Firsts... A Sneak Peek

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Welcome to Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List! 

Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List  a glimpse into what I am reading currently

Current book:


Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn a Sneak Peek on Reading List

Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

Sneak Peek:

"The one in control calls the shots, and the one in control sets the pace. Most important of all, the one in control doesn't get hurt." p 35

Initial Thoughts

I actually picked this one up after hearing a few college girls in my study at church talking about it - they said it was a popular book with their friends, but the message was crazy.  And yes, this is a book full of crazy, but that thing is, as a piece of fiction, it raises topics that many teens never discuss with their parents... yet shouldn't they?

Thank you to A Daily Rhythm for inspiring Reading List's Saturday Sneak Peek link up!

Meet the Hosts of Saturday Sneak Peek:

Marissa writes book reviews from a variety of genres and  shares thoughts on motherhood & life on Reading List. She loves to see what others are reading to grow her to-read list.  Marissa also enjoys photography and a new journal to fill. 

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Alyssa reads a variety of genres and writes about it at Sunrise Avenue. She is always looking for new bookish friends and recs'! Besides reading, Alyssa loves to bake and anything Doctor Who.

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Here are some rules if you decide to join in:

• Pick up whatever book you are reading (non-fiction, fiction, children's... really the sky is the limit)
• Open to any page you have already read
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page - make it interesting without flipping to a ton of different pages. 
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away -- You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so we can all add your book to our To-Be-Read lists!

This particular link up will be open for a month, so stop by often to share a new sneak peek, and grow your own TBR list!

Marissa at Reading List

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book reflection

Deciding to Reflect the Sun

Friday, March 25, 2016

Deciding to Reflect the Sun

Refusing to Be The Focus & Choosing to Reflect 

"I cannot believe she did that! I mean she says she is a Christian."

"How can he say such a thing? Maybe he is not really a Christian... you know just one of those churchy people on Sundays."

"There is no way I would become a Christian.  There is too much pressure to be a perfect little Jesus... lots of rules... no way."

Do any of these sentiments sound familiar?  Maybe they have been said about you...  Or maybe you've said them about someone else?  

Deep down I know that all people are flawed and very susceptible to making mistakes, or saying the wrong thing (Christians call these behaviors sin).  Since all people sin, that means that Christians sin too. Yes, even devout Christians who go to church weekly, spend time in prayer daily, serve their community and are full of hospitality for so many people. (Romans 3:23)

Yet the mentality that Christians must be perfect is hard to overcome. (Romans 7:15) There are expectations... expectations that cannot be met, as people are not perfect. And really, where did this idea come from?

Deciding to Reflect the Sun

A while ago I shared a great book - The Memory of Light - with you all.  One small, almost random point made in that book quickly stuck in my mind.  Of course, my wondering mind started to ponder it and pray over it... and this exact sentiment and expectation started to clear up.

Around halfway through the book, the main character is in a counseling session with her doctor, and the doctor gives her these words of advice:
"You are not the clouds or even the blue sky where clouds live. You are the sun behind them, giving light to all, and the sun is made up goodness and kindness and life." p 111

Now if you read the book, this will sound like good advice for the characters.  And for many readers, this might sound like good advice in general. This is where the idea gets started that we, people, are the sun, "giving light to all"  is an issue.  Especially when Christians use the term "Light of the World" often enough that not-yet-believers know it... And expect it.

The root issue comes from the idea that we are the sun - the mentality that leads to the statements from above.  If Christians are the Light of the World, and the sun gives light to all, then Christians need to be shining brightly all the time, never stumbling, or saying the wrong thing.   People are not so powerful, not really.

A dangerous side point comes when Christians start to believe that they are superior because they are the ones lighting the world. Starting to believe that we are the sun, taking on that responsibility, becoming the center of the universe, is just not a role we were created for.

The key point is that as people, we have been created to be image-bearers. (Genesis 1:26-27) Specifically, God, the Creator, made us in order to bear His image - we were created (all people) to reflect His glory and light. Christians quickly learn that God created all people to reflect His glory and so they strive to do so.  But reflecting light is not the same as creating it.

For people who have never seen the glorious brightness of the sun, the moon is amazingly bright.

We (Christians and not-yet-believers) are more like the moon than the sun.  We reflect the glorious light of the source of light, the sun, on to the darkness of the world in night. Christians try to take on this responsibility while most not-yet-believers will try to reflect another's light, or even become little suns themselves.

For people who have never seen the glorious brightness of the sun, the moon is amazingly bright.  It can seem "perfect" - something to rely on to always glow brilliantly.  But we know that the moon is only reflecting an even more powerful light. The moon goes through phases of brightness, sometimes it goes so dark that it isn't visible.  But the sun continues to give life no matter what the moon reflects.  And that is what Christians needs to remember - we do not have to be the sun. We just have to focus on reflecting the Glorious Light of the Creator.

Reflecting light is not the same as creating it. @Reading_List1

Have you heard any of the sentiments from the beginning of this post?  Felt like saying them? How do you deal with the pressure to be "perfect" as a Christian? Is this why you won't want to become a Christian?

Marissa  @ Reading List

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Cozy book hop

The Cozy Reading Spot #135

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Welcome to Cozy Reading Spot! 

This is your chance to share your posts, and then grab your favorite drink to curl up with and read other's posts.  You are welcome to share posts that tell us what has been on your heart, mind and bookshelves - yes that means just about anything goes.  As book lovers, we love to read, so share something for us to read today!

Last Week's Features

Marissa's Favorite

My favorite link from last week was by Whitney from The Poetry that is Life:  Epic Romance: A Literary Perspective.  She shares the literary terms Epic and Romance and how our current terms are not necessarily proper - as a word fanatic, I love seeing the meaning discussed like this!
Epic Romance: A Literary Perspective    a feature on The Cozy Reading Spot

Most Popular

The most popular link from last week was by Alison from Tickling the Wheat: How Safe is Your Child From the Television?  She shares some statistics on the TV viewing habits of American kids and some options on which programs to put on when you do give them TV screen time. 
How Safe is Your Child from the Television?  A Feature on the Cozy Reading Spot

Please link up all you've got!  

This is an open link up, not just a book link up...

There are just a few small requests I have. 
  • Please link to a direct post, and not just your home page.
  • I wish I didn't have to say this, but please keep it clean. I know books & posts can range the gamut on adult content, but please keep your posts and images clean for this one. 
  • Try to stop by another link and say hi. I know we are all busy blogging, reading and writing, not mention living our lives and keeping up with responsibilities - however, what makes the link up so fun is having new people visit your blog!  So spread the love and hop to at least one link for each link you leave.
  • Please include a link back to the hop in your post - the button codes are part of the flair page, but a text hyperlink is just as good! This simply allows others to join in the fun, and isn't that the whole point?                    

Join #TheCozyReadingSpot - share your posts & find new friends! #BloggingFun @Reading_List1

Cozy Reading Spot  {Reading List}

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The fine print: Please understand that by linking up with the Cozy Reading Spot, you are agreeing to allow Reading List to feature you in a future post.  That includes a link to your post, and a picture you've used on that post.  You are also allowing Reading List to share any post you link up with pinterest, facebook, twitter and/or google+.  Also, by posting in this hop, you are allowing your email address to be used for a weekly reminder of the hop - your email will not be used for any other purpose, period.

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Book review

Cold Shot: A Book Review

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cold Shot

Dani Pettrey

What makes a good mystery?  A horrible crime that needs justice?  A few characters who need to fix the world?  Or maybe need to fix themselves?  A book that is full of suspense?  Or maybe just a ton of clues that the reader can string together?

I'll be honest, I do not really know the formula for writing a mystery/thriller.  Even after taking a ton of literary classes and hearing the experts explain what is needed for a book to be a mystery, I still have yet to figure it out.

For me, a mystery is only good if the characters who are trying to find the criminal, or murder, or solve the "whodunnit" questions are interesting.  If the person who is in danger of being the next victim is written well enough that I care to find out.  Because if the characters are interesting enough, I have a hard time putting a mystery down, because I have to see if real justice is found.

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey  a Book Review on Reading List

Story Overview 

Cold Shot introduces Griffin McCray, Declan Gray and Parker Mitchell as well as their friend Luke Gallagher, as the main four friends in Dani Pettrey's new series, Chesapeake Valor.  In this particular story, Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg where Finley Scott is leading an anthropology dig. During which a body is found.

As a former SWAT-team sniper, Griffin allows his job as a park ranger pull him deeper into the case.  Once his friends, Declan and Parker get called in on the cold case, Griffin's history starts to rush back into his present.  Since Finley is directly involved with the discovery of the body, her name gets mixed into the crime, and her life quickly becomes in danger.  Yet, her history and spirit keep her engaged enough to fight off the fear that could quickly relegate her to a corner until the whole thing is solved.

As the mystery slowly starts to be solved, Griffin and Finley work together and realize even if you try to run away from the pain of the past, it is part of you who you are.  They learn to lean on each and face the past in order to make a better future.

Personal Likes

My biggest like in this book has to be the three central male characters - while this is Griffin's story, the other guys are clearly vital to the series.  These men were all strong men and yet they had emotions, fears, and insecurities.  The use of multiple speakers allowed each of these men a chance to reveal their inner struggles and reflection on what they hoped for - it was nice to see instead of men who were weak or on a power trip. As a bonus, the women in the book are equally independent and strong, and yet they were completely respectful of the men in their lives.

Considering this is a Christian book, you should not be surprised that Griffin spends the bulk of his internal dialogue in prayer. A few of the other characters also have clear Christian morals and standards.  While for some this might be too much, I thought it was just enough.  We clearly knew where each of these men get their strength and yet the author isn't banging church into our heads, which I truly can't stand.

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey a Book Review on Reading List

Personal Dislikes

On the dislike side, I felt like the introduction of the characters took up way too much of the first half of the book. Granted the mystery starts right at the beginning, which might be why the character background took so long.  This book a large group of main characters, since this is going to be Pettrey's new series.  And each character gets a good amount of time to share their current issues and past scars.  Here's hoping the whole series is good because otherwise this book was way longer than it needed to be.

Another minor issue came when I was discussing this book with a friend who watches Bones (and many other cold case crime shows) - she immediately started listing episodes that reminded her of this book.  So for some this might be a good thing for others, it might not.

Reading List Rating

Four Heart Rating on Reading List

I'm giving this one a four heart rating - I really enjoyed it.  I am hoping the rest of the series goes into more detail of the other characters.

My Suggested Audience

I would suggest this book to anyone who is interested in mysteries - even if you are not a big reader, but have an interest in any of the murder mysteries that fill so many channels every day on TV.  This is a clean mystery - yes there is a cold murder case, and the murder is trying to keep safe, which puts the characters in danger, but there really isn't crazy violence.  There are a few love stories that pick up, as this is a book series, but they are very tame, teenagers would be fine reading this book.  Please realize this is a Christian Mystery/Romance... not need to be surprised.  

Wondering Questions to Consider

This book is clearly focused on solving a cold case - yet the bigger intrigue comes from the fact that Griffin's life is completely different than what he had expected all because of one night that went completely wrong.  How many people do you know completely changed their life because of one night, one mistake?  Is there one moment in time when you couldn't handle what happened so you just walked away?  Does it still consume your thoughts?  Are you happy with the decisions you've made for your life?   Yep, all of those questions are issues that these characters struggle with, and so do so many readers.

How many people do you know completely changed their life because of one night, one mistake? #ColdShot  @Reading_List1

Are you a mystery fan?  Or rather, a Mystery/Romance fan?  Would you rather have a mystery where you are focused on figuring out whodunnit, or caring about the characters and their safety?

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

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***If you're interested in writing a book review on Reading List, please message me on the Facebook page! If you're curious about a book, ask me...  I love to hear from you! If you would like your book reviewed on Reading List, email me: the link is at the bottom of this page.

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Craft ideas

2016 Easter Round-up

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2016 Easter Round-Up

Help Us Celebrate Easter

In an effort to try to celebrate Easter with a little more enthusiasm I've decided to share some of the wonderful Easter posts that I've come across in the past couple of weeks.  As I mentioned last week, I'm surprised at how little I've done about Easter on here!  I mean.... I have been writing for years and yet there are less than 4 posts I've dedicated to the topic.

If you have an Easter post of any kind, feel free to link it up at the bottom, I'd love to add you to my Easter board, and gain some inspiration on how to approach this epic holiday next year.

Celebrate Easter an Easter Round Up & Link party for 2016

Crafts: for kids, and bigger kids

Easter Baskets & Easter Bunny Ideas

Thoughtful Reflections & Inspiring Ponderings

Share your #Easter tradition, books, crafts with us! @Reading_List1

Celebrate Easter a Link Up on Reading List

So... Here's our Easter Link up!  

Marissa @ Reading List

** If you're reading this from your email, click over and join us!  Reading List

The fine print: Please understand that by linking up with this Easter linky, you are agreeing to allow Reading List to share any post you link up with Pinterest facebook, twitter, and/or google+.

I'm linking this up with some these great blogs - check it out.

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