#BookReview: A Magical Journey To The Magician’s Workshop

The Chronicles of Narnia was a powerful standard for allegorical fantasy. Some believe even Harry Potter holds Christian symbolism but two novels I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading( or should I say devouring) were The Magician’s Workshop Vol. 1 &2.

They are written by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr, co-authors of this incredible prospective trilogy, from Wandertale Press. It’s YA Fantasy and is colorful, enchanting, and so mega!

I will review each book as it’s own stand-alone work instead of as a set.

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The book follows seven main characters as they find out who on the island will be revealed to have a color which makes them a contender for the prestigious Magician’s Workshop, where they will train with some of the Island’s greatest mages and magicians, and be known as some of the great predecessors.

I loved how well-written, compelling, and complex each of the characters were as well as the overall story and setting of the book. It’s a coming of age story that anyone can find positive messages hidden between the lines in, no matter what age the reader may be.

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The story continues as it opens with the Color Ceremony revealing the fate of the island’s young mages. More relatable storylines and emotive character flaws are found in the sequel but both books take you on a compelling and adventurous journey that gives light to the notion that anything really is possible if you can imagine it.

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For updates on the release of the third novel, visit http://www.oceea.com/

I certainly can’t wait to find out when it’s out so I can find out what happens next!

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#BookReview: The Bucket List by @Emiisotherside

For me, a young adult novel has to have a romantic story line for me to get into it, and stick with it. This story is from a French writer who is only 21 years old and this is her second YA novel. Her first novel, I Was A Bitch, was an Amazon best-seller.

I personally felt the story was cute and reminded me of a YA book version of Me Before You. The characters were relatable and I loved that they were best friends and in love but the story to me lacked pull. There was no invisible string pulling me along and I skimmed some of the chapters just because there was conflict missing.

Sure, the main guy character Damon is dying but I felt like there needed to be more hiccups along the way in terms of him completing his Bucket List.

My favorite part of the whole story was the letter Damon leaves for Leah after he passes away. It was full of real, genuine emotion, quotes, and humor. And it made me feel a little sad that he didn’t get to live that long.

Yet, I did enjoy the overall theme of the story and book: life is short so make it count.

School Doesn’t Teach You Everything. It’s time to RESET YOUR WORLD!

#BookReview: Simply Biographies both short and sweet

Each Biography is less than a 100 pages and is written by a different author. It runs under the Great Lives series put together by Simply Charly. On this site, you can find not only the books included in the series but a ton of products featuring those written about in the books such as Dickens or Faulkner. I chose these two books to feature because they were both about GREAT writers.

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This book taught me a lot about Charles Dickens that I wasn’t aware of. He suffered a lot of tragedy throughout his life.

Did you know?

  • A lot of his characters were based off family or kin such as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol was based off his son Henry.
  • He was the first author recorded to do public readings.

With a short overview of Dickens life and career, this account focuses on the roots of his writing through the lens of personal experience. We also see how much passion Dickens has for the theater, public readings and social activism.

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I was only slightly aware of Faulkner because of The Sound and The Fury that high school English teachers oggle over but I really wasn’t too aware of Faulkner’s background.

Did you know?

  • Faulkner married the only girl he was ever taken with.
  • Faulkner was conceived as a Southern racist during his lifetime.
  • William had an extramarital affair with script girl Meta Carpenter who he met while writing scripts for MGM studios in association with Disney.
  • He was hospitalized every three months due to alcoholism throughout the 1950s.
  • He won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1949, which allowed for him to never again struggle with money troubles.

Overall, I wouldn’t name these as the best books I’ve ever read but they are worthy biographical short reads that you definitely should check out to learn more about some of the GREATEST people human history has ever known.

Perfect Pet Pictures: My dogs Hazel and Katrina

It’s easy to see that my dogs mean everything to me. I have two dogs: Hazel is a rescue that is an Italian Greyhound/Beagle Mix that will five years old on June 26, and Katrina, a purebred Dachshund, that was also a rescue because her caretaker went into assisted living and could no longer care for her. She just turned nine on March 15. We mostly call her Nugget because of her small size.

This video will begin our journey down memory lane with three different ways my dogs make me smile:

  1. Hazel “twerks” preferably on wet towels
  2. Katrina is one of those Netflix and chill dogs. She enjoys romantic shows with a strong female lead like Jane The Virgin. In this clip, I caught her watching.
  3. Hazel loves Justin Bieber. We have that in common. Ever since the day she came to us, she knew who he was and fell asleep listening to his music. She’s my little Belieber.

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This is one of my favorite pictures of Katrina. It was taken during a funny photo shoot we did with the dogs of them wearing Mickey ears.  It shows Katrina’s faith in a higher power and her sassy attitude. This picture to me screams, Are you there, God? It’s me, Katrina. 

 

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Above, you can see some of my favorites from the funny photo shoot.

 

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I snapped this of my dogs lined up looking out the window. The second Katrina posed for the camera. She’s the least camera shy of the two of them.

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I caught this photo after Katrina got a bath, and her smile just totally went with the whole Friday meme thing. And it made my day!

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Nutrish by Rachel Ray was having a contest and Hazel not only snapped this picture but she smiled. All I said to her was “Hazel, you want to be famous?”

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This was taken while Katrina was watching the Price is Right. She loves that show and hopes to one day see me on there shouting her out and winning big!

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I snapped this of Hazel because I loved that she was just sitting like this on the couch and smiling. Even after all she’s been through, she finds a reason to smile every day and it motivates me that I can too.

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Here’s Katrina on her recent birthday. I got her a sling so I can carry her around in it because she loves to cuddle and there is nothing like a Nugg Hug.

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Katrina loves to be in my Youtube videos to show the world that she’s my #1 fan and always right by side.

 

Lastly, this is my favorite memory of Katrina and Hazel wearing some Bieber related shirts in support of Justin on his birthday. The picture on the left is cute because you can see Katrina posing with her tale wagging. She thought I was taking a video. And then they both posed to show the back of the shirts.

Preserve your favorite memories of your pets with a digital picture frame from Aura with their new pet collections.

#CGForever: @therealgrimmie proves that #allisvanity with brand new album

One year ago today, Christina Grimmie was taken from this Earth far too soon. Yet, her beautiful family and team have been keeping Christina’s beautiful legacy alive by continuing to release new music that she had worked on prior to her passing. And none of it disappoints. christina-grimmie-title-meaning

Her newest album was released a major record label, which was one of Grimmie’s life-long dreams, as well as to win a Grammy.

With this review, I am only trying to honor Christina and in no way trying to critique her or her absolutely powerful gift with music and inspiring people. As mentioned in previous posts, I only spoke to her briefly when I worked the Wildfire Tour for Rachel Platten but she definitely had a big heart, a beautiful smile, and a light that would help you through the darkest times in your life.  I also urge everyone to read this to get a copy of All is Vanity as a tribute to the singer.

Her new album is titled All is Vanity and is based off her favorite Bible verse that she ended up getting tattooed on her arm:

“All Is Vanity” is a bible verse, from Ecclesiastes 12:8, which reads: “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.”

Before her untimely passing, Christina would say that this verse was there to remind her that her success and fame where nothing without Christ, and only in Him does life have meaning.

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Song By Song Review

“Sublime”: 

This song opens the album and it is said this was Christina’s favorite of all her new songs, and you can hear it in her voice throughout the track. There is an enthusiasm that gives her voice that extra dose of perfection. 18839135_1582459721796616_5983707235376120846_n

The breakdown is my favorite part of the entire track:

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“Steady Love”:    

I absolutely love the musicality of this track. It reminds me of an anime love story, as it has a little bit of a Japanese sound to it.

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Invisible: 

The third track was one of the first new songs released by Team Grimmie, and 100% of proceeds from the sale of it went to starting the Christina Grimmie Foundation. A posthumous release from Christina Grimmie, who rips our hearts in two with her incredible talent, bright presence, and musical ear. The song is a little eery as Grimmie talks about no longer being invisible, singing:

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Source: Beat.Media

Crowded Room

My favorite track on the album that caused me to tear up at the first listen because it showcases Grimmie’s R&B vocal stylings and it shows a deeper side to her songwriting by discussing someone who chooses a crowded room to hide from themselves, possibly hinting at what Grimmie felt was an epidemic in Hollywood.

Crowded Room perfectly blends Alessia Cara’s “Here” and Sia’s “Chandelier” in song content, vocal stylings, and musicality.

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Everybody Lies

Producer and Christina’s boyfriend, Stephen Rezza, perfectly placed a clip from this Youtube video at the end of this song and it made me ball my eyes out.  This song is a perfect placard for Christina’s motivating and inspirational legacy.

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Pressure I woke up with this stuck in my head and cannot stop listening to it because this song is a serious bop, jam, hit, and it has these feel good dancy vibes that remind me of the power and caliber of a Michael Jackson song. It is similar to “Scream” but has the musicality of “Bad.”

Christina, I’m with you.

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Maybe I With this track, Christina’s vocal powerhouse shines here.

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Echo A badass “I deserve better” anthem about someone who continues to lie to you and you realize you need to get up and move on. 

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I Only Miss You When I Breathe

This song makes me miss this young beautiful talent. A beautiful arrangement similar to her single Invisible, EDM meets Grimmie’s R&B vocal stylings and incomparable vocal range. It’s my favorite off her Side B EP.

Source: Beat.Media

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The Game

This song reminds me “For You” by Demi Lovato in vocals and musicality. It’s the perfect way to end the album.

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We miss you, Christina! I know you are absolutely beaming in heaven.

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#BookReview: How Jesus Saves The World From Us by Morgan Guyton

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As I started to read this book, I was five pages in when I found it on Goodreads and read the reviews there. Many people did not sit well with this book. I was gearing up to toss it in the trash on my tablet when I really started to identify with the ideas Guyton was discussing.

It was a gripping read that opened my eyes to some truths while still allowed for objective perspective in regards of what Guyton believes versus what I believe.

Overall, I believe anyone looking to keep your focus on Jesus and emulate him in life should read it because it will give poetic thought to some of the beliefs that are part of the Christian faith.

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