Book Recommendations (Historical Fiction Edition)

It’s always fun to find a list of books to read, right? So, today I’m posting a list of Historical Fiction books (my favorite genre!) I recommend, along with a link to my review of them on Goodreads which makes it nice and simple for you to get a more in-depth view of the book. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 8.39.51 PM.png

Goodreads Link 

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 8.44.38 PM.png

Goodreads Link 

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 8.47.18 PM.png

Goodreads Link 

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 8.48.18 PM.png

Goodreads Link

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 8.50.40 PM.png

Goodreads Link 

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 8.52.12 PM.png

Goodreads Link

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 8.56.10 PM.png

Goodreads Link

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them?

Unexpected Blessings

1.jpg
FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 176
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: November 20, 2018
Title: Unexpected Blessings
Author: Sandra Peoples
Nonfiction

BACK COVER BLURB:

Unexpected Blessings helps special-needs families move past the pain and confusion of their circumstances and slowly, firmly face the future with hope. Speaking honestly about struggles that accompany a variety of disabilities, Sandra Peoples shows readers how to
· let go of false beliefs that hold them back
· work through the cycles of grief
· focus on self-care and healthy routines
· understand disability based on what the Bible says
· rebuild a strong faith foundation
· create support systems for themselves and others

Filled with real-life stories and hard-earned wisdom, this book shines a light on the possibilities and blessings that come when parents see their new purpose in life–which was God’s purpose for them all along.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK:

I have a family member with special needs and so the subject is one I find interesting. Also, the back cover blurb sounded pretty uplifting and interesting.

What I Thought about This Book

There were so many positives about this book – it takes you through an honest, but hope-filled look about what it’s like to have a special needs person enter your family. It talks about various things you have to work through, learning how to keep going, and also has a couple of chapters filled with very practical, everyday advice.

Several things I found particularly interesting/liked a lot were:
– Decision fatigue. Miss Sandra talks about how it can be so difficult taking care of special needs children during harder times in life (such as when facing medical issues), and that making even small decisions can be tiring. She then goes on to give tips on how your life/home can become more organized so you don’t feel as overwhelmed.
-How she dug into God’s word. When Miss Sandra’s son was diagnosed with Autism she really had to figure out what the Bible really said and what she had just believed because of her own experiences.
-How her family’s lives were changed when they found out James had Autism. The family became very involved with the special needs community around where they lived and even moved to be more involved with the special needs community. The experiences she shared in the book as a result of James having Autism were neat.
-How huge of a blessing children with special needs are. I think people sometimes don’t have a clue how special it can actually be to have a person in your life that lives on a whole different “level” of life than most people.

There were a few things I didn’t fully agree with. The main issue I had was that the subject of why there is suffering, etc… in the world in the first place never came up. Miss Sandra talks about how she had to work through why a loving God would allow bad things to happen (not her wording), but never bought up the fact that suffering is a result of sin being in the world. That is not to say that our sin causes children to be born with special needs, because that’s not what I mean at all – simply that sin in the first place is what brought suffering into the world.

CONCLUSION:

The book was a quick, easy read. I finished it in one day with no problem.

RATING:

I’m giving Unexpected Blessings four out of five stars, and recommend it to people with a special needs family member, or those who wish to better understand the special needs people/families in their lives.

This book was given to me from the publishers in exchange for me reviewing it on my blog.

Keep Calm and Read On (8 Benefits​ of Reading)

As it turns out, reading can boast a host of benefits. As it also turns out, I read a lot so I stand here before you today (actually, I’m sitting on the couch, but that’s beside the point), to share some of said benefits with you. 😉

Blank 11 x 8.5 in-3.png

  1. Reading Makes You Smarter 
    Okay, so maybe it doesn’t literally raise your IQ (but then again, it might), but reading does add to your bank of information that you then have stored in your brain. That means that in the future you’ll be able to pull from that information (on purpose and also automatically), so therefore reading does help you have more knowledge.
  2. Reading Helps You Empathize with More People 
    There have been many times when I can relate to an emotion someone is experiencing, not from my own life, but because I’ve seen the same emotion through the eyes of a character. Add thousands of these experiences together and it can give a helpful framework for how someone may want to be treated.
  3. Reading Is A Great Escape 
    It’s not always a good idea to “escape” a problem, but sometimes stepping back and getting some relief in a stressful or trying situation can do a world of good. Grabbing a light-hearted contemporary generally does the trick for me.
  4. Reading Can Make You More Well-Rounded 
    It was an eye-opening day for me when a friend of mine mentioned how a book that took place in Egypt helped her to imagine the Bible times better. I hadn’t realized until then that not everyone had the backdrop to a thousand different time periods, cultures, and settings painted into their mind through the pages of books.
  5. Reading Expands Your Vocabulary
    It’s hard to describe something when you don’t have words with which to work. Reading helps more words enter your brain, and by either using the clues of context or by looking them up, you can add them to your repertoire of words to use in the future.
  6. Reading Is A Great Way To Learn New Skills 
    There are so many how-to books out there. It’s actually rather glorious what all we can learn from reading. And, in addition to all the books, there are millions of articles. Isn’t it crazy to think of the fact that we will never run out of things to read?
  7. Reading Opens Up A Whole World Of Friendships 
    I’m not talking about friendships with characters, although that’s pretty epic, too. I’m speaking more about when you get to talk about reading with other people – it can be instant connectivity.
  8. Reading Is A Delightful, Inexpensive Form of Entertainment  
    Sure, you can spend a lot of money on books, but there are also great alternatives – like the library and book sales. So go, have fun, and learn a lot!
What is one of your favorite benefits to reading?

P.S. Stay tuned for a list of bookish recommendations coming soon!

6 Things I’ve Learned From Vlogging

One of my goals for this year is to post a vlog each week.

I didn’t realize back in January how stretching and yet how fun this would be to make sure I had a new vlog filmed, edited, and posted every single week of the year. To say my channel has been a smashing success might be a bit of an overstatement. To say that this goal has been a grand adventure? Well, that’s a little bit more like it.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 4.53.16 PM

Despite the lackluster amount of views that the vlogs have garnered, looking back I see vlogging as one of the highlights of my year. I’ve learned so much. About vlogging. About filming. About books. And mostly about myself. As it turns out, it can be pretty helpful to discover things about yourself.

For instance, as much as I want to be a princess I’m not sure how well that job would suit me. I mean, look at all those lovely facial expressions? The media would be delighted with me for sure. I can just imagine my face looking like that plastered all over magazines in Walmart. I guess it’s a good thing I was born a peasant.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 4.53.53 PM

Also, apparently my family and everyone else I’ve ever met was correct when they said I talk fast. Y’all, like half the time I have to do a re-take just to make sure I’m talking slow enough. But yo, people! Talking fast is fun because then you can have shorter vlogs. #ProblemSolvingLikeAPro

My vocabulary needs help. Yeah, I used to think I had a voluminous vocabulary and Grammarly kinda cheered me on by giving me weekly reports about how many “unique” words I use. But then when I watch my vlogs they’re filled with “phenomenal writing” “fantastic world-building” “gripping storylines” and “stinkin’ excited” types of phrases and I do a lot of facepalming while editing.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 4.53.31 PM

Oh, and folks. I click. Don’t ask me how or why, but there’s a clicking noise I make at the end of about 80% of my sentences. Why, just why? Thank goodness for editing skills.

So okay. <— That, my friends (or a variation) is the way I start 84.2% of my sentences. Talk about a large vocabulary, ya know? So articulate.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 4.53.41 PM

One of the biggest things I’ve learned though is how to prepare ahead of time. Vlogging isn’t something I can just whip out anywhere at any time like a blog post. During weeks when I’m traveling, or when there’s a wedding, or when I have a ton going on, sometimes vlogging just can’t happen. So, thinking ahead, preparing, and getting it done even when it’s hard has been really good for me.

Do you vlog? If so, leave a link with your channel cause I want to check it out!

Cranberry Thanksgiving

Happy Almost-Thanksgiving, folks!

I’ve started a new thing where I’m working at having my vlogs be right at two minutes, I’ll explain my reasoning later, but I’m excited about it! 🙂

Bringing Bookstagram to Noveltea (Or Something Like That Anyway…)

Y’all, today I decided to do something different: I’m posting my book review along with pictures of said book from my Instagram account. Yeah – it’s like a whole new element’s been added to the book reviewing deal. 😉 I hope y’all enjoy it and that it livens the book reviews up a bit.

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 11.50.36 AM.png
FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 224
Publisher: Chosen Books
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Title: Winning the Battle for Your Mind, Will and Emotions
Author: Robert Hotchkin

BACK COVER BLURB:

The most important battle you face is the battle for your mind, will, and emotions. Why? Because it greatly determines how much of God and his kingdom you will experience while you’re on earth. The thoughts we entertain, the words we speak, and the choices we make shape and influence not only our reality, but all of creation.

The enemy loves to highlight our temporary challenges; poke at our feelings and stir up fear, frustration, doubt, and self-pity; and get us mired in murmuring and complaining.
Yet the Bible shows us that all of heaven is available to us right now.

In these pages you will discover the secret of Colossians: the incredible power of Christ in you. When you learn how to access his ever-present power and goodness, feelings and fears will no longer control you. You will go from being overwhelmed to being an overcomer.

Heaven is only a decision away. How will you choose?

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK:

The more studying I do, the more I realize how important my thoughts and emotions are. This seemed like a great book to read to get a better grasp on the subject.

WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK:

I have mixed feelings about this book because there was a ton I liked a lot, but then some stuff that annoyed me a bit, so I thought I’d do a Pros and Cons list.

Pros:
-This book is full of really good information that I think a lot of people really need to implement into their lives
-The author uses examples from his own life which makes it feel authentic and relatable
-For the most part he has what seems like a balanced view with the things he says
-He backs up his claims with the Bible, which is something I really look for in Christian nonfiction
-The points he makes are really solid and (for the most part) are statements I can get fully behind and support

Cons:
-The first half of the book felt redundant. I’m not sure if that’s because I already knew a lot of the information or if he really did say basically the same thing over and over again in slightly different ways
-There were several interpretations from the Bible that he made that I didn’t fully agree with
-He was more adamant about various other things than I feel like is supported in scripture, and while I think most people do that (me included) it rubbed me the wrong way

CONCLUSION:

After I got through the first (redundant) part of the book I found it to be interesting, thought-provoking, note-taking-worthy, and to be full of information that I’m now taking steps to implement in my life.

Also, cool note: The author describes a “mysterious illness” throughout the first part of the book and I kept being like “Oh yeah, he has Lyme disease.” And, yup. That’s what it was.

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 11.51.50 AM.png

RATING:

I’m giving Winning the Battle for Your Mind, Will and Emotions 4 out of 5 Stars and recommend it to people who want to grow closer to God and realize that what we say and think really does make a difference.

Yo folks, I got this book free so I could write this review. But yeah, all thoughts and such are my own. 😉