Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

redeeming love by francine rivers

“Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers.

5 out of 5 stars.

Redeeming Love is the retelling of the book of Hosea in the Bible. It’s a gritty tale of one man loving a woman who can’t seem to find her way out of prostitution. Francine Rivers really made this story come alive: Michael Hosea is a living, breathing person whom you can’t help but love, and Angel is the beautiful girl who has been mistreated since childhood. While reading this book I found myself inwardly yelling at Angel to stop hurting Michael, then I realized what Francine did: she made a character (Angel) that is so like me. The whole book in an allegory of our relationship with God and how we so often hurt Him and turn our backs on Him for no reason at all. We believe Him to be indifferent to our plight, yet He feels it even more than we do! I was amazed at how artfully Francine Rivers accomplished this; I still am in awe even after reading it several times.

Redeeming Love  is achingly beautiful; and yes, it hurts at times! I was in pain (yet satisfied) with how things unfolded. Why does Angel have to hurt him every single moment of their time together? I felt so bad for Angel, but at times I wanted to whack her over the head with a frying pan for being so cruel to Michael. I understand why she did it, but still! Ahhhhh, and Michael! Oy, what didn’t that man do right! He was the epitome of the perfect man; no man like him exists in the world, but if you find one, let me know!!! He was so kind and wonderful, yet so unattainable!! I know he is supposed to be the Christ-like figure in the book, but come on, Francine, you are making me want what I can’t have! You’re killing me!

So much happens in this book that it cheapens the story to try and explain it in a one page post, so I won’t try. This is a great book, and even if Michael wasn’t in it (but, thank the Lord he is!) I would still love this story. It is so profound and impacting I recommend it to almost everyone. I will say, though, that it is extremely gritty; the life of a prostitute isn’t pretty. I wouldn’t recommend young readers to pick this up. I picked it up in my mid-teens and at times it was a bit much for me, but it was still good. With that said, Redeeming Love is in my top ten favorite books. It is a great way to understand the book of Hosea more, and even your relationship with Christ. I loved it!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

jane eyre by charlotte bronte

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

4 out of 5 stars.

Ahhhhh, where to begin? Charlotte Bronte’s infamous novel “Jane Eyre” is truly a classic. Some books are called “classics” but they are nowhere near the epic proportions that Jane Eyre has reached. It is one of those amazing novels that stands (present tense, mind you) the test of time.

In my career as a reader (although not that long), I have not read a book of its equal; Bronte writes in first person, an uncommon writing style for the time (most classics I have read are in the third person) and contains an almost modern theme. It’s edgy (tastefully so) and beautiful and holds your attention from beginning to end.

I have noticed that I do not tend to like the “classics” that most people fawn over; I don’t understand why or how they can ever be called that. Most seem to be a cheap, boring imitation of the novel before, except for Moby Dick, which is just a terrible original (sorry, that is just my opinion). I haven’t read many classics because most of them lack the “it” quality that sticks with you forever; lots of them I just wanted to finish so I could say I read it and be forever rid of it! But Jane Eyre, though a little slow in the beginning and the last fifty pages, was not like that at all. Instead it was beautifully, almost lyrically, written. I would recommend this book to teens because it has a very modern feel, and it holds a certain edge that makes it its own without being bad.

One of the reasons I liked Jane Eyre so much was because of Jane herself. She was smart and spunky, she spoke her mind but was respectful; she always stuck with her convictions even when they would cost her everything. She was brave and the polar opposite of Rochester. Rochester is a truly Byronic character; mood swings that come on so suddenly they leave you shocked as to what caused them. He is shrewd, crude (at times), selfish, unattractive (Jane doesn’t care, though), a liar, a schmooze, manipulative, and pompous. But for some odd reason, I still wanted to find out why he was the way he was. He held this weird quality that both attracts and repulses you; you don’t know whether you hate him or you are in love (in a weird way) with him. At least that is how I felt. Jane Eyre is a great read and a true classic. I recommend it to anyone who loves classic literature and doesn’t mind a darker edge to their books.

The Host Playlist.

It is only two months until The Host Movie (also one of my favorite books!) comes out! I am so excited and hope it turns out to be good. If you haven’t read The Host by Stephenie Meyer yet, you have to! I enjoyed it and hopefully you will too; give it a try despite the fact that it was written by the Twilight author, and tell some friends! Now, the point of this post is to get the word out there that The Host is coming out, and to also have a playlist to go along with the book  (if you end up reading it). I hope you enjoy both the playlist and (hopefully) the book.

 

the host book

The Host by Stephenie Meyer.

“Prelude 12/21” by AFI

“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons

“Ho, Hey!” by The Lumineers

“Let It Go” by Fossil Collective

“Sail” by AWOLNATION

“Signs” by Bloc Party

“My Body Is A Cage” by Arcade Fire

“Bartholomew” by The Silent Comedy

“As Long As You Love Me” by Corey Gray

“Can’t Get Enough of Your Love Babe” by Barry White (Any moment that involves Ian O’Shea! Just for kicks!)

“Hold You In My Arms” by Ray LaMontagne

“Take A Walk” by Passion Pit

“Come Back Home” by Two Door Cinema Club

“Lights” by Corey Gray

“Paradise” by Tyler Ward

“Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men (Wanda and Melanie’s relationship.)

“Stubborn Love” by The Lumineers

“Diamonds” by Alex Goot

“Beautiful Soul” by Jessie McCartney (Just for kicks!)

“Love will Save Your Soul” by Grouplove (Anything with soul in the title goes, I guess.)

“Awake My Soul” by Mumford and Sons.

I hope you enjoy this playlist. P.S. You don’t have to play them in this order.

Help Me Understand…

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“It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, the rainbow

shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant

which is between Me and you…” –Gen. 9:14, and 15

Chemistry is my hardest class this year; I have never done anything like it before, even biology was a piece of cake compared to chemistry. Most of the time when things like chemistry or math get really complicated I wonder, “How am I ever going to use this in life?” , but come to find out, chemistry does applies quite often to life (no pun intended).

One of the most recent chapters in my chemistry book was about light and how some kinds are visible while others are not; it is super complicated but very interesting! One of the things that really caught my attention was rainbows; how their made and why we see them, and whatnot. In the Bible, the rainbow was a reminder to mankind that God remembered the promise He’d made to Noah, that He would never destroy the earth by flood again. Yeah, as  a Christian I remember that story but I have never really thought about the gravity of such a promise; and when God promises something, He always keeps faithful to it. So when I began chemistry I went in expecting just to learn about science but I instead learned something about God and life too.

The science of light is really complicated, so much so that even scientists don’t understand it completely, which means I only understand so much. But here are a couple of good things to know about light:

  1.  Wavelength determines the color of light,
  2. Not all light can be seen by the human eye (ozone, gamma rays, etc.),
  3. Amplitude is how big the wavelength is and how bright it (the wavelength) is,
  4. Frequency applies to the number of crests between each given point per second,

Why our eyes can’t always see light is because of the makeup of that certain kind of light; why we have sight is because our eyes have “sensors” in them. All matter is moving, even something that is standing still (please don’t ask me, I barely understand it myself). Our eyes pick up the signals being thrown off of these “objects” that are always moving, and that is why we see things! Different lights use different signals, and our eyes can’t always pick up on them. I am not quite sure how it all works, but those are some of the basics.

Now that we know a tiny bit about light, I want to talk rainbows. Rainbows belong to what is called the visible spectrum (yes, I am eventually getting to the spiritual part of this post. Bear with me!) and that is why we see them (obviously). When it rains, water is suspended in the air and the droplets act like prisms; though the light from the sun may be yellow/white, the prisms separate the one kind of wavelength (color) to create all kinds of different wavelengths (colors). That is why the rainbow has so many colors!!!

With this in mind think about a rainbow.  It consists of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; red has the highest wavelength and violet has the lowest, but violet has the highest frequency of all the colors while red has the lowest. You still with me here? So, we have all the colors of the rainbow and we know that we can see a rainbow, but how do these colors ALWAYS appear in the same order when they form a rainbow? Well, God is creative. Red has a specific wavelength (color), so whenever a raindrop is suspended, it will always reflect the same as it did the day before; red has the same wavelength, so it will always be red to our eyes. It is the same for all the rainbow’s other colors. Think about all the effort God went through not only creating, but imagining the rainbow. He didn’t have to promise Noah anything, but He still did, and everything He does reflects Him. Just like the rainbow’s colors, God will be the same tomorrow.

God was the same yesterday and He’s the same today : faithful, loving, dedicated, a father, and merciful, the Creator of all. Hebrews 6:18 says that it is literally impossible for God to lie, and 2 Timothy 2:13 says that even when we are faithless, He remains faithful. Can you imagine what blessings would come if we remained faithful, how much more would He lavish upon us if we just trusted Him? Look at Noah: he trusted God with everything he had; home, family, and possessions he gave up to God to let Him do with it as He willed. Look at what he got! A rainbow, an eternal promise that is seen even to this day by all mankind. God created the rainbow as a promise to mankind, present and future, to know that He would not let a flood like that one happen ever again. Yes, He created it with mankind in mind, but Noah is the reason it exists. If it hadn’t been for his courage and faith, his obedience to God, we wouldn’t be here to witness one of the greatest wonders of the universe! That makes me think about how valuable one life can be, how the choice of one can irreversibly change the course of history forever. Noah changed the fate of the earth, Joshuah and Caleb were faithful and the only two of the first generation to see the promised land, and Christ changed the fate of man. And you and I can change the world, too, if we remain faithful to God and seek His kingdom instead of ours. One person, one choice at a time, and maybe one day we’ll have our own rainbow.

P.S. In Revelations it talks about a rainbow that is perpetually over the throne of God as a reminder of what He promised to us. Pretty cool, right?

“The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” –Gen. 9:16

The Selection by Kiera Cass (The Selection #1)

the selection kiera cass

“The Selection” by Kiera Cass.

5 out of 5 stars!

This has to be one of my favorite books of 2012, and thanks to Christmas and my lovely sisters, I now own this wonderful book!!!!  One thing I will say, though, is that this book is not for everyone. I would classify it as “fluff” (in a good way) compared to the other dystopian books that have been so popular this year; that is the reason why I liked it. All summer long I had been reading gritty, harrowing tales about the future of our world, and I was weary of the same old story. So, when I picked “The Selection” up to read (once again upon the recommendation of my sister, Liz. Shout out!!!) I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Normally I don’t like “fluffy” books, but “The Selection” was just so cute and fun that I didn’t care; I loved and still love this book.

“The Selection”  begins with America Singer telling of the day she received a letter in the mail. At the age of sixteen, every young lady in the country of Illéa is eligible to enter The Selection, where each young lady has the chance to marry the prince of Illéa. Many, many years have gone by without a male heir to the throne, but the wait has finally ended with Prince Maxon’s coming of age. Now all the young ladies are after the handsome prince’s heart. All that is, except America. She has already found her true love, Aspen, and nothing will stand in the way of their happiness, maybe except for one big obstacle: their social status. She is a Five and Aspen is a Six. Though only one rank stands between them, everything is virtually in their way. When the letter of all letters arrives at the Singer home, America has no intentions to pursue the Selection, not even if she could become a One. But Mrs. Singer has other plans in mind, and so does Aspen.  With a heavy heart and by the prodding of everyone she loves (including Aspen), America enters her application for The Selection. Much to her chagrin she is accepted America has no intentions of winning the Selection or to ever fall love again, but she eventually finds herself starting to do both. Will America be able to get over Aspen and all the pain he caused her? Can she find her own life without him? Or is she doomed to remain brokenhearted and friendless in the Selection?

Maxon is the Prince of Illéa, son of the King and Queen. He is destined to rule his father’s country and protect it and its people. Yes, he can do that. The Selection on the other hand is a very different story. Ruling a country seems easier than finding someone to spend the rest of his life with that is until he meets the lovely redhead named America. After a few interesting meetings, he finds the petite, spunky girl to be kind, smart, and very funny. Although he wants more than a friendship to blossom between them, America seems to have other ideas. Could America be the one Maxon is looking for, or is he only fooling himself?

“The Selection” was great! Not only was the cover beautiful, but the story inside was great too! I loved every moment of reading this book, and I think it is in my top five favorite books. Kiera Cass has done an amazing job of creating likeable characters that feel like long-lost friends. I also really admired America; she was smart, funny, and very likeable and she stuck up for herself. She never went behind anyone’s back to be mean,  and I liked that she didn’t let the love interests trample her. So many guy characters are total dirt-bags and get away with murder practically, yet the girl normally goes along with it. She gives up her life and dreams so he can get what he wants. America never did that; she respected herself enough to choose what was right for her but not in a selfish way. I really liked that, and I think it sets a good example for young girls to be a good person, to be kind and a good friend, but to not allow people to run over them and use them. “The Selection” was great and I CANNOT wait until “The Elite” comes out!

the selection

Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

opal by jennifer l. armentrout

Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

2 out of 5 stars.

Okay, today is going to be a slightly different post, which means I am not going to do an overview of this book. Opal was THE book I was looking forward to, but I was sorely disappointed by it. Obsidian and Onyx were great! I had fun reading them and loved that they were a bit different from the other science fiction books (mostly dystopian) that are so popular this year. Jennifer Armentrout’s books reminded me of a nineties and early two-thousand show called Roswell. I haven’t read really any alien  books in my fairly long reading career; Obsidian and Onyx were a breath of fresh (fun) air! Sadly, Opal was not like that for me.

Opal doesn’t really need a whole lot of explaining: it was pretty much the same old story that was being told in the first two books. The only thing out of the usual was that Dawson was home and that he wants to rescue Beth. While reading Opal I found myself to be disinterested. Obsidian was new so it was easy to read, Onyx was explosive, but Opal (for me) was not as good. I also found that Katy was pretty irritating, and Daemon was a flat-liner. In the other two books, Katy and Daemon were always sparring which was very entertaining, but their banter in this book was inconsistent and lackluster. I will say though, that by the middle of Opal, the plot-line does pick up, but by that point I just didn’t care that much.

Nearing the end of Opal I realized that the only character that I liked was Dawson. He was the most interesting character and he was a little mysterious because Jennifer L. Armentrout didn’t delve into his time spent in the DOD compound. All you know is that he loves Beth and wants to save her, but that’s all you really know; I guess that fact made him so much more intriguing than any of the other characters. He was nice too, so that is a plus.

I will say, though, that Opal was well written. It had almost zero language and was a fluid, easy read. I have to give Armentrout 2 stars for that alone, but overall I felt that it was a bit deadpan (for me at least). But seriously don’t take my word for it; I have seen that Opal has gotten mostly 5 stars by its reviewers. So, for most people (apparently not like me) Opal was a really good read. Opal just was not my kind of book. I hope that his review doesn’t put you off of Jennifer’s book; she is a fantastic writer and this is a good series, just Opal was not for me. I do hope that Jennifer does a longer book/novella in Dawson’s and Beth’s perspectives. That would definitely get me to read more in this series. i hope this was helpful, and I am REALLY sorry if this review was harsh.