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Review: In The Herd — by Jayne M. Silberman

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: In the Herd  : A Photographic Journey with the Chincoteague ponies and Assateague ponies

Author: Jayne M. Silberman

Rating:  ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

Genre/Pages: Photographic Documentary / 160

Summary: “The 140 unforgettable images that make up this unique photographic journey are the result of the long-term, unprecedented access the author/photographer was granted to one of this country’s wildest and most beautiful places. Every July, some 40,000 people converge on the barrier islands off the Virginia-Maryland coast to observe the annual Chincoteague Pony Swim, a trip that takes the herds only seven minutes to complete (with the assistance of the famous Salt Water Cowboys), but is critical to their preservation. This is the element of herd life best known to the world. But there is so much more to see and know about the wild herds. With the support and cooperation she has received from the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and National Park Service, noted wildlife photographer Jayne M. Silberman has devoted years to visiting the area and getting to know the animals firsthand and in every season—their relationships, rituals, behaviors, habits, family life, and intimate moments.  The result is this moving and beautiful array of gallery-quality photos, accompanied by an informative 8,000-word essay presenting the history of the herds and many fascinating details about their environment and way of life. A foreword by Diana XX, queen of XX, completes this enduring, one-of-a-kind volume that will be heralded by lovers of the natural world and fine-art photography, as well as the thousands of devotees of the wild horses themselves.”

Cover Review: This cover is absolutely gorgeous. There’s nothing bad I can say about it –  It’s a beautiful hardcover coffee table-sized book, and it’s perfect.

My Review: As a baby, my first word was “horse”. As a toddler, I had an endless supply of horse toys and stuffed animals. When I was 5, I saw an ad on the tv for horseback riding lessons starting with 6 year olds, and when I turned 6 I convinced my mom to let me start taking riding lessons. When I was 11, my dad took me on a week-long trip to Chincoteague and Assateague islands during the annual Pony Swim (popularized by the Misty of Chincoteague books), and I immediately fell in love with these beautiful wild horses.  At 19 years old, I still stay up to date on the movements and activities of the herds (and I’m still taking riding lessons, in addition to teaching riding lessons, and training horses).

So, when my dad bought me this book for Christmas last year, I immediately fell in love with it. It’s your classic fine art coffee table book, you pick it up and flip through it, marveling at the beautiful pictures, and reading through the wonderful insights and information about these specific horses, then you close it and flip through it another time. It’s not the kind of book you read all the way through in one sitting, but it is the kind of book you love coming back to time and time again.

To Sum It Up: The photography is breathtaking, and the story of these horses is beautifully told. This photographic journey is the perfect gift for the horse lover in your life.

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.

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TBR Spotlight: Death to the Undead — by Pembroke Sinclair

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Death to the Undead (Life After the Undead, #2)

Author: Pembroke Sinclair

Genre/Pages: Zombie Post-Apocalyptic / 286

Summary: “Seventeen-year-old Krista has already proven she can survive the zombie hordes.

After moving to North Platte with her distant cousin General Liet to help build a wall that will keep the zombies in the West, it becomes apparent that the zombies aren’t the biggest threat—some survivors are far more dangerous than Krista had ever imagined.

With the help of Quinn, a survivor and fighter from the zombie-infested wildlands of the West, they free the garrison at North Platte from the power-hungry Liet. But there is a bigger battle to fight.

The Families who rule Florida and use intimidation and the threat of the zombie horde to coerce their territory want Krista and Quinn captured, the zombies want to devour them, and other survivors want them dead. Caught between powerful forces, will they survive long enough to devise a new plan and put it into action? Or will they self-destruct?

Find out in book two of this thrilling apocalyptic series by author Pembroke Sinclair.”

Cover Review: I like this cover a little more than I do the first one. I know it’s going for the post-apocalyptic feel, but, tbh, I’m getting more of the Old West vibe from it. Which is weird, I know, because there is a modern fence, but whatever. I like the cover, overall!

Why I put it on my TBR list: I’m a huge fan of the author, and so when she offered to send me some of her YA novels, I happily accepted her offer. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t able to get to them before I left on my mission, so this spotlight post will have to suffice for the time being, and to serve as a reminder that I need to read them as soon as I get back. 

Okay, so what I like the best about this story, from what I can tell, is that the entire premise is not just escaping zombies. It’s about rebuilding a destroyed society, and the politics and danger involved in that endeavor, and that sounds like an epic book to read! I can’t wait to give it a try!

Read the first book? Or perhaps you enjoy jumping into books mid-series? Make sure to pick up your copy of Death to the Undead!

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.

TBR Spotlight: Faults — by Tudor Robins

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Faults (Island Series, #4)

Author: Tudor Robins

Genre/Pages: Equestrian Fiction / 260

Summary: “Giving up her pony didn’t make Austen’s sister better. Sacrificing her social life hasn’t done it either. But with her sister’s life at stake, Austen’s never good at saying no. So, when their mom decides a move to the island is just what Eliot needs, Austen says good-bye to her perfect summer plans.

Rand’s not on the island by choice, either. After drinking, driving, and crashing his neighbour’s car, he’s been sent to live with his uncle until a spot opens up for him at boarding school.

If too-nice Austen, and too-much-trouble Rand are opposites maybe that’s why they’re so attracted to each other.

New characters mix with familiar faces – not to mention plenty of horses and dogs – in this fourth book of the much-loved Island Series.”

Cover Review: Say what??? I can’t make heads or tails out of this cover… Cuz there aren’t any on it. It’s just weird… I mean, I’ve given baths to hundreds of horses, and I like to take artsy photos… But I would never take this shot and think “this should be on the cover of a book”. It doesn’t work. At all. 

Why I put it on my TBR list: I love this series. Like, a lot. It’s my happy series. It’s what I read when I’m sad. It’s like the Heartland TV series, except books… and completely different stories. But still. I love Tudor Robins, and I love her writing! I am so so SO excited to read this one when I get back from my mission and I cannot wait to see what more Tudor has in store for us!

Tudor restored my faith in equestrian fiction when I thought that there could be no more good ones. Then I found these books and they are so beyond perfect I can’t even. 

Are you a fan of the Island Series? Do you love horses? Make sure to go buy your copy of Faults!

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.

TBR Spotlight: Eye of the Storm — by Frank Cavallo

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Eye of the Storm

Author: Frank Cavallo

Genre/Pages: Dark Fantasy / 402

Summary: “On a research mission in one of the most remote regions of the world, former Navy SEAL Eric Slade and Dr. Anna Fayne are caught in a mysterious storm. Catapulted through a rift in space-time, they are marooned on a lost world.

Struggling to survive and desperate to find a way home, they must confront the dangers of this savage land—a dark wizard and his army of undead—a warrior queen and her horde of fierce Neanderthals that stands against him—and a legendary treasure with the power to open the gateway between worlds, or to destroy them all: the Eye of the Storm.”

Cover Review: You can tell it’s not an ultra-professional cover, but the artwork is still very high quality, and definitely has a very strong dark fantasy vibe. Based on the cover alone, I probably wouldn’t pick up the book, just because it looks too dark, but the summary makes it worth a try. 

Why I put it in my TBR pile: They had me at “Navy SEAL.” In addition to that, though, I added this to my TBR list because I always love a good old-fashioned modern-day character transported to a medieval, dark, fantasy realm. Not quite as much fun as an entire book placed in the fantasy realm, but the space-time rift always adds for an interesting dynamic. The only thing I’m kinda nervous about is whether it will be too Game of Thrones-y, because that’s kinda the vibe I get from the cover. But, as anyone who follows my blog knows, covers are usually horribly inaccurate representations of the book (which is a major problem authors need to fix). 

Anyway, I’ll keep y’all updated on whether or not I end up reading this one – I just thought it was definitely worth a spotlight to make sure other people know about it. Indie authors are the best! If this sounds like you’re type of book, definitely go check it out!

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.

Review: Twice Upon a Time — by Aya Ling

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. 

Title: Twice Upon a Time (Unfinished Fairy Tales, #2)

Author: Aya Ling

Rating:  ★★★★★★ (6 of 5)

Genre/Pages: Fairytale retelling / 319

Summary: “Seven years have passed since Kat left Athelia. Through the intervention of the goblin king’s baby daughter, the book is re-opened and Kat is transported back to Story World. Upon learning she is given a second chance, Edward is determined not to let her go this time. His chance of succeeding, however, seems like nil. Kat doesn’t remember anything of their past, she loathes life at court, and she’s anxious to return to modern world. Not to mention that there’s a price to pay for tampering with the book again…”

Cover Review: Absolutely gorgeous. More self published authors need to follow Aya’s example, because this cover is positively breathtakingly perfect. This is the kind of book that I want to have on my shelf not only because it’s amazing, but also because the cover is just so pretty.

My Review: So I was actually lucky enough to be able to beta read this book in exchange for honest feedback. Honestly, I am SO thrilled that Aya let me be part of her beta reading group because, even though I may not always be the nicest of beta readers, I love getting to see the process of how authors write the books that I love so much. I have always loved Aya’s books. They make me happy. 

Characters: I cannot possibly say enough good about these characters. I absolutely adore every single one of them. This is really where Aya’s incredible skill as an author shines through – her characters. They are all complex and thought out with detailed enough sub-plots that she could write spin-off books about each and every one of them if she so chose (man, I hope she does that. How could would it be to have a spin-off story dedicated entirely to Henry and Ella?). I love her characters so much. I know I gush about books and authors all the time, but I promise you, Aya Ling is one of the very best. 

Plot: I hate amnesia as the catalyst to a romance. It’s so dumb. It makes me incredibly angry. But… Aya Ling pulled it off. She actually wrote a fairy tale with star-crossed lover amnesia that I enjoyed reading. And I really enjoyed it. It was a page-turner, for sure.

Content Advisory: Things got a little bit…erm… heated, at two different points, and there was a sexual assault that almost happened, but it didn’t, and scenes of a sexual nature were almost entirely off-page, so you don’t have to worry about anything explicit. A few swear words here and there, but not much.  

To Sum It Up: Aya Ling is a masterful storyteller who has the ability to make you instantly fall in love with the world and characters that she creates. If you love, or even like, fairy tales, you need to read Aya’s books. I recommend Twice Upon a Time to readers 13+.

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.

TBR Spotlight: Life After the Undead — by Pembroke Sinclair

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Life After the Undead (Life After the Undead, #1)

Author: Pembroke Sinclair

Genre/Pages: Zombie Post-Apocalyptic / 248

Summary: “Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she’s going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they’re migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.

Zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of—the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.

Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair.”

Cover Review: This cover is a significant improvement on the one I first got from Pembroke, but it’s still not my favorite thing ever. It’s trying to hard to be mainstream, with it’s simplistic cover with random clipart as the focal point. BUT, I’d pick it up. It looks clean, professional, and intriguing.

Why I put it on my TBR list: I’m a huge fan of the author, and so when she offered to send me some of her YA novels, I happily accepted her offer. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t able to get to them before I left on my mission, so this spotlight post will have to suffice for the time being, and to serve as a reminder that I need to read them as soon as I get back. 

TBH, I’ve never actually read a zombie book before. But this one doesn’t seem to cliche, and I know that the author writes well, so I’m going to give it a try. There’s a first time for everything, right? I really like the premise of rebuilding a community after a tragedy, because personally, that’s one of my favorite book tropes and I love to read it. So I’m super excited for that!

Like zombie novels? Looking to try something new? Make sure to pick up your copy of Life After the Undead!

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.

Called To Serve Him: My 18-Month Blogging Hiatus

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I will be serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and those posts will be entirely my own opinion, and not representative of the opinions or stances of the church).

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after June 2018.

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This is a scheduled post. I’m writing this on Nov. 28th, 2016, but by the time you’re reading it, the date will be Jan. 4th, 2017, and I will be entering the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as LDS or Mormon). I will be in the MTC for three weeks, to help me become the best missionary I can be. I will spend a total of 18 months serving the Lord in Provo, Utah, and I could not possibly be more excited!

I am ecstatic to be able to share this exciting news with you!
I have been called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I will be serving in the Utah Provo mission for a period of eighteen months, and I will leave Jan. 4th. I’m super excited! Being able to dedicate a year and a half of my life to serving God and His children has been my dream since I was about 6, and by the time you’re reading this, I’ll have already begun to live that dream! I am so thrilled to be able to share the gospel and help show people how much God loves them. This church makes me so happy, all I want is to be able to share that joy with all of God’s children.

P.S. Anyone who’s interested in some more info Can follow these lovely links:

 Mormon missionaries: https://www.mormon.org/chat

Six Things You’ve Always Wondered About Mormon Missionaries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Un9qtWGDPA

Jesus Christhttps://www.mormon.org/beliefs/jesus-christ

The Book of Mormonhttps://www.mormon.org/beliefs/book-of-mormon

The Purpose of Lifehttps://www.mormon.org/beliefs/purpose-of-life

Being a “Mormon”https://www.mormon.org/beliefs/church-community

Dealing with Depression: https://www.lds.org/youth/article/dealing-with-depression?lang=eng

Other sourceshttps://www.lds.org/

https://www.mormon.org/

My Favorite Song about Missionarieshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzLE0W9geVs

 

As a missionary, I will be completely dedicating my life to serving others and sharing the gospel, and because of that, I will not be checking this blog, posting on this blog, or checking my various email addresses associated with it for the eighteen months I am serving as a missionary. I will try and write as many posts as possible before I leave, so that I can schedule them to go live while I’m gone, but I will not be reading comments / responding to emails / etc., for the next eighteen months! 

Thank you all so much for the support over the past 4 years of blogging, I’ve loved every moment of it!

See ya in eighteen!

Love,

Lynette  

 “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” – The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 2nd Nephi 25: 26