Author: Libby May

Still That Girl

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Hello! I hope you’re having a good week! I’m going to be doing a couple things here on this blog in the next couple weeks so hang tight.

My book Dewdrops and Butterflies is on schedule for publishing on…

Ah, don’t you wish you could know the date! There is currently no set 100% date but guys, end of September time. It’s coming so cloooooseeee!! So, to get my audience (you guys) excited and ready for this debut that I’ve been working on and to give you an idea of how very very hard I’ve been working and sort of the process and the challenges and the thoughts I went through, a lot of my posts from now on are going to be talking about my characters, my methods of writing and fun tips and tricks I’ve learned. I hope you’ll join me for this journey to publishing and thank you for reading!

Now, onto today’s post. Guys posts like these are my favorite kind to write. So most likely they’ll tend to stay the same XD.

Life the last year has been… Good. I didn’t notice anything extremely awful. God has blessed me with an amazing family and amazing experiences, I’m getting close to finishing my school and graduating. I met my best friend over Camp Nano in July and… It’s been nice. Calm. I’ve been getting my breath back.

I didn’t… know that things had changed from before. I didn’t know what happened changed me. A lot of my friends have grown up and moved forward. Ethan and Tanya had their baby boy and he’s gorgeous. The character I named Joseph has gone to Bible college and come back with a girl that he’s marrying in June and I’m so happy for them. I’m not as close to any of them as I used to be. On one hand that made me sad. I had no close friends, people to have Sunday parties with. They had their spouses or girlfriend/boyfriends. They’d graduated before me, and move forward in life. I felt left behind, but I’ve been trusting God in His timing. And I still am. On the other hand it was exciting, seeing that God had other plans for me and pursuing those plans.

I want to share a song with you guys that I listen to periodically. It’s in a large playlist I have and so whenever it comes on I listen. Last week I was doing chores and it came on and hearing the words washed over me in unbelievable awe. I couldn’t believe how… It spoke to me. It spoke of me. I never thought I would relate but I did. The truth that the words spoke into my heart almost knocked the breath out of me.

You were young, you were free
And you dared to believe
You could be the girl
Who could change the world.
Then your life took a turn
And you fell, and it hurt

But you’re still that girl
And you’re gonna change this world

I… Never thought of myself as a girl who would change the world. But I did want to change my world. I wanted to help other girls and encourage others to seek relationships with God, to guard their hearts. I wanted to be there for girls and I wanted to make a difference in their lives. I wanted girls to not remember my name, not remember my face, but I wanted them to remember back when they were young and think “That girl, she changed my life. She listened when no one else would.” Or “Her post really convicted me.” “Her life and work inspired me to be my best.” “She made a difference.”

I wanted to bring Jesus glory, you know? And I was throwing my everything into doing that. Fellowship and friendship and laughter and Bible studies and it was so much work but even as I was physically exhausted I was spiritually energized. I loved it.

But then things happened. And I fell harder than I admitted.
My relationship with Jesus didn’t suffer, but my dedication to… others I guess, did. My Bible study get togethers stopped all together. I smiled when I went to church, but I didn’t make new friends. I didn’t reach out to get to know others. I was… knocked off my feet. It wasn’t self pity. I was just… hurt. Shocked. But I didn’t know it.

I withdrew. I was trying to hold tight to what was mine and be content with that.

Life was good, but I was dreary. I smiled and laughed and I tried to be my best, but that old me was gone. I didn’t know what happened to her. I was starting to lose hope that I would ever have her back. I was starting to settle for this being the new me. Maybe my personality had changed. I wasn’t… B. R. B. anymore. I wanted to be but she. wasn’t. there.

And then… I don’t know what happened. It wasn’t sudden and it was at the same time. It took almost exactly a year to get my feet back under me. So many things fell into place… I.. can breath again.

This last week all I wanted to do was smile and dance and pray for others and read my Bible. Girls I don’t know what happened but Praise God it did.

I’m back.

I’m still that girl. I’m still going to change this place I call my world. I feel like nobody can stop me so long as I have God on my side and I’m ready to better myself, instead of hang onto who I was. I’m not terrified to move. I’m not scared to let my emotions show anymore, because I’m back. I’m happy again. I’m loud and I laugh and guys it feels so good to be back.

I’ve found me. I’m still that girl. And I’m so happy.

So what do I want to say? If you’re struggling through a down time in your life, even if you don’t quite know that you are, hang in there. You are still that girl. You’re still inside, and you will get through this. You will overcome and you will heal and you will come out the other side with a song of worship on your lips.

Stick to Jesus, know who you can trust and trust them. Pray for yourself and have others pray for you and smile as much as you can. You’re still that girl.

Live, love and LAUGH girls.
~Libby.

P.S. What do you guy’s think of the update? The colors? Fonts? Is it easier to read? Let me know in the comments!

Bible Philosophy Guidelines for Girls Journal Entries Random Facts

Salty

salty-geoturtle

Salty. I guess now a day’s we’re used to that word meaning bitter, mean, aggressive, annoying, etc.
That’s not the sort of salty I’m trying to be.
Mineral salt enhances, compliments and perfects food. The flavor of a meal is about a million times better if you add just a pinch of salt. Even in desserts. The Bible tells us we Christians are the salt of the earth. And that doesn’t mean we’re to be mean. XD

Matthew 5:13 says “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodded under foot of men.”

It’s odd how time has changed the implication of the word. The sort of salty people we run into on the internet or etc. (wherever else you run in to salty people) are exactly the OPPOSITE of the salt that we are called and are, in fact, almost the exact salt that is thrown underfoot. What use is empty salt? Nothing but to create traction on the floor in the ice or snow, and then it is forgotten.

Matthew 5 goes on to say “Ye are the light of the world…”
We are both the salt AND the light. We need to notice something particular about this. Light exposes dirt that was hidden in darkness. And when poured on a wound, salt burns.

Both light and salt aren’t always pleasant. Which brings me to say this in a very bold voice.

THERE ARE TOO MANY FLAVORLESS CHRISTIANS!

It absolutely makes me mad when Christians are neutral in places in life where God has a firm stand. STOP BEING DULL! STOP HIDING! We Christians are called to live life according to God’s guidance and for His glory. That will result in us SHINING A LIGHT which in turn then exposes what others are doing wrong.

Guys we are not called to judge those around us, but often people DO get convicted when they see our lives, or the way we live and the things we do or don’t do make them uncomfortable. Girls there is NO SHAME in living a life that you believe is right and in turn making people around you uncomfortable.

There are so many different branches this conversation goes so I’m just gonna do a couple.

What and why do you do the things you do?

Our attitude is so important when we speak, as well as the way we treat those around us. Why are you doing or not doing the things you choose? Is it to spite others, or to feel better about yourself? To flaunt the fact that you are better than them, more strict, less liberated and hold more tightly to “the rules”? This isn’t right. This is the wrong way to “convict” others. Poking fun at the things they do or insulting them, rebuking them at what they do, and then saying “Now see, I don’t do those things.” That’s not going to change anyone, and that’s packing yourself with a whole lot of pride and making a whole lot of enemies. Jesus doesn’t call us to judge others, or to force our thought on them, however He does call us to…

Do it the right way.

Live. Just live. Live out what you believe. If you don’t read certain types of books, don’t read them. Don’t shrink away from mentioning that you would rather not, and don’t compromise for the sake of guarding someone’s feelings. You are in charge of you, and there is nothing in this world that is worth compromising our convictions that God has given us as individuals.
Another example is watching movies. You may be very limited in options about the movies you can watch, but other people you know don’t have those limits. They do not have the same convictions, and you choose not to watch the things they watch, but they may hate that. They feel judged. The fact that it bothers them is not of your concern though, if your motive is only to please God with how you live. As long as you treat them with the love of Christ.
One more example. Guarding hearts. This is such a novel, extra idea. So many people give me the oddest looks, and almost tend to treat me like I’m a weirdo. Maybe to them I am. Do I believe that guarding your heart for when or if God guides you to your future spouse is the right way to go about it? Yes. With all my heart. And I probably won’t be the most ecstatic when a friend starts dating someone they won’t be marrying. I won’t show my approval. I don’t approve, so then how could I try and pretend? And I’m not going to change what I approve of for you. It’s my conviction and I’m going to be answering to God for myself. Not for you and not for my friends, but only for me, and I’m not willing to compromise convictions to make my friends happy. So in turn, a lot of people stop telling me about those things. But that’s fine with me. I don’t bring it up. It’s not my business. But I will live what I believe.

Enough with the examples. The bottom line is this. BE convicting. Do not hesitate to stand for what you believe in. Don’t compromise. When you have an opportunity to share your beliefs, share them. When asked about what you think, don’t glide over it so not to rile people. SHINE your light, expose the dirt and grim in life simply by living your best.

So often Christain’s say they would be willing to die for Christ. Are we really willing to die for Christ? To suffer persecution and prison and pain and then face death for His name and His priceless blood? If so, then why do we so often hesitate to take verbal persecution? We don’t say what we know to be the truth. We stay shallow, say neutral. We don’t want anyone to start throwing insults at us, arguing with us and opposing us.

STOP being neutral. SHINE your light. CONVICT somebody. Don’t blend in. When people see the fire that burns in your life they should SEE that you are different, and they should be curious about it. If you are not facing opposition or verbal persecution, you are in danger dull salt, and a hidden light. Don’t hide. Shine on somebody, salt something.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be thrown under foot to be melted and forgotten. I want to make a difference, effect others. I want to EARN those verbal chains. I want to know that when serious persecution comes, I will stand for what matters most.

Live, Laugh and Love girls.
~Libby.

Bible Philosophy Guidelines for Girls Random Facts

Library Haul, Buying and TBR

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Heyo girls! I’m back! Today is alllllll about books.

We’re going to start with a reading haul I got from the library. Here are the books I ordered and received:

  • Under Their Skin by Margaret Haddix
  • The Scourge by Jennifer Neilson
  • The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Glaser
  • The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof
  • The Golden Filly Collection by Lauraine Snelling
  • Hope Girl by Wendy Dunham
  • Forgotten Fortress and Infinity Base by Diane Peterfreund
  • A whole bunch of the Stranded series by Jeff Probst

So that’s a list. Under Their Skin was a rec on goodreads when I asked for clean adventure/sci-fi recommendations. It’s next on my reading list, like literally tonight when I sit down to read XD. (Since writing this I read the book and REALLY DID NOT LIKE IT. Here is my link to my review.)

The Scourge I just finished reading last night. It was good and I enjoyed it, however it’s probably not one of my favorites. I never fully loved books that have the girl-from-those-people-and-her-best-friend-who’s-a-boy tropes. Idk. I don’t usually connect with those girls who are too fisty and end up changing everything for her people and they lived happily ever after. Ok there are definitely some that I really have enjoyed for sure, but this particular style, along with Turtle in Paradise and another book I can’t exactly think of the name right now. My sort-of full review is on goodreads here.

The Vanderbeekers Is a book I haven’t read yet, but am going to within the next week. I feel like it’s going to be a combination of After Iris (I do not reccommend this book) and One of a Kind Family (Good if you enjoy this style of books). I’m excited to ready it, just because I know there is so much potential waiting, so we shall see what I think. 😀
(Since writing this I read it and enjoyed it, however it wasn’t my favorite. 3 stars)

The Lady and the Lionheart. Wow, guys. I didn’t even know the punch in this book until I read the back WHEN I PICKED IT UP FROM THE LIBRARY. We all know Joanne writes some of the best books and honestly this is the book I’m currently most excited to read that’s on my bookshelf. XD. I have NEVER been disappointed by Joanne’s work so I can’t even wait to read this one. It is a romance, so I most likely will not be adding it to my book suggestions page, however I will be posting a full review on Goodreads if you’re interested!
(Since writing this I read it, here is the link to my review. P.S. It was a romance but it was sooooooooo goooooodddddddd.)

The Golden Filly collection. I’m gonna be honest and say I’m most likely not going to read this book before it’s library due date, however it is going to stay on my TBR because it was recommended to my by Mariah (was this the right one Mariah?) and I do want to read it eventually.

Hope Girl. I read My Name Is River so long ago I don’t remember when it was, but I enjoyed it to the point of when I saw there was a sequel I did not hesitate to order the copy. This is how long it took to actually get it. XD. So I am curious to see what’s been going on in River’s life.

The Omega City trilogy was #1 recommended to me by Kate Willis and after I added it to my TBR Penny Wood bought the first book for me for Christmas and me and my sisters all had a blast reading through the trilogy together. These two books we ordered from the library because I don’t own them… yet…. But I have already read them and here’s the link to the review. Forbidden Fortress, Infinity Base.

To Buy

So since I love books obviously I’m going to buy more!

Like I mentioned above, I already own Omega City, so Forbidden Fortress and Infinity Base are both on my to-buy list. In addition we have:

  • Kristian’s War by Peter Wisan. Guys this book was so good when I first read it for the blog tour! I’m waiting to get my hands on a paper copy because I seriously need it on my bookshelf next to Pilgrims Progress. (Did I ever mention I don’t normally read re-tellings? This one was good!) (You can read the blog tour post here)
  • The Questions of War Trilogy by Jesseca Wheaton. Jesseca is one of my most favorite authors in the world, and this trilogy that she wrote is NOT an exception. Based in the World War II era (which btw guys ALL THE HEART EYES) and with the faith threaded tightly through all of it, combined with heart pounding plot lines and the most lovable characters ever make these SELLERS! Now my only dilemma is if I should wait until the newest book Questions of Loyalty is published, or if I should just buy the two that are currently available. I have read the first half of Questions of Loyalty because I was on the beta list, but since it’s an e-copy it’s really hard ti sit down and read it all the way through. I’m very excited to get a paper copy into my library (that’s how I read the other two) and curl up and read it all the way through!
  • Breathing Room by Marsha Hayles. I have this book up on my book recommendation page, and I can’t believe I don’t have it yet. But I don’t buy books as often as I get piles from the library so then again, that’s probably why.
  • Crossroads by Paul Willis. I mentioned this dystopia in my top books of 2018 recap, and guys it’s so good I need to have it on my bookshelf!!! (Also I’m so proud of the little growing pile I have!)

TBR

Tbr, to-be-read. This list on my goodreads has 105 books (I’m so proud of me for keeping it so low!) but there are a couple that I have at the TOP of my head.

Right now, that’s Hope Girl, and Taken by Brock D. Eastman. I didn’t realize there was aliens in Taken and probably will not finish it (dnf it) but for now I’m gonna give it a chance.

And then… then….

I’m re-reading The Circle by Ted Dekker. Guys this thing is so big and so packed full and so amazing and it’s been a year in February when I got it as a gift from good friends and I CANNOT wait to get back into it. So I’m catching up with all my library books, and not ordering any more. And then I am allowing myself to sit down and re-read it all the way through. That’s three books (since it’s a trilogy), 1,178 pages. I read it in THREE STRAIGHT DAYS the first time. I’m more than sure there are parts I missed, and that’s partially why I want to re-read, but at the same time I’m ecstatic just to get back into that world, to see Thomas again, to see Justin again, to see Elyon again, to read into the allegoric parts. I’m so excited I might cry. XD (Not really XD)

So That’s all my friends. I have to apologize for my absence over then ENTIRE MONTH OF FEBRUARY Oh my goodness I didn’t realize it was a whole month! I don’t really have a genuine excuse, I was just slacking. So forgive me and I hope you enjoyed this post and I will be posting next week about SALT.

Live, laugh, and love,
~Libby.

Book Reviews Random Facts

Thanking God by Thanking Others

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Good day! I’m sorry this week’s post is a day late. I’ve been battling a little cold and swamped with schoolwork BUT y’all are a priority and I’m not about to lost my “streak.”

Today’s post is about thanking God. He has given us so much it’s not even possible to explain. The life we can now live because of what He’s done inspires awe and admiration for like ever and ever. I don’t know guys. For me, it’s like this. I don’t deserve anything that He’s given to me. The grace and mercy and love and protection and guidance has been so evident in so many different parts of my life is just, so hard to comprehend. I’ve never done anything right at all. I’ve never done anything to earn or deserve the love that He pours out on me every day. But I’ve come to understand that He hasn’t given it to us because we can pay Him back but because He is so full of love for us that it spills over and washes us and cleanses us. It’s His heart to bless us.

And in turn then my heart is reminded over and over what a life I should be living. A life of joy and overflowing with gratitude. I want so hard for that love to shine through and bless those around me.

It was my birthday two weeks ago and it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t have a big birthday party or lots of people. But I spent the day with my family. It blessed my heart so much. We had breakfast that my dad made and then went to church and listened to God’s word. Afterward we came home and had a little lunch before heading to the local hockey rink for a public ice skate. It was really lots of fun and the sounds of the blades cutting into the ice and the cold nipping my nose and all the girls in skirts (we think there was a catholic school visiting that day) made me grin.
I got an hour and 10 minutes of PE and enjoyed it a lot.
After skating we got some pizza and came home, had dinner all together and laughed. My mom made her world famous (they are AMAZING) chocolate chip cookies and also this cool dessert that she learned to make called Penna Cotta and we enjoyed the dessert. Afterward we went through my memories box and looked over the last 19 years of my life. Having my family by my side and not another person around, simply loving each other and being together, it made my heart happier than anything else really. Afterward we watched a home video of when we went to Disneyland and then headed to bed.

That birthday was one of the most special birthday’s I’ve had in my life. It was, special. I felt so loved and overwhelmed with the amazingness of the family that God has given me. It wasn’t a big party with decorations and invitations and gifts galore, but I wanted to make sure that my family knew how much this simple day had meant to me.

I spent that evening writing notes to each of my family members telling them the little things I appreciated about them, and things that I appreciated that they’d done for me that day. Looking back at how my life has been shaped by each one of my sisters and by mom and dad it was just like, crazy. I don’t even know. I was blessed out of my socks.

I have been wanting to write this post for a while, about thanking God by thanking others. It’s been in a draft form for a long long time, and after my birthday I knew I was ready to write it.

Guys, praising and worshiping God goes beyond singing. When we pray, we express our thanks with our words, and when we sing we express it with our hearts. When we serve others we express out ultimate thanks to God through our actions. Saying a genuine, real thank you to someone is one of the simplest ways that you can serves someone.

Today, I challenge you to find some time, maybe right after you finish reading this post. Find a person that has effected your life in a positive way. Someone who has pointed you in the right direction, encouraged you when you were down, or simply came alongside during a hard time and helped carry the load. Maybe it’s something they don’t know they’ve done for you, or maybe they do it every day, and you always seem to take it for granted. Thank them. Write a note, detailed and genuine and honest. Maybe, if you have the ability, buy them their favorite drink, or take them out for a coffee. Sometimes the best thing is to come up to them and look them in the eye and tell them with your own voice “thank you.” Let them know that they are appreciated, and that God has used them to bless you.

God is blessed when we bless others, and the things we do in life, even though we can never ever repay Him for the price He’d paid for us and for the love that He pours out on us, they touch His heart and bless Him.

Thank someone today.

Live, Laugh, and Love
~Libby

Bible Philosophy Journal Entries Random Facts

“Live Without You” – Blog Tour

Soooo… where to start. 

The Author

“Sarah Grace Grzy is a voracious reader, and if it weren’t for this crazy thing called ‘Life,’ she’d be tempted to spend all her days in front of a wood stove, book in one hand, coffee mug in the other.”
A lover of learning, she finds enjoyment in many things and has more hobbies than she knows what to do with. Sarah Grace is a freelance web and graphic designer, and when not working, spending time with her ever-growing family, or reading, she can be found painting, playing the piano, or fangirling with her sisters and friends. She inhabits the State of Great Lakes, and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else—unless it meant she could have a baby penguin, in which case, she’d gladly move to the South Pole.
Goodreads Instagram

That’s the kind of person I can relate to XD. I’ve been keeping an eye on Sarah Grace from back when I just got into the blogosphere and into Goodreads. She’s so sweet and kind, so talented, so bold and pursues her passions. Sarah Grace’s can do ANYTHING she puts her sights on. And her faith is infectious. All around, this girl is one to watch.

Her Writing Style

I’m shocked. Sarah Grace is like the mature and practiced version of the writing style I’m going for. I’m so excited to see the way she took her style and made it so very beautiful! I can’t even believe it! It’s so perfect and unique. I’m just shocked to see the very thing that I try to do come to life in her work! It’s so encouraging and inspiring to see! 

Onto the Book

Piper Redding is a loner, but lonely. Everyone she loves has abandoned her and opening her heart to others is just asking for more pain. She can’t help but blame herself for her brother’s tragic death six years ago, and in her guilt, she shuts herself off from the world. No one could love her—not even the God who promised to be there for her but wasn’t.
For paramedic Ezra Bryant, failure is not an option. He’s had enough of it, and only by God’s grace is he able to put it behind him. But when a traumatic event brings Piper’s greatest fear and Ezra’s failures to light, can they use that event to allow God to mend their broken pieces? Can love triumph over fear, and grace over guilt?

First first first. The COVER y’all! Talk about UMazing. I love the color scheme and OMGOODNESS how the name came together at the END of the book was like wow. Also way to start the book! I was hooked from the first chapter. It tugged and tugged and tugged until I was pulled in completely.

Y’all I don’t like digital copies of books, and when I find myself wishing I could read a book even though I only have an eCopy I know it was a good book. And you should too. (Penny please don’t bring my pickiness into this. I’m talking about how GOOD the book was, not my format of choice X”D)

The Charies

Oh my the charies.

Piper… is beautiful. She’s an amazing MC and Sarah Grace was…. stunning with the way she portrayed the struggle Piper had with grief. It was oh. so. real and relatable and FEELable. Like her headaches and her tears and her nightmares and her pain, I FELT it all. It was realatable. The way each scene was described took me there. I was in the room, on the floor, weeping with Piper. And *removes spoilers* and then it was just *tries not to flail* 
*does it anyway* 
It was really good. 

Ezra. Oh my goodness gracious Ezra. Can I say he was my favorite? Because he was. I didn’t tie into him in the first chapter, but the second, and the third, and the forth. Y’all this guy deserves a lot of credit. His backstory? *gawks* he’s just too precious and amazing. Even as the secondary MC and “love interest,” Ezra brought a lot more to the table.

Tom Bryant. Ezra’s dad. Umm, yeah? Like best dad figure ever. I haven’t met a dad charie ever quite like Tom. His faith, devotion and love, and the humor and the dadness of him. He was awesome! One of the most unique characters of the book. I absolutely adored the fact that he had stayed strong in his faith and held Ezra up even after Mrs. Bryant passed away. It was just all too amazing. 

Side charies like Cecile and Tyler and others. (Guys Tyler was the name of the MC in I Don’t Dance by Jesseca Wheaton *facepalm*) 

Oh right. Paul? He was… like… the most amazing dead character you’ll ever meet! I love him!!!! He was a big brother and best friend and his dealing with Ezra was just *jawdrops* He’s so well described and explained and taken care of and the way he effected Piper as her older brother just tugged at my heart.
So yeah, Paul definitely deserved to be counted as an MC even if he was dead.  

The Plot

It really reminded me of I Don’t Dance. Don’t get me wrong, I adored that book and bought myself a copy the day it was released, however seeing the two together seemed like almost reading the same plot line written by two different people. That’s the ONLY thing that made me wonder for a second. Otherwise y’all. So beautiful! Smooth and one step to the next.

What else… the plot twist. *dies inside* I literally felt smashed in the face and had to re-read the sentence. I didn’t think there was enough book to bring my heart rate back down! (there was actually. It was so perfectly done)

And please let me bring in one of the most important parts of it. The faith aspect. Like, powerful, realistic, relatable faith. When I read the gospel in fiction, or answers to hard questions I’m just like “Ok ok. Mhmm. Grace! Yes!” And then it moved on. There’s never quite any passion. It gets vague and bland because Christian’s know it in their hearts and don’t tend to spend time on those topics.

It was not like that in this book. The faith aspect was NOT a thread in the story. It WAS the story. The questions that Sarah Grace first asked and then answered were like punch in the gut, convict in the heart, tears in your eyes. It was nothing cliche, nothing vague or boring or eyeroll. It was powerful, sincere faith. Not a moment of it felt forced or confused. It was pure on to the next amazingness. 

Genre

It’s labeled as a romance. But y’all it shouldn’t really be called a romance. The romance was an aspect, not the plot line. It was recovery from grief and guilt, discovering the powerful love of God, and laying “my all” in His hands. The romantic aspect (which btw was pure as a dove and sweet as a lollipop) was there to STRENGTHEN the plot line. Not to carry it along. 

Much much congratulations to Sarah Grace on her first every publication! And also I have to say I’m soooooooo impressed with Victoria Lynn’s work with the formatting and blog tour and everything. *all the heart eyes* As a future author and current writer you have to be on the lookout for these things and so far I’m verrry impressed with Victoria’s work. *coughs* 
*adds her to my future reference*

Last but not least of COURSE there is a Giveaway!

Giveaway!

Grand Prize ~ $20 Amazon gift card, Signed Paperback of Live Without You, Specialty designed mug.
Second Prize ~ $5 Amazon gift card, ebook copy of Live Without You
3 Third Prize Winners ~ Ebook copy of Live Without You

Grand prize open to US entrants only, 2nd and 3rd prizes available internationally. Giveaway runs from 12AM 1.21.19 – 12AM 1.23.19. Victoria Lynn Designs retains the right to disregard any entries that they deem bogus or spam. Good luck to the entrants!

Enter the giveaway here!

Thank you Sarah Grace for sharing the ARC with me so I could read this book (which I gobbled up in about hmm let me see… three hours) and review it for you. I’m so excited! And thank you to Victoria Lynn for your amazing organized process for this blog tour honestly it’s been one of the best easiest blog tours I’ve participated in.

You girls can get a copy on Amazon or add it to your TBR but definitely read it soon. It’s worth the time. You can head over to the main party hub on Victoria’s blog with all the schedule details and good stuff. See you there!

~Libby

Book Reviews Random Facts

Turning Gray to Black and White

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Good day friends! A couple days back I was reading my Bible and came across a verse that challenged me immensely.

How often in your life do you come across things that seem gray? I know for me it happens all the time. Is it really wrong or just a case of conscious or opinion? How do you tell if something goes against what Jesus approves of and what isn’t really clear?

Let me tell you about the passage I came across. Proverbs 2:20-22 says “That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
For the upright shall dwell in the land and the perfect shall remain in it.
But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.”

What sets us apart from the transgressors? Grace. The amazing blood of our Lord who took all of Himself and somehow put it into an earthly human body. God incarnated. It’s so hard to understand. One of my friends recently wrote a post about that very thing, and you can read it here. But moving forward I just wanted to ask you this. Grace sets us apart, right? What then does that mean to us? Here in Proverbs the difference is so boldly stated, there is no gray area. How do we know what side our actions put us on?

The options are upright and perfect, or wicked and transgressor.

Gray is gone. It’s gone.
We are to be perfect. Absolutely spotless, holy, worthy of God’s time and attention. Anything outside of this is vain, empty and worthless.

With perfection as our everyday goal we lose sight of the actual point. Y’all, perfect is impossible, right? There’s no way for us to ever reach this until we die. It’s the human nature and worldly flesh in us. So we reach for striving. That’s all we can do is try. Strain and pray and repent and try again to be perfect. But so often we forget to be perfect. Those gray areas are often absolutely annihilated when we place it up against the test of perfection.

That video game that I was playing. Perfect? Not by a long shot. Then why am I so inclined to compromise?
I deleted it.
The thoughts I’m dwelling on, the goals in my head, the things I spend my time on and effort I put into things. They should give an impression of perfection. It’s hard enough for me to work towards perfection, towards pure holiness with the flesh that constantly fights inside me. These easy things that I can change in a moment, why do I let them stay gray?

I don’t want to anymore. Gray is vain. The places where I can’t tell right or wrong are so often dismissed simply by bringing up the Perfection measurement. I want to do that more often. I want to live life with passion, with fire for Christ. Gray blurs those lines and dulls the flame. I want to purge the gray, and make my life black and white. I want to sparkle and shine for Christ, not wallow in the place where it’s not really wrong, but not exactly perfect.

Do not give up on perfection girls. Do not let it drown your light and fade your influence. Fight, shine and proclaim your love and the Savior that came to earth to SAVE you.

Let’s strive this year to dismiss the gray in life and live pure white. Let’s strive again to be perfect.

Perfect.

Live, laugh, and love.
~Libby

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Top Reads of 2018!

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You all have no idea how excited I am to write this post! I loooove reading almost as much as I love writing and now I get to share my ten (edit: thirteen) most favorite reads from 2018!

The books will be categorized either by genre or (in one case, author status). Almost every single one of these books is rated 5 stars by me on Goodreads, so I have to sort it out for you guys. XD

Without further ado here is the top ten thirteen!

Dystopias

I really do enjoy dystopias. I try to mostly stick to Christian dystopias just because of the need for hope in these sort of stories. They are so powerful and so beautiful and the world building is some of the best things ever.

The Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker

Ok so I’m only gonna count this as one book, even though technically it’s three bound in one. I got it for my birthday in January and guys I can’t even explain how amazing it is. The plot is so deep and so entwined and so perfect. If you know me you know I don’t tend to read spiritual fiction. But this is one book that I was in awe of. The way good and evil are portrayed, the way The Fall is told and the love and redemption of Elyon and- I can go on and on. To summarize it I’m going to say this. As soon as you turn 17 get yourself a copy. It does get super intense and graphic in some parts, so reader digression is advised, but y’all, this is definitely a reread for 2019. Go here for the Goodreads description and here for my veeerryyy long fangirl review. XD

Note: there is a fourth book that was added on later. It wasn’t originally included in the trilogy and honestly I like it better this way. I haven’t read Green and don’t plan to, the story is well completed with just these three. Just thought I’d mention it.

Dronefall by A. L. Buehrer

So this wasn’t five stars on Goodreads, but I keep coming back to it, wondering when the sequel will be coming out. It’s soooo just dusty and wet and gloomy and tense and beautiful. I loved the world building, the plot line and some of the characters. Even though over all it wasn’t the most stunning book ever it left an impression on me and, unlike even some 5 stars I’ve read, the story and characters are often on my mind. That’s a good thing for a book. 😀 The story is about a girl named Halcyon and her friends. Living in a future Budapest as an undercover Christian AND a drone snipper is enough to keep the government on her tail, not to mention breaking into a top secret facility. No cliche here guys. It’s all original nail biting suspence. Go here for the Goodreads description and here for my review. I got a free ecopy in exchange for a review and wasn’t obligated to write a good one, but I really did enjoy it.

Out of Time Trilogy by Nadine Brandes

This is just the cover of the first book, but there are three. I wasn’t stunned with the first book, slightly disturbed actually, but the memories I have after reading it are so fond. I loved the characters soo much. The character development and actions and personality was so amazing. The plot itself was fast paced and never lagging, and very intricate. And by the end of the third book I loved it. I want this series on my series on my shelf some day.
I do recommend age 16 and up for it as there are multiple slightly graphic scenes and I warn you that Parvin (MC) loses her hand. Which really disturbed me because I wasn’t aware of the fact before time. Suuuuch an interesting trilogy and definitely recommend it for your 2019 TBR! Go here to add them all.

Romances

I usually try to stay away from romance books in general, but it’s hard with the YA genre. Mostly, I’ve found clean, sweet, well diluted romances that carry a plot that balances the romance. Here are a couple of my favorites.

To Get To You by Joanne Bischof

This was suuuch a sweet little thing! I really enjoyed the plot and the MC’s point of view. I’m not used to reading romances of any sort from boy’s point of view, but this one was so fresh and loving and beautiful. I recommend it for girls 16 and up. Click here to check it out and here to read my content review.

This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof

Joanne Bischof has really been a good author this year. I’ve loved her work so much and can’t wait to read more! This book, This Quiet Sky is a tear jerker if I ever met one. But I read it knowing that fact, and I adored it so much. The plot was beautiful and painful, the characters soo precious and I just loved it. So much. So. Much. If you’re 16 years or older and don’t mind crying a bit, get this one now! Add it to your TBR here and read my review here.

I Don’t Dance by Jesseca Wheaton

Ok soooo. This book? You can read my help with the blog tour here. But basically it was so good I bought it the day it came out. As part of the beta team (because I know Jesseca Wheaton’s work is NOT TO BE MISSED) I got to read it in its slightly earlier stages but Oh. My. Goodness was it good. The romance was soo cleaan and sweet and I’m out of words to describe it! Basically, if you don’t have it on your shelf you are so. missing. out. Add it here and read my review here!

Indie Published

I’m a hardcore Indie publishing fan. I plan to independently publish my own books and the indie book’s I’ve read so far are amazing. I’ve chosen out a couple of the bestest ones I read last year. I hope you get them into your local library and help out a fellow author. Maybe even get a copy for yourself!

Kiera by Kate Willis

I know a lot of my followers know the Willis clan and have probably already read and bought a copy of this gem but I’m writing this here for anyone who hasn’t. It’s a tiny tiny tad of romance, a bit emphasis on family, love, trusting God. Set in a low key dystopian world with a plot that keeps you flipping pages, I couldn’t help getting a (signed!!!) copy for myself. If you haven’t read it yet DO IT and also read my incoherent review here.

Tales of Tarsurella by Livy Jarmusch

There are currently two books in this series, The Coronation and The Rebellion. The Wedding is coming out soon *crosses fingers*. It’s a mix between something like Princess Diaries and the sweetest family relationship focused on God and oh my heart I can’t even express how much I enjoyed it.
So The Coronation is HIIIIGH INTENSITY and I was literally gasping for breath until the last page. I was exhausted and not sure if my nerves could handle the second book, but I couldn’t turn it down when it came out and I got a copy from my library as soon as possible. The Rebellion is not as suspenseful but just as entertaining and admirable. Both infused with a sweet taste of romance and a large serving of role model princesses (I wish I could be friends with that amazing family) the values that Livy instills is just *happy sigh*.
Another thing I have to say is that Livy, the author, is one of the most interactive fun indie authors I’ve come across. She’s so appreciative of each of her readers and she’s so much fun as a person. Check out the books here and my review here.

Crossroads by Paul Willis

The Willis clan has got themselves a handful of amazing writers and I could never leave out Crossroads. It’s a high intensity dystopia with crazy characters, fast paced plot, and it will challenge your convictions. I love the way that it was so balanced and so clearly explained, but so entertaining and gripping. Recommended for girls 16 and up because of graphic scenes and highly recommended for boys (brothers, friends, etc.) especially. Paul addressed a topic I’d been very indecisive about myself, and I can’t help admiring the stand that he took. Give it a try and read my short review here.

Jesseca Wheaton from the above mentioned book is also an Independently publishing author.

Christian Focused

The next couple books are very very Bible based, very christian concepts, and left an impression on me. I hope you’ll give them a try!

Kristian’s War by Peter Wisan

This book is a Pilgrims Progress retelling and one of the highest books on my to-buy list. You can read my help with the blog tour and author interview here. We talked about the plot, the details and the reasoning behind the book itself. Check it out. I really did enjoy the retelling and appreciate the parts that came through loud and clear, and hidden and searched for. Add it to your TBR here.

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

I haven’t read any other work by Tessa Afshar but I did read this one and I liked the story a lot. Was it morally uplifting and convicting and amazing? Maybe not as much as other christian books I’ve read, but I enjoyed reading about the fiction life of the woman Jesus healed. The author’s note at the end gave a personal touch and I’m really glad I got myself to read this one. I might be exploring more of this series later. You can read more about it here and see my review here.

Contemporaries

We all have to give a nod to those many many many many books out there under one category, contemporary. There is always those one or two that left us scarred and in love, and simply didn’t fall under another label. So here is the place for those.

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron

This one was so sweet. And Irishman and a Vineyard, a grandmother with Alzheimer’s. Then a British spy, and a french guard (y’all the conversations between these two? *swoons* the end though *weeps*). And we cannot forget the fair lady, the Prince, and the castle. It’s a classical (can I used that word without knowing what it means? XD) combination resulting in a wonderful wonderful tale. It’s got a bit of romance in it, but it’s clean, lovely, and not distracting from the very very interesting plot and quest. Highly recommended for girls 16 and up. Add it to your TBR here and read my long review here.

Starring Me by Krista McGee

I’ve mentioned this book a couple times before, and this year it was a re-read. I also tried out its two companions and although this one was my favorite, I also enjoyed the other two. Kara’s journey and love for family and eventual love for Christ and Abby’s consistent friendship is just all so sweet. It’s also got a tad of romance (will we ever get away from it?) but nothing cringy (ok there are some cringy parts, but the MC definitely didn’t pretend not to cringe XD) I recommend this to Christian girls 16 and up. 😀 Add it to TBR here and read my tiny review here!

Soooo that’s that. My favorite books from 2018. If you’re interested in seeing what else I read in 2018 you can go here and see everything I read! And if you made it this far in the post comment down below and let me know so I can thank you! X”D

Have you read any of these books? Did you add any of them to your TBR? (If you didn’t WHY NOT?!)
See you next week!
~Libby

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