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. ūüėČ

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

4 Scenarios for Subjective Ratings

The more books I read in the more diverse settings and in the more various frames of mind, the more I realize that how I read and how I feel about what I read is quite subjective.

Here are a few examples:

1. The Red Herring Game 

For instance, recently I read a mystery book that was by a new author to me (review coming tomorrow). I’ve been reading/listening to quite a few mystery books recently, but they’re all written by a select few authors, and although I enjoy them I also have the mystery figured out pretty early on. So, to read a book where I didn’t know the author’s style and was surprised at the outcome made me rate the book four stars.

Since rating that book I’ve pondered it quite a bit and nothing really sticks out to me as to¬†why¬†it got such a high (for me) rating. The only reasonable explanation I have is that it surprised me, so I was pretty happy with it.

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2. The Hallmark Scenario  

The same thing happens when I’ve been sick for a while and therefore indulging in Hallmark movies. Y’all, those things are lame. I can say this without malice because I’m sucked into the lameness as well and watch them happily when I’m not feeling well. But they drive me¬†nuts. And then I read a book that has some of the same components of a Hallmark movie, but then they go on and have a good plotline instead of a lame one, and I’m instantly cheering the book on – like, way to go not being a Hallmark movie! Yet in reality, if I would have read that book at a time when I was far removed from Hallmark movies, then I probably wouldn’t have actually thought the book was anything special.

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3. The Mindless Cheese Antidote   

Next, imagine you’re exhausted. You’ve got a cold, you’ve had a busy week at work, and all you want to do is snuggle in your blankets and do something mindless. So, you find the cheesiest book possible on Overdrive. And start reading.

It’s so silly you keep reading just so you can roll your eyes at it.

This happened to me last night. For nearly two hours I powered my way (aka skim-read) through half of a book by an author who I once had to read for review and felt horrible about because her books are¬†so¬†not my style. Last night the cheese was the perfect antidote for how I was feeling. And, as an extra bonus, I had no problem closing the book when I was tired enough to sleep, plus I have no desire to finish the story so I won’t have to publically rate it. It’s basically a win-win for everyone.

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4. We’ve Talked About This Saga

There are many books that I’ve picked up, found exceedingly uninteresting, and set back down. Skip a few months or years and you pick up one of those¬†boring¬†books, only to discover it’s one that you’ve recently seen an interesting review for, or it covers a topic that you’ve been chatting about at work, or it includes a historical person who you’ve been interested in studying. Suddenly that boring book is now top of your TBR pile and you can’t wait to get your hands on it.

Currently
Setting: Dancing on the treadmill
Listening to: Tightrope 

Question of the Day: Have you ever experienced one of these scenarios? 

God Speaks Your Love Language (Which is Pretty Epic)

This wasn’t the post I was intending to write when I stepped on the treadmill this morning, but then as I was replying to comments someone was asking a question about this book and when I skimmed through my posts to find my review… Well, apparently I haven’t written a review yet. And folks, this is an¬†amazing¬†book, so I put my other posts on hold, whipped on my review cap, and here I am.

I would give what I’m trying to become the normal type of review – ya know, the ¬†“pros vs. cons” – only, this book is too heavy on the pros and low on the cons that the aforementioned approach won’t work. ūüėČ

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 208
Publisher: Northfield Publishing
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Title: God Speaks Your Love Langauge
Nonfiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Feel God’s love more personally.

Do you realize that the God of the universe speaks your love language, and your expressions of love for Him are shaped by your love language? Learn how you can give and receive God’s love through the five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

Gary Chapman writes, ‚ÄúAs we respond to the love of God and begin to identify the variety of languages He uses to speak to us, we soon learn to speak those languages ourselves. Whatever love language you prefer, may you find ever deeper satisfaction in using that language in your relationship with God and with other people.‚ÄĚ

The book includes a brand new chapter on ‚ÄúGetting Out of Your Comfort Zone‚ÄĚ which will teach you the joys of speaking a love language you‚Äôre not used to with God.

No matter what love language you prefer, you will become more deeply connected with God and watch this bond transform all of your relationships.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

This is literally a book I wanted to write. In fact, at one point in time (before this book was published) I even started researching and taking notes for this book. That’s because I think it’s a¬†really important book. So, when I saw it was published¬†and¬†that the publisher was willing to send me a copy to review, I jumped at the chance. (Although to clarify, this is one of those books I totally would have bought if I wasn’t sent one for free.)

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

I think so highly of this author that I didn’t think it was possible, but he actually succeeded my expectations. Yeah, it was that good.

If y’all have been around long at all you’ve probably heard how learning about the 5 Love Languages¬†changed my life when I was in my teens. Since then I’ve read multiple editions of the books, told hundreds of people about them, and taken the test many times. Still, this book presented me with new information, giving me several great “ah-ha” moments where my life was brought into a clearer focus.

For instance, one of my top love languages is touch. I also like to dance at church. And people at my church don’t exactly dance, so as you can imagine, I’ve sometimes pondered¬†why¬†I do dance? Well, as it turns out, there’s a correlation between having touch as one of your primary love languages and dancing, etc… while worshiping. I would have¬†never¬†guessed, but it made¬†so¬†much sense to me. Pretty cool, right?

This book does a great job of providing a quick but good foundation as to what the love languages are, how they fit into everyday life and then showing how God speaks everyone of the love languages – which is totally wonderful. The author points out that God created languages in the first place, and He also created us to respond to certain love languages, so it makes sense that He also speaks all the love languages.

Learning about you might relate to God differently than those around you can be very helpful in helping you to stop feeling less spiritual, or maybe judging someone else as being less spiritual. It can also give you a greater understanding of how you can learn to know God on a deeper level.

The book is also super easy to read (as with all of this author’s writings), interesting and gives the most practical of tips of how to make your life more balanced.

CONCLUSION

I highly recommend this book. There might have been a thing or two that I don’t fully agree with, but as I’m writing this review only glowing positives come to mind. Y’all should read it. (And yes, it can be read even without having read any of the other love language books.)

RATING

I’m giving¬†God Speaks Your Love Language¬†five out of five stars¬†and super duper highly recommend it. Also, thank you so much to the publisher for giving me a copy so I could review it and share with y’all.

Currently
Setting: On the treadmill
Listening to: An instrumental playlist on Spotify 

Question of the Day: Do you know what your love language is? 

March 2019 in Review

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WHAT I FOCUSED ON In March 

  1. Some pretty epic things that I’m looking forward to sharing about with y’all soon. ūüėČ
  2. Quality time with a lot of amazing people
  3. Work at the coffee shop and researching about TCKs

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READING UPDATE

Fiction: 6
Nonfiction: 6
Audiobooks: 5
Books for Review: 6

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TRAVELING

I don’t even know anymore… I think I was gone five nights?

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GOALS
  1. Personal Goal – YES
  2. Clean bathroom twice – YES
  3. Clean car – YES
  4. Personal Goal – YES
  5. Start new book/program for Children’s church – YES
  6. Trip to PA (NC instead) – YES
  7. Caving trip – YES
  8. Personal Goal – YES
  9. Paleo 25 days – YES (I cheated some with this, but overall I was happy with the month.)
  10. Personal Goal – YES
  11. 8 Bookstagram pictures – YES
  12. Stephanie’s book release stuff – YES
  13. Review 5 books – YES
  14. Walk 5 miles in one day – YES
  15. Deep clean closet – YES
  16. Track all money – YES
  17. Personal Goal – YES
  18. Write significant amounts on TCK 10 days – NO
  19. Read to page 150 in TCK book – YES (and finished it)
  20. Watch about different cultures/countries/TCKs every week – YES
  21. Look for TCK stuff on Instagram – YES
  22. Look up TCK podcast – YES
  23. Write TCK goals each week – NO ( I did 3 out of 4 weeks, but forgot one time)
So, for my month-long goals, I accomplished 22/24, and for my weekly goals, I accomplished 39/46. 
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WHAT I’VE BEEN LEARNING

Some months it seems like I learn so much I don’t even know where or how to categorize all the new information. (Which is one reason writing the highlights on here is pretty epic.) I’m going to try and be succinct this month and just give bullet points.

  • How much having a good schedule really does help me keep up as life gets busier
  • As I get busier I have to say no¬†to more things, but I need to make sure to chose those things wisely
  • When I’m doing really well with one are of life it’s easy for me to forget to keep up with other areas, too
  • The book about God and Love languages was amazing – one of the most eye-opening parts for me was when he said he’s discovered that a lot of times people who’s Love Langauge is touch¬†are more likely to dance, etc… while worshiping God. (That explains a lot)
  • About having a balanced life – aka, making sure that my inner world is healthy and vibrant
  • About how to write business-type blog posts (no worries, not for on here)
  • All about different countries, TCKs, cultures, and how people all over the world view other people – totally fantastic stuff
  • How to punch lots of holes in my comfort zone
  • To savor moments instead of dreading the end of an era
  • To go with the flow
    …And a lot more. ūüôā
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Other 

This month was so busy I barely had time to catch my breath. My world tilted in all kinds of good ways, and I found myself slightly overwhelmed with all I had on my plate. But, enough of the vague, and into the details. ūüėČ

One of my co-workers (who was totally amazing) moved out of state, another co-worker had to take a break for medical reasons, and the third co-worker got another parttime job. Because of that, I spent a lot more time at the coffee shop in March than normal. It was great. And busy.

I went caving. I’ve done this caving trip three times before now, but because of various things I was slightly freaked out about it. And when I say¬†slightly freaked out¬†I mean I had to use a lot of mental control to even go on the spelunking adventure. After I was there though, the beauty reminded me of just why I like doing this type of adventure so much. I’m glad I went, and I want to go again, and hopefully, it will be easier the next time. ūüėČ

My mom and I were supposed to go to PA to visit a doctor about my adrenals. That ended up not panning out, but I didn’t know that until a few days before we were going to leave. So, since I had time off work Mom and I hopped in the car and we drove to NC so I could meet my newest niece. I’m very thankful I got to do that.

There’s a guy who’s lived with our family (actually, next door but he does everything with our family) for the last year and a half, and he’s very much like a brother to us. He’s moving out of state (which was the plan all along), so March was a month of trying to spend as much family time as possible before he leaves. We’ll miss him immensely.

I’m thankful for this March. Thankful for what I learned, was able to expereince, accomplish, and all the memories I made.

And now, for April!

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Top Ten Authors I Wanted to Meet in 2017

Y’all! Today I’m having fun reminiscing. I looked back in my old blog posts and decided to share one with you from March 28th, 2017. Enjoy seeing a little bit of what was going on in my bookish world two years ago. ūüôā

Aug

It’s Tuesday so I’m joining¬†The Broke and Bookish¬†for their¬†Top Ten Tuesday¬†linkup. Today’s theme is the top ten authors I want to meet. For any of y’all who don’t know I¬†am¬†an author, so meeting other authors is something I¬†really¬†like doing.

ttt

  1. Cathrine Farns
    It was late one evening when I was around sixteen that I first found Miss Cathrine’s books. At the time I had been sick for two years and had recently given up trying to sleep at night due to having my days and nights switched around.
    My family ordered a box of books, and¬†Way of Escape¬†was the first book I choose to read from that box (and I later realized it was the last book in the series – oh well). The book¬†pulled me in, held me tight, and eight years later still hasn’t let go. All of Miss Cathrine’s books are now like old friends to me – friends that helped me through a very hard time in life.
  2. Stephanie Morrill
    If you’ve been around¬†Noveltea¬†for long, you’ve heard me talk about Miss Stephanie. She started¬†Go Teen Writers, as well as a book by the same title, and has been one of the most influential people in the writing part of my life. I happily call her my writing mentor, and although I’ve never met her in person, I’m quite thankful that I have gotten to email with her some.
  3. Bob Goff
    When it comes to inspiring, Mr. Goff is high up on my list. I’m incredibly thankful for how he’s choosing to live his life for God’s glory. I’d love to get to learn from him in person.
  4. Maria Goff
    I was first “introduced” to Miss Maria through the pages of her husband’s, Mr. Goff, book. Earlier this¬†month her first book was published and I was thrilled to read it. I gave it to my sister, and the next time she saw me she’s like “Wow, Lydia! You’re so much like Miss Maria – it’s crazy!” And I agree – our personalities are a lot alike, which means I was able to learn a lot through her book.
  5. Franklin Graham
    I can’t even imagine how much I’d be able to learn from him. His life is so inspiring to me. I don’t want to wander through my time on earth, I want to make a difference that will count for eternity, and Mr. Graham is doing just that.
  6.  Julie Nye
    Miss Julie was one of my favorite authors growing up, and therefore she was one of those influential people who made me dream of being an author. I can’t begin to thank those authors enough for filling¬†my little-girl-heart with starry-eyed ideas of writing.
  7. Patricia St. John
    As a child I didn’t just want to meet Miss Patricia, I wanted to¬†be Miss Patricia. Since that wasn’t possible, I figured I would just name a daughter after her. Strangely enough, I have a hard time saying “Patricia” though, so that probably won’t happen either.
    Growing up, Miss Patricia was my favorite author. I read her books over, and over, and over again, and delighted in them each time.
  8. Dawn L. Watkins
    Someday I hope little children look at my book as fondly as I looked at Miss Dawn’s books. I’d like to thank her in person for being a writer.
  9.  Corrie ten Boom
    I am so¬†looking forward to¬†one-day¬†meeting this heroine in heaven. If you don’t know who she is, please stop what you’re doing and click on her name. It will be well worth your time.
  10. Brother Andrew
    I feel like his books should have a warning about not reading them unless you’re prepared to have your life change. They are that good. I am SO thankful for his work. As a young teen, I dreamed of one day meeting him, and being a part of his work.

What about you? What authors would YOU like to meet?

Ya Know, That Book I Didn’t Finish

Today I’m doing something different.

I’m kinda reviewing a book that I didn’t read. Or, at least I didn’t read it all the way. I got to the 46% mark on my kindle edition from NetGalley before deciding that I¬†really¬†didn’t want to finish the book. Yet, I think the book had some very positive traits, hence me sharing about the book with y’all. (NetGalley is amazing for being okay with reviewers not finishing books if they don’t feel inclined to.)

(Check out the book on Goodreads and Amazon.)

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I’ve wanted to read this book (and try out the author) for a while now, so when I was approved to receive a NetGalley copy of the book, I was pretty pumped. Below I’m going to give three pros and three cons, then let y’all know why I decided to stop reading the book.

Pros:
*It made Isaiah’s time period in the Bible become so much more alive to me. Recently when I was reading the Bible I was like “Oh! I recognize these names!” and they felt so much more human to me
*The writing really is well done and it seems like the author did a huge amount of research
*The plot was interesting and the characters likable

Cons:
*The writing style isn’t one I found easy to delve into – I was constantly being pulled out of the story to try and catch up with the style. This is obviously totally personal and therefore something a lot of y’all wouldn’t deal with
*The book is really heavy. There’s a lot of bad stuff that happens and I found myself somewhat dreading picking up the story to continue
*The story is 400 pages long, and a lot of bad stuff can happen in 400 pages

Those last two points in the “cons” list is why I DNFed the book – it was just too heavy for me to want to continue. I want to make sure I note, though, that I don’t feel like the book was too heavy. Isaiah’s time period had a lot of bad stuff happen, and so this book was realistic. I also don’t feel like it went into too much detail. It was just too much and too heavy for me at this time.

Still, I’m rating the book three stars because I think that it will be a great book for some people.

I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts – have you read any books by this author? What did you think of them? Should I give her another try?

Also, do y’all like hearing thoughts periodically on books that I don’t finish?

Have a great day, folks!

Simple Tips to Accomplishing Goals

By the time this part of the month arrives, it’s kinda like I have my own personal race going on between me and my goals.

When I have a free moment in-between things I pull out my phone and go over my goals for the month. Before I go to bed I organize my day for the morrow, jotting down a to-do list that coincides with my goals. When I think of a fun activity I want to partake in, I match it up with the goals I still have to accomplish, then take a moment to weigh the two and figure out which is really the more important thing to do.

So, pretty much, the closer I get to the end of the month the more I focus on the goals that I’ve written.

It’s a good system, but also has flaws. For instance, if I forget about the¬†Blog 17 times in March¬†goal I made until the last week of the month then there’s no reasonable way I can accomplish it. Same goes with being Paleo for 25 days. (I mean, despite how much I want it to work, I can’t fit 25 days of Paleo into a week.)

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I’ve also discovered the earlier on in the month I knock out goals, the more benefits I reap. These include:
1) Being more likely to actually accomplish all my goals
2) The more choices I have to say yes to leisure activities
3) Being more chill when things don’t go according to plan
4) Being able to exceed my goals if they weren’t high enough to begin with

My system for keeping track of goals is exceedingly simple and easy to deal with, yet rewarding at the same time. I just type out my goals with bullet points next to them, then I get to check them off as the month (or week, or day) progresses and I accomplish what I set out to do.

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I try and give myself a mixture of goals – both those that will take a while to accomplish (Write significant amounts 10 day) and those that I can do easily on any given day (Look for a TCK on Instagram). That means that on days when I just really need a boost of checking something off I can find an easy-to-accomplish goal and finish it. This helps me stay more focused and excited about the longer goals (such as a goal where I have to do something each week).

In addition to my goals, I also have an app for habits I’m cultivating in my life. It’s called Habit Share and is amazing because you can be friends with other people who you know who will help keep you accountable. I have eight habits I’m working on – ranging anywhere from making sure I go to bed by 10:30 twice a week (I’ve hit that fifteen times this month), to drinking a gallon of water at least five days a week (which I’ve done 23 times this month).

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This app is fantastic when it comes to staying accountable and focused. There are many months I would be able to hit my year-long goal of walking at least twenty miles a month, but having a habit of exercising at least 20 minutes for 4 days a week has made me get out there and walk so much more often then I would with just an overarching goal. (Hence the reason I started walking on the treadmill as I blog.)

What are some of your tips to staying on task when it comes to goals and good habits?

Currently
Setting: Haha – Same as yesterday
Listening to: Ditto 

Question of the Day: Have you ever heard of Habit Share?