Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Own Your Life"


I wanted to like this book. I really did. That title? AWESOME. But the content? Not so much.

Well, I take that back. The content was okay, but it didn't match the title. Ignoring the abundance of imagery and flowery language (not my style, but it works for some people), the book title and chapter titles didn't fit with what was discussed. I feel a better title would be "Own Your Faith". The author's answer to pretty much every problem mentioned in the book was "pray, read your Bible, and have more faith", nothing tactile, no practical steps to even improve those areas. I was also put off by the number of times the author mentioned all the books and conferences her ministry had produced, bringing up the same stories over and over.

I know a lot of women are loving this book, but it missed the mark for me. It wasn't what I expected, and not in the good way. It also frustrated me that like many other Christian books for women, it's assumed that all women are mothers and wives. I skipped the last two chapters because they were solely about marriage and motherhood. Truthfully, the only reason I finished this one was because I had requested it to review. There were just odd little moments in this book that didn't do it for me.

The reason it gets two stars from me is because it is a decent book...for someone else. For a different purpose. There were a few statements early in the book that I enjoyed and underlined, but then it fell flat.

2/5 Stars

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dublin's Best Kept Secret Museum

This last trip to Dublin I discovered the best little museum! I hadn't seen it advertised anywhere, not even on the grounds. How did I find it? Checking the hours of the main museum on the grounds.

Okay, that is a little vague, I'm just going to tell you what this amazing little place is: the Zoology Museum at Trinity College! I have never seen it mentioned in a guidebook, visitor center, or even at the college. When I went online to see when the Book of Kells and Library opened on the bank holiday, they listed the hours for the Zoology museum, so we decided to check it out. We stopped at one of the information booths outside the library to ask where it was, and they were so happy and surprised that we asked! Apparently no one knows about this museum, and that is a real shame, because it was one of my favorite things of the trip.

Located WAY at the back of the campus, the building is beautiful, like most on the grounds. The only acknowledgment that the museum exists is the small chalkboard sign out front.

Follow the signs to the second floor and you find the museum. It's two fairly small rooms, but they're packed with really cool things. The student guide was so nice and helpful! Instead of just answering questions, he helped us figure out the answers and was a fount of knowledge on all things animal.

The first thing I noticed was a giant horn on the table. I immediately knew what it was: A narwhal horn! One of the coolest things about this place: anything on the table you can touch and pick up. INCLUDING THE NARWHAL HORN! 


I would've held it up on my head except it's surprisingly heavy (also, ceiling). But seriously cool. I'm still really excited that I held a narwhal horn.

I had to ask what this next one was and was surprised because I didn't think it'd be so small! Can you guess based on my clue?


While we're talking about bones, you can play with lots of bones here! Like, look at this bucket of vertebrae!


Or this tray of chimpanzee bones for you to reassemble:


You can pretend you're Brennan working on a special case for Booth...or is that just me?

There's a complete elephant skeleton, too, but already assembled.


These were some of the mystery objects to identify. The top right you could pick up and handle to help figure out what it is (and no, I'm not telling you).


 Now, on to the teeth! There were plenty of different kinds to touch.


How cool are humpback whale teeth???


And finally, I leave you with these teeth and my lovely face. 
Help! I've been eaten by a Great White Shark! 


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Announcing the Build Your Own Read-a-Thon!

I'm so excited for this announcement! This morning I was thinking about read-a-thons and how so far this summer, I had only been able to half participate in one thon because none of them fit my schedule. So I had decided to make my own when it all came to me in the shower. Thus, the Build Your Own Read-a-Thon was born. And I want you to join me! Here's how it works.



1) Choose your dates. Choose any 5 consecutive days between August 2015 and August 2016 for your BYORAT that works for your schedule. This inaugural year I'm choosing Aug 25-28. Of course, with the nature of this -thon, you could do it multiple times during the year and have different challenges each time.

2) Choose your reading challenges. These are certainly not mandatory, but they make BYORAT more interesting. Choose up to 5, based on your reading habits. You can choose your favorites or, as I'm going to do,  put them all in a hat and randomly choose 5.
  • Read an entire book without putting it down
  • Read a book that's been on your TBR for, like, forever
  • Read a banned book (here's a list or two from the ALA)
  • Read a book who's cover is your least favorite color
  • Read a book with 400+ pages
  • Read a book with your name on the cover (either actually there, like the author name, or made up from letters in the title and author's name)
  • Read 5 books during the -thon
  • Read a full trilogy or series
  • Read a book you most recently acquired
  • Read a book that everyone has read and talks about, but you haven't just read yet
3) Choose your video challenges. Again, not mandatory, but fun. If you don't have a YouTube channel you can do the challenges as photos on your blog, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, whatever. Same as above, choose five, one for each day.
  • Socialize (aka make a video with another person: family, friend, whoever)
    • The topic of this video is up to you, as long as it's bookish. Play a game, take a challenge, gush about a mutually loved book, or for the brave, debate your bookish differences (Peeta vs. Gale, anyone?). Whatever. 
  • Bookish MASH
    • Remember that game MASH you played in junior high where you and JTT ended up with 8 kids living in a shack paid for by your job as a secret agent? Well throw some bookish facts in there to make your fictional life even better! 
  • Sequel Synopsis
    • Share what you think should happen in the sequel of a book that doesn't actually have a sequel.
  • Book Art
    • Take those books off your shelf and make them into something pretty! Stack them to make a castle, lay them out in the shape of a puppy, build a book flower...Use your imagination to add a twist to the classic book tower.
  • Cover Redesign
    • That book with the cover that you HATE? Here's your chance to fix it.
  • Fictional Character Interview
    • Get creative and ask a character what you've always wanted to know. Why was Snape so horrible to Harry? Why can't America make up her mind in the Selection? Ask those tough questions and let us all know the answers.
  • Foreign Review
    • Give us a review of a book you read this week with an accent. I don't care if you can't do a recognizable accent to save your life (that's me, by the way), make something up. That will make it even better.
  • Travel Advisor
    • Give us a commercial for your favorite fictional destination letting travelers know why they should come there. Should I go to Mordor? How do I get there? What's the weather like in Forks this time of year?
  • Love an Author
    • This one might be my favorite. You're going to take a moment to really thank one of your favorite authors. Send them a nice email, or even an old school letter (bonus points!). Take the time to do something a little more than a nice tweet. 
  • Take it Outside!
    • Film your update outside in the fresh air. Bonus points for actually reading outside, too.
4) Get started! Now that you've got your dates and challenges, get to it! Let me know when and where you're participating so I can follow along. Use the hashtag #BYORAT across all social media to find others building their own read-a-thons. I'm adding all this info to a tab at the top of my blog for easy reference. We've also got a GoodReads group started here!

I'm so excited about this and hope you'll join me in building your own read-a-thon. I think it's going to be a lot of fun!


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