The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson [Book Review]

StormCrowIt has been two whole days since I finished the book and I still have so many feelings and am trying to gather my thoughts because this book was full of so many amazing things I don’t know where to begin! In this moment I’m happy for the ability to highlight and make notes on the Kindle App because I’m honestly going through everything I noted and highlighted hoping I can write a review that describes my love for this book.

The story itself blew me away and my dumb ass didn’t realize until I was nearing the end of the book that there is going to be a second book…I think…I hope… But anyways! I was drawn in with the first page and in that moment, I felt like I too was flying and oh, how I longed to after that. The craft and skill in which Kalyn Josephson wrote this book gave me no choice to be dragged into the story and get invested with it and these characters from the first sentence.

Thia is the main character of the story and as the POV character her voice was established and remained there the whole way. Very strong narration in which I  felt a very real connection with her and I saw a lot of myself in her in that she is feisty and quick to stand up for others even if she gets in trouble for it.

Now let me take a moment to address what I think is one of the most important things in this story. Depression. Yes, you read that right… Depression. Kalyn Josephson has done what so many have tried to do and has taken it and blown it out of the water! It’s safe to say that this is one of two FANTASY books/series in which I have seen an accurate portrayal of mental illness/depression. As someone with depression seeing this accurate portrayal and seeing Thia kick depression in the ass was so empowering to me because throughout the book you see this process on how it really is like living with a mental illness. Some days you feel like you can conquer the world and your mental illness but then others it’s a fight to simply get and stay out of bed and for this I APPLAUD the author because the way she portrayed this is so real and SO. SO important. Everything Thia felt I have felt too and it just felt so real.

Essentially this book was beyond amazing and went above and beyond what I thought and expected from it! (and I expected many great things)

 

**I was provided this book by Netgalley in exchange for my honest review! All thoughts and opinions are my own**

5stars

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Coral by Sara Ella [Book Review]

** I was given a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts/review**

Coral

This book was marked as a DNF at 30% of the book completed – Okay so the whole premise of this book had me beyond intrigued and once I started reading I was really disappointed! Which is sad because I wanted to like it but no matter what I just couldn’t connect with the characters and the situation. I found that from what I had read the writing came across as vague at points, I think the approach was to be that of sparking curiosity in the mysterious (an example being the ‘Red Tide’ which is introduced in the first chapter and not explained until the end (I looked ahead)) but it fell flat.

I do appreciate the author’s approach and intent with the theme of Mental Health discussions and representation in this piece and I feel that Sara Ella did a good job focusing on that in her story but there was just an emotional disconnect with the character’s in that regard which I REALLY didn’t want to happen.

2stars

 

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Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill [Book Review]

Hello Lovelies!

I have another book review for you today so lets get started!

WTL18I don’t even know where to begin with this review. I fell in love with it from page one. This book broke and repaired my heart only to then break it again moments late. It’s a beautiful and moving piece of fiction by Stephanie Morrill. I have to say that I simply adore how this book not only navigated a beautiful, precious and tedious relationship between an Italian-American girl and Japanese-American boy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. A time when racism and injustice against the Japanese living in America occurred. I just loved this story of Evalina and Taichi. Two young people in love in a time where it was illegal in most states for them to be married, a time where they were both at risk because of their relationship but still they pushed through.I was rooting for them the whole book! Just couldn’t put it down because I NEEDED to know what happened next .

Looking at the characters I loved Evalina’s heart and passion in this story. Her heart for the injustice inflicted on many people. Her heart for the one she loved and the passion she put into raising awareness for what was going on that so many people were blinded to. Seeing this passion and this heart in Evalina, I found that I related to her very much in that sense as I saw myself in her.

This book is an absolutely amazing piece of fiction you should not skip out on getting for yourself.

5stars

 

About Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie-Morrill-Low-Res-227x300Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. Since 2010, Stephanie has been encouraging the next generation of writers at her website, GoTeenWriters.com. She lives in the Kansas City area, where she loves plotting big and small adventures to enjoy with her husband and three children. You can connect with Stephanie and learn more about her books at StephanieMorrill.comInstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

 

My Bookstagram Tips + Tricks

I have had many Instagram messages asking me if I have a post like this…so here we are! I would like to say I have some magical formula on how I grew my bookstagram account (Books + Instagram = Bookstagram) but alas, I do not. And honestly my account isn’t all that large compared to some out there but one of the things I’m going to talk about is just working hard no matter the followers… but more on that later!

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Photo taken by me and can be found on my Instagram @TheLibrarianFiles

I really want to focus on the tips and tricks I’ve discovered and learned from other people to help other Bookstagrammer’s who are just getting started or looking for fun ways to switch up how you do things on your accounts!

So, First Things First!
As I’ve already said, ‘Bookstagram’ is simply Instagram Accounts dedicated to books and run by bookworms from all over the world! It’s such an amazing community to be a part of and is the sole reason my TBR (‘To Be Read’) List is spiralling out of control!

Now! On to some tips and tricks I’ve learned in no particular order…

 

1. You’ve gotta do it because you love what you do

This applies to anything in life. If you love what you do or, in this case, take photos of that should always be your main priority and I find that when I focus too much on likes and follows I lose my drive, passion, and excitement for what I do.

 

2. ENGAGE! ENGAGE! ENGAGE!

for me when following other accounts, whether they respond to comments left and are a decent human being honestly says a lot if I’m going to keep looking at a page and going back to it and following posts. So don’t be a petty human and think you are above everyone else. Just have fun with it! I promise bookstagram is an amazing place and you will definitely make some friends on the way. So just engage with people in your posts. A good way to do that is to put a question of the day in your caption that people can answer. Like ask people what their favourite book is, why they like a certain book/series, their favourite fandom merchandise. Even ask a favourite holiday or season. Cause bookstagrammer’s are people too 😛

 

3. Comment Loop Groups are your Best Friend

The IG algorithm SUCKS sometimes. It’s horrible. So comment loop groups are an awesome way to keep up with your friends and other bookstagrammer’s page by spreading the love to their posts and them to yours all while kicking the algorithm in the butt a little bit

 

4. Instagram Stories? 10/10 would recommend

Instagram stories is such a fun way to connect with your followers! You can film un-boxings of your orders, book hauls, every day life videos, ask questions/post polls, show off your amazing book/fandom merch, shoutout all your friends accounts and SO much more! It’s a fun and more personal way to connect and invite your followers into your real life a bit! ( Stories Tips: Use hashtags in your stories as well as your posts! People will find your stories more)

 

5. Create your own style. Do what you love!

This is your baby. Your thing! Be creative. Come up with a theme or general look if you want. For me, I started off using just a plain white background (I’ve recently switched to a wooden panelling background) and if you look, my photos are pretty simple. I use very few props and items but for some people, they use lots of props and items! For me, I find that, because I don’t currently have as much time as I would like in a week to take photos I go the more simple route so I can get photos taken but something that is practical for me is also what I love! Like, I have seen some photos where people have multiple books in their photos and multiple props and I love them but that just isn’t for me! So find out what your theme/style is and go for it! Experiment with it. But also don’t constrain yourself to one kind of photo.

Decided you don’t like the background you are using? Change it up! Be you!

Want to go from shelfie photos to flatlays? Go for it!

Only want to post photos using the same 5 books and nothing more? Go for it!

Remember, this is supposed to be fun! Don’t work yourself up and stress yourself out!

 

6. Hashtags!

So you might be sitting there thinking ‘Duh. Of course I would use hashtags’ but seriously. This is super important if you want to get your photos out there! There are some accounts on Instagram that have either feature hashtags or feature accounts! This is an awesome way to get your photos out there. Use that hashtag in every photo. You also want to make sure you find some hashtags that work for you. For me, I have created my own hashtag to track my photos using my username and then a second one with my username with the word ‘reads’ at the end. (e.g @thelibrarianfiles @thelibrarianfilesreads )

My advice for hashtags, is to make sure you use the same or similar hashtags for all your photos and then, on top of those hashtags, you add more based on the theme/book(s) featured in your photo! This sounds confusing but it’s not. Let me give you an example here using one of my posts as an example:

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So, my usual hashtags that I have found work for me, (you have to find what works for you! But feel free to swipe my technique 😛 ) are listed there in the caption, and then as you can see I added some hashtags based on the book features in the photo! It’s really just that simple. Just find what works for you (might take a few posts to find what works best for you) and go for it! But hashtags are super important if you want to get your photos out there.

 

And those are some of the tips and tricks I’ve discovered! Did I miss anything? Is there anything else you want more information on? Comment, Send me a message (through my contact page), or find me on social media! I love helping people pursue bookstagram and doing what they love!

Thanks for tuning in! If you liked this post and want to see more like this let me know!

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Girl Wash Your Face – Book Review

Hello Lovelies! I’ve got another book review for you and trust me, this is a book you do not want to pass up.

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion]

girlwashyourfaceI will admit that I was on the fence about this book. I had heard so many amazing things and nearly gotten a copy so many times and let me just say I will be purchasing my own physical copy of this book!

This book is AMAZING and something all women, both young and old, should read! Although it is more directed towards mothers and wives in some chapters, the takeaway can be for anyone. The way this book was written is for both married or single, old and young, as the chapters all have their own point. For example, I did start to read the chapters directed towards motherhood but found I just couldn’t relate so I skipped them but the nice thing about this book and some of the chapters is simply this: If it doesn’t apply to you it’s made in a way that you can either read it or just move on without missing crucial information or points!

Right from the start I knew this book was going to be amazing. How? Well I encountered a quote like this in the opening letter:

            “The truth? You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are. That’s the takeaway.”

I just love that! Getting right to the point before the book has officially started! The way Hollis has structured the book and the chapters is brilliant! I love the whole approach of ‘here is a struggle that I, and many other women, have but this is how to deal with it!’ and at the end of each chapter she provides ways that helped her or would have helped her in these moments in her life!

4stars

 

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Romanov by Nadine Brandes [ARC – Book Review]

romanovSummary:

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

My Review:

I realized that a part of forgiveness was accepting the things someone had done – and the pain that came with that – and moving on with love.” -Anastasia from Romanov

This book was AH-MAZING.

I’m someone who very rarely reads Historical Fiction aside from a few authors and Nadine Brandes is definitely now a part of this list. My issue with so many Historical Fiction books is that they often feel like I’m reading a history textbook, and this…this was NOT one of those books.

This story was crafted so beautifully, and the ending was beyond perfect. Throughout the whole story I was just in LOVE with the Romanov family. I loved their relationships and love for each other. I especially loved the relationship between Nastya and Alexei! It was beyond beautiful. And I love how the story focused more on the love and relationship between a family more than the love interest story line. I knew nothing about the real-life Romanov family going into this story and the whole time I was reading this book I was just rooting for them and my heart rejoiced and grieved with them and their situation over and over and over again. Their small moments of joy brought me joy and their moments of sadness broke me. I was so invested in this story of their amazing family. I love the strength and the voice Nadine brought to Nastya’s character. She was so easy to connect with and relate to. I love that despite everything Nastya and her family has been through, she is so strong and despite her pain and being faced with many difficult decisions she was never selfish. She always thought about her family and those around her.

Whether you read Historical Fiction on a regular basis or not I 100% recommend this book.

5stars

**NOTE: I was given this book (from NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review/opinion**

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One of those days

****** THIS IS AN OLD POST FROM MARCH 2018 AND IT WAS COMPLETE BUT I NEVER HIT PUBLISH FOR SOME REASON******

Today was one of those days where I was in an off mood and the LAST thing I wanted to do was attend Day of Prayer at school today… But I’m so glad I did (even though it  was mandatory and I didn’t have much choice)

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Day of prayer is something that occurs once per semester at my college and last semester I loved it. But this time I went into it with a pretty horrible attitude. I was mad because I had so much homework to do and a paper due the next day and the last thing I wanted to do was go sit in chapel all day.

Pretty horrible attitude am I right? But here I was CONVINCED it was going to be horrible and I was so stressed and angry that it’s actually quite embarrassing.

It was about halfway through the morning session and I was ANNOYED. I just wanted to get out of there and do homework but despite that I felt God tugging at my heart and so I, somewhat bitterly, picked up my journal and started to just write and vent my frustrations, telling God everything. The main one being that I was frustrated cause I felt like I didn’t have very many good friends around school or people that cared about me.  (not looking for sympathy I’m just saying it how it is. I was stressed and tired ) I was kind of bitterly just daring God to prove to me that I wasn’t alone.

You’d think by now I should have known better than to test or dare God because I find whenever I do that God kind of comes at me and proves me wrong. Sometimes I just picture Him with a smirk on His face kind of being like, “Did you really think I was just going to ignore you?” and today… well today was one of those moments.

Shortly upon finishing my prayer and journalling I had a friend come up to me and just hand me a note, say the words, “I just felt like I needed to give this to you.” and walked off after a moment or two of conversation. Shortly after this I had my boyfriend and a few other people I know bring me notes as well. Upon reading these notes, I found them to be ones of great encouragement and proving the opposite of how I was feeling. This was God proving to me that he has put people in my life to encourage me and be with me.

Just with this post I really want to encourage you to seek God. Go to God when you are happy or feeling fine but don’t forget to turn to him when you are angry, hurting or feeling lost. Because frankly, God never leaves you, even if you think He does. Or you think that He has forgotten about you. (And I know this isn’t easy as I struggle with this too but I hope you can find this whole thing encouraging in some way)

 

Finding Your Voice by Natalie Grant [Book Review]

**I was given this book on behalf of zondervan/booklook bloggers for my honest opinion.**

27840588.jpgIn a culture that praises blending in over standing out, productivity over purpose, and noise over truth, many women find their God-given voice compromised, quieted, or even mocked. We all long to live out our divinely designed passions and unique talents, yet too often it becomes so much easier in the face of opposition to stay silent altogether. What if God is calling you to so much more?

As a working mom, wife, artist, and abolitionist, Natalie Grant has struggled to live on purpose while battling the worldly demands of keeping up the appearance of perfection. Emerging from her own dark spiral of suffocating inadequacy, Natalie found fresh hope in the truth that God has already given women everything they need to live out their God-given identity, passions, and calling. Finding Your Voice offers the heart-rallying, life-giving truth that a woman’s voice is not an uncalled for interference to be silenced, but a gift to be used for God’s Kingdom purposes. In voice lessons as in life, a strong vocal identity requires us to first stand firm, breath deep, and finally, go for it—loud and clear.

With rich scriptural study and personal stories infusing every chapter, Finding Your Voice reveals how to discover your own unique talent, train it according to God’s Word, and start using it for the good of others—without guilt and apology.

 

I finally had the time recently to sit down and read this book and I was blown away by it. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it but found it to be so encouraging. This book really helped me focus on who God has made me to be and that I’m perfect the way I am because God created me. I really loved the fact that she shared her personal struggles throughout the book as well and backing up her personal stories, struggles, and statement with scripture. Natalie Grant being open and vulnerable and sharing her heart was something I really felt through the pages of this book and really helped it hit home for me as well. This book was also one that made me look at my current situation and ask myself questions. Questions about how I’m living my life and If I’m truly following God’s will and plan for my life.

No matter where you are in your walk with God I highly recommend reading this book as I feel that it contains something for everyone.

Rating: 5 Stars

Open the Eyes of My Heart

So recently I did a ‘How to’ post on how to survive a modular course in college, but today I wanted to talk about a more serious side of my Modular course where my eyes were really opened to God’s work in my life. This really impacted me when my eyes were opened to an absence in my life.

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So the week of February 28th/March I took a modular course called Hebrew Poetry and Wisdom and through it, God opened my mind and my heart to the realization that I didn’t and don’t know as much of the bible as I thought.

That hit me HARD.

I mean, in the first place, I’ve never really been someone who has boasted on their knowledge of the Bible and perfect relationship with God but I definitely thought I knew more than I did.

This course I took went over Old Testament Hebrew Poetry and Wisdom Literature (hence the name.) which were the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Solomon. Taking this course made me realize how little I knew in general but out of the five books of the Bible we looked at I have only for sure, as far as my memory serves me, read ONE of them to completion.

ONE. 

Up until coming to school I realized how much of the Bible had gone unread by myself. Even now there is still so much of the Old Testament I haven’t read and even more of the New.

With this realization I was left shocked. I, someone who grew up in a christian home and attending church regularly thought I knew all there is to know about God and the Bible but I was proved wrong.

Put in my place.
Hit in the face by my own lack of knowledge – my own ignorance to this fact.

From there I realized how much I’ve been missing these hints from God that I need to be spending more time with Him and in His word. That being at Bible College is going to teach me things bit if I don’t know God and what His word says, then what is the point?

I strongly encourage you to sit back and take time with God. Talk to Him. Ask Him to reveal to you what you know or don’t know. Grow in Him. Grow in His word. Run to Him with arms wide open and dive into His love -gain knowledge and understanding in Him.  It’s not always going to be easy and there may be days where it’s not going to be easy or you won’t want to take that time in your schedule to dive in God’s word (trust me, I know. I get that sometimes) but in the end I assure you it will be SO rewarding.

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Dear Body, I’m sorry

Dear Body,

I’m sorry for the way I treated you.

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I’m sorry that I hate you, that I blame you for the reason I hate myself. Why I can’t look at you in the mirror. I’m sorry for blaming you for my pain.

It’s not your fault, because for almost 21 years you’ve kept me going and kept me moving. Yes, sometimes I’m in pain and I don’t love you the way I should but it’s not your fault. You are doing what you do best. What you were designed and created to do and I have not been treating you kindly.

From here on out I’m going to try my best. I’m going to take care of you this time. This year is going to be a learning curve for me but I’m not going to treat you the way I have anymore…. Why?

Well, because you are beautiful, you keep me living, moving, and breathing.

You were designed perfectly and I’ve neglected you.

No longer am I going to look on you as my worst enemy when I look in the mirror.

I’m not going to shed tears anymore because I hate you… because I don’t.

I love you.

 

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