Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Review ~ Invitation


Product Description

From the minds of Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky, Invitation compiles the first four episodes of the Harbingers series, each following a different character.
BRENDA - The street-hustling tattoo artist who sees images of the future.
THE PROFESSOR - The atheist ex-priest ruled by logic.
ANDI - The professor's brilliant but geeky assistant who sees inexplicable patterns
TANK - The naïve, big-hearted jock with a surprising connection to a healing power.
The four find out that pockets of darkness are emerging throughout the world. Whether it involves a mysterious house, the unexplainable death of animals around the world, or an otherworldly little girl, each mystery they solve brings them closer to the ultimate explanation of what's happening. What will happen if they don't solve the mysteries in time?

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This is a book that contains four books. One by each author, Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky.  I have read a book by Myers and I love Peretti so I was looking forward to trying this thrilling book out.

Crazy things start happening in the first book, The Call by Bill Myers and it doesn't stop there.  It is the first time these four unlikely people end up together.  From this "school" that's for gifted youngsters that has a well that goes down into the earth and sounds like ends in hell.  To a house that moves and disappears, and brings them together with a little boy named, Daniel.  And then to Florida with eyeless fish washing up on shore and eyeless birds falling.  And finally to Oregon where they get involved with a little girl that can float and ages younger. 

So many twists and turns through this supernatural thriller with lots of stuff based in the spiritual realm.  For instance, Daniel has a friend only he can see who's name is not Harvey.  There is also an IT that sounds super creepy.  And there are these freaky creatures that they all see for a moment that sound like demons (even Tank said so).  There is a bit more, but I'll leave it there.

I think all of the characters are interesting, unique and completely different in their own ways.  My personal favorite is Tank.  Because he is the only one of the bunch (besides maybe Daniel, I don't know) that believes in God.  He has healing power through Him and it's awesome. 

I really enjoyed these books.  They did leave me hanging and I know that was on purpose.  I'm looking forward to reading the next book(s).  If you like supernatural thrillers with witty, interesting characters, then this is the book for you.  I personally, really liked it.

5 out of 5 stars

*I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, April 21, 2017

~Sunshine Blogger Award~


Hello everybody!! Long time no see?  Today I am going to be answering some questions to a really fun tag!  I've been tagged by Ms. Mary at Sunshine and Scribblings for the Sunshine Blogger Award.  Thank you so much, Mary!!!  Let's get to it!

The rules are pretty simple: answer 11 questions from your nominator, then tag 11 other bloggers, and ask them 11 new questions.

1. Do you like to read an entire series at once or spread out the books over time?
It kind of depends if the series isn't all out yet.  I prefer to read it all at once, but if one book comes out and the next doesn't till the following year, I guess I just have to wait.  Which is infuriating if I'm in a good book and I want to know what happens!!  (Unblemished, I'm looking at you)

2. Would you rather be stuck in the past or the future?
Hmmm...what kind of past?  If it is during a period in History I like, then probably the past.  The future is so unpredictable.  So yeah, I'll go with the past.


3. Have you ever had dream re-runs? (In other words, the same dream twice. XD)
Not that I remember.  Honestly, I don't dream that much and if I do, I normally don't remember. XD

4. What is your favorite vacation you've ever taken?
Oooo.  There are so many good ones!  Okay, I'll give you my top three. Although, I do love all the vacations we have taken.  These aren't in any order, by the way.
 1. When we spent a whole week in Southern California.  Doing Disneyland, Lego land, Knott's Berry Farm, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and touring the Queen Mary.  It was SO much fun!
2. A couple years ago, we took a road trip through 8 states and even went into Canada.  We were gone only eight days.  It was a BLAST!!
3.  The cruise to Mexico!!!  So much fun!!!


5. Do you like to chew gum? If so, what is your favorite flavor?
I do!  And my favorite flavor is Spearmint.

6. If you found the entrance to Narnia, would you tell anybody?
Who would you take with you if you did?
First off, that would be SO COOL!!!!  I'd be freaking out.  As for telling people, yes.  I'd probably want to take my siblings and parents.  It would be awesome!

7. Waffles, pancakes, or neither?
WAFFLESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!  I LOVE waffles!!!  Especially with strawberries and whipped cream.  *drools*  As for pancakes...they aren't my favorite, but it they have strawberries and whipped cream, I'll eat em!!! (Do you think I like strawberries and whipped cream?  Yeah, I don't think so either;))

Ooo, raspberries look good, too!!

8. Do you use the Shift key or the Caps Lock key every time you capitalize something? (Odd question, but it's something I always wonder, haha.)
Mostly, I use the Shift key.  Sometimes the Caps Lock, but mostly the Shift. ;D

9. What is one smell that never fails to make you happy?
Lot's!  The smell of rain is heavenly.  Cookies baking in the oven.  Even turkey bacon cooking in the oven smells good(and that makes me happy cause it means food!:))!  Chocolate, fresh coffee, clean clothes/sheets(aren't clean sheets the best?), roses, apple/cinnamon in the air during fall, candles, and I could go on and on.  But there you go. ;D


10. Have you ever been roller-skating?
Yup!  But it has been a long time.  I have never been "great" at it.  I couldn't go backwards or anything fancy.  Normally, I try to stay close to the wall.  Falling is never fun.  One time, I was roller skating at home on the front driveway and I fell on my bottom, but I had stuck my arm out under me and sprained my wrist.  Ah, the joys of sports(is roller-skating considered a sport?).  ;)

11. You've gone into hiding and have to conceal your identity. What new alias would you adopt?
Ooo, good question!!  Probably either Jessica Bourne (Jason Bourne) or Samantha Baggins (Sam and Baggins, anyone?). :D




Thank you again, Mary!!!  And now for the tagging....um, it looks like most of the people I would tag, already got tagged. But that's ok, I will tag two more lovely ladies to join the party! But if you haven't been tagged and would like to do it, please do!

Amaris @ The Storybook Journal & Madison @ Every Day Simplified (of course you ladies don't have to do it if you want to. ;))  And here are Mary's fun questions!

1. Do you like to read an entire series at once or spread out the books over time?
2. Would you rather be stuck in the past or the future?
3. Have you ever had dream re-runs? (In other words, the same dream twice. XD)
4. What is your favorite vacation you've ever taken?
5. Do you like to chew gum? If so, what is your favorite flavor?
6. If you found the entrance to Narnia, would you tell anybody? Who would you take with you if you did?
7. Waffles, pancakes, or neither?
8. Do you use the Shift key or the Caps Lock key every time you capitalize something? (Odd question, but it's something I always wonder, haha.)
9. What is one smell that never fails to make you happy?
10. Have you ever been roller-skating?
11. You've gone into hiding and have to conceal your identity. What new alias would you adopt?

Thanks for reading! ~ Morgan

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Book Review ~ Some Small Magic

Publisher's Description


From acclaimed author Billy Coffey comes Some Small Magic, "a story of determination and love . . . that deserves to be read" (RT Book Reviews).
All Abel wants is a little bit of magic in his life. Enough money so his mom doesn’t cry at night. Healing for his broken body. And maybe a few answers about his past.
When Abel discovers letters to him from the father he believed dead, he wonders if magic has come to the hills of Mattingly, Virginia, after all. But not everything is as it seems.
With a lot of questions and a little bit of hope, Abel decides to run away to find the truth. But danger follows him from the moment he jumps his first boxcar, forcing Abel to rely on his simpleminded friend Willie—a man wanted for murder who knows more about truth than most—and a beautiful young woman they met on the train.
From Appalachia to the Tennessee wilds and through the Carolina mountains, the name of a single small town beckons: Fairhope. That is where Abel believes his magic lays. But will it be the sort that will bring a broken boy healing? And is it the magic that will one day lead him home
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*be prepared for spoilers*

This book in a word would be...sad. For most of the book it felt like it was dragging on.  I didn't like the beatings and being bullied that Abel got.  He has brittle bones and is small.  He has one leg that is shorter then the other and kind of hobbles to walk.  The bully boy, Chris is mean to him and says "I'm goin to kill you."  And one night he tries, but Abel's only friend, Dumb Willie, kills Chris first.  Yikes.  Dumb Willie is called "dumb" because he is more childlike in a grown mans body.  He is slow in words, but loves Abel. 

The "beautiful woman" they meet on the train is actually...Death.  But Abel and Dumb Willie don't know that (Dumb Willie knows way before Abel) and Abel calls her Dorothy.  It is a long story and I'm not going into all the details, but lets just say it is a sad and rather odd book.  I don't really get the point in it. Since this book is getting the lowest rating I have ever given, I'm going to point out some of the things I didn't like.  I mentioned some the things above.

There is this preacher who gives Abel a "word".  But when he does the description of what happens sounded demonic to me.  I didn't like that.  The word bastard is used quite a bit.  And another word I loathe, retarded.  It wasn't necessary and I don't like it. 

When Abel first meets Dorothy (Death) he kind of looks her over.  Apparently, her shirt was a little unbuttoned and his eyes travel to two humps (boobs)as he tries to hold his Blatter.  Um...what in the world?!  Then, later on she is wearing a cross body bag with the strap between her...you know what, and Abel wishes he was that strap.  Guys, he's eleven, seriously? Was that necessary?  When Dumb Willie gets into a pond he is completely naked.  Dorothy (Death) jumps in with all her clothes on, to Abel's disappointment.  Then the last one, which isn't as bad as the first three, is when the wind is playing with her hair and Abel wishes he could do that.  Eventually, he tells her he loves her.

There is this weird "magical" pond that they eventually get to that is protect by a Cherokee Indian.  If you go in it you get healed then the water turns to mud.  This pond is in a dump.  It was just odd.

Okay, I'll leave it at that.  The only good thing about this book, besides finishing it, was when Abel gets to see his dad at the end.  That's it. 

Overall, I don't recommend this book.  I found it slow, odd, and sad.  I'm just glad I finished it.

1 out of 5 stars

*I received this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Why I Love Vintage Fashion


Hello everyone!  I thought it would be fun to do a post about why I love dressing vintage and vintage fashion in general. 

I have been dressing vintage for about a year now.  While that is not all of the time, in more recent months it has been more and more.  I still wear sweat pants and t-shirts once in a while, but most of the time I'm in a vintage outfit or a vintage inspired outfit.  The difference is, is that a true vintage outfit is something that is actually vintage.  A vintage inspired outfit is modern clothing that looks vintage and you style it in a vintage way.  With a vintage hair-do, perhaps some vintage accessories, such as a brooch or scarf and voila, you look vintage.  I do both.

Or you can mix the two.  A vintage looking dress and an actual vintage cardigan.  Or what I did below, a vintage scarf and shirt with modern jeans and shoes.  Plus the sunglasses are modern, but look vintage.

                                 

Here are some points on why I love vintage fashion.

1.  It's Unique

It's not often you see someone dressed up from the 50's or any other decade, for that matter.  Fashion nowadays is so different from back then, but at the same time, you can wear whatever you want and its ok.  Although, some people will comment on how you look.  I have gotten only compliments, but I have heard of people getting negative comments on how they are dressed.  Which is sad.  I like the way I dress and that is all that matters.  If you like the way you dress, then do it!  Life is too short for boring clothes.

                                    

2. Quality Clothes

Let's face it, we don't make things like they did back then.  Clothing back then was truly beautiful.  A lot of pieces being one of a kind or homemade.  The fabric was nicer and the design flattering.  I have seen some beautiful dresses from back then.  They are truly beautiful.

                                   

3. Wearing History

The vintage clothing from the 30s, 40s, 50s and even older are a piece of history.  They have survived wars and everyday use (unless its an evening gown).  Some being 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100 years old.  It's amazing to see a piece in almost perfect condition being that old.  Although, a lot of them do have little things that need fixing, but most of the time it doesn't distract from the beauty of the garment.

                                   

4. It's Fun

I enjoy getting dressed up even if I'm not leaving the house.  I like to feel and look nice.  Putting on a dress with a scarf around my neck with some earring and comfy shoes.  I like being put together and ready for anything.  Like if we decide to go somewhere, then I'm already dressed.  Although, once in a while if I am wearing sweats and we decide to go somewhere, I usually like to get dressed real quick, if I can.  I really love the way I dress and the way it makes me feel. 

                                      
                                                                       Outfit details:
                                                                 Shirt: Vintage (1950s)
                                                                    Jeans: Old Navy
                                                                    Shoes: Converse
                                                                 Sunglasses: T.J.Maxx
                                                                     Scarf: Vintage

Well, I hope you liked this little post.  I know not everyone's taste is vintage, everybody is different.  Which is a good thing!  Anyways, I hope you guys have a wonderful day!  Blessings ~ Morgan

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Book Review ~ The One True Love of Alice-Ann

Publisher's Description


Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear—having lost her fiancé in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?
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This book is set during World War Two, which I haven't read a ton of books on.  But I really enjoyed it, especially it also being my favorite clothing era. 
Characters:
I really enjoyed the different characters, from the main gal, Alice-Ann, to her Aunt Beth, from her friends to her brother and his wife.  They were all so different and yet blended together nicely.  Alice-Ann I was fine with.  It was nice to see her grow up throughout the book into the young women God meant for her to be. She was sometimes annoying, but I still appreciated her character being able to learn and grow.
Mack and Carlton were good characters as well, of course I liked one more than the other...but I'll let you read the book and discover that part yourself.  I'll just say that my favorite was the one she goes with. :)  And boy did I have butterflies in my stomach at some parts!  That's a good writer for yah, makes you feel what the characters are feeling.  Bravo, Ms. Eva!
Writing:
Again, I really liked it.  Descriptive enough without it being overly so.  How the characters were feeling and such was spot on!  Body language, eye movement, things like that.  Well done.
Overall:
I really enjoyed this book.  It had enough going on to give it good momentum without being overly fast-paced.  I enjoyed it also being set during World War Two.  Overall, a really lovely book that I would recommend if you like history and romance.  Definitely give this one a go!
Stars: 4 out of 5
*I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Book Review ~ The Illusionist's Apprentice


Publisher's Description


Not all illusions happen on the stage.
Wren Lockhart, apprentice to master illusionist Harry Houdini, uses life on a vaudeville stage to
escape the pain of her past. She continues her career of illusion after her mentor’s death, intent on burying her true identity.
But when a rival performer’s act goes tragically wrong, the newly formed FBI calls on Wren to speak the truth—and reveal her real name to the world. She transfers her skills for misdirection from the stage to the back halls of vaudeville, as she finds herself the unlikely partner in the FBI’s investigation. All the while Houdini’s words echo in her mind: Whatever occurs, the crowd must believe it’s what you meant to happen. She knows that if anyone digs too deep, secrets long kept hidden may find their way to the surface—and shatter her carefully controlled world.
Set during one of the richest, most vibrant eras in American history, this Jazz Age novel of illusion, suspense, and forgotten pasts is perfect for fans of The Magician’s Lie, challenging all to find the underpinnings of faith on their own life’s stage.
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First off, isn't this cover gorgeous?!  I first saw that this book was going to be coming out on CBD.com. I believe it was last month.  Anyways, I thought it sounded very interesting and then boom, I was able to get it to review.  I was so excited!  Any who, on to the review...

Honestly, this is a really good book.  I loved the different characters and there were so many twists and turns.  If you know me, I love a good faster paced book, and this book did not disappoint.  The pace was definitely to my liking. 

I am very picky when it comes to girls being the leads in books, but I actually didn't mind Wren.  She wasn't one of those "annoying" gals.  She has this mask that she hides behind, and isn't the kindest, but when it finally starts to slip...well you'll see. Though it does take her a long time.  Its really amazing how the author wrote her character.  Strong yet soft, smart yet broken.  I do think her back story was really sad and for a more mature reader.

Agent Matthews is the FBI agent she ends up working with and I liked him as well.  One thing about his character that you normally don't see in other characters in books (that I really loved) was how observant he is.  He is always watching everything and person.  Definitely a good agent as he also has some wicked driving skills.  He is a sweet guy who never gives up on Wren even when she isn't being nice to him.  And he also has a sad back story, although I think Wren's is sadder still.

I also loved that it was a book with a little of the famous magician/illusionist, Harry Houdini.  The time set was also wonderful as it is set during the 1920's.  Which was a lot of fun, especially when it came to the clothing.

As for sidekick characters they were a lot of fun too.  There weren't a ton of them, but that's ok as too many characters can be rather confusing.  The writing style was also very good and descriptive.  Not just setting the scene, but how the characters were feeling, body language, and such. 

Then of course, the mystery of the book.  It's like you are putting together a puzzle and you are only getting one piece at a time and at the end is when you can finally put it all together.  It is a lot of fun to try and guess and either be right or wrong and then another twist is thrown in.

I really loved this book.  I do wish it was a little longer though. It was classic and clean with some mystery, action, a little romance, and yes, magic.  Even though the word "illusion" is probably more fitting.  I definitely recommend it.  Though I would caution for younger readers as there is some mature content.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Introducing...Michael Cheval



Today I'm doing a post on a topic I have never done before.  A post about...art.  I haven't really been into artists before.  Especially ones that are still alive and all that.  I do know Mr. Thomas Kinkade (though he passed away in 2012), but that is because we have some of his art work.  If you don't know Kinkade I will show you one of his works real quick before we get into Cheval...


Beautiful, isn't it?  We have this one currently hanging in our family room.  Although, ours in my opinion, has a much prettier frame with a cool light shining down on it.  This painting is called, The Garden of Prayer.  If you look closely, at the pathway at the right Jesus is walking to meet you here.  Kinkade has sooo many beautiful paintings.  

The next artist I am about to show is not exactly everyone's taste.  I have recently been exposed to his works thanks to the cruise I told you guys about in my previous post.  You see, the cruise ship had lots of art and we were over there quite a bit.  Which was fun!  And Mr. Cheval had not only me, but my family enchanted by his creative art.

I will first show you one of my favorites.  And I'm glad to say it will soon be hanging in my room.  Yes.  My first piece of real art!  Well, technically, it is embedded onto metal, going through a whole procedure and finished with Cheval's real signature.  Which is sooo cool!  And to add, mine is going to be a little one, which is fine with me!  That way I have lots of room on my walls to add more pictures.  Anyways, here it is...



Isn't she beautiful?!  Ahh...I just love her!  This picture is called, Melody of Rain.  So fitting.  It's so whimsical and enchanting.  It's so much fun that you can get creative and make your own story of what is going on in the picture.  I love it.





Michael Cheval

Artist
Michael Cheval is a contemporary artist specializing in Absurdist paintings, drawings and portraits. He is the co-founder of Cheval Fine Art Inc. and currently resides in New Jersey, United States. His work is internationally acclaimed and has been exhibited regularly in galleries across the United States and Europe.

If you would like to learn more about Michael, there is more about him on his Wikipedia page. :)   And now, time for more of his "absurdist" paintings I fancy.  Quick disclaimer, I do not love all of his paintings, but I do like quite a few and find them fascinating and unique, creative, and magical.





Anna
Flight of Inconceivable Consequence
Discord of Analogy
Flippant Benevolence
Fortuity of Choices
Time to be a Queen
The Mirror Asylum
Sounding Silence
Promises of the Parting Summer

Dance of the Little Swans



I just love Dance of the Little Swans.  It's not as absurd as some of his other paintings, yet it is so fascinating!  I mean come on, a piano AND a typewriter keyboard?!  Together?!  <3 You may have also noticed a couple fairytales in there.  Such as; Cinderella, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood.  Also, with Discord of Analogy you can hang the picture either way and he signs his name on the side of the picture so there is no "right" or "wrong" way to hang it.  Pretty cool, huh?

Well, I hope you liked getting to see some of Cheval's paintings.  I think they are really whimsical and imaginative.  And just to let you know, they look wayyyy better in real life.  The computer screen doesn't do paintings justice.  Although, I haven't seen all of these in real life, but the ones I have seen...wow.  Amazing.

Many blessings! ~ Morgan

P.S.  Happy March!  And I realize I forgot to say that on my last post...but I'm saying it on this one! =D  And since spring is right around the corner, I decided to do a new blog look.  I know I do it often, but I love new headers! :D