Review: Everybody, Always by Bob Goff

36289256Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff
Published April 17th 2018

What happens when we give away love like we’re made of it? 

In his entertaining and inspiring follow-up to the New York Times bestselling phenomenon Love Does, Bob Goff takes readers on a journey into the secret of living without fear, constraint, or worry. The path toward the liberated existence we all long for is found in a truth as simple to say as it is hard to do: love people, even the difficult ones, without distinction and without limits.

Driven by Bob’s trademark storytelling, Everybody, Alwaysreveals the lessons Bob learned–often the hard way–about what it means to love without inhibition, insecurity, or restriction. From finding the right friends to discovering the upside of failure, Everybody, Always points the way to embodying love by doing the unexpected, the intimidating, the seemingly impossible. Whether losing his shoes while skydiving solo or befriending a Ugandan witch doctor, Bob steps into life with a no-limits embrace of others that is as infectious as it is extraordinarily ordinary. Everybody, Always reveals how we can do the same.

untitled1

I’ve been searching for around for new Christian books to read and I’ve seen Everybody, Always around a lot and so many people have high praise for it so I knew it had to go at the top on my TBR.

I really liked this book but there was a few things here and there that weren’t my favorite.
I did, of course, love the message of the book. Mr. Goff used each personal story as a lead up for how to become love and really express it, which I really liked. I really enjoyed hearing about his life stories and he’s had some very unique ones.
Sometimes I did feel like the stories weren’t very organized and that the book was more of a memoir, which I didn’t mind but it also wasn’t that I expected when I started reading.
I thought it was interesting how casually Mr. Goff mentioned how upper class his life and activities were through out the book. It’s not something I, or many people, can relate to so I felt a pretty big disconnect. I wasn’t really sure if Mr. Goff really noticed how most of the things he mentions are very privileged. Perhaps it’s just the mild disorganized manner of the stories that unintentionally paints that picture but I’m really not sure.

And I also feel the thing that bothered me the most, was something he mentioned towards the very end of the book. He mentioned how he told witch doctors from Uganda to not kidnap children or he’ll kill them. I was so startled by that and honestly, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. It felt extremely out of place from the message of the book.
I’m obviously not saying it’s okay for those witch doctors to kidnap children but saying “don’t make me kill you” is a very bold statement.

Other than a few things, I did really enjoy the book and I think the message is so important. I definitely took away from very meaningful things and I would recommend checking this book out. I listened to it on audiobook with Mr. Goff narrating and I really loved it so if you get chance to listen to the audiobook, I definitely recommend it.

22465605

 

Review : Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

 Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson
Published : October 10, 2017

Leah Westfall, her fiancé Jefferson, and her friends have become rich in the California Territory, thanks to Lee’s magical ability to sense precious gold. But their fortune has made them a target, and when a dangerous billionaire sets out to destroy them, Lee and her friends decide they’ve had enough—they will fight back with all their power and talents. Lee’s magic is continuing to strengthen and grow, but someone is on to her—someone who might have a bit of magic herself. The stakes are higher than ever as Lee and her friends hatch a daring scheme that could alter the California landscape forever. With a distinctive young heroine and a unique interpretation of American history, Into the Bright Unknown strikes a rich vein of romance, magic, and adventure, bringing the Gold Seer Trilogy to its epic conclusion. Includes a map and an author’s note.


OH MY GOODNESS. This was such an entertaining and captivating read. I don’t know how I got sucked into the series because it’s not really in my wheelhouse, but I’m so glad I took a chance on it. This last book was AH.MAZE.ING. This book was like a western Ocean’s Eleven. It was so awesome and kept me so engaged and so invested in the story.

There were so many twists and turns and the end conclusion to all of it was just so satisfactory it was so great. I don’t think I’ve read a book by Rae Carson that I didn’t enjoy.  I think this might be my favorite series by her. She closed everything up SO NICELY and in such an entertaining way. I also love the use of another person with abilities, although I was hoping the series would continue so we could see the possibilities and origin of how people get their abilities etc. But it’s all good, I still got three really great books from this series.

Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

32895291The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

 Publication: July 25th 2017 

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel.

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

untitled1

ARC of this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is my favorite book from Ruth Ware so far. I loved The Lying Game so much more than The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood.
I loved the plot, the writing, and the pace of The Lying Game so much.
I thought the plot was the most original of Ruth’s books and it really stood out to me. The writing in The Lying Game is fantastic. The pace is a slow burn (if you’re into fast paced thrillers, this one probably isn’t for you) but I was very entertained and it kept me reading on to find out what was going to happen.
Even though I didn’t love the characters, I liked them so much more than the characters in Ruth’s other books. I thought they were more relatable and complex.
I was expecting a bigger end to this book. I was hoping it would really pick up the pace and have a big boom for an ending but it didn’t.
The Lying Game was kind of predictable but for me, it was more about reading how everything would unfold.
Overall, this is my favorite book from Ruth Ware and if you’re wanting a fun mystery/thriller, The Lying Game is a book you’ll want to check out.

23266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

25752041Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Expected publication: June 6th 2017

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey…

untitled1

Royal Bastards was one of my most anticipated books of 2017. I was super excited to start it but it took me forever and a half to finish it. This book is such a roller coaster. I liked it and then I didn’t think I could finish it, it was such a back and forth battle. But even though I have my problems with this book, it got me emotionally invested in the plot and the characters.
My biggest problem with this book is the characters. Two of the main characters, Tilla and Miles, annoyed me so much. Miles was such a boring character to me and Tilla was just really mean at times. She was so unsympathetic a few times toward Lyriana and it really bothered me. I’m not going to go into detail because I won’t give out spoilers but she was kind of mean with her thoughts. She caught herself and changed her thinking, which I appreciated, but I still thought it was really mean of her.
I did like Lyriana, Jax, and Zell though. I also really appreciated how Lyriana was so explicitly described of being a POC. There’s not a lot of POC in YA fantasy and Lyriana is much needed. (I don’t remember for sure if any of the other characters are described as POC but it’s likely that they’re described and I just don’t remember because I already pictured everyone as POC and skipped over their description)
I did like the writing style but the dialogue was oddly modern at times and it threw me off. Maybe I’m just being overly critical but it was just the little things in this book that bothered me.
I loved the concept and plot so much. If I didn’t find Tilla and Miles to be so annoying, I would have had a blast reading this book.
One thing that really surprised me was how unexpectedly violent this book was. I don’t really have a problem with it but if you’re sensitive bloody fight scenes, you might want to pass on this book or just skip through those parts.
Overall, even though I’m not head over heels for this book like I thought I was going to be, I loved the concept, plot, and three of the characters. This book did keep me engaged and I was emotionally invested. If you’re a critical reader like me, this book might not be for you, especially if you expect a lot from fantasy books. I do think it’s worth the chance though. Just don’t have super high expectations like I did.

23266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

Blog Tour: Once and for All by Sarah Dessen + Giveaway

unnamed (2)

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

unnamed

Published June 6th 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

untitled1

Review

I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This was my forth Sarah Dessen book and they’re so addicting and fun. Dessen books have become my new favorite way to get out of reading slumps.

I, for some unknown reason, had absurdly high expectations for Once and for All. I don’t know if it was the cute colors of the cover or the synopsis was calling to me but I went into this book expecting a lot. And it actually delivered for the most part. I’m very impressed that a book that I had high hopes for wasn’t a complete fail.
I thought the plot of this book was extremely fun and I can definitely see myself rereading Once and for All. I loved all the weddings so much. It was really different from other books I’ve read and I appreciated that a lot.
I also really liked the characters. I loved the dynamics between Louna and Ambrose. The dialogue between them was awesome and I really fell in love with both characters.
I loved how realistic Louna and Ambrose’s relationship was. There wasn’t any insta-love, which I’m not a fan of, so that was a big plus for me.
The only thing I’m not really into is how even though Louna and her mom are described as having olive skin tones early on in the book, that doesn’t seem to be reflected on the cover of the book. I wish there had been a more accurate and representative model on the cover.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it’s definitely one of my favorite books from Sarah (tied with Just Listen for my favorite). I loved Louna and Ambrose so much and I’m still laughing over some of the things Ambrose said. If you want a fun YA contemporary, I definitely recommend Once and for All.

23266647232666472326664723266647halfstar-e1424616015397

Purchase Once and For All:

PRH Website: http://bit.ly/2rVGWW4

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rAG1h

B&N: http://bit.ly/2qXPyfG

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of Once and for All by Sarah Dessen (ARV: $19.99 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 29, 2017 and 12:00 AM on June 26, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 30, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law

 

dessen-tour-aSset-1.jpg

Once and For All Tour

 

 

About the author

unnamed (1)

Sarah Dessen is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels for teens, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews, and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association. Sarah lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine. Visit her online at sarahdessen.com.

 

 

22465605

 

 

 

Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

25986827Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Published November 4th 2014

milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

 

 

untitled1

 

I don’t really read poetry but I enjoyed Milk and Honey a lot. It wasn’t as amazing as I expected because of all the hype I’ve seen around it but it was still really good. There’s a pretty wide range of topics in this book and I think there’s a little something for everyone to relate to.
Rupi Kaur is an incredible writer and I’ll definitely be picking up any books she publishes in the future.

23266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

 

 

 

Review: Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen

32148009Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen

Published May 16th 2017

A beautifully written food memoir chronicling one cook’s journey from her rural Midwestern hometown to the intoxicating world of New York City fine dining and back again in search of her culinary roots.

Before Amy Thielen frantically plated rings of truffled potatoes in some of New York City s finest kitchens for chefs David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten she grew up in a northern Minnesota town home to the nation s largest French fry factory, the headwaters of the fast food nation, with a mother whose generous cooking pulsed with joy, family drama, and an overabundance of butter.

Inspired by her grandmother s tales of cooking on the family farm, Thielen moves with her artist husband to the rustic, off-the-grid cabin he built in the woods. There, standing at the stove three times a day, she finds the seed of a growing food obsession that leads to the sensory madhouse of New York s top haute cuisine brigades. When she goes home, she comes face to face with her past, and a curious truth: that beneath every foie gras sauce lies a rural foundation of potatoes and onions, and that taste memory is the most important ingredient of all.

Amy Thielen’s coming-of-age account brims with energy, a cook s eye for intimate detail, and a dose of dry Midwestern humor. Give a Girl a Knife offers a fresh, vivid view into New York s high-end restaurant before returning Thielen to her roots, where she realizes that the marrow running through her bones is not demi-glace, but gravy honest, thick with nostalgia, and hard to resist.”

untitled1

A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher

Give a Girl a Knife is probably one of the most surprisingly entertaining books I’ve ever read.
I was super curious about this book when I started it and I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much that I would read it in one sitting.
I loved how well written this book was and Amy was able to give a lot of great insight to restaurant kitchens. I actually learned a lot and learning new things is always something I’m looking for in non-fiction book. I also really appreciated how Amy talked about her experiences a women in a male dominated field.
As a fellow Midwesterner, I was able to relate to Amy a lot and I wasn’t expecting that. I really loved how Amy mixed her Midwest roots with her culinary skills.
I thought reading about Amy’s approach to food and how she builds her dishes was really fascinating and again, I learned a lot.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it has become an unexpected favorite of mine. It’s very well written and educational in the most entertaining way. If you’re looking for an awesome non-fiction read, I’d recommend grabbing a copy of Give a Girl A Knife.

23266647232666472326664723266647
22465605

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

28458598When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Published May 30th 2017

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

untitled1

Advanced Reader Copy was sent to me by the publisher

This book was so cute and I really enjoyed it. It gave me Kasie West vibes and was perfectly diverse.

I really loved the plot and how Dimple was so driven by her passion. She was very goal oriented, something I don’t see that often in contemporary books. I did really like Rishi as well but I didn’t quite connect to him like I did Dimple. I kind of wished Dimple was a little more open to her fellow girls. I felt like there was some (very slight) girl hate through out the book and I wish there would have been more uplifting and empowering girl friendships.
I also really loved how When Dimple Met Rishi was full of Indian culture and how organically it was incorporated into the story.

Overall, When Dimple Met Rishi was a really great, fluffy YA contemporary. I loved the plot and the writing was awesome. If you’re looking for a cute summer read, you’ll want to pick this book up.

23266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

23308087Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Published May 16th 2017

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

untitled1

I was sent an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Flame in the Mist is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It was so original, well written, and I really liked the main character.
It was a little slow at times and I was kind of confused at first but once I got into the plot and understood what was going on, I really liked it. It was very difficult for me to keep track of the characters. A lot of the characters had nicknames and titles and it was all thrown around at the same time. I feel like I would have to read this book a second time to really understand who was who. However, I haven’t really seen anyone else have this issue so maybe it was just me.
The main character, Mariko, was such a badass and I felt like she could totally have her own action movie. She did come across as spoiled at times, which was kind of annoying, but it was definitely because of her upbringing and it made sense.
My favorite things about Flame in the Mist was the plot and setting. The plot was so engaging and captivating. I really liked the Mulan-like elements. I don’t know if this was meant to be a retelling but it definitely felt like one.
The setting was absolutely amazing. The Japanese culture paired with the writing style was a match made in heaven. I loved how much detail there was on Japanese culture from the food to the traditions. Renee’s descriptions of things painted a beautiful picture and I loved it so much.
I haven’t read Renee’s other books so I can’t compared Flame in the Mist to The Wrath and the Dawn but I’ll definitely be picking up TWATD very soon.

Overall, Flame in the Mist is one of my favorite books of 2017 and I definitely recommend it. The writing style, setting, and diversity was amazing and I can’t wait for the next book in Mariko’s story.

23266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

 

Review: Put Your Warrior Boots On by Lisa Whittle

34237126Put Your Warrior Boots On: Walking Jesus Strong, Once and for All by Lisa Whittle

Published April 1st 2017

You Can Be a Spiritual Warrior.

Does it feel like the world has gone crazy and you’re just along for the ride? From bombings to bullying, the world has us on pins and needles–afraid for our children, fearful for ourselves, worried that we won’t have enough strength to stand our ground. But you don’t have to start brave to stay strong. Inspirational author and speaker Lisa Whittle wants you to experience the joy and release of trusting in your Savior to help you live a God-ignited life. Find the tools you need to… confirm Truth and keep anti-biblical messages from misleading you develop passion for defending your beliefs without letting personal pride interfere outfit your days to support your faith so your dedication doesn’t fizzle

There’s no better time than this moment to put on your warrior boots and discover the fearless life you’ve been called to live.

untitled1

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book but I actually really liked it.
I found it to be super helpful and I loved how it’s geared towards women with busy lives.
The author talks a lot about how when it comes down to it, praying is what will help more than anything else and I definitely needed that reminder.
I loved the questions at the end of each chapter and I think Put Your Warrior Boots On would make a great book for a women’s Bible study or just discussion with friends.

23266647232666472326664723266647

22465605