Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: Safe in His Arms

Safe in His Arms is the second book to Under Texas Stars Series. As an avid reader to western romances, I knew at once that I would enjoy this one. The main character was your tenacious and vibrant red head. She is a strong willed and very different woman. Instead of dresses you'll find her in britches, instead of happily married you'll find her cattle roping. She isn't the woman that men fall for, her beauty is on the inside not necessarily on the outside. 

I enjoyed the fact that the main character was not your overly drop dead gorgeous woman. She was your average woman seeking love from her father and her worth in life. She keeps people at arms length, putting fronts to mislead people of her true feelings. She was a dynamic character, with her quirks, her strengths and weaknesses. 

The plot was so filled with action. I think a little too much action. I thought the author added way too much action that was inhumanly possible. Just when you thought you could breathe from the suspension another spasm of action would overcome you. 

Overall the the plot, characters, and lessons were all very invigorating, and soul edifying.  I received an advanced readers copy from Litfuse in exchange for this review.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Book Review- Secretly Smitten

Welcome all to the romantic capital of the world, Smitten Vermont! In this small cozy town you'll find that love changes everything. We experience five romance, yes five tales of love and mystery!

After reading the blurb of the book I was immediately drawn to it. Secrets in grandma's attic, a forgotten set of dog tags, three young woman in search of love, are all things that will certainly pique your curiosity.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole mysterious air of the book. It kept me reading long into the night trying to figure things out. I enjoyed many dinners with this family of three generations. The hilarious great aunts down to the young grand daughters were each unique and added a nice spice to the story. Their strong family bonds used to help them to overcome anything, but when a betrayal is found in the midst these woman are at the end of the rope trying survive together.

Secretly Smitten is the second novel to the Smitten Series which was written by four authors Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter. Though you noted some differences of the writing styles, they fit very well together completing each other. I enjoyed getting to know each woman with each story. I would have loved to read a complete story of each one, as theie romances seemed way to fast, unrealistic, and left in the air. Being that there were five stories to cram into one, I think the overall product was very well written. My only regret of this story was that the story being focused on the grandma and her mysterious past, is not finished. The last author left you in the limbo, making you guess what the future would hold. 

Overall I enjoyed the short love infused faith filled stories. Would reccomend this book to those who love a quick short romance novel. 

I received this book for free, from both Book Sneeze and Litfuse Publicity, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Count Your Blessings: IG Style

Restaurant chocolates/ Olive Garden with the family/ Gotta love casual Fridays/
Leg warmers/ Great mail day!/ Going to church/ 
Cold days equal tea/ Can't wait for summer/ Ceviche with grandma (before the cilantro was added)

Sunday- Giving and wrapping presents are so fun. After seeing so many mason jar ideas on Pinterest, my mom and I did one. Gave my first gift of the month/ Monday- Banana shakes/ Tuesday- Les Miserables audio drama/ Receiving the cutest thank you card/ Wednesday- Girls read aloud Hinds Feet in High Places/ Thursday- Getting over excited about an AIO episode/ Listening to "Steal My Show"/ Hot chocolate after church/ Latin work out with little sister/ Friday- Seeing my grandma, aunt, and cousins after their trip/ Fun family stories and quirks.

You know you're an avid book reader when you are riding to church listening to music and you think such and such character should listen to this song.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Three Words

Relationship- "The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected."

We all have a relationship status it may say single, taken, or waiting for Mr. Right. When we think of our relationship status our first thought usually goes to boy girl relationships. Relationships are not just the romantic ones, but the day to day ones too! 

We are sisters, daughters, friends, and children of God. We are in constant contact with people, wether we like it or not. I am the first to admit my relationships with others are not as they should. After watching the Restart workshop, I learned something not so photography related. 

While she was talking about branding, and having and sticking to your style, she said to choose three words that you would want your work to reflect. Your photos should be just those words and nothing else.

Three Words...

Choose three words that you want your friend relationship to be. Your sibling relationship. Your relationship with your heavenly Father. Once your choose them, lets say fun, encouraging, and soul deep, you can then mirror your actions accordingly. Our relationships should always be filled and mirror the love of Jesus.

When you are casually interacting with your friends/family think, what I am doing right now is that how I want this relationship to be are those my three words... 

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book Review: The Tutor's Daughter

The Tutor's Daughter is a story set in the 1800's. Emma grew up in an all boys academy, where her father taught and her family made their home. As a the tutor's daughter, Emma was constantly exposed to books, foreign languages, and everything that enhanced her education. A that time woman who were very well learned were looked with suspicion and called "Bluestockings." She received much attention, almost all bad, from the boys at her fathers school. She was the brunt of many evil pranks, of which Henry Weston was the ring leader. The only thing that seemed to ease the loneliness and hardships was Philip's (Henry Weston's little brother) friendship. 

Five years later finds Emma once again in the company of the two Weston brothers. She suddenly begins to receive anonymous threats in the middle of the night. She doesn't want to blame anyone, but she fears for her safety.

Written with such vivid historical descriptions served to give  a very mysterious, romantic, and positively fun historical lesson. In a time where your name and appearances meant everything, Julie chose a plot that differed from the tight confines of high society. She touched upon the subject of lunatics, bad family blood, and un matched marriages. The geographical change, the Cornwall coast known for its shipwrecks, was so beautifully portrayed. The waves beating on the cliffs, the lovely chapel in the sea, were all things that helped to give the story a nautical paradise feel. I appreciated the rich history, the heart racing suspense, and the faith- filled lessons. 

The thing I did not enjoy about this story was the mention of ghosts. I believe the author was just trying to add to the suspense with that somewhat fictitious character, but could have done without. If you are prone to nightmares, I advise you not to read the book at night as most of the scary mysterious parts takes place then:) I suffered no harm, and throughly enjoyed the scary intruding parts. 

I received this book for free, from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for this independent and un-biased opinion. 

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Count Your Blessings: IG Style

Like Hannah likes to say "score thrifty" at Target $1 aisle/ After a day of running around/ Costco shopping in the rain/ Trying to pray, but only getting this far/ Sn@p scrap booking goodies/ Restart workshop notes.

Restart workshop by Jasmine Star/ Lasagna lunch/ Distraction during homeschooling/ One star in the night sky/ The street out my window/ Vintage Sprite bottle.

On Sunday I taught my Sunday school class/ Monday I finished the book Interrupted/ Tuesday was the first time I had to season and slice raw meat/ Wednesday, we received our Scentsy package. Enjoyed smelling over 20 different scents!/ Bought my first gift of the month/ Rescued little sister from a mouse trap/ Stepped out my color zone and went royal purple and caramel printed skirt w/ caramel cardigan!/ Besides getting so many goodies today while shopping, my favortie shopping moments of the day were: Watching an older man on a Target "wheel chair" cruise down the parking lot his basket filled high with green storage containers. I thought, He obviously had a successful trip:) 

Watching two older gents animately discussing which type of electrical razor to buy. I didn't think they still cared about that.  I pictured them still using that knife-like thingy. 

Love how easy Instagram is to document my life in just a click of a button. 

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Monday, January 07, 2013

Open That Fist

One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 
Proverbs 11:24 (NIV)

That was the opposite of my mentality. I guess you could say the way you look at money depends on your culture. As a Hispanic we tend to look at money in two ways, one we spend it all or second, we save it all for a rainy day.  Those two mentalities are pitfalls to falling into not trusting in God

I chose the route of save for a rainy day. I was so tightfisted. You couldn't get me to loosen that dollar for anything. I would give generously to the things of the Lord, but to use anything else... it was near impossible. My thoughts were if I spend it on something now I won't have enough for something I really want. That something that I really wanted never truly came. God is so good, He tried to teach me through others when they would give me what I wanted, that He will provide. I stubbornly persisted in my foolishness. 

After many jokes from my family on how I wouldn't give up Washington, and the Lords inner work in my heart did I learn. It happened one day as we were shopping. I was perusing the shelves, raking my brain thinking of what to get my gift exchange partner, when the heavens parted and the angels flew in. No, It did not go like that:) I passed by the head/ear warmers and saw how ca-ute they were. There were many different colors and styles and after looking at the tag, I resolutely purposed in my heart to buy it. Yes! I'm not beholden to Mr. Washington any more. That is when I was truly ministered. Money is a gift from the Lord that He will intrust us to use for His glory. 

To make sure I don't go back to my tight fisted, Washington hoarding ways, I have set a goal to buy 1 thing for someone each month.

I encourage you that if you struggle with something, seek to allow the Lord to minister you. Choose to do the oppisite thing that holds you back, for that's when you can truly be free!

Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. Proverbs 11:24 (NLT)

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Friday, January 04, 2013

Count Your Blessings: 2012

2012 has held great things for me that I can not overlook. God has continually blessed me and I must give Him praise. These are the top 10 events/things that happened in the past year. Somethings may seem small and insignificant but they are not too small for me to overlook.

i. Dancing in His presence on 2012 New Year's Day 
ii. Ice skating
iii. Our Trip to virginia
iv. Getting my camera
v. My 15th birthday photo-shoot
vi. Making a pumpkin pie by scratch
vii. "Swimming" or attempting to at Bear Mountain
viii. Getting my Scentsy cupcake by Gina
ix. Receiving my Bible reading plaque
x. Buying myself my ear warmer

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Book Review- A Change of Fortune

Being transported back to 1880 New York is a trip into the past you will not want to miss. You will visit and experience the life of the aristocrats firsthand with all of their splendor, trials, and complexity. By painting a humorous picture of the very ill fortune that befalls Eliza, the author leaves you laughing out loud at one moment and holding your breathe in suspense the next. 

I've never commented on the cover of the books I review, but felt that I had to with this one. If you value a tastefully bound book, you'll find it in this one. From the beautiful model with her tranquil expression, to the stark contrast of her gray dress with the elegant read fainting couch, you'll surely be drawn to it. 

The characters ranging from completely different personalities add much adventure and humor to the book. Eliza and her new found friend Agatha are two tough ladies, breaking the molds of how a lady should act at every opportune time. Handsome brothers Hamilton and Zayne provide two romance possibilities as well as entertainment with their many heroic and chilvarous deeds. Hamilton's children Piper and Ben are not your typical children. They are darlings, mischievous, and oh so very funny. All the characters are complex in their own way and add flavor to the book they way only they can.

If you hadn't guessed by how many times I used the word humor and funny, let me assure you that, this is one book that will have you laughing constantly. The writing style included much dialogue that made for the major humorous parts. The author getting right to the point used many short lively, sentences that drove the plot on at a comfortable pace. This novel is a great debut novel, showing a very promising future for the author. I look forward to reading the coming installments of the Ladies of Distinction series. 

I received this complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers, in exchange for this unbiased and independent review. 

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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Welcome 2013!

Twenty- twelve is behind us. We forget the bad, treasure the good, and learn from our mistakes for the next year.  Last year I made a list of goals that I wanted to accomplish for 2012. I've learned some valuable lessons since I made that grand list, such as being realistic and diligent. Though I didn't accomplish all, the ones I did do I am really happy that I did.

Learning from last year, I hope to be more disciplined with this years goals!

 i. Read the Bible at least once
 ii. Keep up with my prayer journal
iii. Fast 12 times this year (once a month)
iv. Pray for 1 person for the entire month (12 people for the entire year) 

v. Finish 15 before 16 goals

a. Memorize: Psalm 91
b. Sing a new song in church
c. Do an in-depth study of one of the topics I've been wanting to study in the Bible
d. Learn to swim
e. Try a new recipe
f. Study for my driving learner's permit
g. Volunteer at my Dad's job
h. Learn to shoot in manual mode
i. Photograph a photo-shoot
j. Play "In Christ Alone" on the piano
k. Write a fictional "something"
l. Sew a skirt
m. Design my entire blog by myself
n. Draw something... beautiful
o. Finish my green scrapbook

vi. Write at least 155 blog posts this year
vii. Finish the Love Comes Softly Series with Sara
viii. Clean Kitchen 1x a month
ix. Complete 15 art lessons each month
x. Buy something for a family member/ friend (12 gifts)

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