Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Book Review – April 2017

25 Apr

This month has been full of reading, folks! I’ve made a conscious effort to pick up a book instead of turn on the tv, and this month’s list is the result.

IMG_20170404_120352_890

When Bad Things Happen to Good People  by Harold S. Kuchner  – Striving to answer the age-old question ‘why, God?’, Kuchner shares the doubts and fears that often come with the question. He shares his wisdom as a rabbi, reader and parent in the hopes to bring comfort to the reader.

~This was recommended to me – that’s the only reason I finished it. I’m not a fan of this book. There were very few points that were made that I either didn’t already know or agreed with. That probably sounds arrogant but I don’t mean it to be. He has different beliefs than I do, and his including those (evolution for one), I felt to be unnecessary and distracted from the point of the entire book. If I rated these, this would be half a star.

The Shepherd’s Voice by Robin Lee Hatcher – Finally free from prison, Gabe has a hard time finding work during the Great Depression. He heads home, hoping his father will take him in. Instead he finds compassion and faith when Akira offers him a job and a home.

~This is a favorite that I read once a year. I love the journey that Gabe and Akira go through. As well as the faith and life lessons peppered throughout. Plus it’s set in the 1940’s (?) in Idaho. Fantastic setting.

Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott – As a sequel to Eight Cousins,  we revisit Rose after she’s traveled the world for two years. She’s decided that before she marries, she wants to show that she’s an independent young woman. But the world is at odds with her decision, making her wonder just who her true friends are.

~Another delightful story from Alcott. The twists were unexpected and surprising – I had a hard time putting it down! In fact, i read it in just a few days. Highly recommend this, young or old.

Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling – When young millionaire, Harvey, is swept overboard and rescued by a fishing boat, his life is forever changed. The crew teaches him how to fish, and how to be a man.

~This was a birthday present and came with a recommendation from one of my nephews. I enjoyed this book so much, although I will admit to still not knowing what a ‘foc’sle’ is. Kipling wrote a classic boy’s adventure with this one. Highly recommend, for young or old readers!

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy – Click through for my full review! For now, I’ll say that I enjoyed this novel immensely.

Created to Live by Cathy Harris – Click through for my full review! Well worth the read on a heartbreaking and controversial topic.

Currently Reading:

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss ~I am listening to this as an audio book via Librivox. If I had a copy in hand, I would have read it within a week, most likely. As it is though, I listen to it on the nights when I’m in too much pain to sleep. Very entertaining and not sure how I haven’t read it already!

Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David H. Stern ~ Pulled this from my OH’s library. I’m moving through it really slowly but it’s a good read so far. I am able to understand it without feeling overwhelmed. 

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson ~ A favorite that I read probably twice a year. Here’s a review from a few years ago if you want to check it out.

Revision and Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell ~I picked this up at the library and am eager to get any helps on editing my first novel!

Once again, I’m joining the Reading Roundup linkup. Click the picture and find some more great reads!

Reading Roundup

What are you currently reading?

~Laura

Writing prompt – Character Fidgets

20 Apr

I got today’s writing prompt from What is a Plot. Think about your main character’s fidget. What do they do as a tell? Write a scene.

wrtngchrctrfdgts

As she waited for her mother, Amelia opened her book, eager to know what happened next to Esmeralda. She got so wrapped up in the world of old-time Paris that she didn’t hear the front door open, admitting her mother. The heavy footfall coming closer pulled her out of it just in time to slam the book shut and sit properly, the book getting shoved on a side table.

“I’m glad to see that you managed to be presentable today. And where you ought to be.” The sarcasm dripped from her mother as the tall woman eyed her daughter with criticism. “Although why you can’t be like Mrs. Smark’s daughter, I’ve no idea. You could learn a lot from that girl if you’d only take the time. What a relief it would be to have a daughter that I could take out in society.”

“Yes, Mother.” Amelia clenched her hands between her knees, hoping this interview with her mother would end soon. It was always a trial to sit still and silent during these. Her mother paused just long enough for her response and then set off again about her ideas of proper etiquette. Many minutes went by as she expounded on this pet subject of hers, during which Amelia flexed and relaxed her hands in response to particularly cutting remarks, until a knock at the door indicated the arrival of Amelia’s piano teacher.

“For goodness sake, Amelia, stop ruining your skirt like that – you’ve wrinkled it dreadfully.” Her mother’s comment brought Amelia’s gaze to her skirt and she tried to smooth out the wrinkles she’d created, but they refused to budge. Much like the knot in her stomach.

“I don’t know why you do such a thing. You really should get over it, a lady putting her hands between her knees is unheard of.” With that, her mother rose to greet the piano teacher coming into the room.

Amelia sighed and flexed her fingers to get the blood moving in them again. She’d make sure and do some extra scales this morning to help limber them up.

~I do very little editing on these writing prompts. I prefer to use them more to practice and get the creative juices flowing. 

~Laura

 

Book Review – The Scarlet Pimpernel

18 Apr

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is a story of adventure, romance and political intrigue during the French Revolution. I’ve only seen THIS version of it, and loved it so much that I finally found a dvd copy to buy. Then, one day at Powell’s, in the Childrens Classic section (also known as my favorite section), I found a copy of the book! It only took me a week to read it- I had a hard time putting it down! What’s fun is that the movie that I love was actually taken from this book as well as El Dorado,  so now I’m even more excited to read the continuations of the adventures of The Scarlet Pimpernel! I didn’t even know there were more books. EEK!

scrlettpmprnlbkrvw

-Set in the tumultuous times of the French Revolution, one Englishman and his loyal followers dare to brave La Guilloutine and rescue a number of aristocrats – men, women and children. These cunning escapes ignite a hatred in one man especially, Chauvelin, a ruthless French agent, who has sworn to find the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel and capture him. It will take all the bravery and wits that the clever Englishman has to elude his clutches, as well as still keep his promises.

scarletpimpernel

~side note, I was just reading through the comments here, and apparently S.P. isn’t even the first one! now to find the others!~

I will state that even  though the book was quite different from the movie, I loved them both. There are different aspects of the book that would have been nice to see carried over to the movie, but perhaps they were in other versions.

This is written in an easy-to-understand way, not like so many other classics that you’ve got to have a dictionary handy just to understand it! I highly recommend this story – for young and old. A guaranteed new favorite!

~another side note, just found the entire movie made in 1934 on youtube. Now I’m gonna have to give it a shot! 

scarletchauvelin

~a very young Ian Mckellen is in the 1982 version! Enough said right there.

Have you read The Scarlet Pimpernel? What’d you think? 

~Laura

~ While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers. ~

 

 

Book Review: Created to Live

6 Apr

I have been intending to write this book review for a few months now and it’s always fallen by the wayside. Such sadness! I’m happy to finally get this out to you guys – so, without further ado, the book review for Cathy Harris’ Created to Live.

createdtolivereview

Synopsis: Did you know that in America, an abortion is performed every 26 seconds? Since the ruling in 1973, a staggering 58 million abortions have devastated individuals and families. You’ll find resources, the hard truths behind what we’re told about abortions and encouragement to fight the battle against abortion. Told in an honest, loving way, Harris shares her story and invites you to make a choice for unborn babies.

I’ve never read a book with this as the topic so I wasn’t sure quite what to expect but I found myself quickly interested and read it every day til I reached the end. Harris’ style of writing is easy to read and I found myself impressed on how she presented different aspects of her story – and the history of abortion – throughout the book.  My heart was torn as I read the stories of other women, I even shed some tears at some of them.

But don’t think this is a read that will get you down and disheartened! Harris gives practical steps on how to join the fight against abortion. I liked how she advised starting in your home with conversations and working out from there. We must get comfortable talking about it before we can really go out and fight this battle.

Here are a  few quotes that stood out to me:

“Offering to hold someone’s hand is sometimes all it takes to save their life.” – page 43

 

“The abortion industry was soaked in lies from its beginning. The abortion decision begins with the lie that a baby is not a person, but is instead merely a ‘personal choice’. Those lies have been compounded and have deceived millions of people. Due to the power of entrenched demonic perception over this issue, defeating the enemy’s lies is one of the toughest battles women and men face after going through an abortion.” page 84

 

” In His tenderness, He sits on the throne. In His nearness, He holds the government on His shoulders. In His kindness, He brings forth judgments and extends His hands of mercy.” – page 114

 

20170405_172641

 

I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Created to Live!

I received Created to live for my honest review. It was published by Ambassador Int.

Monthly Goals: April

3 Apr

It’s that time again, lovelies! I hope you’re enjoying these recaps because I love writing them – they also happen to be some of my favorite posts to read….

mnthlygoalsapril2017

Recap of Monthly Goals:

EDIT Amelia book til ready for a professional editor.  – I have only worked on this a little bit. I have, however, been  brainstorming a few sections that need improvement. As well as trying to come up with a title! – working on it

Make writing a habit most every day – Not really at all this month. I did get a whole section on Georgia’s story down while on vacation though! – working on it

Grow SGL’s Traffic – nope. I’ve not even kept up with 2 posts a week, much less worried about growing SGL! – working on it

Lose weight/get healthier – not much improvement here, check out my health update for more info!  -working on it

Read more books on Jewish living –  It’s not exactly on Jewish living, but I’ve been making my way through/almost finished with When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner. – Win

Write a letter to one person a month – I wrote to several friends for their birthdays so I’m counting that this time!! – win!

Try a new recipe – You guys. Have you seen the craze over the smoothie bowls? I’ve joined the bandwagon. I want one every day. Really. I love this berry/banana one, but am wanting to make a peanut butter one (aka the Power Bowl) like Mother’s Juice Cafe has. YUM! -WIN

Watch/Read a Documentary/Biography – I’ve watched (most of ) Under Our Skin. It’s a documentary of Lyme Disease. It’s very interesting and full of info. It’s made me feel less alone in this painful journey, and also helped me realize that my symptoms could be much worse – Win

Learn Hebrew- I have just barely kept up this one. I even gave 2 of my nephews a Hebrew ‘lesson’ while in Bend! – mini win

Recap of March goals:

Watch Under Our Skin.

Edit the heck out of Amelia’s story

Be stricter on NO SUGAR and more veggies

Find a local charity that accepts knitted/crocheted items – anyone have suggestions?

Finish gallery wall

Keep taking the girls to the dog park 3x a week – weather permitting

So, while I feel like I haven’t done much on my march goal list, I did pretty good on my general goals! Having these monthly recaps helps me buckle down and do them though!

For April:

Edit the heck out of Amelia’s story

Be stricter on NO SUGAR and more veggies/juice

Finish gallery wall

start a container garden

Get my hair trimmed

Do Metal Toxicity test asap

Go to Craniosacrial chiropractor appt

plan a stay-cation for our 4th anniversary

What are your goals for April? Anything exciting planned??

Laura

Come back for a book review later this week!!! If you do enjoy monthly goal posts, click the picture below for more!

Like to post about your goals? Link up with any goal post in staygoldautumn.com's linkup on the first day of the month!

Book Review – Feb and March 2017

21 Mar

Since I missed last month’s reviews, I smushed them all together this month!

bkrvwfebmar2017

Schoolhouse Brides Wanda E. Brunstetter – The lives of four schoolmarms are complicated when unexpected visitors arrive.

~Four short stories centered on the hardships that teachers of the one-room schoolhouse had to face, as well as the risk of opening their hearts. These are nice, light reads that leave you wishing they were longer.  As much I enjoyed these, I passed them on to my mom, I’m always left slightly dissatisfied with short stories…and I’ve only got so much room for books!

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott – A masterpiece by the author of Little Women. Rose Campbell, recently orphaned, goes to live with her relatives on “Aunt Hill”. She’s less than impressed with her new life, accustomed to a girls boarding school but when her Uncle Alec arrives, along with meeting her seven boy cousins, she finds it’s not quite so bad.

 This was a very sweet read – one I had a hard time putting down. I couldn’t help but think of my own nephews and nieces (8 between two of my siblings) and imagined them hanging out and playing as these cousins did!

Failure is ImpossibleSusan B. Anthony in her own words by Lynn Sherr – Anthony’s letters and notes are combined with reports and essays, making this book a-one-of-a-kind, giving a glimpse into Susan B. Anthony’s life and passion for the causes she fought every day of her life for.

~ This was a great book – and perfect for my research for the book I’m writing! Anthony’s devotion to the Cause is amazing. It was cool to get to read some of her words, rather than just hearing about her motivational speeches. It was a bit thick, it took me a few months to get through, but well worth it. 

Created to Live by Cathy Harris – I’ll be doing a separate review for this one, as I received it from Ambassador International for my honest review. =) ~Update: Here it is!

Fiesta Moon (book 2 in the Moonstruck series) by Linda Windsor – When Mark and Corrinne both have to work on building an orphanage out of a falling-down hacienda, the sparks start to fly. Add to that, the disappearance of a young boy and the ghost haunting the halls, summer in Mexico just got a lot more interesting.

~I needed a light, fun read and this fit the bill. It’s a sweet romance, filled with mystery, a precocious pig and God’s forgiveness. I always forget that this is part of a series, it’s just fine as a stand alone. It’s fun that it’s set in another locale – Mexico – and that you get to explore the culture a little. It is sappy, but sometimes, you just need a sappy story! 

The O’Malley Series – books o.5 through 5  – Follow the lives of the O’Malley siblings – Marcus, Kate, Rachel, Jack, Lisa, Stephen in this heartwarming mystery series.

~To know just how much I enjoy this series, click the link. I read them at least once a year, that’s how great they are. Although, I realized in my reading this time through, that I still, somehow, don’t own book 3… So, that’s interesting. I feel like I keep losing books in this series. Strange. Anyway, Read them. They’re great. 

Currently Reading:

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner

The Rescuer, book 6 by Dee Henderson

The Shepherd’s Voice by Robin Lee Hatcher

To-Read :

Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore

books on Editing a novel

What have you read lately? Found a new favorite? Share, I love to add to my to-read list! I mean, check out my goodreads page, my list is looong.

*I’d like to note that any books I read are free of foul language or any immoral …stuff. If there is a hint of it, I will tell you but that is the most that I will read, and by default, will share with you. Not everything I read is faith-based though, so keep that in mind if that is your priority. *

Once again I’ve joined the Reading Roundup – click the image below to find some other great reads!

Reading Roundup

Monthly Goals : March

1 Mar

A month has come and gone already! Where oh where do the days go? My birthday is coming up in March – so we’ve got some fun plans for that, and I’m also hoping to get my novel edited by the end of march! Big plans. Big plans.

febmarmonthlygoals2017

 EDIT Amelia book til ready for a professional editor. – I finally read all the way through it- getting it into my head as a story rather than different scenes all mixed up – and have gotten some editing done. Hit a major frustration that has killed all motivation to work on it. Hoping to get back at it this week though! – sorta WIN

~  PLOT/create Story Board– Finished this a few weeks ago! I’m so proud of it. -WIN

~Lose weight/get healthier –  I have tried to eat healthy this month but it’s not gone too well. The typical .5 lb loss and then gain has happened. – FAIL

Make writing a habit most every day –  Even saying it’s almost every day is probably a stretch. I’ve started writing Georgia’s story, have about 3k words on it (!), but pain and focusing have made it hard to write, or even to want to. – Sorta WIN

Grow SGL’s Traffic – once again, haven’t worried about this yet.  – FAIL

Read more books on Jewish living – not at all! haven’t even picked up Messianic Jewish Manifesto since I started it beginning of last month – FAIL

Write a letter to one person a month – Yes! I wrote a lovely little letter to a lovely person. snail mail makes me happy.  – WIN

Try a new recipe – once again in the Against All Grain cookbook, I made the Basil-Thyme Vinaigrette. It was super yummy , even though I didn’t have a few of the ingredients. Only negative side is that the coconut oil hardens, so you have to warm it up before each use. Also tried a White Bean and Chicken Chili recipe that was sub-par, even after I tried to bring some life to it. Disappointing.  – WIN

Watch/Read a Documentary/Biography –  Just finished  Failure is Impossible:Susan B. Anthony in her own words by Lynn Sherr. It’s  a collection of Anthony’s letters, speeches, diary entries and articles. It’s well put together and I’m collecting a LOT of info for my book I’m starting – WIN

Learn Hebrew- I added this one mid-month. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do the past few years but have only ever given a cursory glance at it. Thankfully, my OH still has the books he learned in, so I’m able to do this without buying anything! I’ve started Hebrew in 10 minutes a Day, and worked on memorizing the alphabet with some pretty sweet flash cards. I’m not staying on top of it every day but I’m trying to several times a week. – WIN

~I did survive my dentist appointment, but came away with some disheartening news that I’ll share in my Feb health update (probably next week).

~Not sure I’ve spoiled my OH like I was hoping to. The biggest thing I’ve been focusing on is trying to keep him supplied with juice. And keeping Abby away from him so he can nap on the weekends.

This month I want to:

Watch Under Our Skin.

Edit the heck out of Amelia’s story

Be stricter on NO SUGAR and more veggies

Find a local charity that accepts knitted/crocheted items – anyone have suggestions?

Finish gallery wall

Keep taking the girls to the dog park 3x a week – weather permitting

Check out the linkup below to read some fabulous bloggers goals as well!

Like to post about your goals? Link up with any goal post in staygoldautumn.com's linkup on the first day of the month!

What are your goals for March?

~Laura

Writing Prompt – Character Development

24 Feb

While I was feeling very uninspired to write a blog post (the couch and netflix sounding much more interesting), I remembered I’d downloaded a sweet little ebook filled with writing prompts that help in moving my novel along. So here’s to completing two tasks in one swoop : blog post and working on my book.

wrtngprmpchrctrdvlpmnt

The prompt I’m going to do is all about finding out what is missing in my hero. And how has it changed them, pushing them out of their comfort zone and into the special world of the story?  How has that missing thing left them broken? “Your hero’s flaw lies in that broken place”

Georgia is my MC (main character).  What I’m thinking so far is that it’s a broken heart/lacking purpose in her life. It’s kind of a combo problem because the person she fell in love with – years ago – was the one to make her look past her ‘perfect’ life and start searching for a purpose, a passion. She became more settled, less frivolous of a person as she sought to better herself and her life. For years though, she’s pushed the restlessness, the emptiness, aside and buried it deep. But it’s about to intrude on her life in a way that she won’t be able to ignore it anymore.

Having that emptiness, that pain, has spoiled  all her childish dreams for her future. She must let them go in order to seek the remedy for her broken heart. She’s going to have to disappoint those she holds most dear if she wants to find her purpose. She comes to realize that she can’t stay in the same routine she’s been in if she wants to be fulfilled.

I think she’s always been broken. The way she was raised was very…hmm, one could say, lacking in the most important things in life. She was taught that what’s on the outside is what matters. And that maintaining ones social standing is the most important thing, no matter really what you have to do to get there.

Does this mean she has a hard time looking past others’ appearance, and seeing into who they truly are?  Or that, even when she’s broken out of that world, and into the special world, that she still sees people based on their social standing?

I think I’m going to have to mull over how her flaw ties into that broken place….and how to work it into my plot board.

~Laura

writing prompt – Promises

17 Feb

Hi friends, today’s writing prompt is “I’ve lost count of the promises I’ve broken for you” – it is a bit darker than what I normally write. I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone a little with some of these. Because happy stories are easier to write. But, growth is necessary! So, here we go.

wrtngprmptpromises

“I’ve lost count of the promises I’ve broken for you.”

“What? I would never ask you to break you word!” He sounded disgusted that I would even suggest it.

“No. You wouldn’t ask me to. You just know I will. Because you come first – no matter what, right? I don’t even have a life outside of you anymore.” My words were bitter but I couldn’t stop them – I didn’t want to stop them. This had been coming for a long time. Years, in fact. But this latest scene was one I couldn’t put up with. It was the last straw. He looked at me with a broken expression.

“I love you, Merry. You love me. We’re supposed to be there for each other. You want a life away from me?”

I steeled myself against the pain in his voice. It wasn’t real. I knew it wasn’t real. He was the best manipulator I’d ever seen. I mean, he’d kept me tied to him for the past ten years, hadn’t he?

“I don’t know what love is. I don’t think you do either. When was the last time you were there for me, anyway?” I wrapped my arms around myself as he came closer, putting his hand on my arm.

“I was there that time you broke your collarbone, remember babe? I took you to the hospital and stayed with you the whole time.” I nodded in remembrance. He’d broken it in one of his rages. I didn’t say anything about that though, just took a step back out of his reach.

“You’re possessive and I’m your lapdog. I come every time you call. I can’t take it anymore Frank. I just can’t.” My  voice broke and I rubbed my forehead, wishing this was already over.

If I had been watching, I would have seen the look in his eyes. I knew better than to close my eyes when he was in the same room – I’d learned that in the first six months.  The back of his hand caught my cheekbone, snapping my head to the side. I caught myself on the side table, waiting for the next blow. When it didn’t come, I turned.  Frank had sat on the sofa, his head in his hands. I slowly reached for my phone, keeping an eye on him. I hit speed dial 6, and wrapped my hand around the other item in my jacket pocket. As I waited, the shakes started. His forced sobs filled the room and I knew I was supposed to go comfort him. Apologize. But I couldn’t do it – wasn’t I supposed to be breaking free from him? Instead, I spoke the words I’d practiced hundreds of times, through chattering teeth.

“It’s over, Frank. Your lying and manipulating days are over. I’m leaving.” 

He stood up in a rage but stopped when he saw the gun in my hand. I held it straight at his heart, calmly, as if my own heart wasn’t pounding so hard I was sure he’d hear it. “Put that thing down, babe. You’re gonna hurt somebody.” His wheedling tone belied his stress. And I exulted in it.

“The only one who’ll get hurt is you, if you get any closer to me.” I willed the doorbell to ring, the gun was already starting to get heavy. 

Frank side-stepped toward me with his hands outstretched, “Give it to me. Now.” His tone was hard.

Before I even thought about it, I shot him in the knee. He fell instantly, yelling in pain.  Just as he lunged for me, the front door burst open and salvation arrived in the form of a new friend of mine – a police officer and her partner. 

“Babe, tell them it’s just a misunderstanding.” He ordered me to lie, still not considering that I wouldn’t do it. His control over me had been complete. But no longer. 

I smiled. “I told you, I won’t break any more promises for you. And I promised myself I’d see you dead, or in jail. Take your pick.”

 

 

Come back  next week for a review on Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott.

~Laura

 

A bit of Everything

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

Sadly, this isn’t a post actually about V-day – OH is most likely going to be studying and I’ll be writing or editing or playing with the puppy.Plus, he’s been sick and I’ve been struggling through ‘most every day. So. Skipping Valentine’s day isn’t that hard this year. I am contemplating ordering Chinese food though…

abitofeverything

Today, is just a quick note to say that I’m back again from a quick break last week, to share a few things that I’ve enjoyed on the internet lately.

Beauty from Ashes blog – I have started following this blog on pinterest, bloglovin and Instagram. She makes the most wonderful costumes – you must check her out! her latest post is here.

Just found this amazing artist, David Garrett, on youtube – i listened to this  for two days straight and have it going right now. Beautiful violin playing right here folks.

This article on Women’s Suffrage has been really helpful in research for book #2!

The Final Beauty and the Beast Trailer is out and amazing and I am so excited to see it!!

The Piano Guys are some of my favorite artists right now and this song, It’s Gonna be OK is one of my favorites. Check it out. It’ll brighten up your day, I guarantee it

This has been sitting open on my screen for weeks – I’ve got a code for a discount and it’s just taunting me…but i’m not sure I need it. so, there it sits until I decide.

That’s all folks! Come back on Friday for a book review – or a short story, who’s to know???

~Laura

p.s. titling these type of posts is hard, anyone have any suggestions?

 

shawnasview.wordpress.com/

CHRONICALLY BLESSED BY HIS STRIPES

Me Set Free

If Christ has set us free, why do we keep on picking up those chains

Flavia the Bibliophile

Book reviews, TV reviews, product reviews, and more!

Wordsmith Weekly

Your Inspiration Station

beautyfullmess.com

a life journal