism

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I am going to talk about why I loved this book.
Mallory.
The plot itself was great, and I can’t wait to begin book two to find out what happens, but what made this book special to me is main character, Mallory.
I have definitely identified with characters in the past. And I feel like as we grow as people, our character-choices grow too. With Mallory, I felt like I found a character just like me. Yes, I’ve felt this way before regarding other characters, but as I read “Irrelevant” and got to know Mallory more, I related more than before. Because most of the characters we read in books are primarily “normal”. They can act and react in the world normally, and handle what comes with ease (and that’s good too). But that’s not my reality, and it wasn’t Mallory’s either. She is labeled as Autistic. And I am too.    My…”quirks” were always assumed to be related to what was diagnosed when I was young which is sensory-integration-dysfunction. But as I learn more and more about Autism, I find more about me that makes sense.
I don’t care to live under labels. Labels do not define who we are. Who God has created to be. It is not “Who am I?” but rather, “Who HE IS”. I firmly believe that. But learning how to cope in this world, I think, is also important, and I am thankful that God has allowed me to find so much information about autism, and then proceed to give me the opportunity to read “Irrelevant” and discover Mallory. She is my kind of normal. She sometimes gets overwhelmed, she doesn’t feel ‘normal’, she cries a lot. All of these things that I can relate to. Oh, and she loves dragons. I was so excited when I found that out. :)
Another thing that made me attached to Mallory was that her character wasn’t written as ‘odd’. Who she was didn’t make her any less of a person. Sometimes I think there is some sort of stigma surrounding the word Autism. People think that only the most severe cases are Autistic and that makes them different. Accepted, but still different. High-functioning Autism is still a thing, though. It can get swept under the rug. We’re not so Autistic that we can fit under that assumption in people’s minds, but we’re also not so normal that we can be defined as, well, normal. But with Mallory…she…well, she was unique and accepted, and she made me feel normal too. What is normal, right?! A word I get caught up on. :) There is no normal, really, because God made us all unique. But I think you know what I mean when I say all this. And all this has become quite the long-winded post! But I just wanted to share why I probably won’t stop talking about Mallory. Because she has become a friend to me, in my mind. ;)
Another thing I am learning is that autism is what I have. It is not what defines me. My identity is not autism, my identity can only be found in Christ. No matter what we battle, or have, or deal with, it is not solely who we are – who were are is solely rooted in Christ. It is He that lives within us, not we ourselves, for we have been crucified with Christ.
I don’t mind saying I have autism – I am not ashamed of this. But I want to be clear in that only God matters. “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” He defines me, He makes up who I am, and as long as I keep my face turned toward Him, I will be radiant and no shame shall be found on my face (psalm 34:5).
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My “official” review of “Irrelevant” by Sarah Addison-Fox:
If there ever was a cliffhanger ending, this book has it. “Irrelevant” is the second book I’ve read by this author, and I love her writing style. It is so captivating that I can hardly put the book down. I wanted to get to this book even sooner than I did, but life events happened that challenged that. However, the author was so kind and understanding about that, for which I am very grateful! <3
This story is action-packed. Not exactly in the way that I would think of when using the words ‘action packed”, because there isn’t a great deal of fighting or fleeing involved (though there is some!), but everything that happens – it all happens quickly and seamlessly, and as I said, I really did have a hard time putting it down.
I want to focus on the characters. They are what drew me to this story in the first place. Mallory is Autistic – and oh my word, the author wrote her character SO well. I absolutely fell in love with Mallory, and could relate to her so much.I am on the Autism spectrum as well, and do I was just really able to relate and understand her so well. It felt really good for me. Everything about her was so realistic and believable, and spot-on. She is so unique, and loveable. One of the things that stuck out to me was that Mallory cried a lot. I cry a lot too, and I don’t know…I just found this added detail comforting to me. And how Cristan (the hero) handled her, especially in her tears – I loved that. He didn’t like to see her cry (not many men like tears at all…), but he knew how important it was for her to let her emotions out and he was so gentle with her. I just absolutely loved and appreciated that. He was so…respectful as a whole. Yes, he has some problems. He has anger issues, and he doesn’t deny that. But his respectful manner really stood out to me as well.
I want to know more about them, more about their story and their backgrounds – that cliffhanger was just cruel! XD
But really, the characters are brilliant. Mallory won the whole novel for me. She is priceless, and I just have to thank the author for writing her so well.
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As in all my reviews, I do like to give content warnings – this isn’t a Christian book, per-say. There was only one or two references to religion and God (and to be honest, one comment Cristan made about God/faith made me sad. Maybe we’ll see a turn around in the following books?), but it is not an overall theme in the book. There are also several swear words spoken throughout. Nothing too terrible or shocking, and it did fit the characters who spoke them. Personally, i am not a fan of swear words, but I was able to pass over them in this story.
There were some innuendos, and one scene at the end that was a little too close to a sex-scene for my particular comfort, but again, respect won out, and I appreciated that.
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All in all, I quite enjoyed this book, and again: loved Mallory!! Looking forward to the rest of the series.
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Pssssst. There’s also a paperback giveaway for Irrelevant happening! Enter HERE.
Posted in Books, lists, Random babblings, reading, update

It’s that time of the year //2018//

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Another year has somehow sped behind us! As I’m quite sure everyone with agree with and say themselves, it feels like we just welcomed 2018, but here we are at the close of it, 2019 on its heals.

As every year, 2018 has been full, with highs and lows, adventures and troubles, blessings and trials. And it has all grown us.  I praise God for all He’s taught me this year, even though it meant a lot of rough patches.

Life preceded over blogging this year…I had some good several months there where I did author interviews and character spotlights each month which was really loads of fun and I enjoyed it so much. But as the rest of the year continued, time slipped away and I wasn’t able to organize blog posts as well. Computer problems never help with blogging either, and we had our fair share of that this past year too.

 

Of the author interviews, there were 7 total:

 

Author Interview_.png Copy of Author Interview_.png Sarah Sundin interview.png Connilyn Cossette AI.png

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AI AM Heath

 

 

 

And 8 character introduction posts:

Willa Forsythe Haley HamptonWyatt Paxton Moriyah CILindsayH Megan Jacobs CI CI LettieLibby S CI CI Liz Cooke

 

 

 

 

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Books! What would a yearly wrap-up be without books? At least coming from me ;) At the beginning of 2018 I had hoped I’d be able to read 80 books, but knew that was probably a bit unrealistic, so I lowered it to 75. Then half the year went by and I realized I might not be able to make that goal either, so down to 70 it went. I didn’t want the goal to become a stresser, because reading is a very pleasurable thing, not a drag. I made that goal, and ended up making my previous goal too. I read a total of 77 books in 2018, equaling 20,293 pages, approximately. Goodreads kept track of it all for me, in addition to my book-notebook that I keep. If you wanted a more in-depth look at the books I read, you can check my goodreads wrap up here. :)

And as I always attempt to do, I have selected some of my favorite reads of 2018! That was a mighty hard task though, let me tell you. I love all de books. <3

And as last year, I have chosen my Top Twelve instead of ten or less, because that is just not realistic for me. ;) So without further ado…. My Top Twelve.

 

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Twelve beautiful books – And yes, I realize that there are only eleven in the picture. That would be because the 12th is an ebook :)  You can click on the titles below and they will lead you to my reviews of each one.

 

“The Masterpiece” by Francine Rivers

“Thief of Corinth” by Tessa Afshar

“An Hour Unspent” by Roseanna M. White

“A Light on the Hill” by Connilyn Cossette

“The Sea Before Us” by Sarah Sundin

“A Rumored Fortune” by Joanna Davidson Politano

“Storm Front” by Susan May Warren

“The Heart Between Us” by Lindsay Harrel

“Isaiah’s Daughter” by Mesu Andrews

“The Hunter and the Valley of Death” by Brennan McPhearson

“If Only It Were Yesterday” by A.M. Heath

“Through a Glass Darkly” by Jack Lewis Baillot

 

 

Annnnd because I am who I am, I have made an Honorable Mentions List. AND a very short list for my favorite short stories of the year :)

 

Honorable Mentions:

 

“A Sparkle of Silver” by Liz Johnson

“A Song Unheard” by Roseanna M. White

“A Promise to Break” by Kathlyn Spurgeon

“Picking Daisy” by Valerie Howard

“Escape and Endurance” by Sarah Holman

“Shelter of the Most High” by Connilyn Cossette

“The Writing Desk” by Rachel Hauck

“The Reckoning of Gossamer Pond” by Jaime Jo Wright

 

 

Novella’s:

 

“Finding The Magic” by Jack Lewis Baillot

“Shot at Love” by Sarah Loudin Thomas

“A Heart So Tender” by Debra E. Marvin

 

 

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And that wraps up the year! Well, it wraps up this blog post. ;)  Happy New Year, readers!! And THANK YOU for being a follower of my blog. It really does bless my heart, and even though I’m rather bad at posting frequently, I do appreciate each and every one of you! <3

Posted in Books, Random babblings, update

August Recap 2018

August Recap 2018
I know I should probably be sad and say that I’m bummed to see August go, but…I’m not. Because September brings Autumn, and August signals the end of summer, which is something I am happy about, I confess. Hot weather is just not my favourite. I managed it, I survived, and I did have a pretty good summer as a whole. But I looooove Autumn! And Winter. And colder weather. Mmmm, can’t wait. XD We’ve already had some very fall-like days, but also still some very hot summer days. I know that just because September is nearly here it doesn’t mean that we’ll be totally through with the hot weather, but it will come eventually.
Anyway! What was happening in August? For me it was extremely busy, and we were doing something nearly everyday. I won’t bore you with the day-to-day things, but some highlights were the continued farmers market, neighbors chores, raising nasty butcher chickens, a new fridge, and a new-used stove (apparently August was the month for appliances to fail). And of course, our local rendezvous/reenactment which was loads of fun, because it was our second year (third time because of the winter event) working one of the booths. The Eatery. It is an adorable little shack building where we sold food goodies.
August just seemed really nonstop. September is still a bit like that, but I’m hoping that eventually it will slow down!
Among the busyness, I read….
A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter  By the Waters of Babylon by Mesu Andrews  When Beauty Blooms by Victoria Lynn  Escape and Endurance by Sarah Holman  A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano  If Only It were Yesterday by A.M.  Heath  The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Byler Younts  Blank 133x176
That last blank-looking book is “Joni’s Story: Todays Heroes” – I unfortunately could not find it on goodreads or amazon apart from its box-set status. But the Joni Earekson Tada book was excellent. While it is more geared toward children, her life story is incredible and I highly recommend it. I plan on reading a more my-age book about her, but this was a very well-written book that gives us a glimpse into her life and her struggles. It really promotes thankfulness for where we’re at too, which I think is needed in everyone’s life, because – and I speak for myself here – it’s so easy to slip into the “pit of despair” thinking we could have it better.
A very encouraging and humbling book.
I required a lot of books, but what is new there?
In the first picture, most I purchased from thriftstores (I love good deals XD) and 3 were swaps, and two are review copies. :) Second picture are books I’ve won; three of them  through the Christian Fiction Summer Reading Safari which was lots of fun!
Oh, and I’m also attempting to take part in my first time ever Instagram book photo challenge, so that should be fun. ^.^
Blogging:
Some of you may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been exactly on-time with all my planned posts, and some I’ve skipped entirely (like this month’s devotional…). Whether or not you’ve noticed, I just wanted to say that I am taking a step back from the weekly schedule; at this time it’s not working for me to try to make sure I have a specific post up every Monday. And now that harvest time is upon us, I really don’t have time to put together any kind of elaborate posts. That is not to say I am throwing away the author features entirely. In fact, I do have an author interview for September, but it will be towards the end of the month. A character-introduction is in the works for September too, and I will do my best to post it on a Monday. :)
As for devotionals, or random-fun posts, I will do those as I can too, but don’t want to put the pressure of “have-to” upon myself.
So, I will continue to post as I am able, but I am not going to let it stress me out, because that’s not helpful or healthy. I realize it is just a blog, and while fun, it doesn’t need to run or overwhelm my life. Life still happens, and that is okay. :)
How was your August? Are you looking forward to Autumn, or sad that Summer is over?
Posted in Random babblings, Writing

Thoughts on Words

Just an impromptu post here…

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Does this quote resound with anyone else? I had it up at my graduation open house a few years ago because I love it. And it came to mind because I’ve been thinking about communication a fair bit lately, and so much of the time I wish I could have a sign on me that comes with a warning of some kind. ;) I struggle with expressing myself through verbal words, sometimes assuming the other person will automatically know what I am thinking or meant to say. Writing fiction comes so much more naturally to me, but I can’t speak in fiction. ;) I wish I could say that even communicating online came easily to me, but frankly, it does not. I over-analyze yet underestimate that what I say may not really express what I meant. So if I’ve spoken to any of you and you have no idea what I meant – don’t worry. It’s me, not you. XD
I’m comfortable when I write fiction. My current WIP’s main character is so much like me that I understand her probably better than any past character of mine. She’s socially awkward too. And I don’t say that in a cutesy way because while amusing, it is a struggle. I’ll say something (in life or online) and then regret it afterwards just because it probably didn’t make much sense. But I know that my God understands me. In my broken-speech, He sees the heart, and I rejoice in that. I think that is one of the reasons He blessed me with the ability to write stories, because it’s often there that I feel the most understood.

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 Books, Random babblings, update

Can’t help it…MAY I recap?

Yeah, I know. I should’ve resisted it. Too easy, right? But I just couldn’t. Not when it is just asking for it….I mean, it’s MAY. ;)

Which is now over. The beginning of the month was fair, temperature wise, but towards the middle and end it turned scorching hot…I’m dreaming of winter. ;)

This month consisted of reading, a visit to a park with family and extended family (wherein I remembered the joys of swinging. So freeing!), yard and garden work, and some more reading in between. Besides the heat, it was enjoyable. :) Not without its trials, but what life is?

 

The books I read:

 

The Backcountry Brides Collection by Shannon McNear – I read a couple more stories in this collection.

Judah's Wife by Angela Elwell Hunt   The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck   Quest for Leviathan by Amanda Tero    Dance from Deep Within by D.L. Sleiman   Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren   Storm Front by Susan May Warren   Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall

 

The first three you can click on to read my review, the next two have reviews that will be posted soon, same for “Enchanting Nicholette”, and the SMW books – my reviews are on Goodreads. :)

 

 

 

Books added to my already-too-big collection:

 

 

Three are review books, one is from Tyndale Rewards (where you can sign up to earn points towards FREE books! <3), a couple were book-swaps, and the rest were garage-sale and library sale finds, besides “Ain’t Misbehavin'” which I purchased on a FB group. :)

 

Yep. What else can I say than that I love books?

 

 

May Post Sum Up:

 

Connilyn Cossette AI  Moriyah CI

038    The God Who Sees Me

4-29-18 (5)   a5193-tag

 

And posted about the GDPR news HERE, and also reviewed “Judah’s Wife” HERE.

And a Cover Reveal HERE.

 

 

And here’s to June, right? May we survive the heat. ;)

 

 

 

How was your May, readers? Any exciting news to share? Books read? Feel free to comment and we can chat!