Summer 2018 Book Recommendations​

Reading is a major part of my life and I wanted to share some fiction recommendations. You’ll notice a darker pattern but all of them had me thinking about how I don’t need to judge anyone because I don’t know their full story. I might never know their reason or reasons. Each one reminded me I just need to be kind, not think I’m entitled to understanding everything. I am called to love, not be a judge. That’s God job.

Spoilers ahead for some book content.

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

A dark twist on a classic with a wholly original character thrust into a life she never wanted because of an accident that happened in her not so distant past. Learning she was being sent away to boarding school, Jane runs into woods near a ravine. Running, she cuts her arm and her cousin follows. He takes advantage of the moment as he precedes to sexually assault her. Jane protests and threatens to tell her aunt and he stops, asking if they can be friends again. To accent her “NO!” Jane pushes him in fear he may attack again, but he slips on loose rocks falling back into the ravine killing him. Jane walks away.

I love how Jane becomes social justice vigilante as each nightmare unfolds around her. The romance is perfect! Her friendships are just as twistedly complicated as Jane is. You will love the twist with the constable that keeps finding Jane throughout the book.  I’m sorry if I didn’t describe the book as I should but give it a chance and thank me later.

Alice by Christina Henry (First in The Chronicle of Alice series)

Not sure if anyone has played Alice: Madness Returns (Dr. Bumby deserved it!), but if you did you have an idea what this book is about.  Alice teams up with Hatcher as they escape the asylum. Once escaped, Alice goes on an adventure to reclaim her memories of what happened to her along with falling somewhat in love with Hatcher. All she knows is when her family found her all those years ago she kept saying “Rabbit”. Alice brings back beloved characters like the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, and the Walrus all as mob bosses in a magical territory war.

A twisted, fun magical ride in a world that draws from the genius mind of Lewis Carrol. Fans of original Alice in Wonderland will love this fantasy adventure. Read Red Queen if you enjoy Alice to continue your journey down the rabbit hole.

Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James

Set after the Great War, a nurse takes a job at a hospital for shell-shocked soldiers to discover the hospital is haunted and forms a relationship with a mysterious patient who admitted himself. As tragedy strikes the isolated hospital of the medical kind secrets of the haunting, the hospital’s former occupants, and secrets hidden by the nurse herself come to light.

I love the heart in this book most of all. The slow, steady build of friendship the nurse forms with each patient is heartbreakingly sweet. It makes you have deep sympathy for those who suffered and still do suffer as survivors of war. Near the end when the mysterious patient tells his story of how he decided to admit himself made me want to hug him. Everybody is likable and you’ll miss out if you don’t get know these amazing characters who haunt you long after you’ve put the book down.

What are some of your favorite books you’ve read this summer or summers past?

Blessing and Peace 🙂



We need better Answers

Reading Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace lately, I’ve realized while I love Jesus I can’t defend my relationship to others in a transformative way. In a way that will impact their souls. On Forensic Faith’s website, a test asks you how you would respond to each question. You have 21 minutes to answer them.

Here are the questions:

  1. Why are you a Christian?
  2. What evidence do you have to believe God exist?
  3. Why do you trust what the Bible has to say about Jesus?
  4. Why would God send people to hell just because they don’t believe in Jesus?
  5. If God is all loving and all powerful, why is there so much evil in the world?
  6. If God is the creator of everything, who created God?
  7. Why would a loving God command the total destruction of all Israel’s enemies (including their children and livestock)?

I haven’t taken the test. I’m scared of my answers and I know I can’t answer them as I want to. Worst of all, those who don’t know Christ can better answer why they don’t believe, why they’re gay, why they think the government is out to get them, why aliens exist, and how science is the only “god” they trust. Even worse, I envy those who can stand up and make powerful leaders in my world follow them because they can answer why! Evidence, fake or not, is making a bigger impact than most followers of Christ. I want to change that.

How would you answer the above questions? Let me know in the comments or just share how you struggle as well to defend your faith in Christ. I want to show my love for Christ in this world. To sum up my point Mr. Wallace says it best, “We need better answers”.


What’s That Smell-My Morning Meditation

Mediation is joy and the ways to feel such joy depends on the practitioner. I like sound when I can’t turn my mind off, yet I’ve been captivated by scent and not sound. Since discovering my inner tea lover just the smell of black tea is all I need to transport me to a safe place. Each morning can just mesh with the day, no real start just that I woke up. That changed this past week as I discovered the value of silence.

Getting up early is a chore I’ve struggled with my whole life yet has a higher value now. At 6:30 I get my tea ready and while it steeps I let myself ignore the clock, the fact I have to be at work soon and generate a mental barrier between me and the world. For 30 minutes it’s me accompanied by golden silence. Once I begin to drink the tea I focus on my breath emptying my mind to create a clean slate for the busyness of the day ahead.  Reading my devotional bible I use this time to pray seeking guidance for the day. Just this much “me time” is enough. This is my meditation practice now. I wonder what changes await me in the next evolution?

However you mediate, celebrate your journey by giving into what gives you joy! Walk and meditate, journal and mediate; use essential oils, sit in the sun… whatever moves you.

Let me know how your practice has grown in the comments or on any of my social media links! I would love to hear from you.

Blessing and Peace-Randa 🙂

2017 Wellness Reading Challenge

2017-wellness-reading-challenge  Click on the link to download a printable document. 

Calling all readers!! If you love a good book join me this year for some life-changing reads. Non-fiction and fiction fill 2017’s  list all with a theme to meditate on. Themes include social media habits, time management, healthy living, and starting again after a personal disaster.  I will be posting about my reading progress throughout the year to share my thoughts. Feel free to chime in about what books you’re reading as well; I love to hear from fellow readers. The link above is a word document that you can print out and use to follow along.

I have a few favorites of mine and a few new titles I want to try this year.  Use this list as a place to start your adventure into daring new worlds! Praying you find some books you’ll love and try some you didn’t think you’d like. If you don’t’ see your favorite let me know in the comments and I can add it to the list. Have a great 2017! 

  • Adventures for Your Soul by Shannon Kaiser
  • The Circle by Dave Eggers
  • The Long Journey to Jake Palmer by James L. Rubart
  • Party of One by Anneli Rufus
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Rooms by James L. Rubart
  • Meditate Your Weight by Tiffany Cruikshank
  • Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
  • The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicome
  • How to Survive a Shipwreck by Jonathan Martin
  • Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • The Progeny by Tosca Lee
  • Demon by Tosca Lee

Blessings and Peace- Randa 🙂