Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: You're Loved No Matter What

Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Revell
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Pages: 224
Format: eBook
Buy It: Amazon
How would your life be different if you truly believed you're loved just as you are?" Holley Gerth poses this compelling question at the start of her latest book. As someone who has connected with thousands of women, Holley has seen the dangers of becoming trapped by impossible standards of beauty, achievement, and even spirituality. We believe if only we were "perfect" we could beat our depression, banish anxiety, and develop the relationships we long for most. Holley shares how God wants to set the hearts of women free by revealing the lies we believe and the scandalous grace and acceptance offered to us instead. When we know we're truly loved, the response is to love in return--and that changes everything.
Bestselling author and every woman's best friend, Holley Gerth helps women lay down their unrealistic expectations so they can embrace who God created them to be, pursue his purpose for their lives, and offer the love they've been freely given.
It's no secret I'm a fan of Holley Gerth, and she has done it again. This book speaks directly to the hearts of women who are people-pleasers and perfectionists, myself included. She consistently connects with the reader and makes you feel as if she is sitting right there next to you.

She uses specific verses from the Bible, as well as excerpts and passages from other respected Christian authors. Holley beautifully ties in truth to help women feel that they really can be loved, no matter what. Another great read from her!

I received this book free for review from NetGalley. I was not compensated, and the thoughts contained herein are my own.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: Spiritually Strong: The Ultimate 6-Week Guide to Building Your Body and Soul

Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Zondervan
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Pages: 208
Format: eBook
Buy It: Amazon
Spiritually Strong is a six-week program designed to help you get in better shape spiritually and physically. As Timothy says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (4:8). This book teaches you how to train yourself in godliness through the implementation of six disciplines―Bible study, prayer, fasting, healthy living, financial stewardship, and serving others.

By exercising your spiritual core on a daily basis, you will learn to:

  • Study the Bible and understand what God is saying to you.
  • Pray with power.
  • Incorporate periodic fasting into your life.
  • Honor God with your body through nutritious eating and exercise.
  • Practice good stewardship of the resources God has given you.
  • Serve others in humility as an outward demonstration of God’s love.

As you learn to submit to God in each of these areas of your life, you’ll discover the joy that accompanies self-discipline. Your daily steps of obedience will translate into giant strides in your walk with the Lord.

In this book, Kristin walks you through how to set up a six-week plan on getting the basic of both your faith and physical health in shape. She gives a structured day by day Bible reading and devotional plan, prayer suggestions, as well as daily work-out plans and exercises.

This book is great for any Christian. but I feel it is strongly tailored towards newer Christians or anyone who feels like they've let their faith lack a little. I love that she has a structured plan included in the book, because it doesn't give the reader much excuse for starting this if they truly want to.

For anyone looking to get their faith back on track or strengthen their prayer life and exercises, this is a great choice!

I received this book free for review from BookLook Bloggers. I was not compensated for this review, and the thoughts contained herein are my own.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

IMM 4/26/15 and Re-Launch Video

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme previously hosted by the Kristi at The Story Siren. We share books we received this week, whether we bought them, got them in the mail or checked them out from the library.

No books this week :(

New posting schedule:
  • Sunday: IMM
  • Monday: Review
  • Tuesday: Occasional Top Ten Tuesday
  • Wednesday: Review
  • Friday: Follow Friday
  • Saturday: Social Media Saturday/Story Saturday
I hope you guys enjoy the re-launch! Leave any questions or comments below!

End of Event Meme

I'm back! This morning I'm a little disappointed I didn't get up at like 3 or 4 and do the last few hours, because I totally could have. I woke up right at the end to congratulate everyone on Twitter and wasn't really tired! Oh well, I know for next time.

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

16-17. That's when I started to feel the exhaustion in my body!

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Anything short and quick. one of my TBR choices was a Choose Your Own Adventure, which is super short and super fun! (Too bad I didn't get to it...)

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

We definitely need more cheerleaders, especially for blogs. Being a cheerleader myself, I understand why we were short! However, I think I would have been more motivated to push on the full 24 hours if more came to cheer for me.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

I liked some of the new mini-challenges. While I love some of the classic ones, if was fun to mix it up with some different ones!

5. How many books did you read?

2 books, and a couple chapters of a third.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

Spiritually Strong: The Ultimate 6-Week Guide to Building Your Body and Soul by Kristin Feola, You're Loved No Matter What by Holley Gerth, and part of Worry Less So You Can Live More by Jane Rubietta.

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

You're Loved No Matter What. Holley Gerth is one of my favorite authors!

8. Which did you enjoy least?

Worry Less So You Can Live More, but I think that's only because I was hitting a wall. I enjoyed the beginning of it back when I started it.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

Yes! SIGN UP! Seriously, it's sooooo rewarding! And honestly, you can cheer and read the whole time and still get reading done. Or you can cheer during specific hours, and read during others. It's super easy! But seriously, so needed.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I will definitely next year! However, October's readathon is the weekend before my wedding, so I may be busy during the first half of it. I'll be pushing through the last half though! I will be cheering again next time, and I'm considering hosting a mini-challenge as well! We shall see!

If you followed along through-out the readathon, thank you! I would love to know if anyone has decided to become a new follower; I want to check out your blog as well! I love meeting new friends, and I appreciate the support as I get ready to re-launch my blog! (The re-launch video will be posting later this afternoon.) Thanks again!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hour 17.5: Giving In to Sleep

So it's official... I'm off to bed. It's 9:30pm here and I've been up since 4:45am! This is the longest I have lasted in a readathon, so that alone is an accomplishment in my book. Plus it was my first year cheering!

I will be back in the early hours of the morning with my wrap-up post! Gooooood night!

Hour 17: Goodreads Battle of the Books

I've made a tiny dent in book 3. I'm starting to debate going to bed in a few hours, since I do have church in the morning and don't want to sleep through the whole thing! I was hoping to stay awake the entire 24 hours, but I don't want to push my body too much either.

This hour we're doing Battle of the Books over on Goodreads! Go join in!

Hour 16: Reading Story

I finished my second book, riiiiight before the end of this last hour. It still counts, right?! Moving on to book 3, as I wait to figure out dinner plans and refuel. I'm still managing to fend of the physical exhaustion, so I'm hoping eating will help!

My reading story:
Not a great start, push on.

Hour 15: Music is Muse

I can't believe we've already hit hour 15! This readathon is flying by. I'm almost done with my second book! I should be able to finish it this next hour.

I'm still reading You're Loved No Matter What. Everything in this book (and everything Holley Gerth writes) reminds me of the song You're Not Alone by Meredith Andrews. They both talk about having someone there for you no matter what you're going through. That's one of my go-to songs when I'm having a hard time! Listen to it on YouTube here!

Hour 14: Bookish Brews

Mentally, I'm still very much awake. Physically, I can feel my body starting to become exhausted. I'm going to try and make it through at least this next hour before attempting a short nap.

A photo posted by Ariel Wilson (@angelvelvet) on
Almost through You're Loved No Matter What by Holley Gerth, and drinking water because I can feel myself getting dehydrated!

Hour 13: Get Fit and Read

Still reading. Didn't get too far this hour due to family stuff, but I have the house to myself for at least two hours so hopefully I can make a significant dent!

For this hour, the challenge is focusing on staying active! I've been taking short breaks each hour already, about 5 minutes each. Better than nothing!

Hour 12: Mid-Event Survey

Half-way through! Surprisingly, I'm still very awake. Especially considering I've been up for almost 12 hours on only 6ish hours of sleep. But I'm still pushing forward (slowly) with my second book!

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?

I'm still reading book 2: You're Loved No Matter What by Holley Gerth.

2. How many books have you read so far?

1 and almost half of book 2.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Something light and fun to ease my growing frustrations!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

Not too many, but I know they happen. I just accept them and get back to reading.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

I'm much more awake than I have been in the past. I'm really hoping to do the full 24 hours!

Hour 11: In 100 Years Mini-Challenge

I got basically no reading done this hour :P My fiance came home so we ate lunch and then the family bought us all tickets to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway next month as a belated birthday present! Woohoo! Back to reading now!

My three choices for future classics are:

What books did you choose?

Hour 10: Plan a Bookish Party

I made a small dent in my current read this hour. I'm slowing down on the cheering because I would really like to get some more reading done. I plan on cheering again later as I get bored with reading!

I decided to skip out on this challenges, partially from laziness and partially because I want to keep reading! be back in an hour!

Hour 9: On Food and Books Mini-Challenge

I didn't do much reading this past hour, because I was adding some past reviews to NetGalley and working a little bit on my blog schedule for this week. I am working on my second book though, and since it's short I should finish it either this hour or next!

It's no secret I am a fan of Harry Potter. My favorite recipe from the series is obviously Butterbeer, which I had the chance to try at LeakyCon a couple years back! I recently stumbled across a Butterbeer latte recipe, so here it is!

Click the link for my Pinterest where I originally found it!

Finished books:

Hour 8: Book Spine Poetry Mini-Challenge

I have officially finished my first book! I will be adding a bulleted list of finished books in every hour's post after this, so I can keep track, along with my master spreadsheet. (I'm a nerd. I admit it.)

For those cheering, I could use encouragement with DRINKING WATER! I'm being lax about it, and I know it's not healthy.

This hour's challenge is book spine poetry!

A photo posted by Ariel Wilson (@angelvelvet) on

Simple, but fun!

Worry less so you can live more, as you wish the narrow path.

Finished books:

Hour 7: Treasure Hunt

I'm making serious progress in my book now! Almost three quarters of the way done! About to take a quick break for a new snack and potty break, and then continuing on!

This hour's challenge was hard for me, and I added another challenge to it and only used my readathon stack. Still fun though!

A photo posted by Ariel Wilson (@angelvelvet) on
How many did you find?

Hour 6: Picture It Mini-Challenge

I've made it half-way through my first book. I'm slowly getting there! Cheering is still going strong, but it's a little disappointing because many of the Tumblr readers who signed up appear to not be participating. There are still many blogs though, and I'm dipping into the Instagram readers a little as well!

In this challenge we are to pick a photo that represents something bookish. My current read is about strengthening your Christian faith, so I chose a photo that makes me think of praying in God's creation.

Isn't is beautiful? Link up your photos below!

Hour 5: Cast It Mini-Challenge

I'm still plugging along! I've gotten through three chapters now, so I'm definitely making progress! To better balance my time between reading and cheering, I've decided to cheer for 5-10 readers after every chapter I read. It's really helping!

This challenge is called Cast It, which is being held in the comment section here. Check everyone's posts out!

Hour 4: Goodreads Scavenger Hunt

I still haven't gotten as reading done as I wanted to so far, but I've been doing so much cheering! It's really a lot more fun than I expected.

This hour there is a scavenger hunt going on in the Goodreads group here, so go join in!

Hour 3: Four Seasons Mini-Challenge

I'm still plugging away in my first book, but making progress! Yay!

For this challenge, we use four books to represent the four seasons in some way.

Link your challenge posts below!

Hour 2: Classic Words of Wisdom Mini-Challenge!

By now many of you are plugging along in your first book, and some have already finished books! I've barely started reading, partially due to cheering, and partially because I was dragging my honey out of bed to make me coffee and support me ;)

For this challenge, we take a quote from a classic piece of literature and describe what it means to us. I'll be honest, I don't read classics. So I'm choosing a classic Walt Disney quote instead.

Disney has always had a huge part in my life, as I grew up watching the movies. Attending the Disney College Program in 2013 just cemented the fact that I will always need Disney in my life. Right now I've been having a hard time being happy with myself, but this quote reminds me that even if I'm not happy with who I am, I am still me and I need to embrace that.

Hour 0: Opening Meme!

I was planning on being gung-ho this year and reading as much as possible, cheering as much as possible, as well as getting my blog ready for my re-launch tomorrow. However, my body says no and I woke up with a horrible stomach ache. I've had a hard week, so it's probably telling me I need my sleep. I'm planning on doing what I can, but I will be taking lots of naps today!

On to the meme!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I'm reading from Longview, WA, where I recently moved to! I'm starting out on the couch in the basement area my fiance and I hang out in, but will eventually migrate upstairs as friends will be coming voer to work on the ceiling down here.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Probably Beautiful Battlefields. Just this week I was diagnosed with depression, and I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle sometimes. I could use the encouragement!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Nilla Wafers! Love the crunch with the sweet taste!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I'm 24, and would like to get my Master's in Library Science someday, if I can ever afford to go back to school! I'm engaged, and will be getting married in exactly six months from yesterday, on our two-year dating anniversary! I love reading, and I love blogging! (If that wasn't obvious ;) )

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

This year is my first time cheering, and I'm really excited! While I don't plan to read as much as in the past, I do plan on being more intense with participating, and I'm hoping to hang in the full 24 hours, even if I need some naps!

Friday, April 24, 2015

#Readathon TBR Stack!

Better late than never, right? See you in 8 hours!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Almost Ready!

So I am almost ready to re-open my blog! I went through today and completely re-did my sidebars and pages, so those are all updated. My next goal is to get my currently reading list on Goodreads updated and accurate!

I was going to post a vlog as an update for when I will be back up, but I'll be honest, I'm being lazy :P So! I am going to be participating in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, so I've decided to go back to regular posting the week after that. I'm still working on a weekly posting schedule, simply because I don't want to overwhelm myself right from the get go. I'll post when that's done!

Later this week or next I will be posting a vlog showing the books I plan to read for the readathon, so watch for that!

Have a great week everyone!
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