Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Body Wash

 Hola everyone! As you well know, I didn't post last week due to being incredibly busy each and every day. And I didn't post yesterday, but that was my fault. So you're going to get some crazy mixed up posts this week. I'll probably post a third Friday or this weekend to make up for the missing one. For now, I wanna talk about Herbal essences body wash!

 That seems like a weird thing to talk about, I know, but I'm part of an online community called CrowdTap, and was given the opportunity by them and Herbal essences to try out their body wash! They sent me a sample of Hello Hydration, which has coconut extract, and it smells delicious! I've not used it too much yet, but so far I love it, and plan to use it whenever I shower. Also, I'm going to let my mom try it and see what she thinks. You can purchase it here, and probably at any store.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/25490728?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227018897044&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=35472840756&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=53632896876&veh=sem

 Anyway, I really do like this scent, and I'm looking forward to trying their others in the future.

 ~ a rambling author

Friday, April 18, 2014

Firstborn: A Book Review

Sorry I didn't post yesterday, but you know why. So I'm doing book day today! And I'm reviewing Firstborn by Lorie Ann Grover.

(I received this book for free from the publisher in return for my honest review.)

Back Cover:  Where does a firstborn girl fit in a world dominated by men?
When Tiadone was born, her parents had two choices: raise their daughter as male and force her to suppress all feminine traits, or leave her outside the community to die in the wilds. Now, as the first female living as male in her village, Tiadone must prove her father didn’t make a mistake by letting her live. As her time of male initiation approaches, Tiadone desperately wishes to belong, and be accepted in her world---though at every step it appears the Creator allows traditional feminine gifts and traits to emerge, as well as cursing her with a singing bird the ruling culture sees as a sign of the devil.
Worse, as Tiadone completes her initiation rites, she finds she is drawn to her male best friend and patrol mate in ways that are very much in line with the female gender.
Confused and desperate, Tiadone tries to become what she must be while dealing with what she indeed has become: a young woman who may be able to free her people from despotic rule and allow the Creator’s name to be sung once more.

~

 I needed to pick a book to review and the idea of this book intrigued me. From the synopsis, I immediately thought this book might be about embracing your femininity and the way God made you. Or something of the sort. And I got that... partially. Here is my full review.

 Since I always seem to do it this way, let's start with the characters. Tiadone was interesting. She was a girl trying to be a boy, and I think it was portrayed pretty well for the most part. I felt bad that she couldn't be the woman she was, but... Anyway, Ratho was interesting too. I think that's every character. I wasn't happy with him part of the time, but as the story progressed he grew more likable. I really adored the birds, especially if Mirko, even if the relationships between bird and human stepped into strange a few times, but...

 As far as the plot goes, I didn't have the problem of some who found it confusing. I was able to follow along with what was happening pretty easily for the most part. I hope this isn't the only book and that it will be a series, because the ending left me wanting to read more. Which is generally a good thing. Anyway, it was enjoyable, and I read it in probably two days.

 Now, onto the part I hate. The parts I didn't care for. My biggest problem with this book was the PHYSICAL. I get that because Tia is a girl, they had to portray certain... female characteristics for realism, but I felt the author could have showed that without going into so much detail. Also, Tia's thoughts/relationships to boys made me squirm just a little. I don't like it when a book makes me feel all awkward and squirmish, and I feel really bad that I can't recommend it to any of my guy friends, and some others who wouldn't like reading so much detail. For both Tia's changing form, and her actions toward men. I know it might be necessary to show some, but I think less detail could have been shown.

 So, overall it was pretty enjoyable. I give it three stars. I think the author has a pretty good foundation, and I hope the next book (if there is one) is even better.

~ a rambling author



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prince's Quest Prologue

 As I said, I'm busy, and though it's technically not Wednesday anymore, I'm awake, so I'm posting. Since I am busy spending time with family, I'm going to share with you the most recent version of The Prince's Quest prologue. Hope you enjoy!


Prologue

Kaltine 23

 “Your Highness?”

 Elric stood from the threadbare chair, sending a cloud of dust through the air. “Yes? What is the news, Winston?”

 His manservant coughed before answering. “The girls have arrived.”

 Elric nodded, processing the information and what it meant. “Good.”

 He straightened the deep blue claok covering his tunic and followed Winston out of the room, empty except for the chair and an equally downtrodden bed.

 Had she come?

 He shook his head, hoping to dislodge the thoughts assaulting him. He would find out soon enough.

 A dark hallway with a faded purple rug running its length awaited him. He ignored the lackluster tapestries and the sad attempt at color they presented, intent to his purpose.

 Winston waited for him at two double doors that reached for the ceiling. “My Prince, the decision you make right now will affect your life in who knows how many ways.”

 Elric paused, inhaling the scent of the future. Mildew filled his nostrils. “I know.”

 “Are you read?”

 “As much as I can be.”

Winston bowed, giving his support as he always had. Without another word he pushed the door inward. It creaked on unpolished hinges, revealing those who waited inside.

 Elric strode through, attempting to show more confidence then he felt. He slowed when he saw the expressions of the townspeople and a prick of guilt wormed its way inside of him. He shoved it aside, knowing he had to let go of such feelings until he found her. That was all that mattered right now.

 “People of Redge,” he cringed inwardly at the cold tone of his voice. These were still the people he had grown to know over the last month, “I’m sure you are all wondering why I summoned your young women here on such short notice. The time is my own affair. I have but one question to put forth to you: is Anya, the daughter of Amos, among you?”

 His query sat unanswered for several long moments. He straightened, afraid sweat was going to break out on his forehead and ruin his collected fa├žade. He was about to try again, using a more threatening voice, when a heavy man he recognized as a local shopkeeper stepped forward.

 “No. She is not among us.”

 Another man, the resident fool stepped forward. “Ah, but sir, we have many other young ladies… might you take your pick of them, and let us be? Eh?”

 Elric felt the thread of his authority being pulled apart, and he called for Winston to shut the doors. Recalling the cold voice he had used moments earlier, he hardened his face. “I will look at all of the girls.”

  There were a couple of fearful murmurings, but the handful of girls from the village and surrounding miles organized themselves into a line, most staring at the floor.

 That prick of guilt bit him again. They were afraid. He blinked. He didn’t want anyone to fear him. Fear was destructive.

 He walked to the end of the line, inhaling to keep focus as he walked by each girl, studying each face.

 A flash of honey colored hair caught his eye, and he held his breath, turning to find her. Two deep blue eyes filled with tears met his. She seemed to plead with him with her silent stare. She begged him not to choose her. He tried not to let the disappointment stabbing him show. He gave the girl a quick nod. “You may go.”

 He watched as if seeing through another’s eyes as she ran to the rest of the villagers, throwing her arms around the shoulders of a young man. He turned away. It wasn’t her.

 He walked past the rest of the other young women without much interest. The truth was hard to accept, but he knew. She wasn’t here. She was gone.

 When he reached the end of the line, he cleared his throat, staring at the opposite wall in an attempt to avoid eye contact. “You may go. All of you.”

 The villagers shuffled out, some casting curious eyes over their shoulders, some of the girls sending brazen smiles as if they expected he might accept the fool’s offer, and take one of them with him.

 He turned away, lost in thought once again.

 Honey hair, brown eyes. The thought of her smile sent a thrill through him. How could he have done such a thing? He clenched a fist. He would not make his mistake again.

 “Sire.” Winston’s voice was careful, as if he thought Elric might grow angry.

 He turned, giving his friend and aide a small smile. “Come. We must plan.”

 He led Winston to a small, unused room. He had chosen it for the withered map that hung on the wall. Pulling it down, he spread it on a short table, mindful of thick layer of dust covering the wood.

 “I must find her.”

 “Sire, are you sure? What will your father think?”

 Elric didn’t respond. What would his father think? He would deal with the answer later. He asked Winston for a pencil and set the lead against the old paper.

 “Where do you think she would go?” Winston’s question jolted him into action. He created a line from Redge to the Savage Lands.

 Winston gasped. “But sir! Surely she would not survive such a journey… to a horrible place like that. She’d have to pass through Snake Pass, and there are unknown dangers waiting.”

 Elric held up a hand, silencing his friend. “She is stronger than you think.” He glanced around the small room. “Bring the map. I must speak with my father.”



 ~ a rambling author






























Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Busy as always! :D

 So, my blog posts will hopefully happen this week. I'm about to leave to visit with family. I've packed up some things, making sure I have notebooks and the computer. I hope I'll get some writing done on the way. But I'm super excited cause I get to see my adorable niece and nephew! I'll try to get some photos to share with ya'll when I get back. Next Tuesday I'll try to share with you the theater class I'm taking currently. By the way, I was cast in the musical Tarzan! WHOOP! Anyway, I know this is short, but life is life, and I have to make sure I'm ready to go. I love you all, and hope to be on here again tomorrow!

~ a rambling author

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Scripture Encouragement

 Hey all! I have so many thoughts about life I could spill out, but since I'm currently on a really tight schedule... well this weekend, anyway... I want to do something I haven't done a lot on this blog, but mean to do more, and that is share a scripture.

 I love the word of God so much, and there are so many things we can apply to our lives... well, we can apply everything! So today, I'm just going to share one, and just think about the words and meaning, and how you can apply it to your life.


Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. ~ Isaiah 44:8

~ a rambling author

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Prince's Quest Re-write

 This post will be a little short, but since it's Wednesday for writing... I want to talk about The Prince's Quest. If you've been following this blog for a while, you know this is the story I've been working since 2011. I've referred to it as 'my baby' and it's characters are my favorites. But I hit a slump after I completed the story.

 You see, I had written most of the book by hand, and I have that in a giant binder. I've transitioned to doing more writing by computer now, and the idea of typing up all that hard work... over 50,000 words of it, made me balk.

 It wasn't as if I was trying to be lazy. The fact was, in 2011, my writing was... undeveloped. I mean, it isn't perfect now, but then... It just wasn't ready. So I imagined sitting for hours, typing up that book and wanting to correct the entire time. I felt like it would take too long, and drain me for the story.

 So I put it off. This isn't something you should do. Putting things off accomplishes nothing. But I did. I focused on other projects, while continuing my torturous deciding.

 Finally, when I knew I had made my poor story wait long enough, I put the question to my friends over at Go Teen Writers. I asked them if I should just type up what I had, or start fresh, remembering the plot I had written. These two choices were the source of my anxiety.

 Much to my actual relief, they all encouraged me to re-write, but use the old work as a guide. I didn't have to throw it out, but I didn't have to type up all those thousands of words either. Once I had someone else's opinion of the matter, I felt a lot better.

 And I can tell you now, that it was the best decision I could have made. I am loving re-writing this story. Now that I have further insight into the story and characters than I did as a fifteen-year-old NaNoWriMo participant, I can really dig deep, and tell the story like I meant it to be told all along. I am so happy to be re-writing, and I may even be starting to enjoy it more than the first draft process.

 So thank you, to everyone at Go Teen Writers for encouraging me to continue, even when I felt like it was a heavy load. Thank you to my readers for wanting this story. And thank you God for giving it to me.

~ a rambling author

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In the Shadow of Jezebel: A Book Review

 Hey all! I took last week off. I was working on finishing up the book I will be reviewing today since it's due. So, I'm switching things around this week, doing books today, and my life post on Thursday. Hope it's not too confusing. But now, I'm going to review In the Shadow of Jezebel by Mesu Andrews.  I received this book from Revell books in exchange for my honest review.


Back cover: Princess Jehosheba wants nothing more than to please the harsh and demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of the notorious Queen Jezebel. Her work as a priestess in the temple of Baal seems to do the trick. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach beyond the realm of earthly governments. To further Athaliah and Jezebel's strategies, she is forced to marry Yahweh's high priest and enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh's temple. Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves? And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family--and the nation--she loves?

 This was the first book I read by Mesu Andrews, and I'm telling you, the title alone was intriguing! If you know anything about the Jezebel written about in the Bible, you know she wasn't good news. I actually hadn't planned to request another book to review, but when I saw this one I couldn't resist. I love Biblical fiction, and this time period of the Bible especially intrigues me.

So let's start with the characters. Jehosheba is our protagonist. She is the daughter of King Johoram of Israel, and the step daughter of his wife, Athaliah, as she was born to one of his other wives. She was adopted by Athaliah because of her lack of daughters. Jehosheba is an interesting character. At the start we are tempted to dislike her because of her unkind treatment of her maids, but as we read we learn of Sheba's fears and insecurities and discover that there is more to her than a shallow princess who worships a false god. I think the author did a fantastic job in starting and finishing Jehosheba's character arc. There's also Jehoiada the High Priest, an "angry old goat" according to many in the book. It was neat to see the story from his perspective as well, and God's plan for him revealed. Each member of the supporting cast was well-written, and held something deeper. For a while, I was even wishing for Sheba's half-brother, Ahaziah, to find the truth... even though I already knew the ending to that thanks to the word of God. Yes, I enjoyed all of the characters, but want to give special mention to the author's portrayal of Jezebel and her daughter, Athaliah. They were portrayed in such a creepy, different way. It was well done, and made me afraid to meet up with them anywhere. The downright evil seen in their souls was chilling.

 Now the plot. It was very interesting. It covered a pretty big stretch of time... but all added to the story. It was eerie learning about all the practices of worshiping the god Baal, and goddess Astarte, and uplifting to hear about worship in the temple of Yaweh. It's not often that an author can transport you back to the times of high priests, and the ark, so flawlessly, but Mrs. Andrews made me feel like it was all real. Even though I may have read the Biblical account of this many times, it is so interesting to see it written out as a story. I even enjoyed reading about Israel, in all of its depravity, and all the court intrigue kept me reading late.

 I really liked this book. It was thorough, and you could tell the author did her research. I enjoyed each small thing that was included, like the special attention to description of the High Priest's garments, etc. This book was happy, but also sad, in a way, because it reveals the depravities of a land that forsakes God, almost in the same way our country seems to want to head. At any rate, I appreciated the author's attention to detail, and her attempt to keep it Biblically accurate. I loved this story, and I recommend this for readers 15 and up.

~ a rambling author

Princess Jehosheba wants nothing more than to please the harsh and demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of the notorious Queen Jezebel.
Her work as a priestess in the temple of Baal seems to do the trick. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach beyond the realm of earthly governments. To further Athaliah and Jezebel’s strategies, she is forced to marry Yahweh’s high priest and enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh’s temple. Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves? And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family–and the nation–she loves?
- See more at: http://www.mesuandrews.com/books/in-the-shadow-of-jezebel/#sthash.yMqQLMdb.dpuf
Princess Jehosheba wants nothing more than to please the harsh and demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of the notorious Queen Jezebel.
Her work as a priestess in the temple of Baal seems to do the trick. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach beyond the realm of earthly governments. To further Athaliah and Jezebel’s strategies, she is forced to marry Yahweh’s high priest and enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh’s temple. Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves? And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family–and the nation–she loves?
- See more at: http://www.mesuandrews.com/books/in-the-shadow-of-jezebel/#sthash.yMqQLMdb.dpuf