NonFiction Books For April

As it turns out, I’ve been reading quite a bit of nonfiction this year. My goal was two nonfiction books a month, so far I’ve averaged one ever six or so days. Who would have known? Here are two snap-shot reviews of the two nonfiction books I’ve read in April so far.

I changed up how I did these reviews to make them a bit more concise. I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts. Do you like this shortened version (with pros and cons) or the longer version (with the back cover copy, why I chose the book, and a more in-depth look at my thoughts) better?

Quick STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 256
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Title: Lasting Love
Author: Alistair Begg
Nonfiction
Read The back cover Copy Here

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Disclaimer:
I’m not married, therefore all my thoughts on this book are extremely subjective.

Three Pros and Three Pros

Pros:
*Mr. Beggs uses the Bible to back up his information – which really, is there any other way to do it? He’s also a pastor who’s been married for a long time and counseled a lot of people with marriage issues, so he seems very qualified to write this book
*Other than the beginning, I found this book to be very easy to read, grasp, and be drawn into. The information is imparted in a kind and caring way – you can tell Mr. Begg really cares about people – and yet he also stands firmly on God’s Word
*The book has good balance – showing a fairly in-depth look at both the husband and wife’s role in marriage

Cons:
*The inside of the book – as in the literal, physical inside of the book – wasn’t the easiest for me to read. I’m not sure if it was because of the size of the font or what, but it took a bit for me to get past that and into the content of the book
*Apparently this book was first published in 1997, but I didn’t know that while reading. I know that’s a little thing, but I think it would have helped the book make slightly more sense to me if I would have known that from the get-go. The con was not being aware of that – not the fact on it’s own
*The beginning of this book wasn’t my style, but as I continued reading I found a trove of great information

CONCLUSION & Rating

This is a marriage book and I don’t really recommend those because who am I to recommend a marriage book? But I most certainly don’t unrecommend it. 😉 I’m giving Lasting Love four out of five stars – Thank you to Moody Press for sending me a copy to review. Y’all are great.

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Quick STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 256
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Title: A Cloud By Day A Fire By Night
Author: A. W. Tozer
Nonfiction
Read The back cover Copy Here

Two Pros and Two Pros

Pros:
*The setup in the book is pretty cool. The chapters are short and begin with one of A. W. Tozer’s prayers – something I normally skip in books but actually appreciated in this one. Then we have the chapter and end with a verse of a hymn that goes along with the subject of the chapter. There’s also a lot of white space which makes the book feel clean and bright
*This book does a good job of helping people learn how to find and follow God’s will. It talks a lot about the Children of Isreal wandering in the Wilderness, and how that applies to our lives today and what we can learn from them. Since I’m all for learning from other people’s mistakes so I don’t have to repeat them myself, this was pretty great

Cons:
*It just wasn’t my style. That’s lame, I know, and I feel bad saying that about a good Christian-living book. This is also an exceedingly subjective feeling that I can’t pinpoint the reasons to. Sorry, folks
*I read a lot of nonfiction books and it’s easy for me to stay focused on them, but for some reason I found my mind wandering a lot while reading this book. Again, I think it’s just because it wasn’t my style 

CONCLUSION & Rating

Although this wasn’t my favorite, there’s not anything I found wrong with it, so y’all should give it a try if it sounds good. I’m giving A Cloud by Day A Fire by Night three out of five stars – Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for this review copy. Y’all rock.

My Bookish World

This month I haven’t read many books. As in, I’ve read three, maybe four books in the last 16 days which may seem like a lot to some people, but I seriously feel like I’ve barely picked up a book recently.

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That’s because of several things, mostly just being busy, but picking out some very uninteresting books at the library and not wanting to invest any time past the first few chapters played another part in the process.

Then last night I started a re-read of a book I haven’t read for several years and I didn’t want to put it down. (Which I did, because ya know, busy, but I can’t wait to pick it back up.)

And, today when I got off work I had two notifications from NetGalley that I was approved for books that I’ve requested.

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Last, but not least of all, I decided to do something I haven’t done in years. I bought used books. My dad keeps telling me about Better World Books, but I’ve chosen to instead buy new books to support authors.

I still agree with that theory, but since I want some new books to take with me on vacation and when I move for the summer, I decided to also have some fun browsing used books. My order of twelve books cost just under $60, which includes free shipping. I’m pretty excited about them arriving.

What has your bookish world looked like recently?

Lists, Police Officers, and the Circus of Life

To say I feel slightly overwhelmed by all I need to do in the next twenty-five days is a rather big understatement.

I used to think I was good at multitasking, but now? Well, I’m not so sure about that. Trying to keep up with totally normal life while also preparing for a lot of changes is enough to make me fall into bed exhausted each night. On the plus side, I’ve been getting to sleep earlier which has been a goal of mine for a while now, so yay.

Spring has dawned bright and beautiful this year, leaving me to marvel every day at what a gorgeous place I live in, and what a breathtaking place it is that I’m leaving. To match the gloriousness of outside I decided to make my “to-do” list for the next four weeks as beautiful as possible.

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Also, in case anyone wondered, you have to renew your license plate each year around your birthday. This was one of those grown-up facts that I was blissfully unaware of until I experienced those delightful flashing lights behind me when I was leaving work on a Saturday. And yeah, apparently, it’s also kind “really bad” to have them be six months expired. And, if you get pulled over by a nice police officer like I did, he’ll probably let you off with a kind warning to park your car at home until the DMV office opens on Monday morning because this is the kind of offense that could get a car impounded.

Needless to say, I’m thankful I was pulled over by someone who was sympathetic to my ignorance. I’m also pretty sure he went home that night and laughed about the native little Mennonite girl who didn’t know how the adult world worked. (But no, in case you wondered, I’m not Mennonite. Just a lot of people think I am.)

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My list of things to do keeps growing instead of getting shorter (like unexpected trips to the DMV office – which I couldn’t find because apparently, it had moved). Before long I’m going to have to just decide to let some things go, realizing that it’s actually okay if I haven’t gone through that little box of nick-nacks on the back of my bed before leaving for the summer. I mean, it will still be there when I get back home, right? (Actually, that’s exactly what I don’t want to happen.)

I had grand plans for this morning. Then last night my boss asked if I could come into work a little bit early, which I was fine with. Then I met with my mom to plan the menu for a luncheon we’re hosting at church tomorrow (last minute planning is kinda the norm for these events now). Then it occurred to me that rather than Mom having to make a trip into town to shop, I could simply leave for work even earlier than planned and do the grocery shopping myself.

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And so life goes. It’s exciting. It’s overwhelming. It’s good for me. Learning to prioritize, let go, focus on the current moment, and multitask all at once is a little bit of a stretch for me, but ya know, that good kind of stretch.

I should be leaving for the store in two minutes and I still have to figure out what recipes I’m going to use tomorrow, write out a shopping list, write my 100 words for the day, and jot down my weekly goals. Needless to say, something has to go. So, good-bye for now, friends!

 

Moving {Grand New Adventure, Here I Come}

Y’all.

I’ve had a dream for a long time.

That dream consists of working at the Creation Museum.

I’ve also had another dream – one that might possibly be considered childish and silly, but I’ve dreamt it for a long time nonetheless.

That dream consists of living in a camper. (I know, reaching for the stars there, buddy.)

This summer, Lord willing, both dreams are going to come true.

The story to how this happened is long and rather amazing to me, but probably pretty boring to the general population. It includes a lot of prayer, a lot of surprises, jumping clear outside my comfort zone, and tons of behind the scenes work. It’s been characterized by a large amount of craziness, unexpected reactions, and me kinda freaking out many, many times.

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See, I’m a homebody. I like to be at home. I like the comfortable and normal and traditions that continue year after year without much variation. I’m a happy, content, loyal type of human.

And then, suddenly I wasn’t anymore. And it surprised me and was somewhat horrifying and totally confusing. Until I realized that it wasn’t that I had changed, instead it was God was showing me it was time for something new.

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My first reaction was that it would never work. But then some wise people asked me why not? So I talked to some other people about it, and they cited the same reasons why it wouldn’t work as I had first told myself, so I, in turn, asked them why not? And guess what, they agreed with me, Why Not? And thus started a bunch of exceedingly out-of-the-comfort-zone situations for little ol’ me.

And those situations ended with me telling my current boss I was going to be leaving (at least for the summer, who knows after that?), and signing on for a new job. It’s been exciting and overwhelming and thrilling and exhausting all at once.

So, Lord willing one month from today I’ll be heading to Mexico for vacation with my family, then the same day that we get home, I’ll be packing my car up and moving to Kentucky.

That’s a big reason why writing has been on hold for the last month. First, there were job interviews and trying to work out all the logistics. Then came the yeses, so my time has been rather busy with cleaning the camper I’m going to be taking, making lists of things to do, shopping for the camper. (Dishes, curtains, pots, and pans. You name it, we got it.)

There’s also the little matter of finding people to take over what I’ve been doing at home. At work, we have a new girl (and another one coming aboard soon), and it’s fun to get to work with the newbies, reminding myself that I’ll be the new girl soon. And at church, we’ve been working at finding new people to step in with teaching children’s church. I’ve had a delightful time hanging out with those kids for the last fifteen months, and so I’m trying to help the new teachers ease in as seamlessly as possible. Plus, at both my jobs I currently have we’ve had co-workers that I’m close to also leave, so all the goodbyes and going-aways have been tough, but exciting as I know they’re launching into their new dreams.

So that’s it for today, folks.

Except for one more thing: Y’all should totally come visit me at the Creation Museum this summer! 😉

The Delight of Spring

Today was one of those bright, sunny, warm spring days that makes me incredibly thankful to live in a state that hosts the perfect balance of all four seasons.

The grass is a brilliant green, the sky a deep blue, and I’m currently rather red. I was able to go out and cut grass for the first time this year and I had no clue how bright the sun actually was until after I came back inside, took a short nap and woke up stiff with a sunburn.

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This year is going to be a vastly different one for me compared to other years, so I treasure each day where I get to soak in the normal. I’m enjoying making memories, watching the season blossom, and delighting in the palate of colors that I feel like I’m watching a timelapse of an explosion around me.

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What are some of your favorite parts of spring?

A to Z Challenge?

I started blogging in March of 2012. When April rolled around I started seeing people take part in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. It looked like so much fun, so the next year I joined in. And the next year I did to. And the next year, and the next year, and the next year, and the next year. And wow, that makes it look like I’ve been blogging for a really long time. (Which, come to think of it, I have.)

Each year I had a different theme, and each year I had a lot of fun. Some years I was serious, like in 2013 when I talked about Lyme disease on my blog for the first time.

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Some years I chose things I was passionate about, like last year when I went with a kitchen theme and shared tips, tricks, recipes, and even cooking vlogs.

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One year I choose creativity as my theme and spent the month doing crazy things – like the day I tied my hands together, just to see what aspects of creativity and my imagination I’d have to use to go about everyday life.

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Each year it’s been an adventure. Each year I’ve made friends, visited cool blogs, and come up with some great ideas. Each year I’ve had a lot of fun, spent a lot of time working on the challenge, and learned about whatever theme I had chosen for that year.

And then came this year. The timing wasn’t right, so I opted out. And that’s okay, but I do kinda miss the fun community and adventure that goes along with the challenge, so maybe I’ll do it again next year…

In the meantime, if you want to see any of my posts from previous years, just search A to Z Challenge on the sidebar, and you’ll have dozens of posts to choose from. 😉

Never Let Go

Saturday might mean sleeping in for some people, but for me, it means getting up early and heading off to open the coffee shop for all those happy people who are having a laidback morning sipping a latte at their favorite table.

Full-disclosure: I’m writing this before heading to work on Thursday because I really didn’t want to get up any earlier than I had to on Saturday. 😉

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 368
Publisher: Revell
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Title: Never Let Go
Fiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

As a forensic genealogist, Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather’s footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from the hospital more than twenty years ago. The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up when someone makes an attempt on her life to keep her from discovering the truth.

Ex-FBI agent–and Willow’s ex-flame–Austin McKade readily offers his help to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they’ll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he’s spent much of his life trying to forget. And even if it puts Willow’s tender heart at risk.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I’m working on writing a book that includes a mystery plotline, so therefore I’ve been trying to read more books that have mysteries in them. When I saw this one on NetGalley it looked like a clean, interesting read. Plus, I have a thing for mysteries that include a cold-case abduction. (And, that’s exactly what this was.)

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

It took me a while to get into the story – I’m really not sure why this was, but for the first quarter of the book I would pick it up and set it down without really caring much about what happened. This took place over the period of about a week or two, then it was like a switch was flipped and I suddenly felt quite invested in the book. I settled in with it one evening and read the last three-quarters of the book without stopping.

I’m not exactly sure how to rate this book on the spectrum of scariness. I didn’t find it creepy (I would have stopped it if I had), but there were plenty of scary situations that the characters found themselves in.

There are a couple of mystery authors who I’ve been really into recently, but after reading/listening to a handful of their books, I’m able to predict the plotline nearly immediately. I’m not sure if it was because this author was new to me, or because she’s just really good with throwing out red herrings, but I really wasn’t sure about where the book was going or who was who until it was disclosed. That’s one of the main reasons I gave the book such a high rating. Way to go, Miss Elizabeth! (Seriously, I was barking up the wrong tree nearly the whole book.)

As always there were some elements to the story I didn’t like – including how long it took me to get into the book – but overall I really did like it. And, even though I’m about ready to get off my mystery kick, I’m interested in reading more books by this author.

CONCLUSION (With SPOILERS)

*Spoiler Alert* This part right here has spoilers in it, so stop reading the review if you don’t want to hear about the bad things that happen in the story: They found out that someone who they thought had died accidentally was actually murdered, there were a few attempts to kill the main character, there were break-ins, arson, and abductions. None of it was talked about in too much detail.

RATING

I’m giving Never Let Go four out of five stars – I’m thankful to NetGalley for providing me with an ecopy to review.