Clouds//Robin Jones Gunn

{Book Review}



Title: Clouds
Author: Robin Jones Gunn
Genre: Fiction - Contemporary Women
Pages: 288
My Rating: 4

Synopsis: She remembers their childhood with longing, and their parting with regret.

(From the publisher) "This bestselling former Palisades release is book five in the new Glenbrooke series by award-winning author Robin Jones Gunn. Shelly Graham has moved home to Seattle, where she's flooded with memories of her high school sweetheart, who took off for Europe after they broke up. But when Shelly travels to Germany, she suddenly runs into the former boyfriend who has filled her thoughts. Learning that Jonathan is engaged, Shelly hides her feelings for him. After returning home, however, she must face these feelings, especially after her path crosses Jonathan's yet again. Only this time, if they can find the strength to be honest, they just might discover what God has in store."

What I Loved: I loved the gentle yet powerful love displayed in this book not just in the love-interest aspect of the novel, but in Shelly's ever-growing relationship with God. Robin Jones Gunn sure does know how to intertwine God's love in with a great romantic love story. In this book, she finds a wonderful balance, and delves into the main character's relationship with God on a much deeper level than many of the previous books in the series.

What I Wasn't So Fond Of: I felt as though some parts seemed to drag on a bit too long, and I would have loved a bit more interaction between Shelly and Jonathan, especially closer to the end. Once again, my biggest complaint is the feeling of a rushed ending. I find that I've been left wanting a bit more at the end of each of the books in the Glenbrooke series. I wish the author would give the ending the detail that she gives to the rest of the book.

Rushed endings aside, Clouds is an exceptional read, and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to experience the love of God tied into a complicated-yet-beautiful relationship between two childhood sweethearts.


About The Author
Robin Jones Gunn is the best selling Christian author of over 82 books including several series aimed at teen girls as well as Christian fiction for older women and a few non-fiction books. Her books have sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide.
In addition to teen fiction, Robin is known for her women's Christian romance series "Glenbrooke" and the "Sisterchicks" series.

*author bio taken from Wikipedia
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*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

When Will The Peace Come?


A friend of mine recently posted a heartfelt/heart wrenching question on Facebook that began with "At what point does the peace come?..." Her question really got me thinking. At what point does the peace come? The simplest answer to that question is this: When we allow it.
I know as well as anyone how it feels to be restless and uneasy; to be anxious and beaten down by life's seemingly inescapable stresses. We allow ourselves to buy into the lies that we can't be happy right now; that we have to achieve something or reach a certain point to attain the happiness that we desire. But the simple fact of the matter is that that is just not true. We have all the peace and happiness that we need right at the tips of our fingers. Isn't Christ the Prince of Peace? (Isaiah 9:6) All that we have to do is reach out to Him for comfort. For peace.
The catch is this: God knows what's best for us right now and always. Right? Right. So when we go to Him for comfort, instead of saying, "God, I'm miserable. I can't find peace, and I need it. I need you to give it to me, and this is what I need you to do to bring me peace," we need to say, "God, I have nowhere else to turn but to turn to you. I need peace, and I know that only you can give me true peace. Please calm my restless heart, and put my soul at peace with whatever your plan is for me. I know that you know best."
Did you notice the difference? Instead of begging and pleading with God to give us what we want because we just know that one thing or those many things will bring us the happiness that our hearts crave, we have to come to God with open hearts, willing to receive His peace along with His plan.
We all say that we trust God, but how many of us truly mean what we say? It's taken me a long time to allow my plans to melt away, making room for God's plans to shine through (and I still struggle with that immensely from time to time), but once I did, it was like a mountain was lifted off of my shoulders and I was no longer carrying the burden of my desires.
God loves us. Let Him show us His love through His plans. Then we will know peace.


"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4:7


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When The Flames Turn To Embers


The other day I was reading through a few different blogs just for fun, and I came across a post by Heirs With Christ entitled When Jesus Doesn't Dazzle. My heart fluttered a little when I read it because that's exactly how I've been feeling lately (By the way, you should really need to read that post. Rachel explains the numb-undazzled feeling much better than I do). I've been feeling numb and apathetic lately. I still read my Bible and pray everyday, yet my heart hasn't felt the blazing wildfire that it once did. There's no particular reason that comes to my mind to explain why this is; except that I haven't been keeping my focus on the light of the world, Jesus. I've filled my life with so many time consuming things that are completely meaningless without the one thing that I've been pushing to the side. I keep telling myself that one day, it'll all just come back to me; one day I'll feel the love and amazement that once set my soul on fire. But do you want to know something? You might want to take a screenshot of this, because I hate admitting it...I'm wrong. Life won't fix itself, problems won't sort themselves out, and a broken and bruised heart won't mend its own tattered flesh.
Something has to be done to let the enemy know that they cannot come like a thief in the night to take my heart from its rightful owner. I wear proudly, the seal of God upon my forehead (Ephesians 1:13). It cannot be removed. Just as I cannot be removed from the arms of my beloved Father (John 10:28-30).
I'm sure you've all at one time or another heard the expression that "God is a gentleman." It's true. He is the kindest, most lovingly patient gentleman that the universe has to offer. The depth of His patience knows no end (Romans 2:4). No matter how many times we turn from Him, He waits placidly (I imagine with a grin on his face) for us to realize that we've trapped ourselves, and the only way out is up. He calls out to us softly through the fog of sin that stands between us and Him. But our ears are muffled by our own hands. We refuse to hear our sins spoken aloud. He reaches out to lovingly touch our shoulder, but we've numbed ourselves to the touch of Christ. We won't allow ourselves to pay attention to the displays of grace before us. So God waits. After all, He knows when the time will be. He knows when the ice will melt from our hearts, and we will once again be set ablaze with His love.
It's the patience that is so incredible. God won't force Himself upon us. He gives us the choice. It's up to us to turn our hearts toward Him, and allow Him to wash the grime from our blackened hearts.
Something has to change within me. I have to make the decision to keep my eyes fixed on Him.
Don't give up on God. He will never give up on you (Deuteronomy 31:6).
I'm saying this not just for you, but for myself. I have to constantly remind myself that just because I don't feel dazzled by Christ, doesn't mean He no longer loves me, or that I'm hopeless. It just means my heart needs a change of direction, and my eyes need to focus not on the things of this earth, but on the things of Heaven (Colossians 3:1).


I will never leave you nor forsake you


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Echoes//Robin Jones Gunn

{Book Review}


Title: Echoes
Author: Robin Jones Gunn
Genre: Fiction - Contemporary Women
Pages: 288
My Rating: 5

Synopsis: Will Lauren risk losing her heart...to a man she's never met?

In the third installment of the Glenbrooke Series, Lauren Phillips is a young woman in a cutthroat world. This doesn't exclude her relationship with her fiancé, Jeff, who is a serious businessman. Lauren loves Jeff, but doesn't understand why he can't enjoy life beyond work. As a result of Lauren's new take-risks-and-enjoy-life attitude, Jeff decides to call off his and Lauren's wedding and move to New York for a new job. Heartbroken, Lauren must learn to pick up the pieces and move on.
When her brother, Brad, brings her a new computer to keep in touch, she happens upon a new cyber-friend whom she only knows by the nickname "K.C."
She soon finds herself developing a deep friendship with her pen-pal; and finds that she might just learn something else: how to open her heart and love again.

What I Loved: If I'm being honest, I loved every single thing about this book. I loved the reality of the story, the depth of the characters, and the relationships formed throughout the book. Robin Jones Gunn certainly perfected her art of storytelling with this novel. I found this novel to be leaps and bounds better than the last one of hers that I read.
I truly enjoyed the way Ms. Gunn highlighted the importance of friendship in any relationship. How two souls intertwine and connect with words. It was a truly marvelously beautiful story.

What I Wasn't So Fond Of: The only thing that I didn't like about this book was that it had to end! Honestly. I can't think of a single thing that I would have liked to have been different. Maybe extending the end a bit if we're being nit-picky, but I enjoyed it the way it was☺

Overall, I was thrilled by the beautiful story of love and friendship in Robin Jones Gunn's novel Echoes, and I can only hope the rest of this series will live up to it!


About The Author
Robin Jones Gunn is the best selling Christian author of over 82 books including several series aimed at teen girls as well as Christian fiction for older women and a few non-fiction books. Her books have sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide.
In addition to teen fiction, Robin is known for her women's Christian romance series "Glenbrooke" and the "Sisterchicks" series.

*author bio taken from Wikipedia
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*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Hey Soul Sister...

Eeep! I'm so excited about today's blog-party topic! BEST FRIENDS!
If you know me, then you know that I'm practically attached at the hip to my best friend/roommate/soul sister Molli. To say that God made us to be each other's best friend is pretty accurate. I don't think I've ever had a friend that I could trust more than Molli. She has been there for me through thick and through thin, and I can't imagine my life without her as my best friend.


So if you couldn't already tell, this blog post is all about professing my sister-love for my bff.
And every good love story has a good beginning...

Molli and I met at a summer camp that we both worked at in the summer of 2011. It's crazy that we've only been friends for 2 years! You'd think we've known each other our entire lives! (I sure feel like we have)
Anywho...We were both cabin directors at South Mountain Christian Camp, so we spent every single day together for almost eight weeks. And boy was it fun!


Here's a little fun fact for you: Molli always says that she knew we were going to get along when she first met me because I had a nose ring. Because all of the cool kids have nose rings ;)


So we basically spent every second of our lives together for those eight-or-so weeks of camp, and after that we kept in touch regularly until she moved to NC from Florida!
After she moved here we were pretty much inseparable. So we decided, what the heck, let's get an apartment and be roomies!
So that's exactly what we did :)
And I seriously don't think I have another friend that could put up with being around me as much as she is, but I am so thankful that she does!


We pretty much have everything in common. We like the same music, movies, tv shows, books, activities, restaurants (notice I didn't just say food....she's picky ;P), and she shares my affinity for zombies...Which is pretty much great.


And she totally has the same sense of humor as me.



'

I may or may not have used that as an excuse to post funny pictures :)


We've pretty much planned our lives together. We want to move to the city, finish our schooling, start our careers, and open a caf√© together.


Hopefully our future hubbies are welcoming of these plans ;)


She has been such an incredible encouragement to me, and a wonderful confidant. Not to mention she has a heart the size of Texas.
She challenges me to be the woman that God created me to be, and to put Him first in all things.
Basically, she makes my life ten thousand times easier and more enjoyable.


That's why I love her :)


Hey! Check out this awesome Taylor Swift song...It's kind of "our" song


And I'll leave you with some awesome BFF pictures :)







And one more thing before you go....
Check out this beautiful cover of "Hey Soul Sister" by MARILOU


That's all for now :)

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Day 3 (Because I Skipped Day 2):

You Know You're Single When...



Don't worry guys, this single ladies party is still going strong. Girl power! (too much? yeah, I thought so)
Anyway! Today's topic is "You know you're single when..."
Lord have mercy, I could write forever about this....And I have enough Pinterest photos on the topic to keep you belly laughing into the wee hours of the morning!


So let me make a simple list for you...Then we'll discuss anecdotes :)

You know you're single when...
1. You're broke because you pay for all of your own meals. I mean seriously, I would be a rich woman if I wasn't buying myself food all the time!

2. Ring checks! LADIES! You hear me on this one, right? I can't be the only one. And let me just defend myself by saying that it is a simple method that I use so that I know if it's okay or not to be a bit flirty. Admit it. You do it too. ;)

3. You're favorite thing to do on a Friday night is sit at home and read novels such as "Redeeming Love" with a mug of tea and a snuggie. I really can't say that I mind this, though. My tea and fiction-love filled Friday nights have become somewhat of a highlight in the midst of my crazy weeks.

4. All of your friends are getting married! I can't lie and say that I'm not incredibly happy for all of them, because I absolutely am...But sometimes you wonder when that special someone will come along for you? Oh well, at least I have my amazing best friend Molli and my super cool, hilarious mom to keep me company until then :)

So I promised you guys an anecdote...

For those of you who don't know, one of my jobs is at Family Video. While I was working one Friday night, I was all but shoving my head into a bag of Cheetos when *ding!* the bell on the door went off and in walks one heck of a good looking gentleman. He browsed through the store for a bit and then came up to the counter (might I add that I had seen this gentleman in the store once before and we had made casual conversation as I was ringing up his purchases)...Anyway, back to the story...
As he walks up to the counter, I'm busy finishing off my bag of Cheetos. I look up to notice that I'm the only employee at the front and he is waiting for me to come ring him up. But *gasp* I was still chewing my giant mouthful of Cheetos! D=
I walked to the register and, with a mouthful of Cheetos and the dusty remains of the delicious snack all over my mouth, I rang him up.
Let me just run that one by you one more time...
I had Cheeto dust. On my face.
He handled the situation pretty well though, and chuckled at me a bit before he asked how I had been doing. We made small talk until his transaction was done, and then he smiled at me and left. I haven't seen him since.

So here's the lesson here ladies...Never eat Cheetos in public. At least not more than two at a time.

So, enough about me. How about you? Do you have any humorous or embarrassing "single-ladies" stories you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

In the mean time, I'll leave you with some photos to giggle at...











And this hilarious "single ladies" video...




On another note, if my future fella ever does this, I'll know he's the one...


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Secrets//Robin Jones Gunn

{Book Review}

Title: Secrets
Author: Robin Jones Gunn
Genre: Fiction - Contemporary Women
Pages: 288
My Rating: 3.5

Synopsis: Jessica ran from her past...But can she hide from love?

Jessica Morgan (or Jessica Fenton as the citizens of Glenbrooke know her) is a twenty five year old runaway with a complicated past. In an attempt to escape her old ghosts, she seeks refuge in a small town in Oregon where she has landed a job as a high school English teacher.
However, her plans are derailed when her car spins out of control and down a bank on the way to her new home. She is discovered by a sturdy firefighter, Kyle Buchanan, whom Jessica regrettably finds all too attractive.
As her life is turned upside down and inside out, Kyle sticks by Jessica's side, softening her heart to love and to the God who created it.

What I Liked: I'm a sucker for a good God-driven romance. And this book definitely had plenty of that to offer. Kyle was a wonderful example of a modern-day man of God. He shows Jessica, and everyone else around him, unconditional Agape love.
This book also provides a generous amount of encouragement for anyone who is struggling with personal issues, be it relationships or a sordid past; Robin Jones Gunn does a wonderful job of relaying the message of God's love and acceptance to the broken and beaten-down.

What I Wasn't So Fond Of: I felt like the beginning of the story (Jessica's arrival and first few days in Glenbrooke) was dragged out a bit unnecessarily, and likewise, the ending portion of the book was rushed. I would have liked to have seen Jessica and Kyle's relationship develop more in-depth.
Also, *minor spoilers* I was a bit disappointed in Jessica's secret. The author led us to believe in the beginning of the story that Jessica was hiding a dark past, but I didn't find that to necessarily be the case.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading Robin Jones Gunn's novel Secrets, and I am absolutely looking forward to reading the rest of the Glenbrooke Series!


About The Author
Robin Jones Gunn is the best selling Christian author of over 82 books including several series aimed at teen girls as well as Christian fiction for older women and a few non-fiction books. Her books have sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide.
In addition to teen fiction, Robin is known for her women's Christian romance series "Glenbrooke" and the "Sisterchicks" series.

*author bio taken from Wikipedia
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*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

"All The Single Ladies"

V-Day Party Tag




As Valentine's Day has been rapidly approaching, I have been realizing more and more just how much of a bummer it can be to not have a Valentine *insert sympathetic "awws" here*.
BUT! Lucky for me, I've got a bunch of other single ladies like me over at Just As I Am who are throwing an "All The Single Ladies Valentine's Party" in these last few days leading up to V-Day!
(A special thanks to miss Sarah Elizabeth over at Oh Restless Bird for inviting me to join in on all the Un-Valentine's fun!)
Even though it stinks not having a sweet Valentine (I do love getting *dark* chocolate and flowers!), I'm feeling surprisingly fine about having me all to myself on Valentine's Day (I should give some credit to CharlotteONE for their talk on being single as part of the "His & Hers" series this past Tuesday).
So let's get this party started, shall we?!

And we're kicking it off with a tag!


1. White chocolate or milk/dark chocolate?

 Dark chocolate! I could *live* off of dark chocolate! Particularly Ferrero Rondnoir. My mouth is seriously watering as I type this.

2. Tea or Coffee?

Tea has always been my favorite. I drink coffee occasionally, but I can never say "no" to a good cup of tea. (P.S. Jasmine is my favorite!)

3. Movie or book on a night-in?

I would typically say movie, but I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and I'm thinking I would definitely prefer a good book.

4. Rom-com or a tear-jerker?

It all depends on my mood. Romantic comedies always make me feel good, but I can't say "no" to "P.S. I Love You" if I'm in the mood for a good cry (ladies, you understand).

5. Who is the first literary couple to come to your mind?

Angel and *sigh* Michael Hosea, of course!
(P.S. the photos above are who my mind pictures as Angel and MH)
[Brandi Burkhardt & Wes Brown]

6. Who is the first *movie* couple that comes to your mind?

Paige & Leo, "The Vow"

7. Roses or chocolate?

Um, chocolate roses OBVIOUSLY! ;)

8. Fancy dinner in a 4-star restaurant or a simple picnic?

I would have to agree with Meghan on this one, I would much prefer to stay in and cook....Or have someone else cook for me if they felt so inclined :)

9. Dream wedding scenario: outdoor family affair, or a formal church wedding & reception at a 5-star hotel?

Oh how I love outdoor weddings. I *dream* of a beautiful outdoor wedding, but the possibility of bad weather scares me :\

10. What was the last love song you listened to?

 "Anyhow" by Tyler Lyle. You *NEED* to listen to this song!
And because I can't not also mention this song, check out "The Girl" by City & Colour

11. Favorite real-life/celebrity couple?

Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith. They are so cute; I mean, just look at them!

12. One piece of advice about love:

I'm probably not the best person to ask for advice about love. At least not love in the romantic sense. So, I am going to be completely un-original and copy Sarah Elizabeth's quote of choice...
"Love is friendship set on fire"
I can't say that I've experienced this yet, but I just can't wait until I do 


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