Review: The Lost Art of True Beauty by Leslie Ludy

Hello all! 🙂 I just finished reading this book and WOW. 😍 This is a review that I wrote for Goodreads (trying out a new format for reviewing 😅):

The Lost Art of True Beauty: The Set-Apart Girl's Guide to Feminine GraceThe Lost Art of True Beauty: The Set-Apart Girl’s Guide to Feminine Grace by Leslie Ludy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend of mine gave this book to me for my birthday, and I enjoyed it so much! I think that this is a book that every woman, young or old, should read. It was very informative, telling how to exude a Christ-like femininity, not the femininity of the world. I wish I could give it more than five stars.

Leslie covers issues that many girls and women can relate to, such as peer pressure, fashion, eating disorders, body image, forgiveness, and even creating a Christ-like atmosphere in your home, room, or wherever you live. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Along with the quotes on the quote page, these quotes had an impact on me:

“The temptations of the world must not be looked at, listened to, or entertained even for the slightest moment.”

“She feels emotion at greater levels, but she is not a slave to her feelings.”

“If we live in a sloppy, disorganized environment with clothes strewn all over the floor and dishes piled in the sink, we are likely to feel chaotic, scattered, and sloppy as we go about our daily tasks.”

“The more you mull over it [an offense], and go over the scene in your mind, the more it has an opportunity to take root within your soul and plant deep seeds of bitterness.”

“However, though we are not to accept harassment from the enemy, we can still thank God for the opportunity to learn how to fight, pray, and be strengthened in our faith – just as it says in James 1.”

View all my reviews

Book Review: Christmas After All

People are losing jobs. Businesses are closing down. Willie Fae, a cousin from Texas, lost both of her parents and had to move to Indianapolis to live with Minnie’s family. (Minnie likes having a girl her own age around, though.) Her family is having to eat au gratin (which is French for “with cheese” and basically meant that they added potatoes and cheese to everything to make the food stretch farther) for dinner most nights. According to Minnie and Ozzie’s (Minnie’s brother) “vomitometric scale,” or “vomitron” for short, most au gratin dinners rate high, such as the cauliflower au gratin, which rated a solid 8 of 10 on the vomitous scale.

Times are hard. She knows, she has been to the shantytown (which they named Curtisville after the vice president of the time) before and seen people living in little shacks built out of old tires and scraps, burning whatever they can find in large tin barrels to keep warm. She knows that Christmas this year will be different, but she doesn’t know how different. Will they even be able to have a Christmas?

★★★★

(Now that I am on Goodreads, I will be sharing the number of stars that I give each book – soon I will try to connect my Goodreads account to my WordPress account and you’ll be able to see what I’m reading! 😉 In the meantime, if you want to see what I’m reading, here is a link to my Goodreads account: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/74692007-penelope-payne)

Without revealing too many spoilers, and keeping in mind that this is a children’s book: I was a bit surprised that the topic of suicide came up. Perhaps I haven’t read enough children’s books written in the 2000’s, but I’m not sure how I felt about this; I guess I expect a G rating in a children’s book. However, the reaction that Minnie had to it was believable, it was portrayed in the right light, and it was realistic to how it really was back then.

Speaking of how it was back then… I so enjoyed how there was a section at the end of the book that told about the things mentioned in the book, such as the radio programs, movie stars of the era, recipes for foods that they ate in the book (that were not on the vomitron scale!), and photos from back then. It added depth to the story, and I love it when books are educational. It was a really great read for Christmas. 🙂

This was my third Dear America book. The other two were So Far From Home (The Diary of an Irish Mill Girl) and Voyage On The Great Titanic. I plan to get a review up for So Far From Home after I reread it because it has been years since I read it. But I remember enjoying it.)

Eclipse Rave, Eclipse Poem, And A Book Review 🌒

(Hang onto your hat if you are wearing one, this is going to be a longer post than usual. 😄) The eclipse yesterday was really amazing! A friend sent me a pair of (approved) glasses in the mail a few weeks ago and I was so ecstatic! I had been scheming, trying to find a way to get a pair with no luck; everyone was either sold out, or my computer wouldn’t let me order, but who needs luck when you have thoughtful friends and an amazing God Who provides? ♥

Even though I had the glasses, I was still a bit sad that I didn’t have a filter for my camera so I could take a photo of the eclipse. And then I got a wild idea…

😂 😂 😂 I still can’t believe this worked. God is good! ♥ This was the peak for Arkansas; no totality here. (It was about 89% at it’s peak.) It got a little darker, but it wasn’t anything like I saw for the people who were lucky enough to be in the totality. It was still an amazing experience though! And I wrote a poem about it.


Eclipse

Performance has just begun,
The moon eclipses the sun.

Moons shadow travels the land,
From Pacific shore to Atlantic sand,
Isn’t it all just so grand?

And in the midst of it I wonder;
My mind can’t help but wander…

Like Satan tried to deliver a blow,
Natural satellite blocks the glow;
Sun is too bright, creates a halo.

Even in darkness, God remains,
To guide us; Satan is in vain!

The only begotten Son,
Jesus Christ, victory is won,
It is finished; it is done!

I just want to sing praise
Today, what a gift He gave!

Reminders of His grace
Everywhere; I’m abased
And His sweet embrace

Tells His beloved children
Of His love, again and again.

As I stand captivated,
The eclipse terminated;
But joy abounds, elated.

The light defeats the night
As the sun again shows its might.


Even though I didn’t get to see totality this time, there is another eclipse in 2024, in which Arkansas will be in the totality path, and I’m really excited for that! I hope I can see it then. 😀 Speaking of, have you seen the 2024 eclipse path compared to the one from yesterday?

Image from Biblegematria, originally from NASA

When I first saw it, there was an audible “Awww,” which confused my dad a lot. I had to explain that it looks a lot like a cross – if I tilt my head. This fact was even more amazing once I was reminded of the fact that the sun went dark when Jesus died upon the cross. (Thank you, wordcoaster8550!) “And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” (Mark 15:33) That was one loooong eclipse, if that is what it was. How interesting is that?


To get myself even more excited, I pulled Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass from my bookshelf to read last week. It focuses on three teens preparing for a total eclipse. This is my second time reading this book; I read it a year or two ago and I loved it – it even has info in the back about yesterday’s eclipse (it was written in 2008)!

It’s a young adult book; I read a lot of YA because it doesn’t usually have quite so much cursing and suggestive themes in it.

What is unique about this book is that it has three points of view in first person – Ally, Bree and Jack. At first, this may seem confusing but when reading it, it wasn’t. Their points of view are so different, it was easy to tell them apart. Just in case it happened though, there is a symbol by the page number to let you know who is speaking – Ally is a crescent moon, Bree is a star and Jack is a planet with rings around it.

The following is the first sentence that each of them speaks to the reader:

“In Iceland, fairies live inside rocks.” – Ally

“I was switched at birth.” – Bree

“My father has no head.” – Jack

With introductions like these, I knew I was in for a wild ride!

Ally’s parents own a campground called Moon Shadow, in which they are preparing for the crowds who come to see the eclipse. Among the people coming to the campground are reluctant Bree, whose parents dragged her along, and Jack, who either goes here or goes to summer school. They have no idea that their lives will overlap at the campground and that they will change each others lives…

I identified most with Ally. Not knowing much about city life, knowing random facts about random things, living in the middle of nowhere, not to mention that she was homeschooled – haha, I liked her a lot.

If you’re a bit of a nerd like me, you’ll appreciate all the science facts about space in this book. 🙂 For a YA book, it was quite educational. And in places, it was hilarious. So for now, I’m going to experience an eclipse in totality through this book and its characters, and look forward to 2024.

Hope y’all are having a great week so far! 😊

Rapid Fire Book Tag

Rapid Fire Book Tag

Thanks for tagging me, Hannah! Sorry I’m a bit late in responding to this; I wrote it out and saved it as a draft and just realized I didn’t publish it. Oops. XD This was so fun to do! 😀

  • Ebooks or Physical Books?
    • Physical books! Nothing like holding the book in my hands, flipping pages, and if the book is old, there is that lovely smell!
  • Paperbacks or Hardbacks?
    • Hardbacks! They are not flimsy when I pick them up and they are harder to damage, and I’ve been known to drop and dent books before…
  • Online or In-Store Book Shopping?
    • In store, if they have it. I’ve found that many times, the stores don’t have them, so I go to eBay if that happens. XD
  • Trilogies or Series?
    • Hmm… I really love series. But trilogies are great too! Uh… series!
  • Heroes or Villains?
    • Heroes! 😀
  • A Book You Want Everyone to Read?
    • The Bible!
  • Recommend an Underrated Book
    • The White Witch by Janet Grube. I don’t understand why so many people on Goodreads rated it one star. It was one of my favorites. (It was about the plague in the 1600’s and a girl who was accused of being a witch. It was a great historical fiction novel. I’ve read it several times.)
  • The Last Book I Finished
    • Black by Ted Dekker. It was so good.
  • Weirdest Thing You Have Used as a Bookmark?
    • After ripping open the Kleenex box, I stuck the cardboard remains in a book. Does that count? XD Also, when someone gave me a book, I kept the little gift tag and used it as a bookmark. Oh, and there was the time I used a Goodwill receipt – but I was on the way home in the car and had no bookmark, so it was either wait to read or that. 😂
  • Used Books, Yes or No?
    • YES! YESYESYESYES – **ahem**
  • Top Three Favorite Genres?
    • Only three?! Uh… Christian, Historical, and Fantasy.
  • Borrow or Buy?
    • I usually buy, because we don’t go by where the library is often.
  • Characters or Plot?
    • Tough one! Plot, I guess? There have been times I didn’t like the character but the plot was good, so I kept going, but if the plot isn’t good, I’m not sure if a good character or setting would be enough to redeem it.
  • Long or Short Books?
    • Long! It takes a while to finish, but it’s worth it!
  • Long or Short Chapters?
    • Medium! #rebel Actually, short. Long is good too, but… short makes it easier to find a stopping place, haha. Or, long chapters divided into several parts like Winds of Promise (by Thoene) seems to do sometimes.
  • Name the First Three Books You Think Of
    • Switch by Ingrid Law, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper and Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose.
  • Books That Make You Laugh or Cry
    • Savvy by Ingrid Law made me laugh several times – it was great. The last book of Narnia almost made me cry. It was that good.
  • Our World or Fictional Worlds?
    • ACK. That’s hard. XD I love both, really, but I appreciate fictional worlds so much. Especially so after many attempts at creating some that failed miserably.
  • Audiobooks, Yes or No?
    • I’ve never tried an audio book, so I’m not sure.
  • Do You Ever Judge a Book By Its Cover?
    • …yes I have. I try not to, but it has happened, haha.
  • Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?
    • Yikes, that is hard too! Um… perhaps book to movie, because it seems like most of the time, they stick closer to the book.
  • Series or Standalones?
    • I CAN’T DO IT. 😂 Both are really great, but I do like that standalones end, while many series keep on going. However, I love so many series. I guess I’ll go with series. XD

I Tag:

Maggie

Incomplete Thinker

Eloise

Anyone reading this! 😉

No pressure to do this, but have fun if you do! 🙂

Titanic Talk + A Review of SOS Titanic by Eve Bunting

The R. M. S. Titanic sank 105 years ago today, and I think a lot can be learned from this tragedy. Here is a quote from my post a year ago:

I realize not everyone shares my interest in this historic disaster, but there is one aspect of it I’d like to touch upon. I saw a church sign years ago: “Men built the Titanic. God built the ark. Which one sank?” God had Noah build the ark, and did it sink? No. It stayed afloat for 40 days and 40 nights (and many months after the rains stopped). Noah had faith in God, not in himself.

In the back of Voyage on the Great Titanic, it has a timeline of events, and it amazes me how many things could have been prevented. People thought that the Titanic was unsinkable – they had such faith in their own works and were quite boastful and overconfident in themselves and the ship’s abilities – that they ignored the many warnings that could have possibly saved the great ship. (The book also says that the overworked telegraph operator even responded to one of the ships sending ice warnings, telling them to “shut up”.) In addition, they were so confident that the ship would not sink, that they didn’t install nearly enough lifeboats to even attempt to save all of the passengers who were on board. Proverbs 13:10: “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” The story of the R. M. S. Titanic is so sad. If only the people had not been so arrogant, maybe the Titanic could have been saved. But I guess we will never know.


SOS Titanic by Eve Bunting

When Barry is sent aboard the Titanic to go be with his parents in New York, it looks like it will be just a lonely journey across the Atlantic. His archenemies, the Flynn brothers, are in steerage while he is in first class, so he hoped that this would keep them at bay. Just when he begins to feel safe, he hears rumors of icebergs…

In a terrified rush of imagination, Barry saw the way the stars would see it. The way God would see it. Lying there big and black and helpless. A great sea creature, bellowing its death cries.

S.O.S. Titanic by Eve Bunting

My second post ever on this blog was about the Titanic. I included two book reviews for children’s books that took place on the ship. This year, I chose another children’s book, and I wasn’t disappointed! It was mostly clean. Not much filthy language (one word was used a couple of times at the end, which I could have done without, but it didn’t bother me enough to stop reading), no adult topics – it was a fun read. 🙂

Review: The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

s-l400

The Evanses, along with their four year old daughter Jenna, are much too cramped in their tiny apartment. When an opportunity arises for them to be hired to help out an elderly lady in her large house, the family of three checks it out. They move into the East Wing within two weeks.

It’s not long until Mary becomes like a grandmother figure, and is well loved by all.

And then tragedy strikes…

I loved how from Mary, The Evanses learn the true meaning of Christmas. I usually don’t get emotional when reading a book, but this one made me tear up at the end. It was phenomenal. It was so short that I read the whole thing in one day; it was only 90 pages. It’s a good thing he wrote two more books and made this a series! (However, this book reads like a stand alone, so if you want to read this one, you won’t get a cliffhanger at the end. But if you are like me, you’ll like it so much that you’ll want to get your hands on the next two anyway!)

This story promises to be a Christmas Classic. 🙂

Christmas Short Story Review: The Gift of the Magi

“One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies.” Thus begins one of my favorite classic Christmas stories from my childhood.

Della doesn’t have much money to buy her husband a gift, so on Christmas Eve, she makes a drastic decision to come up with the money in time for Christmas. I love how the ending is so unexpected!

I read it every December and I enjoy it every time. O. Henry’s writing style pulls me right in.

If you’d like to read it, it is public domain. It looks like the ones that come up first in the search engine are the edited versions, such as this one; the original text was so colorful and vibrant, I highly recommend it. Back then, I didn’t fully grasp a few of the words or phrases O. Henry used, such as “imputation of parsimony”, but it delighted me because it gave me new words and phrases I had to use dictionary to understand. And as an adult, I still enjoy this story immensely today. Here is a link I found that has the original text: The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry It is very short; only six pages long, but it is worth the read, and puts me in the Christmas Spirit. 🙂