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 Bethany House, Blogging For Books, Book reviews, BookCrash, Booklook Review, Books, God's Lessons, Litfuse, Moody Book Review, NetGalley Book Review, reading, Revell Reads, Reviews, update

An announcement of sorts

Good day to you, my much appreciated blog-followers! :)

As the title states, I do have an announcement to share with you all. And it’s rather large, in the sense that I didn’t think that I’d do this. But I’m content with this decision, because I know it is directed by God and He has shown Himself SO awe-some in every sense of the word. So my news is this:

 

I will no longer be reviewing books at the rapid pace that I have been – that I’ve been known for. In fact, I’ve gotten off several of the Book Review Programs. I’m taking a Sabbatical. (such a fun word, is it not?). The reason for this, in short, is that it is what the Lord has guided me to recently. It’s definitely time for a break. See, when I read and review books I am analyzing the book so I can justly review it, but by doing this constantly, I have formed a habit of being analytical in everything – and that is leaning on my own understanding, not God’s. It’s thinking through every little thing when I should have faith instead.  And I want to lean wholly on the Lord’s understanding instead of my own, and so I am obeying Him in this step back from reviewing.

 

Sabbatical

 

Truthfully, it is a relief. Yes, I have loved this season of reviewing – it has been a great experience! But I am now ready for a new season. I will still be reading (of course!) but at a more leisurely pace, and I won’t necessarily being posting reviews of every book, as the amount of review books I receive will be just about nonexistent.

However, I will be finishing out with the reviews I have already committed to, so there are a couple yet to come. And I’m not banishing myself from all book reviews, just really stepping back.

 

It’s a big change for me, I’ll be the first to admit it. I am a reviewer. But now, it is: I was a reviewer. My life doesn’t need to hinge on reviewing, and a breather will be nice!

I’ll still do my best to keep up with my blog here, and I’m still apart of some blog tours coming up. I’m just also going to be doing a lot of “de-stressing” which means de-cluttering, etc.

 

So, here’s to a new season! Thank you for understanding. :)

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Books, lists, Pinterest, reading, Tessa Afshar, update

April Book Recap

Happy May First!

And first, I’d like to wish my dearest friend, Kenzie, a very Happy Birthday!!! Love you, Ken!! <3

 

FREE printable book wall art - or use it for filling in the titles of books you read(pic via Pinterest)

 

I’ve been keeping track of what books I receive in the mail and what books I read through the month, so I thought it might be fun to share! If I have already written and posted the review for each book, I will link to it in the title. :)

 

During the month of April, this was my Book News:

Finished “Like Never Before” by Melissa Tagg (LOVED it) Contemporary Romance

Read:

“A Daring Sacrifice” by Jody Hedlund – but I didn’t finish, only skimmed because I was disappointed in it. Medieval/fantasy fiction

 

“The Prophetess” by Jill Eileen Smith – I skimmed this one too towards the end because of the content. Biblical Fiction

 

“Family Lies, Deadly Ties” by J.A.Marx – I adored this book, and am so very excited about it! It releases on May 13th. Can’t wait to share more about it!! Contemporary/Human-trafficking fiction

 

“Counted with the Stars” by Connilyn Cossette – Very good! I will be posting my review soon. :) Biblical Fiction

 

“The Beautiful Pretender” by Melanie Dickerson – Really enjoyed this one! Will also post my review of it soon. :) Medieval/Historical Fiction

 

And I started “Anchor in the Storm” by Sarah Sundin, which I am enjoying! WII Fiction

 

Favourite Book of April: Hard to choose between the few excellent ones…but I’d have to say “Family Lies, Deadly Ties” by J.A. Marx. So good. :)

 

This month, I plan to read “Land of Silence” by Tessa Afshar (which releases TODAY!!! <3), “Dawn at Emberwilde” by Sarah E. Ladd, and we’ll see what else! :)

I’ve also got a couple blog posts coming soon…a Tag and some book reviews. :)

Do you keep track of the books you read each month?

 

Posted in Random babblings, update

Give Me Five

Five Years that is.

This is a spontaneous – I didn’t-plan-this-through kind of post. I was not prepared, in other words, when WordPress alerted me to the fact that I have been blogging on this nice blog for five entire years today.

I’m quite thankful to be blogging still after five years. And I hope to continue another five years – that would be interesting, wouldn’t it?

And I thank you, my fantastic and much-appreciated readers for sticking with me through all the posts over the years, especially the vast amount of book reviews! You are all amazing and I’m grateful for you!

So, what does this year look like in blogging terms? I have no idea. :D I cannot be predictable in that aspect, except for that I know it shall contain some book reviews of course. That is one thing we can all count on. ;) I aspire to keep up writing regular posts, but I shall leave that in God’s hands because we never do know, do we?

Well, I shall sign off here as I have things to do, but thanks for a great five years and here’s to more to come :D

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A random photo of a bit of light coming through a frosty tree taken by me. Because, why not!

Posted in lists

Infinity Dreams Award :)

I was so kindly tagged by Shantelle at A Writer’s Heart for this Infinity Dreams Award! Thank you so very much, Shantelle! Shall we begin?

 

Tell us 11 facts about yourself:
1. I love to read. That is not an unknown fact, but it is a large fact of me. XD I could talk books all day long.
2. I can never get enough journals and notebooks. Ever. My stash keeps growing faster than I can use them, and I am completely okay with that.
3. The cold is my friend. I could live where it’s winter just about all year long, just fine. I love snow and I love looooong winters!
4. I have tea almost every morning in the winter.
5. I write my stories by hand in notebooks. Gives me a better “connection” and makes it easier for me to hear God as I write.
6. I will dance to any TobyMac song. Anytime. Anyplace.
7. Since I was little, I’ve always wanted to be a writer – preferably for a newspaper. At least the writing part came true. :D
8. I love knives, swords, blades…and have a nice collection. :)
9. Cosplay is an interesting thing that interests me. But I am too unskilled (and unrich…) to perfect one.
10. I like to keep my books in pristine condition. Bent covers upset me… XD
11. I enjoy journaling my thoughts and feelings and sure hope no one ever reads them.

 

Answer the questions.

 

How many books do you hope to read this year? Somewhere around 70 would please me. :)

What’s your favorite song? Right now? Probably “Feel it” by TobyMac from his album “This is Not a Test”

What’s your least favorite holiday? Halloween. It is a very dark holiday where Satan is glorified. Very sad.

Why do you blog? I’d like to say I have this grandeur purpose, but to be honest…it’s mostly to record my book reviews. And maybe create a platform for when I become published. :) I enjoy sharing heartfelt posts once in a while, though I wish I did that more.

Favorite dessert? Hmmm…so many! :D Pumpkin pie and Cherry Cheesecake are two of my very favourites!

One movie coming out in 2016 you want to watch? “Caged No More” – it’s about Human-Trafficking.

Some books set for 2016 releases you want to read? This list could be very, very long…. SOME are: “Land of Silence” by Tessa Afshar (!!!!!!!!!!!!), “Courageous” by Dina Sleiman, “Miriam” by Mesu Andrews, I’m hoping Jaye L. Knight’s next book might come out this year, “Anchor in the Storm” by Sarah Sundin, and that’s all I’ll say for now. I’m thinking on compiling a post of just this subject :D

What historical era intrigues you most? Probably medieval times…or the 40’s. Both of those time periods fascinate me. :)

Where would you love to visit? A million and one places! Pennsylvania (for a specific reason…), Ireland/N.Ireland, Italy, Russia, India, Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Scotland…other places…

Some of your favorite blogs? Hard question! I won’t be able to list them all! I enjoy A Writer’s Heart, However Improbable, A Brighter Destiny, Happily Indie After, Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections, and more!

What things inspire you to write/blog? To write…God is my main Inspire-er. Pinterest lends a hand too. :) For blogging…um, random things I guess!  :)

 

Thanks again for tagging me, Shantelle!

These are the rules for this tag:

  • Use the Infinity Dreams Award picture
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Tell us 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions
  • Tag 11 bloggers

And I’m going to actually break one of these rules and not officially tag anyone. I tag anyone and everyone who wants to do it, and you may answer the same questions given to me. Here they are for easy copy:

 

How many books do you hope to read this year?

What’s your favorite song?

What’s your least favorite holiday?

Why do you blog?

Favorite dessert?

One movie coming out in 2016 you want to watch?

Some books set for 2016 releases you want to read?

What historical era intrigues you most?

Where would you love to visit?

Some of your favorite blogs?

What things inspire you to write/blog?

 

If you do decide to do this tag, please let me know so I can read your answers too!

Posted in Writing

“A Greater Freedom” by Raechel Lenore – Short Story Link Up

Hello readers!

Today I’m sharing a short story I wrote as part of the “They Have a Story” Link up over at Emily Anne’s blog. She posts a Inspiration Picture every month, and we have the choice to write something on it or not. You should check it out if you like writing. :) This is my first time participating. So without further ado, here’s the photo, and my story!

 

A Greater Freedom by Raechel Lenore

I was afraid again. Not afraid for my own life, but for the precious life of the daughter clinging to me as we awaited our coming judgement. It was always the same. To others, we were never worth more than the tasks we could accomplish. I wanted my daughter to have so much more. But so much had already been ripped away from us. Too much. Sometimes I felt like, “What is one more thing?” but in my soul, I fought against that bleakness. I wanted to believe there was hope, and that it would find us sooner than later.

I watched as the white man came towards, closing the distance between us until finally he stood in front of us. “What have I done?” I whispered in fear, my voice trembling no matter how strong I tried to be for my daughter.
The white man only smiled. But it wasn’t a menacing type of smile that I had grown accustomed to from our life on the big house land. It was a peculiar smile. I waited for the man to speak.
“It’s not what you’ve done. It’s what he’s done,” the white man tossed his head in the opposite direction where another man stood. I hadn’t noticed him before. But what did the white man mean? What had that other man done? She was afraid to voice her question. My daughter then softly pulled away from me, shyly looking up into the face of our “owner”. “Mister, what’s he done?” her little voice asked. I wanted to hug her for the strength she showed. The innocence. And I praised God that she still had some innocence in the rough life we’ve had.
The white man just smiled, “He’s bought your freedom. Good luck to you.”
And with that, he just left. The other man came closer, almost timid-looking. I didn’t know what to say, but once again my daughter spoke up, “Is this for real, mister? Am I free?”
The man bent down to her level, and smiled a smile that was very gentle. He reached for her hand, and said, “Yes. You are free. I have paid the price. You are free.”
“But why?” I heard myself speak, surprising even myself.
A look of sadness and joy mixed together appeared on the man’s face. “Because I am doing it for Someone higher. Someone who loves you very much. Now go, gather your things, and start a new life together. Here is some money to help you get started,” He handed her a sizable pouch.
I still did not truly understand, but I was thankful. Oh was I thankful! My daughter could live a new life. We could be free. “Thank you,” I said to the man. “What will happen to you?” I don’t know why I asked that, but I suddenly had to know.
“I will take your place,” he said.
But…that didn’t seem right. Couldn’t we all be free? Why did something bad have to happen to someone else so that something good could be accomplished in another?
“I do it because I have a Father in Heaven that loves you. I do it willingly. Have no fear – the Lord has delivered you, and someday He will deliver me also. Live in peace,”
Tears suddenly stung my eyes. This man was being uncharacteristically kind, and all because he loved the God whom they both worshiped. “I pray your deliverance comes soon, then,” I said as I bowed my head in thanks.
The man smiled, “Thank you. I am not afraid.”
It was time, then, for my daughter and I to depart….but I would never forget the man’s kindness. He delivered us, so that we might be free. All because of a loving God.

 

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And that’s it. :) Please no stealing, copyright by me, yada, yada, yada. :) Thanks for reading!!