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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

"In The Four Agreements shamanic teacher and healer Don Miguel Ruiz exposes self-limiting beliefs and presents a simple yet effective code of personal conduct learned from his Toltec ancestors. Full of grace and simple truth, this handsomely designed book makes a lovely gift for anyone making an elementary change in life, and it reads in a voice that you would expect from an indigenous shaman.
The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don't Take Anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best."
Paperback, 160 pages

Published November 7th 1997 by Amber-Allen Publishing 

How I stumbled on this book is actually an interesting thing.
Other than reading and writing, my biggest passion is music so I follow a lot of music accounts on twitter and instagram. One of my very favorite bands is Florida Georgia Line so, naturally, I follow their band account and their personal accounts. When Brian Kelley got married he posted something about him and her, and I started following his wife, Brittany Marie Cole Kelley, on twitter and instagram because she pretty hippie and earthy like me so I enjoy her posts.

One day she posted that she was reading this book and it was fantastic. I tried to check it out of the library but there was a wait line of about 15 people. So I went to Barnes and Noble to see about just buying it and it was actually on the "This Weeks Best Seller" shelf. I was so surprised that a book that has been out since 1997 was on the best seller shelf again.

I decided to wait on it at the library since I had so many other books I needed to read at the time, but when I got it I flew through it.
Granted, it's only 160 pages, but it is a book that needs to be taken in and savored.
As a Christian (which is my foundational faith, always has been, always will be, so I go to the Bible before any other book for spiritual guidance) I did not agree with EVERY spiritual and religious aspect in this book, but I love reading about spirituality a lot so it was an incredibly interesting book.
The biggest thing I didn't like about this book, is I know the Four Agreements are supposed to simplify life, BUT sometimes it felt a little too simplified. Not the theology, the writing. I was looking for something a little deeper, but at times it felt like reading a grade school text book.

The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable in Your Word, Don't Take Anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, and Always Do Your Best.
There isn't a whole lot to disagree with with the basics of the Four Agreements. 
It definitely gave me a new perspective to look at certain things in life and some good suggestions of how to handle bad things.

If you have a bit of a bohemian, gypsy, or hippie soul like me and like reading about interesting beliefs then this would be a book for you.
3 out of 5 stars, simply for I enjoyed the book, but felt it was a little dumbed down at times.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Top Ten Favorite Books from the Past 3{ish} Years

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovelies over at The Broke and the Bookish

I'v always been inerested in taking photos then put a quote or meaning on top of it to explain the photo in more detail. #semiphoto

Let's see how close I can keep this list to ten.
Probably not though.
And I'm going to cheat (because it's my blog and I'll do what I want too) and put series as 'one' favorite.
My definition of favorite for these particular books will be books I've taken the time to read multiple times, or would read multiple times.

Into the Wild

This book just makes me ridiculously happy (regardless of the ending).
Chris McCandless is my spirit animal and he was wild and free. 
I envy him and admit to emulating some of his ideals for living and adventuring.

The Fault in Our Stars

I've read TFioS at least once a year since it was released and I still bawl like a baby. 
It is a story I will never get tired of reading.

Darkfever (Fever, #1)

This was the series that introduced me to Urban Fantasy, and it contains Jericho Barrons, so it holds a special place in my readers heart.

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)

If you haven't read these books, do yourself a favor and pick them up over the summer.
They are so very, very wonderful.

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)

The flipping of perspectives and the story telling in this book is incredible and I hope to be able to read it again soon.

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

This was such a great contemp.
The cover makes it look a little cheesy but the story is much more complex.
It's at the top of my favorite YA contemps list.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)

I hate this book.
I love this book.
I'm scared to read the other two.

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)


The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)

Such wonderful storytelling.
This is without a doubt my favorite fey series.

Uglies (Uglies, #1)

Uglies was my very first dystopian series and I was hooked.
Hoverboards, secrets, The Wild, love. 
This will always remain a favorite.

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)

This was probably one of my first fantasy series (other than like Lord of the Rings).
A fantasy that takes place in a boarding school, the descriptions, it's just wonderful.

My Blood Approves (My Blood Approves, #1)

My Blood Approves was my first indie book I bought on my Kindle.
I'd also had just made a twitter account around the same time I read this series so Amanda Hocking was the first author I'd ever talked to via social media and she was always so sweet to me, answered my questions, let me quote her in my blog, encouraged my writing, and sent me her novella to review very early because she knew how much I enjoyed the series (though she also knew I thoroughly disapproved at how she ended the story. I picked the other boy in the love triangle). It was just a great and encouraging experience.

So there ya have it. I was able to keep the list at 12 which is pretty good considering this list could've been much MUCH longer.
Any of these make your list? 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I Haven't Read Yet

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovelies over at The Broke and the Bookish


This week's topic is the top books in genre X that I haven't read but can't wait to read.
I read everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.
On my shelf I have books that range from picture books to YA to Christian life application so picking just ONE genre out of all the books I want to read seems difficult. I mean, so does picking just 10 books that I can't believe I haven't read yet....but whatever. I'm just going to pick 10 random books I can't believe I haven't read but I am going to make a point to read in the next couple of months.

Raw Blue

One of the my friends Missy who used to be a book blogger had praised this book all over the internet. She said she hadn't ever read anything like it and was one of her all time favorites now. Unfortunately for me, this was an Australian release so I had no way to get my hands on it.
It is now finally available for Kindle, but I haven't bought it to read it yet, which I cannot believe. I coveted it for SOO long. Don't tattle on me to Missy though, please.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)

The first book killed me. That friggin cliffhanger still haunts me. So you'd think since I've had this book for a long while now (since the day it released...) that I would have remedied that....yeah, no. I haven't. Mostly because I'm nervous of another cliffhanger of doom like the first one...and I just haven't gotten to it.

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)

Loved Under the Never Sky and I was so looking forward to continuing the story, just haven't done that yet.

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

I am actually just petrified to finish the last two books. With how everyone freaked out about the end of Allegiant I just get all nervous when I think about reading this one. But I want to read it before the next movie comes out so I'm gonna have to suck it up.

Heart of a Lioness

Africa has a very special place in my heart. It always has and I've always tried to help missions that work in Africa, but it became even more embedded in my life when I went to Kenya last year. The things I saw and the people that I met in my short time there was life changing.
One of my good friends from my church suggested this book to me last Fall because her, her husband, and myself all share a deep passion for work in Kenya. She thought I would be inspired by this woman's story, so I just don't know how I haven't snagged it and read it yet.

The Wild Truth: The Untold Story of Sibling Survival

If you asked me what my favorite book is the first one that would come to mind would probably be Into the Wild by John Krakauer. I love Chris McCandless' story. He inspires me in a lot of ways for my own life. 
I have been coveting his sister's story for a long while now. I had to even hold off from buying it because it was on my Christmas list. It was in fact a Christmas gift and I was soo excited! I've had it for almost two months now though and I haven't cracked open the cover...I'm sucha slacker.

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)

Anna and the French Kiss is one of my favorite YA books so this should've been a given to dive into as soon as I got it, which was the day it came out. Didn't happen.

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)

Meant to read this one before the movie came out...nope.
I'm hoping I can actually read it now since I've seen the movie.

Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1)

I really enjoy Amanda's stories. She was the first indie author I ever read and reviewed and talked to and she informed me of so many neat things when it came to indie publishing. My Blood Approves was such a different story for me but I really liked it so I thought I would have snagged her other series as soon as they happened. Well that was something that didn't happen.

The Boy Captives: (Clinton And Jeff Smith)

This is about my family. I am actually related to The Boy Captives.
I'm a terrible descendant to have not read about my families history yet. 

What books are on your list this week? Any of the ones that I picked out?
Let me know in the comments!

Monday, January 19, 2015

2014 Releases That I Never Got To.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovelies over at The Broke and the Bookish
This week's topic was a freebie week so I chose to do the 10 2014 releases I meant to read...but the year kinda slipped by without me getting to.

The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex, #1)

Of Scars and Stardust

We Were Liars

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)

(granted I haven't even gotten to the second book sooo....)

The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)

In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink, #2)

After the End (After the End #1)

Split Second (Pivot Point, #2)

What books slid past you in 2014?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Waking the Dead by John Eldredge

"There is a glory to life that most people-including believers-never see. In this insightful new book, John Eldredge presents the heart as central to life. Not only is the heart essential; the heart God has ransomed is also good. Building on these foundational truths, Eldredge shows readers why real Christianity is a process of restoration, where the broken parts of our hearts are mended and the captive parts are set free.

"Waking the Dead" leads listeners to understand how to live from the heart, care for their heart like the treasures of the kingdom, and give from fullness instead of emptiness. This message also shows how living from the heart can energize people to love God and others in a way they've never experienced, revealing to them life's purpose: fighting for the hearts of others." 256 pages Published July 22nd 2003 by Thomas Nelson (first published February 29th 2000)- Goodreads

John Eldredge is a personal hero of mine. The way he looks at life and Christian living is incredible, the things that him and his wife have been through and where they are now is incredible, the way he makes movie references in his books is, well, pretty awesome.
Seriously, who else would think of comparing Neo's journey in the Matrix to our journey as Christians? 

John and his wife Stacey live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, so he talks about being outside and being all adventurous and what not.
Now, what you need to understand is Colorado Springs in one of my FAVORITE places on earth. And I love being OUTSIDE in Colorado Springs. It's a adventurer's paradise.  So I LOVE the fact that he can talk about being outdoors, enjoying and appreciating nature, and loving God all in the same book.

Waking the Dead  focuses on waking your heart to the love of God and realizes that your heart, is in fact, not evil.
That is such a liberating fact.
It helps readers learn how to mend their hearts and be set free from things that we have been told all our lives and how to get on the right path to moving forward in our lives, to set our mind AND heart on kingdom things.

Waking the Dead was so enjoyable and I cannot wait to dig into another book by John Eldredge.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

And why 2015 will be different.

2014 was a weird year for me.
The whole year was me focusing on things other than book blogging. Which I don't regret at all, I just always felt bad that I'd come back to my blog every now and again, make a basic post, then disappear again.

A lot has gone on in my life over the past 2 and a half years that has just made me not feel it. I read 14ish books last year...that's it! I've never read that few in a year...
But when you have such a huge life change like I did you have to take time to refigure things out. So that's what I was doing. And while I did pop in every now and then, blogging felt so forced. And sadly it ended with me not wanting to read and falling out of touch with a lot of bloggers that I used to be close with.
It was disappointing but I really feel like I have a better handle on myself and how I want to blog. 2 years ago when I was incredibly consistent it started feeling like a keeping up with the blogging Jones' and it became a chore. So that along with all the major changes going on I hit a downhill in my online life.
Now I'm back and I'm so happy. I considered shutting down my book blog and just combine it with my personal blog that I've been paying a little more attention too, but then I thought why would I do that? It would be the same amount of work, so Firefly Book Loft is up and running again.

I've made promises to myself though.

1)Don't force posts.
I'm not going to make myself feel like I have to post every day or participate in memes just to get people to pay attention to my blog. There are times when I may only be able to do a couple posts a week, but I have to be okay with that. I started this for me and I will now continue it with it being for me. But if you stop by and join in my bookish life, I will love you.

2)Read what I want.
The pressure to feel like I need to keep up with all the new releases was fine 4 years ago when I had less to do in life. But now I am a busy busy lady and may only have time for a post or two a week. So I'm not going to waste my precious reading time on books that I feel like I am making myself read just because everyone else is.

3)Don't join every challenge known to blogging man.
Hello, my name is Jessica Clark and I have a book blogging challenge problem. I join all of them. Except this year! Yay! Go me!
I think it was either 2012 or 2013 I tried joining about 10 or 11 challenges and it got to be so much and so stressful that I didn't finish a single one. NO MAS! This year I only have a couple personal challenges and my Goodreads challenge and that is it.

4)Have fun.
While books and writing are a huge part of my life and I love both soo much there are other things I love. Hiking, traveling, playing music, all these things have a huge part in my life. They are also all fun for me. None of them have become chores or forced, so why did books become that? I don't know. But not anymore. I will read for fun. I will write for fun. I will blog for fun. Just like I hike, travel, and make music for fun. BLOGGING AND BOOKS WILL BE FUN AGAIN.

Thank you for hanging around and waiting out the weird life time with me, and welcome new followers. I appreciate every single one of you!
And I cannot wait to see what 2015 brings!!

(also, 2015 really is a big year for me, with writing, traveling, ministry, music, and so much more. so if you'd possibly like to be nosey and see what's going on in my personal life, I do have a personal blog I am determined to keep up with this year as well, if you ever wanna take a looksy click HERE)

Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter Series by Tyler Knott Gregson

The epic made simple. The miracle in the mundane.

One day, while browsing an antique store in Helena, Montana, photographer Tyler Knott Gregson stumbled upon a vintage Remington typewriter for sale. Standing up and using a page from a broken book he was buying for $2, he typed a poem without thinking, without planning, and without the ability to revise anything.

He fell in love.

Three years and almost one thousand poems later, Tyler is now known as the creator of the Typewriter Series: a striking collection of poems typed onto found scraps of paper or created via blackout method. Chasers of the Light features some of his most insightful and beautifully worded pieces of work—poems that illuminate grand gestures and small glimpses, poems that celebrate the beauty of a life spent chasing the light. (144 pages Published September 2nd 2014 by Perigee Trade) - Goodreads

I was so pleased that Chasers of the Light ended up being my first book of 2015.
Though some of the poems seemed to be taken right from mass tweets, most of them were really beautiful and original.
Tyler really has a knack for taking simple observations and making them profound. He makes falling in love just sound and feel beautiful. 
He takes moments that not a lot of people feel are significant and really makes you rethink those moments of your life that you just let pass by without a second thought. But those always seem to be the moments that we look back on that have so much meaning anyway, and Tyler just highlights that in the pages of this book.

I've seen Tyler's poems float onto my Tumblr often but I didn't know that he was in the process of putting them into a book. So when I found out about this I was sure to request a buy at the library and sure enough, within a week I got an email saying that they approved my request and the copies were on their way.
Now I am severely regretting getting it at the library.
I should have just bought a copy because now I want it and I want it bad. 
It has a beautiful hardcover and would fantastic on my shelf. I cannot wait to own Chasers of the Light and reread it many times and I cannot wait for another book from Tyler!