A + A Friday!

Hey, look.  It's on TIME.  AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
AWKWARD
  • Having a serious conversation with your friend and a bug or frog decides to interrupt at the most inopportune moment. . . "Uh-huh.  Yep, thanks for your input, Mr Frog."
  • When people give me compliments:
  • Hahaha! Yes, oh the accuracy!
  • Burping doggies.  O_o
  • When a stranger decides to randomly show you her cute little niece while you wait in line at Starbucks.
  • Sometimes you wonder if it's really wise to work at a bookstore. . . Why?  BECAUSE THEY'RE ARE SO MANY GOOD NEW PRETTY BOOKS OUT THERE.  And you don't have all the moneys!!


AWESOME
  • When your mama buys you a beautiful pottery mug on impulse, simply because she knew you liked it.
  • A Sundee day trip to Pigeon Forge with the fam and my dear friend.
  • I love this poem:

  • The smell of honeysuckle.
  • When up an' coming authors (Rachel A. James, Ashley Townsend) contact you via your blog and ask if you'd review their books.  EEE!  Do you really know how much I love to READ?? xD
  • Watching a big storm roll in while on your front porch.  You and friend are sitting on the swing waiting for the cold raindrops to drive you inside.
  • Finding the courage to try something new at Starbucks: Double Chocolaty Chip frappuccino! O_O  OhmigoodnessgraciousstarsaliveblesstheheartsofthosewhoinventedsuchachocolatycolddrinkforSummertimeballoonsforallandflowersandicecreamfortheirbrilliance!!!!  xD <3
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Kinda sparse this time 'round. . . Heheh.  Still, I hope you gotta laugh out of it!
How was your week?
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Book Review!

The Forgotten Princess of Elmetia
Rachel A. James
Publisher:  Prism Book Group 
Genre:  Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Medieval Fantasy
Released:  October 22nd, 2014
{Goodreads}
It is 616AD, and one fatal night the ancient Kingdom of Elmetia falls. Saxons kill the Elmetian King, and capture Princess Teagen. Teagen poses as a slave girl and works for the Saxons in the Kingdom of Deira, until she discovers her brother is alive. She finds a way to escape, and her path crosses with Ryce the Warrior.

Struggling with his past, and angry against the tyrant Saxon king, Ryce helps the princess in pursuit of her brother. But just as the connection between them intensifies, obstacles get in their way. The Saxon king now wants vengeance, and will stop at nothing to get it.
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WARNING: Possible Spoilers
I was provided a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

{The Basics}
Oh my.  This has been put off for far too long.  I am so thankful to Mrs. James (the author) for contacting me with the offer to read and review this book.  It was such a pleasure! and I apologize to her for not having the review ready beforehand.

This is a simple, yet lovely story.  And an easy read.  I truly enjoyed this tale!  I did say it's a historical fiction, and to a point, that is true, though there didn't seem to be much of the historical in it other than the time period and names of kings.  Still, it was rather good. 

Teagen is the rightful princess of Elmetia, but upon the death of her father, she goes into hiding posing as a slave girl in the Saxon kingdom of Deira.  It is there, years later, she learns her older brother is alive and there are rumors of him rallying an army to take back his kingdom.  On impulse (and perhaps against her better judgement) she sets out in search of him, which in turn takes her on a whirlwind adventure.

{Positives}
Niall, Teagen's brother (and true heir to the Elmetian crown), is married to Cinnia.  Though their marriage is rather rocky and unstable, they come together and promise to try harder.

{Negatives}
Teagen doesn't seem as grief-stricken as she should be when switching clothes with a dead friend. . . Sure, she's under tremendous pressure, but her home is under attack, her father was just killed, she's separated from her brother, and is trading clothes with a dead friend in order to conceal her identity.
Cinnia is rather bitter to Teagen at first (we learn she has problems in bearing children).

Teagen learns a horrible secret and knows she should grant forgiveness to a certain person, but cannot find the grace to do so.

The Saxon king forces a boy to do something, threatening his family.

{Spiritual Content}
Teagen believes in the Christian faith.  She prays as often as possible and is grateful to her God for providing for her in all her years of captivity.  Ryce, on the other hand, cannot give his faith so easily.  He struggles with belief and admires Teagen's peace.

{Violence}
A man is found with a stab wound.  There is a great battle, wherein the kingdom of Elmetia falls along with her king.  Men die.  

Teagen stabs a man in the chest.  At one point, she is assaulted by outlaws (nothing too serious) and receives a head wound; she passes out, coming to with minor memory loss.  Later, she falls from a tree and breaks a leg, sustaining another bad head wound and a more major case of memory loss.  [My first reaction to this:  Really?  It just seems like one thing after another happens to her.  I admit, I was a bit irritated with the loss of her memory and the entire attitude change to some characters.]

Ryce is stabbed, falls over a palisade and thought dead.

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
A bad guy calls another man an "imbecile."  No alcohol content that I can recall. . . Possible mention of wine and such during parties. . .

{Love-y Content}
There is an attraction between Ryce and Teagen.  A bit of hand-holding.  Minor touch--she rides in front of him on horseback, he carries her a couple times.  At least one tender kiss. 

{Conclusion}
Overall, I enjoyed this little tale.  If you like a good medieval story that's an easy read, with adventure and a touch of romance, this is a lovely one to try.  

Again, my thanks to Mrs. Rachel James for allowing me to review!

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Recommended ages:  13+
My rating:

What's in a Name?

Well, hi there.  Here's some new names for you!

Dane
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English
Pronunciation:  DAYN

Meaning & History
From an English surname, which was either a variant of Dean or an ethnic name referring to a person from Denmark.  The surname Dean comes from the Middle English deen, which is ultimately derived from Latin decanus, meaning "chief of ten."  (Could possibly also be a variant of the Middle English word dene, meaning "valley.")
Asher
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Hebrew, English, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Pronunciation:  A-shǝr

Meaning & History
Means "happy" or "blessed," in Hebrew.  In the Old Testament, Asher is a son of Jacob and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.









Evan
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Welsh, English
Pronunciation:  EV-ǝn (English)

Meaning & History
Anglicized form of Iefan, a Welsh form of John, meaning "YAHWEH is gracious."


Koen
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Dutch
Pronunciation:  KOON (Dutch), KO-ǝn (English)

Meaning & History
Short form of Koenraad, the Dutch form of the German name Conrad, essentially meaning "brave/counsel."

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A + A Fr--WHAT--Saturday! Again...


AWKWARD
  • Fake crying over something and your siblings say you sound like a Star Wars sand people/person. . . Er, Tuskan Raider! That's the correct term. . . right?
  • Discussing ears and their shapes and sizes on the ride to Knoxville.  
  • When one of your coworkers dubs you "Stanley," simply because you forgot to put on your nametag and was therefore nameless.
  • Ornery older men who don't get what they came for, but there's absolutely nothing you can do and they end up leaving rather upset. . .
  • Doggy drool--IN GENERAL.
  • When your friend's stomach growls during a serious conversation. . . and you both burst out laughing! 
  • When your mother's sneezes are loud enough to make you jump, or with enough sound can be heard OUTSIDE the house (Okay, okay, the windows were open, but they're still loud!) ;D

AWESOME
  • The smell of honeysuckle!
  • Getting ready to go to town, and you and your sisters are all in the bathroom at the mirror, putting on makeup and such and singing songs.
  • The little things: Early morning walks, bluebird nests in old fence posts, five days of work this week! all-out laughter with friends and family, the smile on a friend.
  • Washing vehicles with your good friend.  Needless to say, there were water fights and ambushes with the hose. . . But you came away with two beautifully clean SUVs and lots of laughter. 
  • Birthday parties for cousins and grandmother over the weekend.
  • Finding a new website: THRIFTBOOKS.COM.  Whoa, guys.  Go check it out!! You can find all kinds of books for an average price of $3.79 with $0.99 shipping, UNLESS you have $10 worth of books, then the shipping is FREE.  Yes, just $10 and then FREE SHIPPING!!  Hello, new favorite website.  [Oh dear, oh dear, tut tut.  Watch out, paycheck.]
  • This quote: 


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Thanks for reading, dearies!

Whatcha think of the blog design, eh?

Fairfarren, for now!
Sarah

Coming Up. . .

Why, hello there, lovelies!  Long time no see?  Yeah, I know.  My fault entirely. :]
Well, I thought I'd pop in to give a brief update and a heads up as to what's coming.  I've got some post ideas in the works, a book review, and hopefully the little bit of normalcy I wish to keep up (A+As, Name posts, etc.). 
Regarding some topic ideas, I'm putting together a couple of posts in relation to these subjects:
- Baptism -
- Consequential Sin -

Heavy topics, I know, and some I've been discussing with a good friend--hence my decision to share them with you.  So, stay tuned for those!!
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The upcoming book review: 

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So, there's just a couple things I'm working on.  Hopefully, something you faithful readers can look forward to. . . I'm so thankful to you all for sticking with me!  I find great delight in reading your comments, keeping up with your blogs, and such.  
Also, your prayers are much appreciated.  I cannot thank you enough!  My grandfather is doing so well.  In a way, it is a miracle of God that he has the energy and strength he has, even being in the third week of radiation.  Other than adjusting to the diabetic diet and slight nausea (greatly helped by the anti-nausea pills--which he would probably swear by), he is doing marvelous well.  Again, thank you, my friends!
Alas, I must leave you now.  Fairfarren, all!  Happy Wednesday!
Bado go Eru,
Sarah

A + A Friday!!

Hey there, my friends! Past time for an A+A post, right? Enjoy!


AWKWARD
  • Farm-girl mechanic by day, book-store employee by night (ninja in dreams).
  • When an older man (customer) asks for a recommendation regarding a mother/daughter devotional, then proceeds to tell you he's gonna dress as a woman and give a speech for a Mother's Day banquet thingy. . . O_o  (Obviously,in his mind, it was supposed to be funny.  But to me, it wasn't. So, I just gave a half-laugh and tried to help him find the devotional.)
  • When a customer, another older man, offers you a pill while digging through his pockets for change. . . O_O (His hand came out with a mixture of coins and two pills, and he offered one jokingly)
  • This:
  • When older women call you "baby."  (I think I've mentioned this before. . .)
  • At Walmart, picking up some items--you are in line at a fast check-out with a older woman and her buggy behind you.  Several times you feel her buggy bump your handbag, but it isn't until you get close enough to put your items on the tiny counter that she pushes her buggy against you.  At first, you think it's unintentional, maybe she doesn't realize she's pushing you.  But then it seems she does and simply wants to put her purchases on the counter as well, even though the lady in front of you is just now paying for her items!  The older woman forces you out of the way of her buggy and you are left wide-eyed and surprised that this sweet-looking woman would do such a thing.  Finally, it's your turn.  You pay for your items and head to your car, still astonished at such behavior.
  • One word:  SUNBURN.  Who forgets to put sunscreen on her legs, while raking hay for a few hours?? Silly SARAH, that's who.  ;D

AWESOME
  • Finding beauty in the little things:  early morning walks with a good friend, hanging out laundry to sun-dry, planting succulents in little pots, picking strawberries, sitting in the porch swing late evenings and watching the stars come out.
  • When your manager calls the store and you end up answering: "Thank you for calling Cleveland LifeWay, this is Sarah.  How may I help you?" and she tells you that you sound so friendly. 
  • Stopping in at your grandparents house for a surprise visit, after a walk through the back woods with a friend.
  • When your dad sends you this pic and you burst out laughing:

  • When a stranger says she likes your hair.  Definitely brings a smile, because you know it's rather messy and flyaway from a long day at work.
  • The amazing amount of foreign customers that visit LifeWay: Canadians, a South African family, a sweet girl from Nigeria, a lady born in Ukraine.
  • Watching the AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON with a dear friend opening night, then going to see it again with your family and another friend (a couple days later)!!
  • In the hayfield all week long!!  *takes deep breath of the smell of golden dryness* Oh, how I love this season!
  • Raking hay with your good friend riding along keeping you company.
  • "This is LamininThe molecule, Laminin is the protein that holds human beings together. Do you notice its shape? Isn't it amazing that God would think so far in the future, and make the very thing that makes us think of Jesus, make up and play a crucial role in how we are formed? God formed you to not only live as an image of Christ, but to never escape the fact that you are HIS! We are branded by the Cross! 'He is before all things, and in him all things hold together' (Colossians 1:17)"  AMAZING.


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So, how's your week been?  Any awkward/awesome-ness happen worthy of recording??  Haha! If so, I'd love to know!  Shoot me a comment--or better yet, write your own A+A post!!

Happy weekend, y'all!

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Book Review | Deception on Sable Hill

Deception on Sable Hill
Chicago World's Fair Mystery #2
Shelley Gray
Publisher:  Zondervan
Genre:  Mysteries, Christian Fiction, Historical
Released:  April 7th, 2015
{Goodreads}
It's mid-September of 1893 and Eloisa Carstairs is the reigning beauty of Gilded Age Chicago society. To outsiders she appears to have it all. But Eloisa is living with a dark secret. Several months ago, she endured a horrible assault at the hands of Douglass Sloane, heir to one of Chicago's wealthiest families. Fearing the loss of her reputation, Eloisa confided in only one friend. That is, until she meets Detective Sean Ryan at a high-society ball.

Sean is on the outskirts of the wealthy Chicago lifestyle. Born into a poor Irish family, becoming a policeman was his best opportunity to ensure his future security. Despite society's restrictions, he is enamored with Eloisa Carstairs. Sean seethes inside at what he knows happened to her, and he will do anything to keep her safe-even if he can never earn her affections.
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WARNING: Possible Spoilers

{The Basics}
First of all, this is the second book of the World's Fair mysteries.  You can find the review to the first here.  While I believe this novel could be read independent of the first, there are brief references to characters and events that happened previously that are worth knowing.  
With that said. . . Hey, look! Another mystery!! And boy, just as good as the last one.  I was kept on my toes most of the time.  "Deception" was the perfect word for this novel, as it was difficult to find the culprit.  I found myself thinking, "Oh, yeah.  It's gotta be that guy..."  Only to discover it was-- Wait.  I ain't givin' that kind of spoiler.  ;D
{Positives}
The characters respect their different classes, but when necessary choose to neglect them.  Rank, in all honesty, means nothing.  Just because a person grew up poor and was forced to work for a living, does not mean they are unequal to those born to wealth.  In all reality, it's usually those who find blessings and gratefulness in what they have (and even what they don't have) that have a better perspective on life and nobility of character.  Both Eloisa and Sean learn the stark differences in their lives, and strive to work past them, building a strong friendship.
Eloisa puts great effort into helping/caring for a shelter for women and children.  She gives clothing, toys, and books to the residents, ignoring the wary looks of the women, who feel at first that she's only helping to further her perfect reputation.  But she's determined to help with sincerity and gain trust.
Eloisa's friendship with her personal maid is very sweet.  She has a good confidant in Juliet.
{Negatives}
Society and classes play a huge part is this drama.  Your birth rank, whether low or high, is just that: a rank.  High society women mingled only with high society men, and the same with the working people, who were considered lowly--equal to peasants, which most are.  It is frowned upon for two people of different classes to mix.  But in the modern age of 1893, Eloisa believes change is coming.
Throughout the first half of this book, Eloisa seems to feel sorry for herself, and constantly relives the past.
Sean's sister Maeve is rather rude and blunt to Eloisa.
Eloisa's parents seem to care only for her beauty and reputation.  They wish her to marry well and wealthy.
{Spiritual Content}
Characters pray to God, go to church, etc. 

{Violence}
It's murder, y'all.  So, of course, there's a bit of violence. . . A criminal, dubbed the Society Slasher, is going around the city knifing women of importance, leaving them as frightened recluses, all too conscientious of their new scars and marred features.  It's believed the victims' chances of marrying well is ruined because of it.  They care far too much for appearances.  
Victims are slashed with a stiletto knife on the face and neck, leaving scars.  At least two women are killed.  

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
None that I recall. . . 

Brandy and such at extravagant parties.  I think one man becomes slightly inebriated. . .

{Love-y Content}
In the previous novel, Eloisa is raped.  She lives in constant fear and is haunted by dreams.  For fear of her reputation, she tells no one of what happened, with the exception of a select few.  Her parents are totally oblivious.

There is obvious attraction between Sean and Eloisa.  But because of their two very different lives, they strike up a cautious friendship at first, which only grows.  I loved seeing how their relationship changes.  They grow comfortable together and come to care deeply for each other.  

{Conclusion}
Another favorite!  I enjoy the historic setting, the parties, the era, the ballgowns--everything!  The plot held my attention and I was surprised at the outcome (although it doesn't seem to take much to surprise me).  Still, it was a great mystery and I cannot wait for the next!
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Recommended ages:  16+
My rating:


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What's in a Name?

Oh wow.  I'm such a horrible blogger.  Missed yet another A+A post. . .
HOW COULD I???

I apologize, my faithful friends!  I can only hope this pitiful little Name post will appease you while I draft a couple more book reviews and gather my awkward/awesome things.  I plan to give a brief update soon regarding life in general, including details on my grandfather's condition.  He's doing well, undergoing radiation, but still managing to stay in the thick of farm-life.  They say you can't keep a good man down, and, boy, do I believe it!

Bear with me, lovelies!

Indigo
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English (rare)
Pronunciation:  IN-di-go

Meaning & History
From the English word indigo, for the purplish-blue dye or the color.  Ultimately, it is derived from the Greek Indikon, meaning "Indic, from India."

Avalon
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English (rare)
Pronunciation:  AV-ǝ-lahn 

Meaning & History
From the name of the island paradise King Arthur was taken to after death.  There is a possibility that the island's name is related to the Welsh word afal, meaning "apple." 





Happy Monday, all!  Fairfarren, for now.

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Names and meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.