Friday, August 31, 2012

Why Everyone Needs to be Hugged

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On Wednesday, I went to a Random Acts of Kindness meeting, because I wanted to hug people. Because I come from the Midwest, which is a very hugging place. Moving to Florida, made me realize how important hugs are. And how much I missed them and my friends back home. At my school, RAK does what's known as Free Hug Fridays every Friday from 11 to 1, but I can only do it for the last hour or so because of class. 

It was awkward at first, just standing there with the sign, but we were outside the bookstore where a lot of people go and so there were a ton of people walking past. It was busy! I didn't expect so many people to need a hug. I didn't expect that at all. 

Because we are told that we are strong, that we can be independent, that we don't need anyone, but none of that is true. We need each other. That is one reason hugs are important. They connect us. They let us leave a mark on someone we might never see again, a connection, a touch, a hug, a place. A sense that we are not alone. A sense that we know it's not true, that it's a lie to say that we can do life on our own. We need each other. 

Throughout my hour of giving maybe 30 or so hugs, I had one muslim woman take my picture. I had one guy get off a bike to give me a hug. I got 8 or 9 or 10 high fives. A lot of people waved, or simply smiled. Smiles produce more smiles, you know? Those who can't smile are the ones who need it the most. So I stand there, smiling, holding my free hugs sign, trying to give people what they need. 

And my heart is filled with compassion. What everyone needs is more love, yet we are told that it is not what we need. We're told we need thicker skin and smarter brains; we are told that we need not feel and that emotions make us weak. So we try to be strong, but we cannot do life alone. We need companionship. We need to know we are loved and can love. 

That is where 1 John 4:7-21 comes in. 

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

What the world needs is more love. What the world needs is more God. Think on this yall and give someone a free hug today. Love, Rachel 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What's Happening

As some of yall have noticed, I haven't blogged very much in the past couple of weeks. Here is why:
I went away to college. 
I'm not going to say where exactly, but I will let yall know that it is in FLORIDA.
I love Florida. It's a whole other world from the Midwest. I am a proud Midwesterner, but I am proud to go to school here, too. 
It is always sunny. The sky is always blue. The grass is always bright green. I love it. 

So now I will let yall know that's going to happen on this blog. As you all know, this is a book blog. And I'm still going to do reviews on books of course, but I am also going to start blogging more about personal things. My own thoughts. My life. It's going to be different and new, but I'm in a new place (geographically and in life) so I think now is the time to do this. 

I want yall to know that I am still the book crazy and crazy awesome fun gal that yall first met when you found my blog. I haven't changed. Hope that's reassuring and hope yall like hearing more about my life. 

That's all for now. Let me know your thoughts and comment below. Love, Rachel 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

The Mockingbirds (The Mockingbirds, #1)
Summary from Good Reads:

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

My review:
I liked it. I liked how strong Alex was, despite the terrible thing that had been done to her. I like how she was encouraged to stand up for herself and how she took her sister's challenge. I like how virginity is something valued. To give to someone you love and not to be taken away by choice. I like how insecure she was, and yet she became a stronger character throughout the novel. I liked her friend, TS, who was probably my favorite character, and the one most like me. Enthusiastic. I would definitely be on the board of mockingbirds if I went to Themis. I liked how Martin--or anyone else--chose not to give up on Alex. How her friends taught her courage. Helped her find it. I liked Alex's struggle to deal with what had happened to her, and how she sought justice for the crime. Overall, the strength of the Mockingbirds novel is it's depth of characters throught a tragic act, displaying courage and strength to overcome and claim victory and justice. To sum up.

I give Mockingbirds 3.5 out of 5 stars. And while I know there is a sequel, I don't know if I'm going to read it. It just doesn't sound as good. And because I'm tired, I'm going to bed. Have a good night, Rachel

Monday, August 20, 2012

Three Rivers Rising

Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood
Summary from Good Reads:
Sixteen-Year-Old Celestia spends every summer with her family at the elite resort at Lake Conemaugh, a shimmering Allegheny Mountain reservoir held in place by an earthen dam. Tired of the society crowd, Celestia prefers to swim and fish with Peter, the hotel’s hired boy. It’s a friendship she must keep secret, and when companionship turns to romance, it’s a love that could get Celestia disowned. These affairs of the heart become all the more wrenching on a single, tragic day in May, 1889. After days of heavy rain, the dam fails, unleashing 20 million tons of water onto Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the valley below. The town where Peter lives with his father. The town where Celestia has just arrived to join him. This searing novel in poems explores a cross-class romance—and a tragic event in U. S. history.

My review:
I really liked Three Rivers Rising. It's probably going to be one of my favorite books that I've read in 2012. I love that it's historical, that it's sad but not too terribly sad and it's a love story, and it's written in verse. I love the names of the two daughters, Estrella and Celestia. And I love how brave and strong each one of them is. I love how Celestia understands the choices she makes and that they have consequences. I love that they all get happy endings! (Estrella's esp cracks me up!) I loved hearing from Kate's perspective and how she found her calling.  I loved Maura's faithfulness and devotion to her husband and children and how he saved his family and his town. I loved how Celestia's father finds out how important his daughters are to him, and it was nice getting to see his POV and how he changed because of the flood. I loved how the cover matches the book perfectly and how there is a map inside to show where all the towns are.

This  is a beautiful book. It is  full of love, anger, betrayal, sorrow, wealth and money, poverty, family, children, disaster, death, and the importance of life. I loved it, and I recommend it to everyone. But do not take it lightly. It is beautiful, yet sad.

Here's one of my favorite quotes from Three Rivers Rising, Peter's POV:

To my mind,
a clear night sky
with a sugaring of stars.
enormous and
silent as a snowfall,
that's the only church we need.

I used to think
I could see straight up to Heaven
if I looked hard enough
Mama'd be holding out her arms,
smelling like sunshine
and honey.
and me, so small
and alone in the dark...
but she'd find me,
love like a thread between us.

That's how it is
to be with Celestia--
standing in a church of stars,
feeling so small,
and letting love find me anyways.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cover Love Thursday & Review of Sea by Heidi R. Kling

I love the glittery button. It's so happy. CLT happens at Kismet Kayla. Basically it's where we share covers we love and why we love them.

This week's cover:

Summary from Good Reads:
Still haunted by nightmares of her mother's death, fifteen-year-old Sienna Jones reluctantly travels to Indonesia with her father's relief team to help tsunami orphans with their post traumatic stress disorder-something Sienna knows a lot about. Since her mother's plane went missing over the Indian Ocean three years before, Sienna doesn't do anything if it involves the ocean or planes, so this trip is a big step forward.
But the last thing she expects is to fall for Deni, a brooding Indonesian boy who lives at the orphanage, and just so happens to be HOT. When Deni hears a rumor that his father may be alive, Sienna doesn't think twice about running away with him to the epicenter of the disaster. Unfortunately, what they find there could break both their hearts.
A compelling summer romance, Sea marks the arrival of a stunning new voice in YA.

Why I choose Sea:
I loved this book and I felt that since the ocean is such a big symbol that is defines the love and loss that Sienna and Deni have between each other. I love how they are underwater and how (because it's set in Indonesia) there are the elaborate designs behind them. I love how passionate they look, as though they need only each other and not air. Because once they push to the surface, they must separate.

My Review:
Sienna's mother drowned in the ocean three years ago. That is why Sienna fears it, why she stopped surfing and going to the beach, why she stopped being best friends with Spider. She has awful nightmares about her mother's death and fears dying. Yet it's inevitable no matter what. The tsunamic proves that. Tragedies happen. People die. People live. Disaster only shows that we must leave a legacy behind, do something good for the world and the people who live before we go.

That is why Sienna goes to Indonesia with her dad, her uncle, and her dad's girlfriend Vera (who she doesn't like). Sienna enjoys her work at the orphanage, helping Vera and the young girls try to deal with their grief and losses. Sienna esp falls for Elli, a young girl who lost her whole family, but is still beautiful, still happy, still has hope. Elli was one of my favorite characters. I enjoyed learning more about Indonesia and their way of life compared to America. I enjoyed the vast majority of the novel, esp when it was set in the orphanage and that town.

Sienna falls for an Indonesian boy named Deni. He's troubled with the loss of his family and his freedom. They slowly start to rebel, riding on Deni's motor and going out together. When he hears of news that his father might still be in Aceh (epicenter of the tsunami), they go together to try to find him. But the person looking for him may not be his father...

At this point, I really want to ruin it for all, but I won't. Sea is a very beautiful and poetic book. It's full of longing, desperation, hope, love, loss, letting go, fear, bravery, love, distance, time, family...

I'll leave you with Sara Ockler, author of Twenty Boy Summer, her words, "Sea is a richly woven story as turbulent and beautful as the sea itself, plunging us headlong into the depths of loss, devastation, compassion, and hope. A touching and romantic debut about the redemptive power of altruism and the heart's capacity for love."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Flight of Blue by A.E. Howard

Flight of Blue
I recieved FOB through the DAC tour. So that's one more book down, which means I have 4 books completed, and 8 books left to read to hit my goal of 12 books. Hope I can do it!

Flight of Blue is about a boy named Kai and a girl named Ellie. It's about a possum sorcerer, who through his anger and attempt to get revenge, curses a traffic light. His curse causes a rip in the fabric of the world. A rip that must be closed tight.

It's about Keepers and Guardians who can close these rips and can stop evil from coming into the world. It's about a messenger named Serina, who is both a bird and a human and is a flight of blue messenger. It's about how she guides Kai and Ellie to a Guardian school where Kai will be trained. Because he is special. He is the son of two Guardians, the only one, because two guardians cannot have children together. He must be the one to end the evil. It's also about how the three of them learn the history behind the three realms and how the middle realm became separated from the higher realm. (I don't remember what the realm of evil and darkness was called, but they learn how it came to be too).

It's about how they journey into the rip to close it and seal it forever. To end the curse on the traffic light.

Overall, I really liked FOB. The world is very well set up, and the characters are very likeable. I loved how Kai and Ellie were special in their own ways and how their insecurities were very real for young people their age. I loved how Serina was so confident and so ready to help them. One of my favorite parts is when a boy at the school who is just enamored by Serina is told by Ellie that she is bethroned to another flight of blue messenger and this boy's jaw just hits the ground! It's a great scene.

That's my review of Flight of Blue. A blog that I follow also reviewed it and you can check that out here: Reader's Refuge

Bye yall!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Teaser & Tuney Tuesday--August 13, 2012

Hosted by Miz B should be reading. Basically what you do is share a sentence or two from whatever book(s) you are reading. I think these because I get a taste of a book. 

Currently Reading:
Homer's Odyssey
My teaser: Homer has never encountered anything with the texture of '70s style shag carpeting in my childhood bedroom. He spent a few minutes stalking carefully through the carpet strands that reached halfway to his chin--a black panther in perfect miniature prowling an electric-blue savanna. Once he realized the superior traction carpet afforded, far better than the hardwood or tile floors he was used to, Homer took off at a run, racing in blurred circle around the room and bouncing off walls and furniture like a rubber ball fired from a slingshot.

Chasing Paris
My teaser: Amy ran her fingers across the words written in script across the first page. Such a simple title. Eva's Words. She untied the blue ribbon. The paper--yellowing with softened corners and faded ink--felt surprisingly heavy in her hands. Toward the bottom, she ran her fingers over the only other words on the page: Paris, 1955.

Tuney Tuesdays is hosted by Eileen at singing and reading in the rain and by JAYA at journey of an aspiring young author. Check out their blogs for instructions.

My song: Gold by Britt Nicole

You were walking on the moon,
Now you feeling low.
What they said wasn't true,
You're beautiful.
Sticks and stones break your bones,
I know what you're feeling.
Words like those,
Won't steal your glow,
You're one in a million.

This, this is for all the girls,
boys all over the world.
Whatever you been told,
You're worth more than gold.
So hold your head up high,
It's your time to shine.
From the inside out it shows,
You're worth more than gold.

You're worth more than gold.

Everybody keeps score,
Afraid you're gonna loose.
Just ignore,
They don't know the real you.
All the rain in the sky,
cant put out your fire.
Of all the stars out tonight,
You shine brighter.

This, this is for all the girls,
boys all over the world.
Whatever you been told,
You're worth more than gold.
So hold your head up high,
[ From: ]
It's your time to shine.
From the inside out it shows,
You're worth more than gold.

So don't let anybody tell you that you're not loved.
And don't let anybody tell you that you're not enough.
Yeah, there are days when we all feel like we're messed up.
But that truth is that we're all diamonds in the rough.

So don't be ashamed to wear you're crown
You're a king, You're a queen inside and out,
You glow like the moon, you shine like the stars.
This goes to you, wherever you are!

This, this is for all the girls,
boys all over the world.
Whatever you been told,
You're worth more than gold.
So hold your head up high,
It's your time to shine.
From the inside out it shows,
You're worth more than gold.

So, don't be ashamed to wear your crown,
You're a king, You're a queen, inside and out.

My response: I absolutely loved Gold from the first time I heard it. It's such a fun, upbeat, empowering song, and it totally makes me just want to dance and clap my hands along to it. I love the idea that human life is so so so valuable, that each one of us is worth more than gold, no matter who tells us we aren't worth anything. We are loved by the King, and we are his sons and daughters. His love for us begins in the heart. He is who makes us beautiful, who makes us shine. When we have His love, we glow with it. He is the One who says we are one in a million, we are special, we are worth more than gold, because we belong to Him if we accept His love.

One of my favorite lines is:
Yeah, there are days when we all feel like we're messed up.
But that truth is that we're all diamonds in the rough.

It's true if you think about it! We are all "diamonds in the rough;" we are all being remade!

Happy Tuesday, yall!

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading?--August 12, 2012

Hi! So I just want to let yall know that this Reading Monday goes for this week and next week. My plan is to schedule a whole bunch of reviews for yall to read while I am getting settled in at college. So excited for it, but nervous too. But I guess that's expected.

So here's the schedule for the next two weeks:

Aug. 14--Teaser & Tuney Tuesday
Aug 15--A review of Flight of Blue
Aug. 16--Cover Love Thursday & a review of Sea
Aug. 17/18/19--no posts
Aug. 20--A review of Three Rivers Rising
Aug. 21--A review of The Mockingbirds
Aug. 22/23--no posts
Aug. 24--Follow Friday

So that's what's going on! Have a great Monday!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Wrap-Up Read-a-Thon (2)

 Summer Wrap-Up Read-a-Thon

So this read-a-thon is almost over, and I haven't gotten nearly as far as I wanted to on my goal.
I completed:
Stealing Heaven
Three Rivers Rising
Homer's Odyssey (A fearless feline tale or how I found love in love with a blind wonder cat)

There's still two days left, so hopefully I can read some more. I've just been so busy with college stuff, and I'm very behind on reviews.

I leave in 3 days!!!

Just wanted to give yall an update. That's all. Love, Rachel

Follow Friday--August 10, 2012

Gain New Blog Followers

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read. Click the button or go to her website for official rules/instructions. Basically, what she does is post a question, we all answer it and link back to her blog. It's pretty simple. So let's get started.

Q: What would you do over if you were to start your blog again from scratch?

A:  I would have gotten connected more at the beginning. My recommendation to those book bloggers that are in this for the long haul to get a Twitter, because it is just awesome.

So that's all. I'm getting ready to go away to college, so I have lots of packing to do. Bye! Please comment and leave your links below and I will get back to yall!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Teaser and Tuney Tuesday--August 7, 2012

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. And since I plan on doing these more regularly, I've switched over to the new button even though I liked the older one better. Oh well. I'm reading two books right now.

Stealing Heaven"Hey, Dani, I think I see a place to sit," Greg says. I like the way he says my name, the name I've always wanted for the me I've never gotten to be. "Yeah, yeah, I'm coming," I tell him, and watch him smile.

SeaMy favorite little girl didn't walk; she bounced. "Hello!" She said, skipping up to us, the last glow of sunset painting her white jilbab pink.

Tuney Tuesday is hosted by JAYA and Eileen at singing and reading in the rain.

My song: What do I know of Holy--Addison Road

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven but I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small, I never feared You at all, no
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes, could I behold You?

What do I know of You who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood but the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury? Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were might to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

What do I know of You who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood but the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury? Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life it's name?
What do I know of holy of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name on earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?

What do I know of You who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood but the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury? Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?

My response: I've been working on my testimony a lot this week and I got a chance to share it--or part of it, it was a little too long, I didn't realize--on Monday. This song just really wraps up all of the doubts and questions I had before I decided that God is God, I am not, and that I need to let go and let God. The third stanza is really important to me, because that's how it was for me. I had learned all about God, but I didn't know who He is. But then I got a glimpse of him and it did bring me down to my knees, it did make me understand that who am I to doubt the God of the Universe who loves me more than I will ever more? Who I am? He truly is that Holy.

Here is a Addison Road singin' it live. I have actually seen them in concert too. It was amazing. Love all their songs. Bought their CD Stories. They are one of my favorite bands. Yall should check out more of their music esp if yall like this song. (This song is my fav of theirs!)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summer Wrap-up Read-a-Thon (1)

 Summer Wrap-Up Read-a-Thon

It's weird to think that summer is coming to a close. It feels like it went by really fast! I took summer classes at community college, worked at a day camp for preschoolers three days a week, went to Colorado on Mission Tour, read some good books, hung out with my cat and my friends too, spent way too much time on twitter, went to the community pool, went to several BBQs...I did so much this summer!

In honor of Summer, I am doing this read-a-thon. With a button like that, how could I not? I love smiling suns and books. Without futher ado, here are the books I plan on reading this week.

Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with YouI'm about halfway done with this one, but it's taken me three weeks just to get there, so I'm hoping to finish it.

Stealing HeavenThis one has been on my TBR list for a long time and it sounds really good, so I'm excited to read it.

Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown FloodI picked this one out randomly from the library shelves. I'm going into it with very few expectations so I hope it'll surprise me and be good. Although I think it's going to be sad, because it's about a flood and a love story. Eager to see how it goes.

SeaI had no idea what this book was about when I got it from the library. But I knew that it was on my TBR list and that I loved the cover. It's such a beautiful cover.

Cold MountainI tried to read this one the last time I did a read-a-thon but I didn't get to it. I've tried to read it so many times, but haven't been able to. Hoping I will get to this time.

Homer's OdysseyIn celebration of cats. They are awesome.

The Last Summer (of You and Me)Pretty sure I bought this at a library sale for 1.50. It's been on my bookshelf for a while and seeing as I have this water/beach/water them I thought I should read it.

The Sharp TimeI got this book from Ruby's Reads Spring Exchange. I've been so busy that I just left it on my bookshelf, but I'm ready to read it now.

Last of the SealsA review book. Enough said.

So yep, these are all the books I'm hoping to get through. I might, or I might not. I don't usually get through all the books I want to in a week or two, but who knows?