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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Then and Always by Dani Atkins

(Via)
I was provided an advanced copy of Then and Always by the publisher through NetGalley. You can find Then and Always at a retailer near you on May 20. 

What would you do if you had an accident and woke up with different memories from the past five years? What if the best friend you thought was dead was alive? How would you react? Who would you choose to be?

These are the questions that Rachel Wiltshire must ask after a tragic accident. When she wakes up everything she remembers from the past five years is completely different. Her life, her accomplishments, her family, her relationship status, and most importantly her best friend. Rachel is the only one who knows anything about the past in her head and she alone must decipher what is real and what is not. Will she be able to figure it out?

This was an excellent book. It was intriguing and delightful. I didn't want to put it down and was frustrated that I had to sleep. I wish that I had picked it up when I could finish it in the same sitting. Rachel is a very believable narrator for her journey. Her emotions are varied and raw. The story moves along in unpredictable and exciting ways that made it a great, fast-paced read. 

I haven't read What Alice Forgot, but I imagine that if you liked it, you will like Then and Always by Dani Atkins as well. I highly recommend this for the pool or beach as it will pick you up and carry you along. (It would also be great sitting on your couch.)


Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14

Today is the anniversary of our first date. I don't have a picture of that, but I do of our second date. 



Man we were young!

Mary and Will are both doing great. They still don't get along all that well, but no one gets hurt so thats something. I don't have a picture (there's a great one here), because someone (Will) can't be still once the camera is out and the somewhat blurry photos I do have, I haven't been able to get off of my phone.

Things are good otherwise. We stay busy with work. I read a lot (this book has stayed with me and this series was great), watch TV a lot and sew a lot. Sometimes I pin things. Other times I hang out on Facebook. I've been doing really well with Swagbucks lately. You should join too - that's my referral link!

We saw Divergent the second weekend it was out. It's a great movie and I think it was one of the best book adaptations I have seen in a while. It really stayed true to the story. I think that it probably helped tremendously to have Veronica Roth, the author, on the production team. 

What's been going on with you?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Outcasts by Jill Williamson


Outcasts by Jill Williamson picks up where Captives left off. To tell much about the plot would spoil Captives, so please don’t let me do that for you. In fact I am going to put a big picture here so there aren’t any accidents. You can’t unread this post.

(Via)

So, in Outcasts we find brothers, Levi, Mason and Omar still inside the Safelands, along with other members of their village. They have managed to break a lot of rules, but have also found a way into hiding with help from an outlaw named Bender. When one of Bender’s lackeys winds up dead they have to wonder who they can really trust in the city. They also know that they can’t leave the Safeland without the kids that were taken when the village was raided. Will they be able to get the kids and escape? Will they get turned over to the authorities by their “friends”? Will Mason or Omar find love?

This book delved more into the lifestyles and choices of those living in the Safelands. The constant used of vaping drugs and alcohol was intense. It seemed like Williamson was really working hard to drive home several points: don’t have sex outside of marriage and don’t do drugs. Her other theme was, to me, more mature. It was that family is the most important thing and it is what you make it to be.

I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t predictable or boring. It moved quickly and the constant changing of perspective was smoothly done and gave a well rounded view of the story. I really recommend this series and can’t wait to read the third part.

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher through BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Dog Gone, Back Soon by Nick Trout

(Via)
Dog Gone, Back Soon by Nick Trout is a wonderful read. It was charming and sweet with just enough mystery thrown into to keep the plot clicking right along. The story is about Dr. Cyrus Mills. He has recently moved back to the town of Eden Falls, Vermont to take over is estranged, now passed away, Father's veterinary practice. The only problem is that the "Healthy Paws" vet franchise in neighboring Patton is gunning for him. Will he be able to get enough business to prevent Healthy Paws from buying him out? Will his love life get sorted through? 

This book was right up my alley. It's about dogs. It's cute. It's set in a small town. Cyrus Mills was living in Charleston before he moved back to Eden Falls. I did think that it started on a weird note and in looking it up I found that it is the follow-up book to Trout's The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs. This meant that some of the characters had already been developed and so they weren't in this book. It didn't lose anything, it just made them seem a bit flat. However, not having read the first book, I really liked Dog Gone, Back Soon and it stood well on its own. 

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 4, 2014

She Shares Truth: Joshua 1:8-9

Joshua 1:8-9

When I was a kid we had these "GT and the Halo Express" tapes that we would listen to. I loved them. The songs were all scriptures verses and there are often times that I find myself singing them to myself as an adult. Joshua 1:9 was one of those. "Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you whoever (wherever) you may go." 

I love that verse. On the tape the kids were scared of a thunder storm. I am easily scared by storms, so I could relate to their fear. I need this verse constantly to remind me that God is with me. Much like He was with the Israelites. 

The thing is this: Joshua 1:9 is preceded by Joshua 1:8. "Mediate on it (the Bible) day and night." Constant meditation. Not just reading it. Thinking on it, soaking in it. Breathing it. There is no mistake of the correlation between being strong and courageous and meditating on the Book. 

I wake up each morning with a song in my head. It's usually random. Sometimes I haven't heard the song in years. (The other day it was "I have decided to follow Jesus" - from my childhood.) Well when I was being more deliberate in listening to Christian radio and music more often than not the song in my head each morning would be one of those songs. I was able to focus on the words that kept repeating in my head as I got ready for the day. I was able to worship as I put on my makeup, rather than focusing on whatever else was going to come my way.

This weekend I am going to re-visit some scripture to mediate on as I go about. Will you join me?


(Via)


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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Captives by Jill Williamson

Recently I requested Captives by Jill Williamson from BookLook Bloggers. Well the book didn't show up, so I moved on and requested a different book. And then, what do you know, Captives arrives on my doorstep. I was really excited and finally had a chance to crack it open this week. I finished it yesterday morning and it was fantastic. 

Captives is set in the dystopian future where the water became contaminated with the "thin plague". The only known safe water supply is in the western American mountains (probably the Rockies, but that was never specified). A city was built around this water supply known as the Safe Lands. The residents of the Safe Lands were safe from the plague, that is until they began leading lives of debauchery. The plague had become bloodborn by that time and it began to spread among the cities residents. 

When the Safe Lands residents refused to change their way of living, several different groups of residents decided to leave the city and build villages of their own. One of these villages is Glenrock, found by Elias. Elias had three sons and the oldest, Justin, had three sons - Levi, Mason and Omar. Neither Mason nor Omar fit well into the village that focuses on hunting. Mason is more interested in medicine (a woman's task) and Omar is more interested in his art. This discontent leads to major trouble for everyone. 

The book is a wonderful read. It is fast paced and exciting. The characters are believable. They have true strengths and true weaknesses that make different parts of their lives easier and harder. There development as individuals is handled well as they all adapt and change throughout the story. However, there were a lot of different characters, each with their own story line that tied into the bigger plot. The perspective of the story was constantly changing, but you never had the feeling that something was happening that you didn't know about. 

While the Safe Lands is a world all its own (think the Capital in The Hunger Games) it is explained well and I never had questions about what was going on or why citizens were taking weird actions. There was lots of interesting ideas about what a future world might look like that were easily based in current times. This included some of the jargon of the city, though there were a few times I was left scratching my head until something was given a definition. 

Captives is something of a modern day Daniel story and I can't wait to see what happens in the next book of the series, Outcasts. I should have a review of it soon, as I plan to start reading it today. 

I received a copy of the book Captives by Jill Williamson from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is truly how I felt about this book. I really think that you will enjoy it too!

Friday, March 21, 2014

She Shares Truth: Jonah 1 & 2


Jonah 1 - 2

I've always loved the story of Jonah. As a child, the thought of a giant fish swallowing Jonah up and spitting him out because he disobeyed the Lord was pretty cool. I've pretty much always been a rule-follower. I know that breaking a rule has consequences and so the idea of Jonah getting what he deserved made sense to me. It should have been easy for Jonah to just follow the Lord's commands, right?

Now, as an adult, I have a very different perspective. While I haven't heard the voice of God, I know that He calls me to take the gospel to those in my own neighborhood. Which I usually choose to ignore because thoughts of being uncomfortable come racing into my brain. They are quickly followed by fears of rejection. Finally, I think to myself this gem, "If they wanted to find God, they could just go to any church and anyone would be happy to talk with them." Yeah, thats me and suddenly I'm thankful that I haven't (yet) found my way into the belly of a giant fish.

In chapter two we find Jonah there, with weeds wrapped around his head and he finally decides to pray. The Bible says that he was there three days and three nights before he finally calls out to God. I can imagine those three days and nights. If it were me, I would be sitting there making every excuse in the book, blaming this all on God or the Ninevites or even the fish. As he's about to die Jonah finally starts praying and he ends with this:


I remembered the Lord, 
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving 
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!
(Jonah 2:7-9)

 And then Jonah was vomited onto dry land.

I was reading this, thinking about Jonah and God and me. I realized that it usually takes me a bit of time to finally pray about whatever dilemma I am facing. I'm stubborn, like Jonah, I wait until I am about to break under pressure to finally cry out to my God who is waiting to hear from me. I am grateful that God is loving and forgives us. But I'm convicted that I need to make prayer my default response to trouble.