Sunday, December 27, 2015

What Would Jesus Post? by Brian D. Wassom: Book Review

Hello again! I'm here today with another book review. I received a copy of  What Would Jesus Post? by Brian D. Wassom from BookLook Bloggers.

This book gives seven principles for how Christians should act on social media. These include think before you post, don't try to act like something you're not, guard your heart, don't be too distracted by social media, don't be a stumbling block for other people, be a peacemaker, and build genuine community. While this is aimed for a Christian audience, I think that these principles are ones that every person on social media should be following. 

The author's main points include thinking before you post and not bringing down other people. Is what you're about to say going to hurt anyone? Is this something that really needs to be shared? Think about what you're posting: is this appropriate for the people who are going to see it? Pretty common sense stuff that doesn't seem to be so common. He also says not to be a stumbling block for others, and to really think about what you're posting and how it may affect other people.

I found this book to be very interesting because it made me think about what kind of content I put out on the internet, whether that is through my Facebook, Twitter, or my blog. Am I building people up and creating a friendly community, or am I being negative and bringing people down? The book by no means says that you can't share your frustrations or be negative on social media. You don't have to pretend that everything is great all the time, because life just isn't that way. Sometimes, online friends can help you through tough times that you share. However, you should not be intentionally posting anything that you know will hurt others. 

There are actually quite a few of my friends that I'd like to share this book with who I think would benefit from it. I think that having read this is beneficial to me.

Also, the author used the Bible to show how Christians should be acting and how that applies to social media today, as well as giving personal examples of how he learned and experienced these things. He was very clear and consistent in his writing, and I read the book quite quickly. I enjoyed it and I definitely recommend it!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon: Book Review

Hello everyone!

Today I am reviewing the book Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon, which I received from BookLook Bloggers. I was so excited to receive this book because I have seen many reviews on it and heard wonderful things about it. I couldn't wait to pick it up and start reading.

Doon is a fantasy novel that takes place in Scotland. The story follows two American girls who just graduated from high school named Veronica and Mackenna. While Mackenna is from a rich family and is very outgoing, Veronica lives with her mother who drinks a lot and her pervy boyfriend. Mackenna has just inherited a cottage in Scotland, and the two friends go there to spend the summer. However, Veronica is having visions of an attractive, Scottish boy calling to her. Once arriving in Scotland and learning some of the local legends that she is sure is connected to her mystery man, she sets out to find the truth. Along with Mackenna, she soon finds herself in the mystical world of Doon, where all kinds of heroics and struggles ensue, laced with humor and romance all along the way.

On Goodreads, I gave this book 3/5 stars, though I would actually give it closer to 3.5/5. Since I've finished the book and am thinking about it more, it is growing on me more. 

One thing that I liked about the book is the fact that it gets into the action right away. The authors did not spend a lot of time working up characters and background information before getting into the action. Sometimes, it takes authors a long time to get into the actual story while they're giving background information, which can get to be pretty boring, so I was very glad that this book didn't do that. I also really like the characters. Both Veronica and Mackenna are very believable and realistic. The authors didn't give them a ton of unrealistic flaws or quirks, or try to make them perfect. They are just normal girls who are very likable. I particularly like Mackenna, simply because I love her sarcasm and fiery spirit.

One of the main things that I disliked about this book is all of the teen romance cliches that are in the book. For example, the main male character is very hot and cold, which has gotten really old in teen romance. Mackenna describes this as an "Edward Cullen act", which I think is the best way to describe it. This behavior almost always immediately turns me off to the character, and usually also turns me off to the female who is so in love with them. Also, as in a ton of books, the main character knows important information that would help everyone, but keeps it to herself to "protect everyone". This leads to even more trouble every time, and I just don't get why authors keep writing that situation into books, when it seems to unrealistic to me.

I think that one of the reasons that I didn't enjoy the book as much as I had hoped was because I read it as an ebook, and not a physical copy. Ebooks just don't feel legitimate to me, it feels like I'm reading fanfiction off of Wattpad or something and not an actual, published book. I really think I would have liked it much more if I'd read a physical copy, but that's just a personal preference.

Overall, I did enjoy the book. I realized how much that I liked it when I was reading and all of a sudden I realized that it was 3:00 AM and I hadn't put the book down in hours. I am still trying to decide if I want to read the next book in the series. I hadn't been planning on it, but then Doon ended on a note that intrigued me and made me want to know what happened. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who loves teen/ YA romance and fantasy adventure. It was also really cool to see a book that takes place in Scotland, as it isn't a place that I get to read about often. It makes me want to visit the beautifully described country!

Have you read this book?
What did you think?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

November Book Wrap-Up

Hello, there!

Unfortunately, I didn't get to read as much as I did last month, and I didn't stick to my TBR list at all. School has been keeping me insanely busy, and I've been knitting/crocheting a lot of Christmas gifts lately. Also, I was having some trouble getting into the two books that I'm currently reading. So, here's what I read in November.

  1. The Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester- I found a signed copy of this book at Target and I am so excited! Dan and Phil touched my book! It's a very fun, quick read that I recommend for anyone who enjoys their YouTube videos. I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads.
  2. Unconfessed by Yvette Christianse- This is a book that I had to read for one of my English classes. It's about a slave woman in South Africa who is sent to a prison. It deals with all of the injustices and bad things that happened to her. It was interesting and easy to get through, though I only gave it 2/5 stars.
  3. The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter- This is the third book in the Alice in Zombieland series, and to be honest I'm glad I'm done with it. The characters got less likable with each book, though I did enjoy the story and the book even made my cry while reading it at work. I gave it 3/5 stars.
  4. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson- Okay, this is just a short children's book, but it was still really fun to reread. My sister and I found this book while we were home for Thanksgiving break, and we decided to read it together like we did when we were younger. It's about a group of really awful kids completely taking over the church's annual Christmas pageant. 
I am currently reading...

  1. A Mad Zombie Party by Gena Showalter- This is the last book in the Alice in Zombieland series, though it's told through the perspective of two other characters and has less to do with the main characters from the first three books. I had a hard time getting started at first, but now that I'm a little further in I'm enjoying it much more. (Update: since I drafted this post earlier today, I have binge read 350ish pages and have now finished it. It got so much better!)
  2. Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon- I received this as an ebook from Harper Collins publishing, which I am very excited about since I've been wanting to read this book for a while. I'm still not very far in so nothing has really happened yet, but I've heard good things about this book so I am so excited for things to get interesting.
Have you read any of these books?
What did you think of them?
What's on your December TBR?
What are some books you recommend?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October Wrap-up/ November TBR

I actually read a lot in October, which surprised me since I had a lot of homework last month as well. I also didn't stick to my TBR list that I posted last month. This is because I had to read a few books for school. I also borrowed a couple of books from friends, and I try to read books that I borrow quickly so I can give it back right away.

Here's what I read in October...

  1. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan 5/5 stars
  2. The Kneeling Christian by Anonymous 5/5 stars
  3. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty 4/5 stars 
  4. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter 4/5 stars
  5. The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller 4/5 stars
  6. Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa 2/5 stars
  7. Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter 3/5 stars
  8. Running out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix 4/5 stars
I'm hoping that I can read that much this month, too. Reading even more would be nice, especially since I'm way behind on my goal for the whole year. 

Here's my TBR for November...

  1. The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter
  2. A Mad Zombie Party by Gena Showalter
  3. Unconfessed by Yvette Christianse
  4. Binge by Tyler Oakley
  5. All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
  6. The Selection by Kiera Cass
Hopefully I'll read more than that, but those are some of the books I'm really excited to read this month.

Have you read any of these books?
What did you think of them?
Do you have any recommendations?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

October TBR

Unfortunately, I have limited space in my apartment at my new school, which means that I could only take a couple of books with me when I moved. These books are ones that have been in my TBR mountain pile for a long time that I really wanted to read, but just haven't gotten around to it yet.

I realize I'm a little premature with this TBR, since it's still September, but with how busy I am with school I probably won't be getting to read much until October.

1. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
I have heard really good things about this author, though I haven't read any of his other books yet. I think it's in the same sort of universe as the Percy Jackson series. I've read a couple of chapters so far and I'm really enjoying it!

2. Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
I really love some of Sarah Dessen's books, while some are just okay. This book is pretty short, so it will be a nice, quick read. 

3. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
I absolutely adore Sophie Kinsella's books. Her characters are so likeable and relatable as well, and her novels are always entertaining. I tend to read her books pretty quickly no matter the size because once I pick one up I have a hard time putting it down again. 

That's it for my TBR list this month! I realize it's pretty short, but with school I don't have a ton of time to read. I'm also an English major so my English classes require quite a bit of reading, which takes priority over reading for fun. Am I the only one who misses the designated pleasure reading time in school when we were younger?

I'd love to hear what books are on your TBR list!
Have you read any of these books?
What did you think?


Monday, September 21, 2015

Book Review: Beneath the Surface

Hey guys!

Today I'll be writing a book review of a book I read in August. (This is also my first book review and I'm pretty excited to finally be writing this!)

The book I want to tell you all about is Beneath the Surface by John Hargrove.

The author, John Hargrove, is a former SeaWorld orca trainer.

A few months ago, I watched the documentary Blackfish, which talks about the treatment and lives of the whales at SeaWorld, and all of the dangerous incidents that happened with the whales leading up to the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau. John Hargrove is one of the trainers who spoke in the film about what really happens at SeaWorld.

What I particularly enjoyed about this book is that the author never verbally attacked SeaWorld, he simply told the facts of what he experienced while working there. While he talks about why whales should not be in captivity and how SeaWorld isn't taking as good of care of these whales as they'd like us to believe, he also talks about the amazing relationships and experiences he had with the whales that are truly astonishing.

I learned so much from this book that I didn't know about, even after watching Blackfish. This is a topic that really interests me, and this book was written in a way that it was entertaining as well as informative. To be completely honest, I read this entire book in one sitting. I started it around midnight the day that I bought it, told myself I was going to read one chapter before I went to sleep, and before I knew it I had finished the book and the sun was up.

I give this book 5/5 stars. Even if you have no interest in what's going on at SeaWorld, it still is an extremely interesting and entertaining book filled with some incredible stories.

Have any of you read this book?
What did you think of it?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Chicago Adventure

Hey there!

So some pretty exciting things have happened. I recently moved two hours away from home to a new university. How scary is that! I really love it here so far (apart from the classes haha), and I'm really looking forward to some new experiences.

Also, in August, I went to Chicago for two days with my mom and my sister. My sister wanted to go to the Art Institute of Chicago, and I wanted to go to the Shedd Aquarium, so that's exactly what we did!

I saw so many amazing paintings at the Art Institute. I saw some by Monet and Van Gogh (some of my favorites!), which I really wasn't expecting. I live in kind of in the middle of nowhere and I had expected such famous paintings to be in New York or Paris. It was such a great surprise seeing them so close to where I live!

We also did a bit of sightseeing-- you can't go to Chicago without seeing the "bean"!

On our second day, we went to Shedd Aquarium. I absolutely LOVE aquariums. I love to look at all the unique (and often cute) animals.

After the aquarium, we had lunch with my cousin who lives in Chicago before heading home. Overall, it was such a great trip!

Have you been to the art institute or the aquarium in Chicago?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

From Wisconsin to California

Hello guys!

Last week, I went on vacation with my family. We drove from Wisconsin all the way to California and back. 

We drove through Wisconsin to Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, and stopped in Reno, Nevada for a few days. We went into California a few days in a row but stayed in Reno each night. Going home, we drove through Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota, and then back to Wisconsin.

One of the first places we stopped on the trip was the Great Salt Lake in Utah. It really is huge! You could hardly see the land on the other side.

Shortly after than, we saw the Bonneville Salt flats. It's literally miles and miles of natural salt covering the ground, and it's where quite a few speed records have been set.

In Reno, Nevada, we stayed in a hotel called Circus Circus. 

It was huge! There was a gigantic casino, stores, restaurants, and a huge circus midway inside. There were a bunch of really cool free performances all day by some really talented performers. 

On one of the day trips to California, we went to Donner State Park, which was were the well-known pioneer Donner Party was stranded.

The other day in California, we spent at the beach at Lake Tahoe. The water was unbelievably clear and it had such beautiful mountain views. I left my phone in the car when we were at the beach, but I did get some really beautiful pictures of the lake from above when we were crossing the mountains.

Then, we started heading back in the direction of home.
I feel like this is getting pretty long so now I'll just have short captions with the pictures.

Lava flows in Idaho

Abandoned mining town in Montana

Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana

The dark colored stone is where the famous George Custer fell during the battle.

I also had my 20th birthday while on vacation! I'm no longer a scary is that??
I hope you enjoyed the pictures!
Have you visited any of these places?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Chalk Fest 2015

Hey guys!

So the other night, I attended an event in my town called Chalk Fest. At Chalk Fest, people can draw on the sidewalks of my city's square. It was so great to see all of the things people drew, and I am always so amazed by the talent some people have.

Here are some of my favorites!

Aren't these amazing?? I got especially excited about the All Time Low one!