Book Review – Life is Better at the Beach

Life is Better at the Beach is a simple little book that reminds the reader to take life slow. With calming pictures, and quotes and Bible verses, this book talks about a beach vacation and how to continue that mindset in daily life. At the beach, you don’t worry about how you look or what work you have waiting for you. The author suggests that we continue to have a peaceful life at home and how it will help is tackle the stresses life throws at us.

I really liked how well this book is put together. The text is short and simple, so that you can easily find time to read a page or two. The pictures and theme of the book are fun and light,  and the quotes go along with the whole thing. I would recommend this book as a gift especially for those who want a book to take a moment and relax.
Disclaimer: I received this book (in ebook form) for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


Book Review – A Month of Sundays

 A Month of Sundays seeks to provide insight on what it means to truly rest on the Sabbath, and it goes further than simply phyiscally resting on Sunday. The author talks about the state of mind that she feels should is necessary for real rest. She tells short stories from her own life, and also gives a dinner recipe at the end of each chapter.

While the intentions of the book are good, I personally found the narrative rather pretentious. I didn’t really enjoy the book or find the information helpful. Unfortunately the recipes also aren’t things that my family would be interested in either. While someone else might enjoy the book, it wasn’t my cup of tea and so I will not be recommending it.

Disclaimer: I recieved this book for free from the publisher (in ebook form) in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review – Pressing Pause

This book contains 100 short devotionals geared towards moms. Each devo is quick and to the point, so that busy moms can easily carve out some time to stop and take a moment to read one a day. There is a Bible verse at the beginning of each devotional, followed by a short devo and reflection questions.

I love how simple and to the point each devotional takes no time at all to read, but gives one plenty to think on. I’m slowly working my way through the book, and so far it has covered topics such as not worrying, and reflecting God’s love to your children. I would definitely recommend this book to any mom looking for a simple daily devotional.

I recieved a free copy of this book (in ebook form) in exchange for my honest review. All opinions above are my own.

Book Review – With My Eyes Wide Open by Brian “Head” Welch


Brian “Head” Welch was a guitarist for KoRn until 2005. KoRn was popular, edgy. He was a rock star. And of course this lifestyle had a lot of perks. They had a lot of fans, they made a lot of money, they toured all over. But there was also a down side. Welch knew all too well the darker side of the music industry — drugs, alcohol, and an inner rage he couldn’t control. He found himself spiraling farther and farther downwards until… he met God.
He made a decision. He was quitting KoRn. His daughter, Jennea, was affected by how often he was gone with the band, and he decided enough was enough. He wasn’t going to give in to the drugs and alcohol any longer. He was going to be the father she needed.

With My Eyes Wide Open tells the story of the years between Welch’s decision to quit KoRn and the decision to go back. It’s filled with extreme highs and lows as the guitarist tries to figure out exactly what God wants him to do with his life.

Admittedly, I didn’t really like the book at first. The dialog seems stiff and rehearsed, as if it’s been heavily edited from what a person might actually remember. Welch is also very dramatic in his description of the moment he felt God speak to him. Not to say that that’s not a significant moment. It just… seems showy.
And of course, being in such a popular band and having so many ties to the music industry, there’s a lot of name dropping. Like, a lot.

But, aside from that, I was really drawn to the story. I love to read real life examples of God working. This book particularly interested me because I was curious why Welch decided to go back to KoRn after being convicted to leave back in 2005. I remember when I was younger, around the time that Welch was putting out his solo music, hearing people talk about how he had left the “evil” band KoRn, and how he had completely given his life to God. And then I never really heard anything after that.
I happen to like KoRn nowadays. Maybe not all of their music, but enough to peak my curiosity. The drugs and all are bad, yeah. So why go back? Welch goes on to write that he felt God was leading him to. I know a lot of people who don’t believe that that could be true, but he writes that he has been given so many opportunities to minister to fans who would never set foot in a church. I don’t think that’s something to scoff at.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who asks. It could be a bit triggering in places to some, especially as he talks about his daughter and her battle with depression, but otherwise very worthwhile.
While Welch’s world of fame and fortune is miles away from my own, there are still so many things to take from his testimony. Addiction and depression happen to people of all walks of life. God can use anyone to carry out his plan. It’s almost never easy, and sometimes that plan might just be very different than expected.

Toddler Activities: In and Out

Emmy likes to take the water bottles off the shelf and roll them around, so I thought we’d try to put a few things in one for fun. She put the pom poms in the bottle and then I poured in some glitter.

I showed her how shaking the bottle made the glitter move around. This amused her for all of about two seconds, then she got pissed that she couldn’t get the cap off to put more pom poms in.

(Are sensory bottles supposed to have a theme? I dunno what this is.)

She also likes Mason jars so we got some more pom poms and she practiced dropping them in the jar and dumping them back out. Much better! I only gave her one color at a time today so we could talk about the color without it being too confusing.

Surprisingly she kept them out of her mouth for the most part. I keep hoping we’ll be past that stage soon. We tried to focus on how the pom poms felt when she would put them near her face. She ended up dabbing them on her lips but didn’t try to swallow them.

The bottle wasn’t entirely pointless. She of course had to see if it would fit in the jar as well!

Review – Wonderland (an adult coloring book by Amily Shen)


Ahh! This is my first adult coloring book, and I was so excited to receive it. I always enjoyed coloring as a child, but haven’t gotten a chance to do so recently. Needing to write a review gave me an extra excuse to sit down and work on a page, and it was indeed very relaxing.
It’s a good size book. Not huge, but more pages than I expected. Like I said, this was the first one I’ve looked at in depth so I’m not sure what is typical. What I do know is that the drawings are adorable, and I like that there is a mixture of simple drawings and more complicated ones. There is a little story as you go through the book, similar to what you would see in a children’s book. Some of it is recognizable from the story if Alice in Wonderland, and some of it is original.
Having a story threw me at first; I was expecting fancy pictures and no more. There were also activities every so often, which was also odd size that seems more of a thing for a children’s book. But what can I say, I’m forever a child at heart.
I give this book four stars, and will definitely be savoring my time coloring when I find any.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.

Paper Crowns Blog Tour – Book Spotlight


Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upside-down when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae. Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.

I’ve not known Mirriam long, but I have already found that she is wonderful writer and extraordinary person. I have seen posts here and there about her new book, Paper Crowns, and became more and more intrigued as I read. A talking cat? A fire elemental? I needed to read this book! When she announced that she was ready to publish, I was ecstatic. I absolutely cannot wait to read Paper Crowns! There will definitely be a review posted as soon as I am finished. Until then, I hope you pick up your own copy, and enjoy what I have been told is most excellent writing.


Mirriam Neal is a twenty-two-year-old Northwestern hipster living in Atlanta. She writes hard-to-describe books in hard-to-describe genres, and illustrates things whenever she finds the time.  She aspires to live as faithfully and creatively as she can and she hopes you do, too.

Blog // Goodreads // Publisher’s Page // Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Email

I will link below to the rest of the blog tour this month, so be sure and check those posts out as well!

Arielle – Splendor Falls on Castle Walls. Author Interview.

Anna – Adventures of Annapuppy. Book Spotlight.

Ashley – Unlikely Things. Author Interview and GIVEAWAY.

Jenny – The Pen Slayer. Six Reasons Why You Need This Book.

 Abi – Whimsy Writer. Book Spotlight.

Book Review – Willie Out West


Willie the Walrus is very bored. As he watches TV, wishing he got to go out and do something fun, he sees a story about a mean old whale terrorizing a town. He imagines himself as the sheriff and saves the townspeople.

I loved the animals used in the story because they are not as common — an octopus, a whale, and a walrus. The octopus is even shown to turn colors when he is afraid. The idea is fun as well, I just see the story played out better as a cartoon than as a children’s book. A preschool age child would likely enjoy the story very much. As a parent, however, I found Willie rather obnoxious and disrespectful in the beginning of the story. The lesson taught at the end was not very noticeable to counteract that. While cute, the book is not very memorable and I would have to give it three stars.

I received this book as an eBook from the publisher (WestBow Press) for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Book Review – The Behemoth Dinosaur in the Land of Uz by Maryluz Guerrera Salas


This children’s book from WestBow Press is about a behemoth named Dippy and a little boy named Job. The idea comes roughly from the book of Job, but does not follow the Bible verses. The story of Noah is also told, but otherwise there isn’t really a biblical message.

I found the book hard to follow, even for a children’s book. I would say it is probably a preschool level story because of how wordy it is. The continuity made it difficult for me to figure out exactly what it is trying to teach, because it skips in a couple places to different locations with no warning. First Job and Dippy are at the well getting water, and then they’re in town and the people are trying to run Dippy off. Even as an adult I found it rather confusing. The illustrations are also subpar, unfortunately. Additionally, I found that the English translation had several grammatical errors and was oddly worded in some places.

Overall, I would have to give this book one star. It could have been a cute concept, but I found it poorly done.


I received this book for free (as an eBook) from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.

A Day at the Zoo

I decided a couple weeks ago that we needed to make a zoo trip before school lets out, and I made the mistake of mentioning it ahead of time to my youngest brother who made sure I didn’t forget to pick a day. We finally had a nice day yesterday with no rain, so off we went.

We went to the Stingray Cove first (I had hoped to get there right at opening time but you knowing how planning with kids goes). Uncle Logan had a grand time and surprisingly enough so did Em.


In fact, she grinned as she watched the rays swim by and even stuck her hand in the water.
Actually, she stuck her hand in the water a lot. Not to touch the rays of course, just to splash in the water. While she let them swim by her hand once or twice, she mostly pulled away when they would get close.
She gets splashed in the face? No big deal, back to the water. Just don’t let those things touch her, apparently.


I swear this was his favorite part of the day. He kept saying how cool it was that he got to touch a shark and… Those other things.
Don’t worry though, he repeated himself enough times that by the end of the day he remembered their names 😉


Emmy seemed to take some interest in a few of the other animals as well, as long as they were moving. The hippos were swimming as we walked by, popping their heads in and out of the water. We told her, “look, the hippos are playing peekaboo!” and she tried to say peekaboo back.


She got crabby after a while, it being such a long day, so I wore her in the Lille so she could nap. She slept through the outdoor ape exhibits, while Logan talked to a zookeeper about the orangutans and learned their names, and then found all of the gorillas in their exhibit. He also got to see some of his other favorites, which he said were giraffes, zebras, and lions. She woke up as we went into the Monkey House, and quickly took an interest to the lemurs climbing around. We put shoes back on and I let her down so she could explore a bit.


“Ooh, ooh!” she said. We’ve been working on animal noises a bit, she knows chickens now and sometimes she’ll repeat others.


She loved the monkeys. She kept wanting to go back to one of the lemur exhibits especially. They were very playful and climbed all over.

The rest of the animals she didn’t show much interest in, they were bugs and reptiles and others that weren’t very active and she didn’t seem to notice them. Overall, it was an excellent day for everyone though. We didn’t make it to the Children’s Zoo because we didn’t arrive early enough to get in during the free time and we chose the stingrays instead, so next time I think we will go there first. They got two Tasmanian devils less than a week ago, so I’m excited to see them. I also mentioned we should try to catch a sea lion show in the future.