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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Library Book Haul #1

I usually don't post book hauls, but I've been thinking for a while of doing book haul for books I check out of the library. One of the reasons I want to do this is to promote the use of public libraries. Yes, buying books is great, but when books are pricey or you want to save money, the library is a great option to get you hands on new books.

Another reason I want to do this is to make people aware of the kinds of books that are available at libraries because there both old and new books available there. However, this is just a trial run, let me know what you all think of this post, whether you think it is cheesy, or you want me to do more posts, leave a comment below.

Finally, I got a card from the local library close to my school today and I love it and public libraries are great! Without further ado, here are the books I got from the library today:

1. Da Vinci's Tiger by L.M. Elliott

I don't know a whole lot about this book, except that it has something to do with Leonardo da Vinci, so it is historical fiction. I first heard about this when I first heard about OwlCrate. It looks really good.

2. The Princess Diaries: Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

This is the latest installment in the Princess Diaries series and picks up about 10 years (I think) and as the title implies there is probably a wedding involved. I am looking forward to seeing what has happened to Mia since she graduated from high school, and these books tend to be quick reads for me.

3. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

I've been wanting to read this book ever since I heard Hailey from Hails Hearts NYC mentioned it and it just sounded interesting. It is about a land that is divided into four kingdoms that each represent one of the four seasons. Years ago the Winter kingdom was taken over by the Spring kingdom and the novel takes place sixteen years after those events.

4. The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen
This is another historical fiction novel by one of my favorite Christian authors. It is set during the Regency period and it looks like it deal with art, scandal and many other things.

5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This is another book I picked up because almost every BookTuber raves about it. It was the first book I picked up at the library and I don't know if I will like it because it seems to be similar to The Mortal Instruments series, but I want to give it a try.

Those are all the books I picked up today at the library and hopefully I will have another library haul post in three weeks (which is when all of these books are due).

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)


Friday, July 29, 2016

Book Review: My Sister Jodie

Today's review is on My Sister Jodie by Jacqueline Wilson
I've been a fan of Jacqueline Wilson ever since I read her book Sleepovers when I was 9. I don't know what it is about her books, but I love reading them. I think it it because they deal with situations such as bullying and divorce, but it is done in such a way that younger readers can understand it without it scarring them for life. Her characters are also relatable in some way or another. I haven't read one of her books in about seven years, so it was nostalgic to read something by one of my favorite childhood authors. This was also a new read for me, so it was great to read something different from Jacqueline Wilson and I loved it.

My Sister Jodie is about two sisters Jodie and Pearl who are kind of inseparable, however Jodie starts getting into trouble at school and with her friends. Pearl is quiet and loves reading and making up stories. Just before summer their parents announce that they both have gotten jobs at Melchester College which is a boarding school in the country, and the whole family is going to live there. Pearl is thrilled about this opportunity, but Jodie is not happy about it. Their parents hope that this will help straighten Jodie out, however just the opposite happens. Pearl thrives in this new environment, however Jodie struggles to fit in.

Once again Jacqueline Wilson presents a compelling story that deals with some real issues that kids deal with in a manner in which middle grade readers can understand. It deals with not fitting in, being socially awkward and a few other things that I can't mention because they are spoilers. However, the author does a great job of showing how some children will thrive in a new environment and others will flounder, like Pearl and Jodie.

The novel is told in first person from Pearl's point of view - hence the title, My Sister Jodie. I loved the relationship between Jodie and Pearl even though they are complete opposites they are still close, and how it changes with the move to Melchester College. I loved Pearl because her and I are very similar in that we both love reading and writing and are kind of shy.

 I loved all the characters in this book and I wish that I could get to know some of them more, especially Harley (I think that is his name). I also liked how their parents' reactions to Jodie's antics was pretty realistic, I think most parents would have the same reactions if their daughter was doing those kinds of things.

I am giving this 5/5 stars because it was a quick, entertaining, nostalgic read.Warning the ending is pretty sad so keep a box of tissues next to you when you read it.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L.C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations, let me know and I will check them out! :)  

Friday, July 22, 2016

Book Review: The Heart Answers

Today's review is on The Heart Answers by Colleen Coble
This is kind of the first Colleen Coble book I have read, I say kind of because I read her novella Set Sail My Heart about two years ago. I didn't realize that this was the third book in a series, even though it can be read as a stand alone it does mention several characters from the previous two books. Also, the first two books have been divided into 6 novellas and is now called the Journey of the Heart series, which I am planning on reading in August/September.

The Heart Answers tells the story of Jessica DuBois, who is spoiled and mean-spirited. However, when her father dies, she moves to Fort Bridger when her mother remarries and her life is turned upside down because she forced to get her hands dirty. However, she meets the young Reverend Clay Cole, who has come to escort his late cousin's wife and cousin to Fort Bridger. Jessica immediately notices him and tries to use her wiles to gain his attention and to break his heart, but he sees through her plan. However, through various circumstance they start to get to know each other.

I really enjoyed this story, I loved watching the romance develop between the two characters (spoiler, but it is kind of an obvious plot point). I also liked watching the two of them grow. There wasn't a whole lot of action, but the pace of the novel was really good.

Jessica was an interesting character, especially since she grows a lot over the course of the novel. At the end her outlook on life is almost completely different. Clay was also a good character, but sometimes I felt like he came across as too arrogant and proud and judgmental, probably more so than I would expect from a pastor, but then again I feel like it also shows his humanity. I also loved Ellen and Franny - Clay's cousin's wife and daughter- even though they were side characters that still had an effect on the plot because two of the major events that take place involve these two characters. Franny also helps contribute towards Jessica's change of heart.

I also liked how it showed Jessica struggling to find her place among her new family, even though they are her uncle and cousins, and I enjoyed seeing her become closer to them once she started maturing and changing.

I also liked the historical aspects of the novel, I believe it is set after the Civil War. It also takes place in Wyoming, so that is also very interesting.

As I mentioned before, I really liked this novel and I am looking forward to reading more of Colleen Coble's works, especially the Journey of the Heart novella series. I am giving this book 4/5 Stars because it was a nice, light read and I enjoyed the plot.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Publishers for providing me with an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Monday, July 18, 2016

High Summer Read-a-thon TBR

I am taking part in the High Summer Read-a-thon this week because it is fun and I really enjoyed the Tome Topple Read-a-thon that I took part in last month. The High Summer Read-a-thon is hosted by Seasons of Reading at it takes place from July 18th - July 24th. If you would like to know more about this read-a-thon go to:

The nice thing about this read-a-thon is that there are no reading requirements, just read as much as you like during the week. I don't know how many books I will be able to read because I will be working this week, but I am planning on reading at least 3 books this week. Here are the books I plan on reading:

 Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

I have already started this book and I am enjoying it so far. I hope to finish it soon because I want to, although I kind of just want to savor it because I love these characters.

12 Brides of Summer Collection by Various Authors

I have  read 3 of the stories in this collection and I also want to finish this because these stories are cute and short and perfect for summer.

An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter

I have to read this for review, but I am excited to start this book because it is set during the Regency era, which is one of my favorite time periods to read about.

 Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

This is a biblical fiction novel about the woman with the issue of blood that is healed when she touches the hem of Jesus's garment. I am looking forward to reading this, especially since I have not read anything by Tessa Afshar yet.

A Beauty Refined by Tracie Peterson

This is another book I have to read for review and I am excited because it has been several years since I have read any of Tracie Peterson's books. It is a historical novel set in Montana (I think) and it looks like it will be interesting.

These are all the books I plan on reading, it might be a little bit ambitious considering I  started work today.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Review: One More Wish (Christy & Todd: The Married Years #3)

Today's review is on One More Wish by Robin Jones Gunn.

I have been a fan of the Christy Miller series for about 6 years now. It's probably because in the original series there were several things that Christy went through that made her relatable. I have read through all three series that Robin Jones Gunn has written so far about Christy and Todd. I finally got a chance to read this latest installment (even though it has been out for over a year now) on my first flight home. I enjoyed reading about these familiar characters again, however there were a couple of things that I did not like about this installment.

Firstly, the synopsis is kind of misleading, I can't go into too much detail because it will basically spoil the whole book, but it ended very differently from how I expected it to. I also felt like a lot of what happened in this book has happened in the other two books in this series. There were also several phrases that were constantly repeated throughout the book and there was no need for that. 

Despite those few things, I did enjoy reading this book. I especially enjoyed how it shows that both Todd and Christy are still growing as individual and in their marriage. The author also isn't afraid to show the ups and downs of marriage, which I feel like some Christian authors seem to avoid. And there were several inspiring quotes that were mentioned within the novel, however I forgot to highlight them so I can't remember what they are, however I do remember that I found them encouraging.

I flew through this book on my first flight back home, it probably took me about three hours to read, probably even less than that, I just could not put it down. I can't wait for the sequel series to come out, although I feel like it could just be a part of this series. But I can't wait to see what adventures await these beloved characters.

I am giving this book 3/5 Stars because even though I flew through it and there was a lot of nostalgia, there were still things I didn't like and the plot fell flat in several places.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Book Review: True Beauty

Today's review is on True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre
This was a re-read for me, I had read this book two years ago, but I really wanted to read it again because it is really good. And it was still really good the second time around.

This book is written by Carolyn Mahaney and her daughter, Nicole Whitacre. It is very short, it is just over 100 pages, but yet there is so much truth packed into it on the topic of beauty, especially as to what that should mean to believers. It was grounded in Scripture, every point was backed up with Scripture, which means that they weren't just sucking it out of their thumbs, it came from some serious studying.

True Beauty contains a lot of advice for Christian women and how we are to view beauty in light of our Christian worldview. The main argument that is repeated throughout the book is that true beauty is meant to reflect and bring glory to God. This book deals with the theological aspects of beauty and gives practical tips of how this should affect our lives.

One of the main things I appreciated about this book is that it didn't say that women have to wear this or that in order to be beautiful, rather it looked at the heart because that is where true beauty starts. It looked at how our views of beauty are from the heart and that when he have a distorted view of beauty, our hearts are distorted towards God

I am giving this 4/5 Stars because it was really good, but I felt like it was too short and I wish there had been more. I highly recommend this for every Christian women.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Review: The BFG

Today's review is on The BFG by Roald Dahl
I loved this book and it brought back a lot of memories from when I was a kid. I've loved Roald Dahl's writing since I was about 6 and read one of his picture books, The Enormous Crocodile. My favorite book has to be Matilda, in fact that is probably one of the books that made me fall in love with reading as a kid. It is also probably one of the reasons I have a warped sense of humor.

The BFG was a fun, quick read, however as an adult I realized how dark Roald Dahl's books can be - there is definitely a lot of dark humor in this one. However, as a child I was never scared of the giants in this book, I think because I realized that they were made up.

This book tells the story of an orphan Sophie, who is up late one night and is abducted by a giant. However, it turns out she was taken by the Big Friendly Giant (BFG for short) who is the only nice giant. Throughout the novel she learns about the brutal giants and just how sinister they are (especially since they eat people). In the end, however, the giants are captured.

As I mentioned before, I loved this book! Roald Dahl has this way of making his villains truly revolting without giving people nightmare. This is going to sound kind of morbid but I liked the different descriptions and reason why the other giants ate "human bean" from various countries, it's just interesting how the author came up with all these different reason and one has to have a great, and somewhat warped, imagination to come up with something like that.

I loved how the BFG mixed up his words and saying, and even some of the letters in the words. I knew what he was saying, but it definitely added to the humor in the book.  I also enjoyed seeing him become friends with Sophie, who hasn't really had any friends before meeting him.

Even though this book is kind dark it does, in typical Roald Dahl fashion, have a happy ending, which will make readers happy. I can't wait to watch the movie that came out this month, I only hope it does the book some justice.

I recommend this book for all ages, however parents should use their own judgment as to whether or not they want their kids to read this book, because it does contain quite a bit of dark humor. However, Roald Dahl's writing definitely enchants readers no matter what age they are!

I am giving this book 5/5 Stars because I enjoyed reading it because I was filled with laughter and nostalgia the whole time.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)