Hey, all! Here I am to kick off my return with a review of a new Christian nonfiction This Changes Everything by Jaquelle Crowe. It's a...

Book Review: This Changes Everything by Jaquelle Crowe

Hey, all! Here I am to kick off my return with a review of a new Christian nonfiction This Changes Everything by Jaquelle Crowe. It's a book for teens by a teen and it actually comes out tomorrow, so if you like what you read, purchase link is here and goodreads is on the book cover. :)

Description from Book's Website:
The teen years have been hijacked—by fashion, music, movies, and games; by the pressures of school, peers, and society; and by superficial expectations set by the world. But there is something more glorious than all these influences that has the power to change the life of a teenager: the gospel.  

Written by a teenager for teenagers, This Changes Everything is a deeply theological yet practical and accessible book on how the gospel radically transforms every aspect of the teen years, including pursuing relationships, managing time, combating personal sin, and cultivating healthy habits.

In a culture awash with low expectations for young people, this book exhorts teenagers to embrace a gospel-centered perspective on their lives and pursue wholehearted devotion to Christ now.

Review:
This book… is… amazing. It begins with an introduction that’s super relatable, making me feel like Jaquelle and I could just sit in a small group and chat about God and life and basically be best friends (I mean, she likes dark chocolate, people. I love dark chocolate). But it’s not long before we get into the deep stuff—and the deep stuff is really good.

There is so much wisdom packed into this 160-page book. It has short, bite-sized chapters, but they’re so chock full of food for the soul that I bookmarked at least half the pages and will undoubtedly reread from the beginning sometime soon, so that I can examine and apply each little wisdom nugget one piece at a time. I’ll be honest, This Changes Everything is challenging, but it doesn’t leave you to walk these paths alone. One, it lets you know that you have friends in the thousands of Christian teens who are dealing with the exact same things you are; and two, it repeatedly points you back to the Father and the Savior, from whom all our help comes anyway.

This book forced me to take a good look at myself and reconsider things I thought I already understood, everything from insecurity to evangelism to prayer. It taught me a lot about my heart, sins I didn’t even realize I’d been hiding from or things I’d been telling myself weren’t a huge deal, but actually kind of are because, like she said in the book, all sin separates us from the Father. Honestly, reading this book reminded me of all the places I still fail—but it also reminded me of why there’s grace. :) It convicted me and convinced me not to stop trying, that I can start again right now, right where I am, and that Jesus will be there every second of the way to help me change.
When she said, “This changes everything,” she meant everything. This is real, deep, life-changing stuff and the book digs into it all—as it should, because, you know, it’s about the Gospel. And the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when applied, truly, deeply, and completely changes everything.
Review: 5 stars out of 5

So what have you been reading lately? Link me up to some of your reviews! Can’t wait to hear from you all and I will see you in the comment section!

Note: I voluntarily reviewed a free ecopy of this book.


So, remember my last post when I talked about maybe coming back in a week? Well… as we can all see that did not happen. :p As I mentioned ...

So Much For That…

So, remember my last post when I talked about maybe coming back in a week? Well… as we can all see that did not happen. :p As I mentioned in my Verbosity post, after all my quizzes were over, there was of course more school, plus it took a little while to hire someone for the position I was covering, plus I unexpectedly moved across the city. So yeah. Life didn’t exactly go as I planned.

But. Things are hopefully back on track at least for a little while, and I’ve got several posts planned that I am really excited about and I’m hoping to get them up sometime between now and the end of April. So fingers crossed for that. 

Until then, here is a taste of the music that has kept me sane lately (and also been a beautiful background to do schoolwork to). ;) Hope you enjoy!








So what'd you think? Which one of these was your favorite and had you heard any of them before? Also, random side note, my younger brother started watching LOST, and I’ve all of the sudden been thinking about it a lot lately. So has anyone else seen the show? What did you think and who was your favorite character? I feel like I need to discuss this to get it out of my head. :p

Thank you for sticking around, dears, and here’s to more posts coming soon!


Hey, everyone! Just popping in really quick to say that I have to take a very short blogging break. Hopefully, it’ll be short anyway. I jus...

Brief Blogging Break

Hey, everyone! Just popping in really quick to say that I have to take a very short blogging break. Hopefully, it’ll be short anyway. I just started college last week and I’ve already had three quizzes, so kinda adjusting to that after taking so much time off :p. Plus, the one other page at my library quit suddenly, so I have to take on some of his duties at work until we hire someone else. So with that and school, plus other duties and commitments colliding at the same time, I’m unfortunately just not going to be able to get up a post this week.

I hope to be able to return to blogging very soon, or at least be able to post sporadically as I have time, so it’s not really a hiatus (I might even be back next week). I just know that this week, I gotta take some time off to work and study. :p

Rest assured, I will make this break as quick as possible (because honestly, I don't even want to take it. :p ) and I can’t wait to get back to posting for all of you lovely people. Thanks for being awesome!

Let us all pretend that this post went up 24 hours ago, shall we? Thank. First things first, it’s been ages since I shared music and I’...

Posts of the Week: 1.7.17-1.14.17: MUSIC. Also, drawing, games, and important truth bombs

Let us all pretend that this post went up 24 hours ago, shall we? Thank.

First things first, it’s been ages since I shared music and I’ve been getting into a lot of different artists lately, so I thought I’d share a few with you.

First off, Pentatonix.


This is currently my favorite one for them, but basically everything I’ve ever heard them do has been absolutely phenomenal. If you happen to not know, Pentatonix is a completely acapella group, but because they’re ridiculously talented, they sound like a full band plus auto-tune sometimes. It’s amazing and I love them.

Next:


This isn’t a new song or a new song for me, but I really love it and I’ve listened to it a couple more times over the last couple of days. Listen. It’s very story-inspiring, beautiful melody, plus it’s got some really nice feels if you're looking for that.

And now, to the posts!

Let’s Play a Game: Is It Worth It by EpicReads. I happen to be on their email list and got this the other night. Me and my best friend played it and it is so much fun. With questions like “You get an advance copy of that book you've been wanting forever BUT an entire chapter is missing,” this quiz is definitely worth a go.

Darkness Isn’t Cool by Aimee. In which she drops some major truth and brilliant reminders. I mean, I love dark characters, I truly deeplydo because a few of them actually do need hugs. Also 2-by-4s upside the head. However, there is a clear line between right and wrong, and we have to continuously reevaluate our love these characters, so that we can make sure to never cross that line ourselves.

Almost 19 by Alicyn. As I’m approaching the end of my teen years, I’ve wanted to do this more. Stop. Sit. And enjoy being the age that I am. I actually don’t like the idea of growing up at all, but like she said, we can’t stop time’s advance and each age will hold something new. So remembering to take the time to stop and enjoy the moment we’re in right now is something super important and super special.

Using Drawing as a Character Exercise: Guest post by Victoria on GTW. Drawing characters is awesome. Do it. I don’t care how good or bad you think you are, just read her advice, because drawing charries can go way deeper than just having a basic visual reference (as she explains in the post), and then draw them.
Three Things Villains Can Learn from The Joker by Sam. So the post is nearly a year old. Read. It. I’m personally not a huge fan of The Dark Knight’s Joker, but you can garner writing ideas from almost anything, and these tips are especially top-notch.

***
And that is it for this week! Are you a fan of dark characters? Ever tried drawing your own before? What were some of your answers on the Is It Worth It quiz? Can’t wait to hear from you all, and I will see you in the comment section!

Link to Original Post 1. What Were Your Writing Accomplishments Last Year? Honestly, I didn’t do a ton of actual writing last year,...

Beautiful Books ~ 2017 Writing Goals: Editing Service, Final Drafts, and New Stories


1. What Were Your Writing Accomplishments Last Year?
Honestly, I didn’t do a ton of actual writing last year, but I did get to go to a couple of conferences and such based on a project I’d already written. For instance, I was a YoungArts merit winner, got two agents to request more work at the James River Conference (neither has taken it on, but it was still a step in the right direction), and I gained a lot of clarity on what I wanted to do next with my career as a writer. Also, I launched my editing service and got down the groundwork for a similar service I’m doing with a friend, where we specifically target young writers and projects that don’t fit well into any one genre, creating unique editing packages tailored to each project. :)

So yeah, I didn’t finish a lot of works, but I did finish a lot of work.

2. What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?
I plan to:
  1. Finish Low Expectations once and for all be in the process of either traditionally or self-publishing it.
  2. Restart work on The Supernatural Projects and finish the draft it’s currently on.
  3. Move forward with Becoming Brave(although TBH, I’m not sure where that one’s going yet. :p)

3. Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!
I’ve already mentioned all of the above WIPs at one point or another, so I won’t completely rehash all that; but here are some summaries as well as links to a few of my favorite posts featuring these stories if you happen to need a refresher. :)

After a humiliating Facebook post shreds the remains of his reputation, fourteen-year-old Elliot Sharpe gladly trades the drama at his current foster home for a temporary one across the city. His plan: stay at the new place long enough for everything at the old home to blow over, but not so long that anyone—particularly he—gets any crazy ideas about being a “forever family.” It’s not the easiest assignment of his life, but Elliot’s pretty confident he can manage... until life, and a little girl named Mileya, conspire to convince him that even the lowest of expectations can’t protect him from reality.

Two years ago, Aleiah’s best friend Jesse was Chosen for The Supernatural Projects, a government program to turn exceptional citizens into extraordinary soldiers. Now, a random lottery allows them to meet again for mere hours, yet a moment’s naivete might change their lives forever.

Jesse knows that Leiah meant well with her choice—he also knows they’d both be better off if she hadn’t tried so hard to do the right thing. Leiah understands the danger she’s put herself in—and she despises her own stupidity. But at the same time, when the backlash could mean Jesse’s return, she finds it difficult to truly regret her choice.

As hidden truths return to light, Jesse and Leigh must make their own choices: freedom or safety?

Family or country?

In a world where all disabled people are arrested, “upgraded,” and forced into military service, a boy with a bad hand runs to the mysterious Forest People to avoid discovery. Meanwhile, his brother Vil infiltrates the Officers, the government’s police force, to find a way to protect his brother from the inside

By the way, if BB’s and TSP’s storyworlds sound similar, they should: they exist in the same universe and they’re at war with each other, Arbitrium, BB’s world, and Ciencia, TSP’s, each recruiting citizens to fight the other. So we get to show the war from both sides, which is honestly pretty cool.

4. How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?
I need to get better at using setting in not-obvious-setting worlds—like Low Expectations, a contemporary—both mentioning it at all and also using it to create conflict in my stories. I don’t know that I’ll be creating Inkheart-gorgeous storyworlds by the end of 2017, at least in my contemporaries, but I do hope to be a lot better with it and be using it to the extent that those stories require to make them the best they can be.

As far as where I see myself, I’ll still be editing (hopefully making a lot more money doing it), and hey, maybe even published. *fingers crossed* Also, me and my editing friend have officially decided to build an editing empire. So there’s that.

5. Describe your general editing process.
For me, it’s a lot of reading through, figuring out macro edits, doing them, then reading through, figuring out micro edits, doing them, planning to do a polishing edit, and then FINDING A MAJOR PROBLEM THAT MUST BE FIXED, and so I’m back at the beginning to rinse and repeat as many times necessary. Which is normally like 96,000.

6. On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?
Still in the middle of two of them, but for LE: it’s an 8 or a 9 so far. Much, much better than I thought it was going to be.

TSP: ... It’s been a while so it needs a lot of work. I’mma leave it at that. :p

BB: 10. I am so thrilled with this thing. :D

7. What aspect of your draft needs the most work?
In LE, just general polishing and brushing up. There’ll be a few plot tweaks, but I’m on the final stretch this time, lol.

BB: not sure honestly. Because I and my co-writer think it’s pretty solid, but our betas also haven’t finished the book yet, so we don’t know for sure what we need to work on. So btw, if the summary above happens to interest you, let me know. We’d be thrilled to have another reader.

TSP: *distant mumbles of EVERYTHING* The real question is what needs the least work. And the answer would be character development, because I knew where I wanted that to go pretty early and already did most of my edits for that.

8. What do you like the most about your draft?
Characters for all of them. But as I’ve said before, they’re the main reason I read and the main reason I write. So... yeah. The children are basically always my favorite part.

However, I also really love the themes of LE (cuz I strongly relate on my own personal level), and the setting and plot of BB and TSP.

9. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
Dark hole would be most comfortable (for me, not the manuscripts), but like I said above, LE is being shoved into the spotlight sometime this year, BB is getting betas... and TSP will probably need another few rounds of edits before it’s ready to not burn out the eyes of other human beans. But I’m working on it. ;)

10. What’s your top piece of advice for those who just finished writing a first draft?
CONGRATULATIONS. According to every older writer I’ve ever heard, you are currently ahead of the majority of human beans who say they want to write a book. However, the easy part is over, and you are about to proceed into the jaws of exhilaration and despondency known as editing.

So, my advice?

Rest. Just rest. You can look up tips and stuff later. You can worry about your plot and writing later. You can question the strength of your character journey later. For now, rest and congratulate yourself—because until you hold your book in your hands it’s all downhill from here.

Okay, not completely, lol. There will be a lot of wonderful moments, I promise... but there will also be a lot of hard and heartbreaking ones. So seriously, for now, it’s time to just... chill. Remember this accomplishment, revel in it, and reward yourself for doing something this amazing. The 2nd draft can wait for the next of couple of weeks. :)

***
So everyone, tell me about your writing goals for this year! And if you did the linkup, be sure to put your posts in the comment, so I can visit yours later. Can’t wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section!

Hey, all, and welcome to 2017’s first edition of Posts of the Week! I was just thinking — literally just now as I’m typing this up—that it ...

Posts of the Week: 1.1.17-1.7.17: Loyalty, Illusions, Bookishness, and One Mad Tea Party

Hey, all, and welcome to 2017’s first edition of Posts of the Week! I was just thinkingliterally justnow as I’m typing this up—that it might be cool to put taglines in each POTW title to make them a easier to find later. So. As you can see above, there’s the first one. Let me know if you like. :)

On to the posts!

Tell Me a Story of Loyalty by Ophelia. I’d never thought about it in terms of loyalty specifically, but characters and their relationships are the biggest part of what I love in most stories. So yeah, like Ophelia, I think those themes are especially beautiful when written well.

Perceiving That Illusions Are Not Truths by Keturah. “Just because you are upside down, doesn’t mean the rest of the world is, too.” I love this so much. There are definitely times when perspective really matters and it makes all the difference (she mentions those too in the post, so be sure to read the whole thing), but there are also times when facts are facts, and absolute truth has to come in somewhere.

A Mad Tea Party by Skye. This photo shoot is absolutely fantastic. I love how she tied it in with that scene of the book, plus the costumes and makeup... it’s all just amazing.   

10 Things You Should Regularly Tell Bookworms by Cait. Obviously, all of these are hilariously accurate. But what I really need someone to say to me are the island one-happily listening for 62 hours. Though I might need longer depending on the book, so best clear your schedule for about a week.  

Why Do We Reread? by Shanti. As you all probably already know, I don’t reread often, but I like what Shanti has to say about it and, when I do reread, many of my reasons are the same: to revisit the character journey, to remember what the story was about in the first place, and/or to compare my thoughts with my past self’s. Also, because there were really awesome quotes and I need to find them. I’ve done that too.

The Top of 15 of 2016 by Heather. Because who ever has enough book recommendations to crush their never-ending TBR? Also, there is a book on this list that is apparently much like Tangled. I shall find it and read it ASAP.
***
And that is it for this week! What was one of your favorite books of 2016? (please don’t ask me, because I don’t know because I can’t remember specifics like that across that wide of a time-span and that’s the real reason why I write reviews). Are you a rereader, and do you too enjoy stories of loyalty? Tell me what you liked most about these posts, and I will see you in the comment section!

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