Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Invention of Wings Book Review

After completing, The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd, I loved reading the back story in the author's notes. To know that Invention of Wings was in part based on real people and real events, made me enjoy this book even more.

No, this book was not a fast read. It wasn't a book that I couldn't put down for a second, but it was a book that made me remember what others have had to go through and endure in the past, that shouldn't be forgotten.

I love Sue Monk Kidd's voice as an author and her words painted such detailed pictures in my mind as I read the book. Some details that at times were difficult to read because of the inexcusable cruelty that slaves have had to endure during this time period.

I like the quote that Kidd shared at the end of her Author's Note from the words of Professor Julius Lester, "History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another's pain in the heart of our own."

Beautiful story Sue Monk Kidd. Thank you for sharing it with us!

~ This Artistically Shauna blog post, The Invention of Wings Book Review, was originally written on Nov. 24, 2015.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Currently June 2015 Journal Page Freebie and Link Party

Currently... June 2015 Journal Page 
Several times while cruising around Pinterest I have come across these brilliant "Currently.." journal pages. I have loved their simplicity and fun factor. I thought that this would be a great activity to do with my little girls who share my love of journal writing. So, we grabbed a few items for inspiration, laughed a lot, filled out the "June Currently.." journal pages I created together, and then shared them with each other. We can't wait to make this a new tradition.

 My "June Currently...Journal Page". I loved filling this out and my plan is to adhere it into my actual journal. I have been writing in a journal since I was 8 years old. I owe my love for journal writing to my late Grandmother Lois Passic. What a great influence she was and still is in my life.
 My 10 year old daughter's "June Currently...Journal Page." We moved about two months ago to a new area, and it has been quite an adjustment for my oldest daughter. We have moved a lot and we are hoping to put down roots and stay in our new home for a long time. In the meantime you can see that my daughter is definitely missing her friends, and wishes that she could make some new friends sooner than later. She is the sweetest little girl. I had to laugh at her referencing "alone time" a few times. I am thinking that even though she is best friends with her little sister, that she is feeling like she is needing a little bit of a break. Normally at our last house we would have 3-4 friends stop by daily to play or "hang out", so now that we are in a new area, and the girls haven't met a lot of new friends, they have been spending A LOT of time together. Once again, I think this is where her "Needing Alone Time" comes in. Ha!
My 8 year old daughter's "June Currently...Journal Page". I love how for her "Currently Loving" answer my 8 yr. old wrote, "Currently loving doing this project with my mommy." After she wrote that she said, "Yeah, I said Mommy, not just Mom." I love that she doesn't think she is 8 going on 16 all of the time.

CLICK HERE to grab your own free copy of my June Currently.. Journal Page to print out, or simply right click the image and save as a JPEG. I actually used one of my paintings for the background, which made me smile.

Make sure to come back next week for a new "July Currently...Journal Page" freebie. 

If you download and fill out my " June Currently... Journal Page" freebie, share you blog post with the InLinkz Link Up Tool below or share your social media post link in the comment box below. I can't wait to stop by and say hello.  Happy writing!

An InLinkz Link-up

This "Currently June 2015 Journal Page Freebie and Link Party" blog post first appeared on my blog, Artistically Shauna, on June 30, 2015.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd Book Review

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd Book Review

Book Summary:

Willowgrove Hall is a place full of beauty, wonder, and secrets. Soon, these secrets will be exposed and could change everything. 

Cecily Faire has a difficult past that she intends to keep a secret. Darbury, England, 1819, Cecily embarks on a new chapter of her life as a Lady's Companion, at the esteemed  Willowgrove Hall. Both nerves and excitement overcome Cecily as she sets out on this new journey. What will her future behold? Then, without any warning, she is confronted by the one person who knows the truth about her past.

Nathaniel Stanton is kind, handsome man, who happens to be the steward of Willowgrove Hall. Nathaniel's life is dedicated to serving those around him, yet he keeps his real identity and dreams to himself. Nathaniel has a secret of his own, he is the illegitimate son of Willow Grove's former master. 

As Cecily and Nathaniel get to know one another, they are drawn to each other. Yet, their secrets could be the one thing that changes the course of their lives in a way that they had not imagined. 

I love what it says on the back cover of the book, "Her secret cloaks her in isolation and loneliness. His secret traps him in a life that is not his own."
My Review:

I have heard wonderful things about the author Sarah E. Ladd, and I can't believe that up until now I haven't had my hands on one of her books. Ladd's Regency writing is authentic, engaging, and leaves you wanting more. Sarah E. Ladd is a best-selling Historical author. I had actually added A Lady at Willowgrove Hall to my "to read" list on Goodreads a while ago, so when the opportunity came up to review this book, I couldn't have been more excited. 

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall is an excellent novel that has love, a little bit of mystery, and adventure, as well as moments of finding one's self. Like I have mentioned before, it is not often that I pick up a book, begin to read it, and literally have a hard time putting it down until it is finished. A Lady at Willowgrove Hall is just that kind of book. I became so invested in Ladd's endearing characters, that I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next, yet at the same time I didn't want the book to end.

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall is book three of the Whispers on the Moors book series. I have not read books one, or two in this series, so I can definitely say that A Lady at Willowgrove Hall can be a standalone book. You can read A Lady at Willowgrove Hall without reading the other two books in the series first. However, once you read this book, you will want to start reading another one of Sarah E. Ladd's books as soon as possible. 

To purchase your own copy of A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd you can CLICK HERE to be taken to Amazon or CLICKHERE to shop at Barnes and Noble.  

About the Author:
Photograph Copyright: www.sarahladd.com
"Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever." 

Want to find out more about Sarah E. Ladd's books? You can CLICK HERE to go to her Twitter page, CLICK HERE to see her on Facebook, CLICKHERE to see her on Pinterest, and CLICK HERE to go to her website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program (http://booklookbloggers.com). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

This "A Lady of Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd Book Review" first appeared on my blog, Artistically Shauna, on March 31, 2015. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Furry Logic by Jane Seabrook Book Review

Furry Logic ~ A Guide to Life's Little Challenges by Jane Seabrook 
Book Review
 As soon as I opened the book, Furry Logic, by Jane Seabrook, I knew right away that I was going to love it. Furry Logic contains three things that I love: adorable illustrations, animals, and hilarious quotes. Once you begin to read this treasure of a book, you won't be able to put it down. Your curiosity and desire to laugh, will keep you turning the pages one by one until you have finished the book. Furry Logic is the perfect book to give as a gift or have at your home to read when you need a laugh or a little pick me up. 
Book Summary:
Furry Logic contains detailed and charming illustrations of all different kinds of animals such as: penguins, owls, frogs, snails, cats, etc. Each animal has a funny saying about life, love, and everything in between. In the back of the book there is a note from the talented author/artist, Jane Seabrook. Jane talks about how much she has loved creating all of the furry creatures that adorn her books. Jane also explains that all of the paintings in the book were created using the art medium watercolors, which happen to be her favorite art medium. Guess what? Watercolors are my favorite art medium as well. I could watercolor paint all day if I had the time. 

My Review:
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I absolutely adore Furry Logic. It will definitely be my go to book to buy for friends, family, and neighbors when I want to brighten someone's day. There is so much to love about this book. 

Do you want your own copy of the 10th Anniversary Edition of Furry Logic? You can CLICK HERE to go to Amazon or CLICK HERE to go to Barnes and Noble. 

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. The opinions expressed in my review are unbiased and reflect my honest judgment and opinion of the book.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ignite the Light Book Review


Ignite the Light Book Review 

Ignite the Light - Empowering Children and Adults to be Their Absolute Best is a book written by Vicki Savini. Savini has been motivating both children and adults to be their absolute best for the past 20 years. Savini is a public school teacher, a parent, and a speaker who empowers individuals to believe in themselves and live their truth. On the back cover of Ignite the Light, it says that "this book will give you the tools to educate, enlighten, and empower our children to see that they are perfect just as they are."

My Review:
I tend to read non-fiction books at a slower pace than I read fiction books. It is not that I enjoy fiction books more than I enjoy non-fiction books. I just find while reading non-fiction books I really internalize and think about each part of the book. This was exactly the case while reading Ignite the Light, by Vicki Savini. I read Ignite the Light over a period of time because I really wanted to grasp the message that the author was wanting to share in her book.

I am both a parent as well as an educator, and I have worked with children in many different settings. I felt like Ignite the Light would be something that I would be able to relate to as well as be able to use as a tool when working with children. Upon finishing Ignite the Light I had a little bit of a mixed review. A part of me absolutely loved some of the beautiful passages in the book as well as Savini's life experiences she shares. Another part of me felt like there was a lot of repetition in the book amongst the different sections. I also felt the book didn't flow in a way that made the author's thoughts feel organized. Now, with that being said, I do feel like Vicki Savini offers a lot of valuable wisdom throughout her book.

Ignite the Light is broken into three parts:

  •  Part 1:See the Light        
  •  Part 2: Ignite the Light - The 7 essentials      
  •  Part 3: Be the Light
I am fortunate to be a part of the most marvelous book club! One of my favorite parts of our book club is that throughout the discussion of our book each month, a lot of our book club members share their favorite quotes from the book. So, I thought that for this book review I would do the same thing. Believe me, I have many more parts of the book underlined that I enjoyed, and it was hard for me to choose just a few quotes to share with you today. 

Without further ado, here are a few thoughts that really spoke to me while reading Ignite the Light:

  • On the very first page, the "Author's Note", Savini states, "I am on a journey of life just like you, and I feel truly honored that our paths have crossed." I absolutely love that statement and I can't tell you how many times I have told someone that I am so glad that our "paths have crossed" in this lifetime. I always learn something from everyone I meet, and there are so many people that I have met that have been absolute blessing in my life.  
  • On page xvii of the introduction it says, "I love getting notes from high school seniors who remember my classroom not necessarily because of something academic that I taught, but because of how they felt there." I love, love, love this! This is absolutely how I have felt in my 9 years of teaching. I still keep in touch with some of my first 4th grade students I taught. Some are married, some have had their first child, some are finishing up college, etc. Just the fact that some of my students keep in touch with me and share their special life moments with me, it makes me feel like they truly felt important and loved while gracing me with their presence in my classroom. Honestly, as a teacher, we are the ones who are blessed on a daily basis from the sweet students that we teach. 
  • Page 9 says, "If we truly want to teach our children effectively, we need to begin by touching their hearts before we even attempt to teach their minds." Isn't that such a powerful statement?
  • On page 45 Savini explains that, "Helping our children to see the light within means holding a mirror up to them and asking them to see, feel, and believe that they're important, whether the world acknowledges that or not." One of my daughters has had a difficult time with her self esteem this year. It has broken my heart to know that she doesn't see the kind, talented, and beautiful person that she is. As a mother, I want nothing more than for her to see the "bright light that shines within herself". I truly love my daughters with all of my heart.
  • One last paragraph that I wanted to share with you is on pg. 58 where Savini explains, "As a child, I learned that my self-esteem, self-image, and self-identity were all based on the thoughts and opinions of others." Savini then goes on to say that she "finally understood that what really mattered was how I felt about myself. To be able to look in the mirror and love the person staring back at you is so very important." She then talks about how once we are able to love ourselves, that it will be much easier to show our children how to love themselves. So very true and enlightening. How often have I tried to build my daughter's self esteem up, while at the same time I have had negative thoughts enter my mind that say I am not good enough for this, or I should be better at that? Too many times to be honest. I hope to take Savini's quote more to heart.

     My Final Thoughts: 
      I too believe that we are all born with a brilliant light inside us. Hopefully within our lifetime we will discover what special individuals we all are. I know at times our children may feel like their light is dim and fading, while other times they may feel their light shining so brightly they could burst with joy. Ultimately, I hope that we will all see ourselves as our Lord and Savior sees us, the glorious individuals that we are.

Want to find out more about Vicki Savini? You can click here to go to her Facebook page, click here to go to her Twitter account, and click here to go to her website.

To purchase your own copy of Ignite the Light  you can click here to go to Hay House Publishing, click here to be taken to Amazon, or click here to shop at Barnes and Nobles. 

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment and opinion of the book.
This "Ignite the Light Book Review" first appeared on my blog, Artistically Shauna, on February 2, 2015.