Monday, January 2, 2017

Hit it off right, and by right it mean Books!

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Let the New Year begin! I successfully ate one cookie for two years! (giveaway: I ate it from 11:56 to 12:02. Two years with one cookie!)
With the close of 2016 I was able to go back and tally up all the books I have read and reviewed the past year! It was amazing to see how many I had actually read, although nowhere near as many as I could have read had I a proper library. My list would also probably be doubled if I added all the books I never finished. It's grieving to read books that hold so much potential, yet ruin their chances by adding worthless ideas, foul language, and rotten romances. But for this year (And here I thank my mom for the idea) I'm going to keep a list of books that I would spare you of reading!

Now, on to the good books! All of my books are rated from one * to five *****, with the occasional ! to show that this book is a MUST read!!!!! There will also be a large L on books that have a few hard words. Most old British literature contains it since that was before those words were considered as bad as they are now. (Note: Some of these books I read at the beginning of the year so I'm a bit fuzzy. I will label any book that I remember bad language, so I'm sorry if I accidentally missed one!) There will also be a few books for younger ages labeled KIDS,which are ones I've read aloud to my siblings.
 But I won't keep you waiting any longer! These are given in the order I read them.

1) Crazy Love = *****!
2)Holiness of God = ***
3) Merry Wives of Windsor = ****
4) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe = *****! KIDS (But this is a fabulous book for ALL ages)
5) The Quotable Lewis = *****
6) Light of the Last = *****
7) Cameron Townsend = ****
8) Do Hard Things = *****!
9) Prince Caspian = *****! KIDS (Also one for all ages as well!)
10) Twice Freed = **
11) Screwtape Letters = ****
12)The Two Noble Kinsmen = ***
13) Measure for Measure = *
14) Voyage of the Dawn Treader = *****! KIDS (And all ages)
15) The Chosen = ***
16) The Hiding Place = ***
17) Mere Christianity = *****!
18) Bruchko = ****
19) Legends and Lies of the Old West = *** L
20) Anne of Avonlea = ****
21) Indian in the cupboard = **** L & KIDS (If you're careful and skip the few rough words, this is a really great book!)
22) Anne of Green Gables = ***** KIDS 
23) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People = *****
24) Hamlet = *****!
25) Twelth Night = *****
26) Master Cornhill = *****
27) Mary, Bloody Mary = ****
28) Where the Broken Heart Still Beats = ***
29) Loving Will Shakespeare = *
30) The Shakespeare Spy = *****
31) The Secret of Wildcat Swamp = *****
32) The Phantom Freighter = *****
33) The Viking Symbol Mystery =*****
34) The Bombay Boomerang  = ****
35) The Clue of the Broken Blade = ****
36) The Man in the Brown Suite = *****! L
37) To Kill a Mocking Bird = **
38) The Sinister Signpost = *****
39) Murder on the Orient Express = ***** L
40) The night the Bear ate Goombaw = *****
41) Sir Kendrick and the castle of Bel Lione = *****!
42) Kingdom's Call (read 2x) = *****!
43) Kingdom's Quest (read 2x) = *****!
44) And Then There Were None = ***** L
45) The ABC Murder = *****L
46) The Seven Dials Mystery = *****!
47) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd = *****!
48) Enough Faith = ****
49) To Busy Not To Pray = *****!
50) Cold-Case Christianity = *****!
51) Kingdom's Reign = *****
52) Sir Dalton = *****!
53) Emma = ***
54) Lady Carliss = *****!
55) Sir Quinlan = *****!
56) Sir Bentley = *****!
57) The Book Of Hours = *****!
58) Mansfield Park = **
59) Pilgrim's Regress = *
60) King of the Wind = ***** KIDS
61) Pride and Prejudice = *****
62) Heroes of Faith: C. S. Lewis = *****
63) Hinds Feet In High Places = *****
64) Misty of Chincoteague = *****KIDS
65) Total Truth = *****!
66) The 5,000 Year Leap = *****
67) Alen's War = *****
68) Mara, Daughter Of The Nile = *****

And that sums it up! Of course, moving across the state, having another sibling born on top of the 4 I already have, and a mass of other things has kept me a bit busy. But all is not so bleak... I HAVE A NEW YEAR TO READ MORE!!!
I would like to also add a list of books that have a special place in my memory. Just in case you go through this reading list to quickly. Some other great books are:
The Shakespeare Steal & The Shakespeare Scribe
The Great and Terrible Quest
The Robe
War Horse
The Secret Adversary
Lincoln's Last Days
The Narnian Cookbook
Black Beauty
The Witch of Blackbird Pond (don't let the word witch scare you off. It's about how the people of New England accused Quakers of being witches. It's a great book!)
Moccasin Trail
The Bronze Bow
Eagle of the Ninth

Do you have any favorite books? Please share in the comments! I'm always on the lookout for more to add to my reading list!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Congratulations to the winners of the eBook giveaway!! Happy Reading to Olivia, Hailey, Rachel, Marrok, Raechel, Jennifer, Bailey, and Cory! I hope you enjoy these wonderful works of art as much as we enjoyed writing them!

For the rest of you readers, be sure to stay tuned after Christmas when I'll be posting my 2016 reading chart of every single book I've finished and what I think about them!

Merry Christmas cyberspace friends!

Saturday, December 17, 2016


Yay for interviews! I don't know about the rest of you, but I adore interviewing people! Especially when it's a fellow author! Remember the whole eBook giveaway I announced last post? If you missed it you can click Here and enter to try and win free books! (Who doesn't love free books?)
But now, allow me to introduce the author of the day: Faith Blum!

Q 1: What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always loved writing, so I’m not exactly sure what inspired me to actually get started. What got me started writing to publish was a couple of contests. One inspired the story though I was too old to actually enter my story. The other one inspired me to pick the story back up and edit it. Since then, I’ve independently published over 18 eBooks and 8 paperbacks.

Q2: Can you give a brief summary of your book Be Thou My Vision and what inspired you to write it.
Summary: After learning of her younger brother's death, an outspoken spinster defies her father and starts going to church, where she begins to care for the widower pastor's two rambunctious boys who need a mother's love.
Inspiration: What inspired this book was a beta-reader’s question after he read the first book in my series: What’s the next book about? I hadn’t been planning to write a series, but after that question, I started wondering what else I could do, so I wrote about the villain’s sister.

Q3: If you could go into any book, as any character, who would you be and where would you go?
Echo Sackett in Louis L’Amour’s book, Ride the River and go on her adventure, but also go beyond where Mr. L’Amour ended his book.

Q4: What is your favorite book, series, and author? (They can all be the same or all different.)
My favorite book is Samara’s Peril by Jaye L. Knight, my favorite series is The Sackett’s by Louis L’Amour, and I have too many favorite authors to name, but for this interview I’ll say Amanda Tero.

Q5: What is your favorite music to listen to while you write?
Um… Classical mixed with soundtracks. I have a list of Pandora stations that I put on shuffle. Although, right now, I mainly listen to Christmas music.

Q6: Because it’s Christmas time: What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
Love this question!!! My favorite tradition started just a few years ago, but Dad and Mom got 4 large Christmas bulbs, and 12 small frosted bulbs and used them to tell the Christmas story. In the 4 large bulbs, they put in a few symbolic items: hay in one, a plastic sword in another, a piece of white and silver garland (for a star), and musical notes (for Mary’s song). Then on the frosted bulbs Mom wrote down some Bible references. On one side, she put an Old Testament prophecy and on the other was the New Testament fulfillment. On some of them, there are also some of the names of Jesus. When we have our family Christmas (usually before Christmas Day), we open the boxes, read the Scripture references, and hang the bulbs on the tree.

Q7: How long ago did you start writing?
I think I really started when I was about 10 years old.

Q8: How long did it take you to write Be Thou My Vision?
I think it took me about a year from the rough draft to publication. Maybe a little more. I can’t really remember.

Q9: What is the easiest part of writing?
That really depends on the book. Sometimes the easiest part is the rough draft. Other times, it’s the editing.

Q10: What is the hardest part of writing?
See the answer above. :P

Q11: Do you have any special talents? (e.g wiggling your ears, doing backflips, riding horses faster than a walk.)
Playing piano and singing the harmony at the same time. Does that count? Oh, but I have to be familiar with the song.

Q12: What is your favorite Bible verse?
This is like telling a mom to pick her favorite child. Um… Let’s see, we’ll go with Philippians 4:5 because I recently read the chapter and that was the one verse there I didn’t know super well and it really impacted me on the day I read it.

Thank you, Faith, for allowing me to interview you! 

Pssst, readers, check back here to find the other bloggers/authors and their interviews! If you love digging up the inside information on authors as much as I do, I advise you start clicking over!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Merry Christmas!

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Hello, from a galaxy far far away! (random star wars spurt.)
With the Christmas season now upon us, many people begin thinking about gifts. Well, bloggers/authors think about the same thing!
I'm honored to be joined by seven other amazing authors as we host an eBook giveaway! If you want to win one of these lovely thingies, follow the steps below, choose one of the entry options, and follow the instructions to gain a point. (Hint: you can enter with as many options as you like to increase your chances of winning.) The giveaway starts December 3rd and ends on the 20th, so you'll have plenty of time to enter. We'll pick eight winners at random and contact them before Christmas so you can have your ebook delivered whenever you like. Here's how it works.
Step 1: Get a nice warm cup of cocoa with a candy cane in it.
Step 2: Listen to Christmas music and sing along like nobody's listening.
Step 3: Check the weather to see if there's any snow in the forecast.
Step 4: Make another cup of cocoa and check the cupboard for more candy canes.
Step 5: Get sidetracked watching The Polar Express.
Step 6: Grab a few sugar cookies on your way to the computer to go with another cup of cocoa.
Step 7: Follow THIS link and do what it tells you. 

If you want to know more about the authors and their blogs you can follow the directory below. And stay tuned to these blogs and mine to get some inside information via interviews with the authors themselves!


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hard Core: Part 3

Lets Get Hard Core
Part 3
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Sorry it has been a bit. We are on a limited internet service and ran out so I couldn't get on the computer. Some people might call that a problem, but I see it differently. You get an amazing amount of time to play piano and read! Imagine this with me: what if you have no TV channels (Which means no Netflix), your internet doesn't allow you to watch youtube or download videos, and you only a cable phone that has to be shared with all family members. You don't have any friends except those that live 5 hours away and you are home schooled with your siblings. (are you sweating yet?) What would you do all day?! I bet I would be pretty close to hitting the nail on the head when I say that most kids my age would be sinking through the floor at this stage.
You might have guessed it already; but that's me ever since we moved. And I do some crazy things. Right now my siblings and are are taking up an entire room to build a Playmobile city (great bonding time!) I have no homework at night so I can read to my sisters before they go to bed! (More bonding time) I can spend as much time as I want reading my bible (Spiritual growth and learning His Will to direct my life) and applying it to my life. I have tons of free time so I've taught myself 4 instruments. I also got a job as a stable girl and am being trained to race horses on 50 mile Endurance races with some of the most amazing horses ever! I can ride a Stallion, tan a deer hide, crotchet and knit, babysit, cook and bake, make wire jewelry, read like there's no tomorrow, write and publish my own books, keep a house, learn any subject in school that I want, and serve in ministries that help kids in broken homes. My life is so full!
I'm not letting this time slip away and I don't want you to either. I don't enjoy being with the people who are constantly talking about the newest movies coming out or asking if I've seen this or that. Their focus is not on life, but on a fantasy. At least books can teach you something through vocabulary - but even then there are some junky books! God gave us such an amazing life! Why would we spend it watching a movie we probably won't remember when we're 50 when we could be building lasting relationships with our friends and family so that, when we are 50, we can sit around and remember the fun times we had while making new ones! I've hiked mountains and looked down at the world and just couldn't imagine what it would be like to be inside watching TV when there's such a beautiful sky waiting to be touched. 
Now, I'm probably rubbing on TV a bit hard. There are some funny movies to be seen and good times to be had while watching them. I've had a blast with popcorn battles or watching Star Wars and then trying to mimic their lightsabers with my siblings. (Requires slow motion option on a camera ;) But don't spend so much time watching TV that it keeps you from living the life God gave you. Don't spend so much time with friends that you miss out on the siblings who want you as their friend. Don't think your so busy that you can't help the mom that cared for you even in the busiest times of life. Don't forget that there's a God who loves you and gave you every single thing you have. The next generation for this world is us teens! Are we going to make the world better, or sit by and let it move on?

I really suggest checking out this website. It's written by two brothers, who also wrote a book called Do Hard Things, and I love it! Another Gold mine!   
 This marks the end of the Lets Get Hard Core series. (Unless I think of some other point that I need to explode)  I hope this doesn't pass, but leaves an imprint in your life. The devil doesn't work openly anymore. He's more subtle. We must arm ourselves with the Word of God if we are going to survive in this battle of Life. 

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hard Core: Part 2

Let's Get Hard Core
Part 2

When I ask most girls if they've ever read a mystery book, 90% of them will admit they've read Nancy Drew. I could never understand why. Franklin W Dixon is the author of both Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mystery series. From what I always found, everybody knew Nancy Drew, but the Hardys were left behind. I'm sure I'll figure it out... one of these days.
Sorry, that's a little off topic. My point was that I love mystery books! I especially liked the Hardys because they were filled with action and near-death scenarios. (I figured out the mystery in Nancy Drew before I was halfway and got sick of reading about girls fainting because they're scared.) But it eventually got to the point where I could figure out the Hardys' mystery before it ended, therefore taking out a lot of the excitement. That's when I advanced to reading Agatha Christie and I'll never go back. I have never been able to figure out answer to the mystery before she announces it and blows me away with how complicated it was and I never knew. I'll think I have everything sorted out and then I find it was the last person I ever suspected. (Read The secret adversary.)
All the characters, who are trying to solve the mystery, have a similar pattern in how they go about it. They may change it around or come about indirectly, but it follows the same line: Who did it, Why, When, Where, and for What. Most of you know that as the 5 W's. I've always added in a How because I think that's important. (Note: I'm the one who needs to know how it happened so I can see if I could have done it better.)
In Part 1 of this series I talked about the importance of change. In this section I want to lay out some of the ways to do that. And we are going to do it Sleuth style!
Who are you changing? 
No more of the, "Well if you knew my family." "I'm just so busy."  "People expect me to be -" "Everybody else is doing it."
Those are all excuses. My 6th grade Sunday school teacher once told my that an excuse is like a bubble. It has the skin of a reason and is packed with a lie. Nobody is stopping you from changing but yourself. You can't be trying to change the people around you in the hopes that then you will change. 
Matthew 7:3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
Once you've changed your heart to be devoted to God, His light will shine through all that you do and be a witness to others. 
Why should you change/When should you change?
I'm hoping I made the answer to these points abundantly clear in Part 1. You aren't promised that you will have tomorrow. You can't put things off until "another day." If you die and God asks you why you didn't do more, what are you going to say? It just doesn't work that way. We can't keep waiting. We are given NOW!
 James 4:14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Where does this change take place?
I'm working through a book as big as a bible right now called Total Truth by Nancy Pearcy and loving every bit of it! It's an entire Gold mine! There is one Golden point in particular that struck me as totally true! 
Pearcy talks about how our culture has separated Religion from Reality. We pull the bible out for Sundays and our devotional (If we even do that. We might be to "busy" that day.) and then carry on with the the world for the rest of the week. Pearcy talks about how religion is considered to fog your mind and blind you to the scientific and rational truth. In other words, it blinds you reality. But really, there isn't any other Truth or reality outside of the bible and God. We need to break down that barrier and bring God back into our life - every aspect of it. Whether it's interacting with friends or people we work with, the decisions we make, how we use our time, what we watch, what we listen too, how we talk, or just how we view facts. We need to stop putting God into a box and stuffing Him in our pockets, only to pull Him out for bible studies, church, and devotional. There is nothing outside of Him! 
What is something you think about a lot? Facebook, friends, fantasy, books, movies, activities? How much time do you think you spend dwelling upon those thoughts? Now think about how much time you spend thinking about God. If you were to measure the time you spend thinking about those other things and the time you spend thinking about God, which one do you spend the most time on? 
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What is the purpose?
God is our Father. He wants to give us so much, but we need to turn to him and hold our hands cupped and ready to catch His blessings. That means letting go of whatever you are holding onto in this life and turning to Him. I can't express the peace and joy I find in knowing that I have God watching my back for me. As long as I stay tuned into His music, I'll dance to the right beat. But once you start getting distracted by what this finite world has to offer - things that get destroyed and are only temporary - you lose the comforting and guiding melody and begin dancing to your own imperfect and broken beat. 
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How do we change?
This is a personal question that you need to ask yourself. I don't know where you are or what you are struggling with, but God does. And He can help you. Start bringing Him into your life and allowing Him to guide your actions. I guarantee it will be worth it. You get one shot at this life, and what you do here will affect your eternity in heaven. Eternity is a long time.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hard Core - part 1

Let's Get Hard Core
Part 1 
The Phone Call came late at night - my siblings and I were about to crawl into bed when it came... I shall never forget that night. I knew something was wrong when my dad got really silent on the phone. It was a pastor from our church. What could have happened that would warrant so late a phone call and so serious a face? Why did I have the feeling that something terrible - something that I had feared - had just happened. Dad pushes the red button on his phone and ends the call. He tells us: My grandpa is dead. 
At first the news was too shocking for tears. I guess my stubbornness refused to accept that he was actually gone. Grandpa Freddie wasn't actually my grandpa at all. He was a member of our bible study and I loved him so much. He was easy to talk to with a funny Texas accent. I knew that if I was facing a spiritual problem - he was there for me. He worked in the prison ministry and brought more people to Christ than anybody I have ever met. He truly lived his life entirely devoted to Christ. We were going to have him over and "adopt" him as our grandpa. But The Phone Call got to us first - I would never get to call him grandpa... I never even got to say goodbye. 
That was the night that changed my life, though not as drastically as some people might think. It was a gradual process. The acceptance that he was gone, the grief and tears that followed, and the questions seemed like they would overpower me. Why did God take my grandpa away? I still needed him, I still wanted him. Why? 
I found my answer. Life is to quick to lay by and wait for changes to just happen. I've seen far to many teens, kids who could do so much, just sit by and wait for the Change to take place in their life. But you may not have tomorrow to change. You may not have next year. What if you learned that you weren't going to live to see your next birthday? Would you be living you life any differently? In James it says:  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
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God has given you a life, not so you can live passively, but so you can glorify Him. God is a jealous God and created you as His child. Yes, that includes you teenagers! 
I hear people talk about teenagers like it's a stage in life to be detested and nobody can do anything about it. But I don't believe that's true! Teens can do so much to affect the world, and it can be as easy as turning off the TV and helping your family. 
But you have to be motivated to change. Nobody can make you change your heart. You can go through the motions of being helpful, you can plaster on a smile that gets peeled off as soon as you're behind closed doors, but that's not doing anything. If you're heart isn't serving, then neither are you.
We should live our lives to glorify the One who created everything and who we will one day live with for all of eternity! In the end, will you ever remember that TV series you watched instead of helping your brother or sister? On your death bed will you want somebody to bring your shoes that you bought so you can say goodbye? No. The thing that will matter is your family, friends, and your relationship with God. God is going to show you, imagine a big screen TV, everything you missed out on, every chance that got passed by, that you could have taken advantage of. We should be striving to hear God say "well done, good and faithful servant." Because this life isn't about us! It's about Him! 
So where am I going with this? How does this tie into my grandpa's death? When he died, I realized how easily I could died as well. It just takes one dumb car driver to swerve into you on the road and you're gone. I honestly realized that I wasn't ready, but I wanted to be. 
Since then I've been reading my bible and realizing just how awesome a God we serve. I wanted to please Him. I changed my heart. There's no one like Him, and He wants to love and care for us! We just need to turn to Him. And if you do that, He will use you to accomplish a lot more than finishing a level on a video game. 
But you need to get Hard Core. 

I'm going to end with this story. If you have never read the book Do Hard Things by Bret and Alex Harris - you need to. I would quote the entire book if I could because it is one big Gold mine of wisdom.
Before I started writing this I got an email from their website - Therebelution.come . I would like to share it with you.

"It's one thing to promise you that adventures await those who step outside their comfort zones...
It's another to PROVE it with real life examples.
That's why I love the story of Riley Banks.
She's a shy girl who went to visit Kenya at 13-years-old and repeatedly felt in over her head.

In fact, Riley even fainted while trying to help care for babies at a Kenyan hospital (see picture below). Not a great way to start your missionary career!

Riley, Age 13, in Kenya
But rather than letting herself give up and crawl back to Branson, Missouri to live a normal teenage life, Riley decided to go back to Kenya the following year… 

And the year after that… 

And the year after that…

And the year after that…

Seven years later, Riley runs her own non-profit organization, operates a school in Kibwezi, and oversees a thrift shop and food pantry in Branson to fund operations. 

In the near future she’ll be opening a five-acre community center in Kenya with a feeding program for kids and a training facility for single mothers to learn a trade and provide for their families.
She is changing lives… And it has changed her life.
Here’s how Riley puts it:
“God doesn’t call the bravest, the strongest, or the smartest, but when He calls and we respond with simple child-like faith, amazing things can happen.”
Isn’t that inspiring?"
 Are you willing to change?