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

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Unwritten Melody Blog Tour

Hello  lovelies!

Today I’m excited to share in this blog tour and tell you all about a lovely new book. ❤

 

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Does breaking free require breaking the rules?

Cassie Gilbert lives every day in the shadows of her deceased mom’s rebellion. But now that she’s seventeen, she finds herself longing to break away from her grandmother’s suffocating rules, experience what it’s like to be a regular teenager, and fulfill her songwriting dreams.

James Russo, former American Spotlight contestant, escapes to small town Willow Creek, SC hoping to flee from his tarnished past. When a school project pairs him with the shy principal’s granddaughter, he’s determined to get to know this Emily-Dickinson-obsessed and typewriter-using girl. His plan? Convince Cassie to co-write songs for his demo album.

As Cassie gets to know James over “project meetings” (more like opportunities to match her lyrics with his melodies), she becomes intrigued by his sense of adventure and contagious passion for music. But soon, his past becomes exposed. Cassie’s left to wonder—did she make the same mistake Mom did by falling for the bad boy?

Then, Grandma’s control pushes her over the edge. Cassie must choose between remaining in the chains of yesterday, or delving into her own freedom by completing the melody her mom left behind.

 

Book Links:

 

 

 

 Excerpt unwritten-melody-quote8-2

 

© “Unwritten Melody” Excerpt – Written by Tessa Emily Hall – Published by Clean Reads

 

“Why are you staring at the keyboard like that?”

“Like what?” James’s question lurches me back into the present moment, out of the thoughts that had me buried as he played our song for the second time.

A broad smile expands across his face. He rests an elbow on the keyboard and tilts his head. “Like it’s a cheeseburger and you’ve gone days without food. Like it’s a positive magnet and you’re the negative. Like—”

I laugh. “Alright, I get it.” My smile fades, though, because how could he tell? When James brought the song to a close, I couldn’t tear my gaze away from the keys. It’s mesmerizing, how the dance of his fingers can breathe life into a melody.

“Let me guess—you wanna play?”

I plop my head against the back of the leather chair and fight the so-called magnetic attraction. “I can’t.”

He shifts on the bench and turns toward me. “What do you mean, you can’t?”

“Just another one of Grandma’s absurd rules.” I tell James about the white baby grand piano at our house—how he was the first to play actual music on it since Mom passed. How, for my entire life, the piano has served as a constant reminder that my dreams were not within reach. “Any time I’ve asked permission to take piano lessons, Grandma’s refused.”

But I’ve always wondered what would happen if I could play. If I were allowed, would I pour my emotions, longings, and thoughts into music, just like Mom did? Would I be a natural, if I learned how to play?

I often wondered if Mom’s legacy could, somehow—through the mysterious power of music—live on through me. And if the melody she’d begun on the music sheet could find its completion through me.

“Come on.” James scoots to the edge of the bench and pats the space beside him. “Let me at least teach you the chorus to The Other Side of the Road. It’s simple.”

That magnetic attraction he referred to? It’s doubled in size. And for the first time, someone—a famous musician—is offering to teach me a chorus on the piano.

My feet plant themselves onto the ground, but it takes an extra dose of effort to stand. Not because I don’t want to, but because Grandma’s voice booms in the back of my mind, all the times she’s forbidden me from going near our piano.

The floorboards squeak as I shuffle across the worn rug then lower myself onto the bench next to James. I’m not sure what’s more terrifying—sitting so close to James Russo, or finally being taught to play piano.

But my hands stay glued to my lap. It’s as though the keys are alcohol, and if I take a sip, I’ll become drunk on its melody; my fingertips will be stained with the music notes, and I’ll come home reeking with its fragrance.

James’s azure eyes stare down at me, inches from my face. “Follow my lead.” His fingers curl around my hands, and with the gentlest touch, he places them on the keys. His left arm wraps behind my back, over my shoulder, until his hand is clasped on top of mine.

My heart flutters at our closeness, at the way his presence is a warm shield from the brisk air in this music room. I inhale a deep breath, almost intoxicated from his overpowering cologne and the fresh-out-of-the-wash scent of his sweater. And during the brief moment of him aligning my fingers along the keys, nerves mount, causing my chest to constrict. Who knows how many rules of Grandma’s I’m breaking right now?

But when he places his fingers onto mine causing me to strike the first note, a soothing peace washes over me and calms my nerves. I feel myself relax as he guides me through the brief chorus.

“It’s only two chords.” James’s voice sounds deeper than usual, his breath tickling my cheek. “But it’s the same for the entire chorus.”

I don’t even know what he means by that. All I know is I’ve tasted this indulgence, and there’s no way I can resist the magnetic pull from this moment forward.

 

 

Giveaway

unwritten-melody-quote7-2Enter for your chance to win the Unwritten Melody Prize Pack! Two winners will be selected and announced on Tessa’s blog the final day of tour (Friday, December 9th) and will be notified via email.

 

 

 

 

This prize pack includes…

  • E-copy of Unwritten Melody
  • Signed paperback copy of Purple Moon
  • Unwritten Melody mug, filled with goodies
  • Unwritten Melody swag, including a bookmark, pen, and poster
  • Starbucks mocha flavored instant coffee
  • Free Unwritten Melody: Page-By-Page Secrets PDF
  • Handmade journal
  • Typewritten thank you note

 

*This giveaway is open to the US only 

 

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About Tessa

 tessa-emily-hall_headshot1-2Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show others they’re not alone—and because she remembers the teen life like it was yesterday (or a few years ago). The debut novel she wrote at 16-years-old, PURPLE MOON (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a Selah 2014 Finalist. Her second novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, releases with Clean Reads November 2016. She’s the Founder of PursueMagazine.net, a magazine that inspires teens to embrace their calling. Tessa also enjoys helping writers achieve their dreams through her internship at Hartline Literary Agency.

 

When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, Tessa can be found making healthy homemade lattes, speaking to teens, decorating her insulin pump, and acting in Christian films. She writes in a small town nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southeastern coast. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website.

 

 Connect With Tessa

 

 

Blog Tour Schedule

 

Don’t miss the next blog tour stop! Be sure to visit the following blogs on its designated tour date. You can also email tessaemilyhall (at) gmail (dot) com and request to receive the Blog Tour Packet. At the end of the tour, Tessa will send you the downloadable PDF that will contain all of the content from each blog tour stop.

 

Tues., November 1 – Christ is Write

Wed., November 2 – Adriana Gabrielle Writes

Thurs., November 3 – The Depth of My Faith

Fri., November 4 – Sarah Ruut

Mon., November 7 – God is Love

Tues., November 8 – The Bibliophile Angel

Wed., November 9 – Emily Rachelle Writes

Thurs, November 10 – Word Changers For His Glory

Fri., November 11 – Christian Teen Book Reviews

Mon., November 14 – Phyllis Still

Tues., November 15 – In The Bookcase

Wed., November 16 – Girl Meets Publishing World

Thurs., November 17 – Anna Schaeffer

Fri., November 18 – Ramblings of a Writer

Mon., November 21 – Naomi and Books

Tues., November 22 – Reading is My Superpower

Wed., November 23 – Zerina Blossom’s Books

Thurs., November 24 – Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Fri., November 25 – Labor Not in Vain

Mon., November 28 – Barbara Bruitt

Tues., November 29 – Katy Kauffman

Wed., November 30 – Jen Pheobus

Thurs., December 1 – Northern Belle Meg

Fri., December 2 – 2Me From Him

Mon., December 5 – Nicole Quigley

Tues., December 6 – The Destiny of One

Wed., December 7 – Catherine Castle

Thurs., December 8 – Rachelle Rea Cobb

Fri., December 9 – Leslie L. Mckee

Jesus Called. He Wants His Church Back (Book Review)

I was recently given a copy of Jesus Called: He Wants His Church Back by Ray Johnston to review from Book Look Bloggers.

 

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As early as AD 50, Christians had gotten away from knowing who Jesus really is. Our generation is no different.

In every decade we, as Americans, lost something important that we couldn’t afford to lose: • In the 1950s, we lost innocence • In the 1960s, we lost respect for authority • In the 1970s, we lost love • In the 1980s, we lost values • In the 1990s, we lost faith • In the 2000s, we lost security • In the 2010s, we lost hope in the future

What can restore what we’ve lost? Only Jesus. Jesus gave us His name, His friendship, and a commission to accept responsibility for ourselves and for the world. When introduced to His words and ways we’ll rediscover the Jesus who:

• Wants His enemies won over, not wiped out • Wants you to stop playing it safe • Believed great things were possible no matter what things are like right now • Was full of grace and truth • Unleashed compassion • Believed no one was too far from God to return to Him • Came to seek and to save that which was lost • Loves the church

Pastor Ray Johnston shares the Jesus of the Bible and how we can be Christians without being jerks. He reveals how the radical message of the gospel calls us to love and serve not only our neighbors but our enemies as well. That’s the Jesus the American Church has missed and needs to meet.

Jesus’ mission is clear—risk everything in order to take care of people, starting in our home, neighborhoods, cities, and those in need around the world. That’s the Jesus the American Church has missed and needs to meet.

 

My Thoughts

I wasn’t entirely sure what this book would entail and I’m still not sure what to make of it. The book wasn’t bad! Just not what I was expecting. I’m unsure if maybe it;s the fact I’m still getting used to reading more non-fiction or what. I’m starting to ease myself into non-fiction books so sometimes I don’t know what to expect. Aside from that fact I quite enjoyed the book. Though for a non-fiction this one was very factual. In this novel the writer discusses how, since the 50’s, the church and Christianity has changed.  The one thing that jumped out to me was the following statement by the author:

  • In the 1950s, we lost innocence.
  • In the 1960s, we lost respect for authority.
  • In the 1970s, we lost love.
  • In the 1980s, we lost values.
  • In the 1990s, we lost faith.
  • In the 2000s, we lost security.
  • In the 2010s, we lost hope in the future.

This was definitely a good read with facts on the church and how it has fallen from God in some senses then this is definitely a good read

 

 

Upcoming….

So life has been insane…but here is whats coming up.

 

A photo by Tim Arterbury. unsplash.com/photos/VkwRmha1_tI

So long story short, my computer bit the dust. ( *weeps* ) its why I haven’t been blogging as of late because work has been crazy, my boyfriend was visiting AND I haven’t had the chance to get to the library long enough to actually write up a blog post or two…BUT here I am. At the library writing away and I’m popping in to tell you whats coming up.

 

  1. Sometime in this next week I have a blog hop post for Author Jennifer Murgia and her spooky novels! (Just in time for halloween!) – long story short it was supposed to be done today but see reasons above relating to my computer and now I have no graphics for the post either 😦

2. November 2nd – Unwritten Melody by Tessa Emily Hall Blog Tour

3. Early November (No set date yet) – I’m REALLY excited to bring a music review of a family friends newly released album. Just need some time to listen to the album and write up a post

4. More life posts! 

Unashamed by Lecrae

Back with another book review! Wooh! Look at me go. I am on a roll!!   *cough cough* ANYWAYS. Today I’m gonna be reviewing ‘Unashamed’ by Lecrae…and for those of you who don’t know. Lecrae is a rapper/songwriter and honestly … Continue reading

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Hey look at that! I FINALLY have a book review on here again. I just read this book this weekend and have been reading through it this month with Briana Morgan and I just finished it this weekend! I had … Continue reading

Man, Myth, Messiah

Hello Readers!

Iiiiiii am back with another book review for you! Today I’m going to be reviewing one of the books I received from BookLook Bloggers and that book is called ‘Man, Myth, Messiah’ by Rice Broocks

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: I first heard of Man, Myth, Messiah in the movie God’s Not Dead 2 and I was instantly intrigued as to what it was about. So I was quite excited to have been able to read this as a review copy. “Man, Myth, Messiah” is a great book that shows you how and talks about defending your own faith and what you believe about God. As well, the book explores the proof behind who Christ is, why Christians believe in him and it backs it up, with proof, from not only scripture but also proof from history. I found it both shocking and amazing how many other sources, aside from scripture, pointed to proof that Christ exists. I mean I myself know that everything in creation points to Christ but even sources that were supposed to lead away from any proof of Christ’s existence still pointed to him anyways.

I would encourage everyone to read this book. Especially if you have questions about who Christ really is and are maybe on the fence about if He exists or not. It is an intrersting and intriquing read and if you are someone who likes books with a lot of facts and helpful information you can use in your everyday life, this is definitely a book to check out!

Book Review – The Sound of Emeralds

Hello Readers!

I’m back with another book review! It might be the last one for a couple weeks cause I won’t have much reading time but I promise I’m working through like 3 books right now…

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So, with that said. Lets get on to this review!

Sound of Emeralds

 

What once was blazing hatred has turned to lasting love, but could the union of a wild heart with that of a lady ever result in more than heartache?

With the help of an old friend with uncertain loyalties, Dirk inches ever closer to clearing his name. Gwyneth throws her faith into good tidings and the promise of a future as a family. But an old evil comes to call, just as tragedy rips apart a fledgling truce. Enemies from the past and grief for the future threaten to tear asunder what God had brought together…

As the date of Dirk’s trial approaches, his fate and his family hang in the balance. Will he be proven innocent of Gwyneth’s parents’ murders—or separated from her forever? How much pain does it take to erode a love steadfast?

 

So basically this book broke my heart, then broke it again…..then broke it AGAIN.

Rachelle has this wonderful way of making you feel the pain and emotions these characters feel even though you may never have felt it before. She just gives this insight that radiates off the characters that you can’t help but sympathize for them and feel their pain and sorrow…or even their joy and happiness too! I just LOVE how Rachelle’s stories are just so true and filled with love and a true picture of what that really is. Especially during hard times and grief. (as this novel captures perfectly.) Honestly, the story was fabulous but what I keep going back to was the emotion and the accurate portrayal of true love and what it actually is. I feel like most novels can twist the idea of love into some almost – impossible, once in a lifetime thing and if you miss it, well too bad. Not to mention love and relationships where two people are in love is conveyed as absolutely flawless and perfect. I mean I’m no expect with love and relationships but to me that seems wrong. But do Rachelle’s books have any of that wrong-ness? NOPE.

anyways

Many tears were shed and much heartbreak occurred while reading this book and I was honestly afraid for how it was gonna end (Can I just say the end/epilogue was PERFECT! ❤ ) but in the end my heart wasn’t as broken and I was able to glue and sew as many pieces together as possible. The feels in this book were absolutely insane and sad and heartbreaking ok?

and what rating do I give a book that completely shattered my heart?

5 stars of course!

 

Honestly this entire book series should get a million and one stars because it is by far one of the best Historical novel series I’ve ever read. I mean…I haven’t read much in this genre but what I’ve read in this genre, The Steadfast Love Series is by far the best…so If you haven’t read it yet you probably should.

BookLook Bloggers

Hello Lovelies!

Just popping in to talk about something called BookLook Bloggers. Basically BookLook Bloggers is a website where, once you have a certain amount of blog followers, you can request books (physical copies and ebooks) for review. Pretty cool right?

Something even cooler (yeah yeah, I know thats not used properly) is that I finally applied today and got accepted!

excited

I kept meaning to apply for a while now but have been crazy busy!  But now I finally just sat down and did it and already I’ve requested some paper back books to read! So, it will be a little while before they come (3-4 weeks cause I’m in Canada but YES they ship worldwide!) but by then I should have life together somewhat and I’ll be almost done school at that point which means REVIEWS AND BOOK READING ALL OVER THE PLACE!

….Or maybe. I know it will for sure be more often because I’ll be free from the clutches of High School. From there I’ll be working but minor details my friends, minor details.

Is this something you’re interested in and want to check out? Well you can click the link I provided above or (hopefully if this works) click this blog button and it should take you to the website.

 

I review for BookLook Bloggers
At this point I’m off to my nannying job but I just had to come tell you all because I’m excited! I’ll let you know what books I requested in another post 😉

Until Next time!

Adriana G.

 

Book Review – Tuesdays with Morrie

Hello Readers!

So its been a while since I’ve written a proper and full book review so I am going to apologize now for the possible mess of a review this could turn out to be. BUT moving on from that warning, Today I am going to review Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom.

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Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live.

Belle talking books

Tuesdays with Morrie is this years novel study for my 30-2 English Class. I’m happy to be graduating but SUPER sad that it means I won’t be able to attend my favourite teachers English Class anymore and just like last years novel study (My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok) I ADORE it.

I’ve really come to enjoy non-fiction novels more and more over the last year – so tell me some of your fave non-fiction! – and a bit as it kind of gives you a peek into the lives of other amazing people AND you always come away learning something. Not that you don’t learn something or aren’t impacted by works of fiction (All The Bright Places anyone?) but it is a different effect and approach in non-fiction vs. fiction.

But anyways, I fell in love with Tuesdays with Morrie. When I first got the book in the mail (online homeschooler, yo. ) I looked at it and kinda frowned at it. I was very hesitant and unsure of the book at first so I wasn’t too keen to start it because there is NOTHING worse than having to do a novel study on a book you hate. But it was short so I figured that, either way I would just read it and get it over with. BUT THEN I WAS VERY SURPRISED GUYS!

Myself and Ms. Dunn at the Graduation Retreat I went to in March.

Myself and Ms. Dunn at the Graduation Retreat I went to in March.

A few says before we started the novel study my English teacher Ms. Dunn spent a lot of the class talking about how much she loved the book and was excited for us to read it and then I got really excited! Because I could tell her excitement and love for the book was genuine. (and the whole time there was part of me who was also pretty sure the book was good from the start as well cause Ms. Dunn and I like a lot of the same books and yeah she’s pretty cool so..)

I swear that I was in LOVE with this book by the first page I probably finished that book in a span of 3 days I think and right now my copy I borrowed from the school is covered in Dalek Sticky Notes to mark my favourite chapters, pages, and quotes. This book was definitely one of those amazing and impactful books that more or less changes your outlook on life. Basically I’m needing my own copy at this point so I can highlight and underline and then give the book to others to borrow.  Amazing book with some WONDERFUL life lessons.

5 Star Rating!