Book Review: Girls In Trouble | Wordy Wednesday

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Today’s post shall be brief. For four reasons.

1. It is late when I’m writing this.
2. I want to watch Sherlock.
3. I got a book today that I’ve been desperately wanting to read for ages and I haven’t even started it yet because I’ve been tidying all day.
4. I don’t have many opinions about this book.

The subject of today’s brief post is Girls In Trouble by Caroline Leavitt.

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In this heart-wrenching story of an open adoption gone wrong, Caroline Leavitt reveals the astonishing power of family bonds and maternal love. Sara, sixteen, is in denial about her pregnancy and too far along for an abortion. Her once-devoted boyfriend has disappeared so Sara decides her only option is an open adoption with George and Eva, a couple desperate for a child. After the birth it’s clear Sara has a bond with the child that Eva can’t duplicate and Eva and George make a drastic decision, with devastating consequences for them all.

I have no idea where I came across this one. I think it was on a recommended shelf on Goodreads, and the library had it, and I was needing something to read, so I got it out. Something like that.

This was a good book. However, I was not in the right frame of mind to be reading it.

That sounds weird.

I read this book over a very busy few days, one of which was Christmas, and I read an entire other book while I was reading this one. This other book put me in a specific reading frame of mind, and this one just didn’t fit with that.

But, like I said, this was a good book. If it had been any other week, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. I just wasn’t really enjoying it when I did read it.

So this is a book about a teenage pregnancy, although it actually spans about sixteen or more years. I’ve read a few other books about teenage pregnancy, and I can say that, from what I can see, it didn’t do or show anything wrong. It was pretty good in that sense, from my very limited experience.

The plot was somewhat predictable, but still quite good. I didn’t like the ending however, because it felt like it wrapped everything up far too nicely, and it seemed too perfect to me.

I really just don’t have much to say about this book. It was a good book. That’s it.

4 stars: I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it, but I didn’t absolutely love it.

This review makes it sound more like a three (Kind of meh. Nothing to be yelling about, but not awful. Just didn’t really do much for me, although I can see why it might be liked.), but I know that if I had read it at a different time, with a different frame of mind, then I would have given it a four. So I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt here and giving it a (lowish) four.

That was boring. I’m sorry. Time for Sherlock.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

A Long List Of Random Things I’ve Learnt This Year | Motley Monday

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2015 is drawing to a close, and I’ve realized in the last few days that I’ve learnt a lot this year. So I’m making a list (but I won’t be checking it twice). Don’t worry, this isn’t a list containing things like how to differentiate or what happened in the Christian church in the first century. This list is going to contain everything from food I’ve discovered to deep revelations. It’ll be random, I’m warning you now.

1. It is possible for me to (barely) survive on three hours of sleep
2. Procrastinating to avoid work never ends well
3. Neither does pretending to be sick
4. It is possible to miss two weeks of school and not be completely behind
5. But it is not recommended
6. Corn chips are amazing and go well with everything
7. Camembert on crackers is also amazing and I could eat it all day
8. And spaghetti
9. And the marshmallow treats that my mum makes
10. Basically just give me any of the above food and I’ll love you forever
11. Joseph And The Amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat is an amazing film and it is absolutely possible for me to watch it four times in one week
12. I most definitely had a crush on Donny Osmond back in the day, when I was eightish
13. I am not a morning person
14. Kids are amazing
15. Every kid is very different
16. The thing that you want most isn’t always that great when you get it
17. Dreams don’t always come true
18. It is possible to cope after your dream that you’ve had for six years doesn’t come true
19. Often, it is the presents that you don’t ask for that you appreciate the most
20. Getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things can be a good thing
21. But not always
22. It is possible to seriously injure your tailbone three times in the same year
23. The worst people can do completely out of character things, like spending heaps of money on you for no reason
24. I am capable of running a semi interesting blog for a year
25. Change is not always bad
26. Just because you don’t succeed at something, it doesn’t mean that you are a failure
27. This time of life is not my time to be writing
28. Friends can come from the most unexpected places
29. And appear when you least expect it
30. Cross stitch is extremely fun and extremely difficult at times
31. God works in mysterious ways
32. You never know how much your life influences the lives of others
33. God is absolutely amazing and I cannot survive without Him
34. Postage to America is expensive
35. I am able to survive without certain social medias, despite what some people might believe
36. I have an earring addiction
37. I have an addiction to counting to eight
38. Creative ideas can come from the strangest places and be so vastly different to what you’d ever think of
39. Going back to what you know after a long period of change can be like a breath of fresh air
40. There is such a thing as too much chocolate

40 is one of my favourite numbers, because it is divisble by eight. So we’ll leave it there.

I’m telling you, this was extremely random. One minute, my brain was thinking about God and His amazingness, and the next it was thinking about postage. I don’t understand how it works sometimes.

So. That’s that. I’ve learnt a lot this year, and I intend to learn a lot next year. But that’s another post for another day (ie next Monday).

I’ll be putting up a book review on Wednesday, as usual, but there will also be an exciting post on Friday that is completely out of place. Because it is someone’s – or maybe something’s – birthday.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

12 Days Of Christmas | Song Of The Week

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I hope you’ve all had/are having a great Christmas!

My day was very nice. We just stayed at home, ate lots of food, and played some games. I didn’t get any extravagant presents, because I’m saving up for something very exciting for next year (which I’m not telling you about yet), so I mostly got money. The presents I did get, though, were lovely. Some books I’d been wanting, the deluxe Les Miserables soundtrack, a new pillow, some chocolate, and some little novelty type gifts that only my family would get me. Things like sparkly colourful batteries, a light up Christmas necklace, and my favourite type of pen. My family is awesome and knows me so well.

This week’s song is still a Christmas song, because technically it is still Christmas in about half the world. Also, the song is a cover of 12 Days Of Christmas, and the 12 days of Christmas technically occur after Christmas, I’m pretty sure. Therefore, I can still share a Christmas song.

Fun fact for the day: I was in a play once, which involved basically acting out the song. I was the eight maids-a-milking, but instead of eight maids, it was just the one maid with eight cows. Which were all called Betsy.

Back to the song. This is the most epic cover of this song that I’ve ever heard (also one of the only covers), and it is one of my absolute favourite Christmas songs. We actually sang this version for the play.

I’m pretty sure most of you will know the song and artist, but if not, your life is about to change. 12 Days Of Christmas by Relient K. You’re welcome.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Baby Boy | Thursday’s Thoughts

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Ten hours til Christmas! For me, at least. I’m very much excited.

Today’s post is going to be very brief, because I’m supposed to be helping my mum with a few things to get ready for tomorrow.

On Saturday, I shared a couple of my favourite Christmas songs with you. One of them was Baby Boy by For King & Country. I just want to briefly talk about some of those lyrics with you.

If you told me all about your sorrows
I’d tell you about a cure
If you told me you can’t fight the battle
There’s a Baby Boy who won the war
The war was won by a Baby Boy

Alleluia, we can sing it
Alleluia, Heaven’s ringing
Alleluia!
Endless hope and relentless joy started with a Baby Boy

Oh, before that silent night
No Savior and no Jesus Christ
The world cried out so desperately
And the Baby Boy was the reply,
Yes, Heaven’s reply was a baby boy

Alleluia, we can sing it
Alleluia, Heaven’s ringing
Alleluia!
Endless hope and relentless joy started with a Baby Boy

Think about that. Endless hope and relentless joy started with a baby boy. A little baby. The war – the ultimate war – was won by a baby boy. How incredible is that? The whole message of this song is just amazing.

There’s this video, made by some kids at a church up in Auckland, that tells this same message. It’s adorable. You need to watch it. You can find it here.

As we get closer and closer to Christmas, I want you to think about this. If God can save the world with just a little baby boy, imagine what He could do through you and in your life.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Book Review: Uglies Series | Wordy Wednesday

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Today, I shall be attempting to review the book series Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.

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Blurb for Uglies: Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world– and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever…

I say attempting because I still don’t know what I think about them.

I read Uglies because a friend of mine was reading it, and it sounded quite interesting. I’m not the biggest fan of dystopian, but I thought I’d give it a try anyway. I finally finished the series last week, after putting off reading Specials for various reasons.

So the general gist is that there’s this surgery to make people “pretty” when they turn 16, except some people oppose to it, and they influence this girl Tally, who is the main character in the first three books, and a minor character in the last book.

I have no idea how I feel about these books.

I think, after pondering it for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that I like the concept more than the execution.

The whole concept of the surgery and that style of society interests me. That’s why I read it in the first place. But I think I just didn’t really enjoy it too much. The first two were alright, although somewhat predictable, I’d say. There were certain aspects that were very interesting, which I enjoyed. And the whole thing was well written. I just didn’t really enjoy it? I don’t know. As for the third, I didn’t really enjoy it. It had too much of the stuff that I don’t like about dystopians. And the fourth was good. Probably my favourite. But it was extremely different from the others, in a way. It had an entirely different concept, which I also liked.

I’m still so unsure about how I feel about this series.

I think I just didn’t enjoy them that much in general. It seemed like a chore to read them, especially the third. I think it was more that I wanted to actually finish the series, rather than I was enjoying them.

Ahaha this review is a mess.

They were well written. There was little or no scenes and words that made me uncomfortable or made me dislike them. They had character growth and development, and they weren’t fully predictable. Basically, they tick every box that makes me like a book, in theory.

But I just didn’t really enjoy reading them that much. I don’t know why. They just weren’t my favourite books.

Overall, I’m giving the series a rating of 3.5, which puts it somewhere between “Kind of meh. Nothing to be yelling about, but not awful. Just didn’t really do much for me, although I can see why it might be liked,” and “I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it, but I didn’t absolutely love it.”

I gave all but the third four stars on Goodreads, and I gave the third three. I think I’m happy with that, although the four stars are definitely on the low end.

There we go. My mixed feelings about the Uglies series.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Why I Really Love Christmas | Motley Monday

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I watched the first episode of Sherlock last night, and I’m officially hooked. I’m not entirely sure yet if this is a good thing.

I looooove Christmas! And it’s on Friday so my excitement levels are currently through the roof. To share my excitement with you, I’ve compiled a shortish list of reasons why I love this particular holiday.

1. The food.
I know that food for holidays is more of a thing in America, but my family does have some traditions in regards to food that I love. We always have croissants for breakfast on Christmas morning, and my great aunt always sends us homemade fudge and truffles and mince pies that are om nom nom.

2. The family time.
Christmas is one of the only days when my brothers don’t hate me, which is lovely. Other than that, I love getting to see my extended family, who I don’t often see because we’re spread out all over the country.

3. The music.
I love Christmas music. It’s amazing. I have listened to it in May before. Don’t judge me. It’s just so beautiful and makes me happy.

4. The presents.
Call me selfish and materialistic, but I love getting presents. Especially from extended family who give me random things that I never would’ve asked for but love when I get it. We had a mini Christmas with some extended family on Saturday, and I was given an awesome clock. Never would’ve asked for it, but it’s awesome.

5. The services.
I love going to the Christmas Eve service at my church. It’s directed at children, so that makes it super enjoyable. It’s just a really fun service.

6. Our traditions.
My family, like every other family has lots of traditions at Christmas. I love each and every one of them, from the seminormal to the absolutely weird. It just feels right, you know, to do the same thing year after year, and yet have it be completely different because we’re all growing up and changing.

7. The message of Christmas.
I saved the best til last. Christmas is a time when I, as a Christian, reflect on the gift that God was sending at that very first Christmas. Easter is the time of year when we remember the sacrifice that He made, but Christmas is just filled with absolute joy, because it was when Jesus was born. No sadness or death, even if it is only short-term. Oh no, Christmas is a time of pure joy. And I love it.

There you go. Why I love Christmas. Did I forget anything? Let me know.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Baby Boy & When Hope Came Down | Song Of The Week

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This week, you guys get two songs! Yaaaay!

The real reason for this is that I literally did not realize Christmas was so close when I started doing this thing last week (6 days, peoples!), and so I hadn’t properly allocated weeks for posting songs. I’m not making sense. Basically, I’m disorganized.

In case you missed the memo last week, I’m talking about Christmas songs that aren’t your traditional or well known songs. This week’s songs, unlike last week, are both about the birth of Jesus and the hope that it brought.

The first one is great to blast nice and loud, and to really get into. It is a great song by an amazing band. The song is Baby Boy by For King & Country. Turn your speakers up and let the words wash over you.

The second song is another one of my favourites. This one is quieter, and less anthemy, but it tells the same message, about hope. When Hope Came Down by Kari Jobe. Absolutely beautiful. Enjoy it.

I’d normally finish the post right about now, but this time I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent about songs like these.

Chances are you’ve heard the traditional Christmas songs so many times that, really, they’ve lost their meaning. You can sing songs like Joy To The World and Oh Holy Night without even thinking about the lyrics and what they mean. That doesn’t mean that they’re bad songs. It just means that they don’t have the same meaning and purpose that they originally had.

But songs like these? They’re hardly ever played, and so it is much easier to listen to them and actually get something out of them, because they aren’t entirely familiar to your brain. They present the Christmas Story in such a different way, and they make you think in a way that those other songs just can’t anymore.

So, as we come even closer to Christmas, I encourage you to listen to these songs, and maybe some others that you haven’t heard before, to get something new out of Christmas music. I love me some good ol’ Christmas carols, but I’m not opposed to different, more modern songs if they will help me to see things differently.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann