Girl on Fire: Pack it up and travel

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, March 5, 2015]

It’s been four years since I flew on a plane over the Atlantic Ocean, the deep blue water miles below me, and landed back in the Midwest after a six-month stint in England.

Ever since then, I have had a feeling nagging at me to pack up and travel the world.

Continue reading Girl on Fire: Pack it up and travel

Book Review: The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

The Sweet Far ThingTitle: The Sweet Far Thing
Author: Libba Bray
Series: Gemma Doyle
Published: April 28, 2009
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 819
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 10/10

American author Libba Bray’s novel The Sweet Far Thing, the third installment to her Gemma Doyle trilogy, came to me at the perfect time.

I had read the trilogy in college, when I purchased them instead of saving money for food or alcohol like most college students. But, that’s not what I mean by perfect.

Continue reading Book Review: The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

Book Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The HobbitTitle: The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Series: None
Published: September 21, 1937
Publisher: George Allen and Unwin
Pages:
From: Walmart
Rating: 8/10

As many already know, J.R.R. Tolkien was a master of the written word. He was a master of prose, fantasy, poetry and creating a picture within the mind of the reader. This was all evident in the prequel to the Lord of the Rings series, The Hobbit.

The Hobbit (1937) began with Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit that lived in the Shire. He was a normal hobbit, with many family members and friends. And then one day that all changed.

Continue reading Book Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Girl on Fire: U.S. in comparison to international education

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, February 19, 2015]

Recently, I’ve read stories about the nation’s education system, and the different pieces of legislation being considered to improve and expand graduation rates and work force.

I want to commend several people I know who are continuing their education. My friend and former coworker Sarah Brown is obtaining her master’s degree, while maintaining a job and caring for her family. Kelsey Hollen, another friend, also has her master’s degree in the works while working full-time at Southwestern Community College.

Continue reading Girl on Fire: U.S. in comparison to international education

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red QueenTitle: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Published: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 382
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 9/10

I have a thing for getting on Goodreads and looking at what is super popular at the time, and what will be out soon, and what of the many books are getting hype. I noticed Victoria Aveyard’s debut novel Red Queen, and instantly wanted to read it (mostly for the cover, but also because of the summary).

I preordered Aveyard’s book, and it came in the mail on a Thursday. I instantly decided I would read it after finishing one of the series I’m working on now, until I wanted a change of pace on Saturday, picked up Aveyard’s book and didn’t put it down until I was finished.

Continue reading Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Book Review: Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Rebel AngelsTitle: Rebel Angels
Author: Libba Bray
Published: 2005
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 548
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 9/10

The second installment of American author Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy, Rebel Angels takes on the next phase of lead character Gemma Doyle’s life in England after her mother dies in India and Gemma realizes she has supernatural abilities.

Gemma and her friends spend the Christmas holiday at home in London, attending teas and dances, and using the magic to enter the realms and try to keep everything as it was.

Continue reading Book Review: Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Girl on Fire: Unboiled eggs leads to improved scientific process

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, February 5, 2015]

Can you imagine boiling an egg while you whip up breakfast one morning, and then deciding you would rather have pancakes, so you unboil that egg?

A study done by a group of scientists with University of California, Irvine, in California, University of Western Australia and Flinders University, both in Australia, discovered a way to unboil an egg, which could lead the food, pharmacy and environmental industries to save billions of dollars in the future.

Continue reading Girl on Fire: Unboiled eggs leads to improved scientific process

Girl on Fire: Disney adds interesting twists to modern movies

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, January 29, 2015]

On Saturday, I was invited to Des Moines with my friend Shawna Creveling because she needed to get some shopping done and didn’t want to go alone.

I rode along, and we bounced from Jordan Creek Mall, where we stopped at Scheel’s and Lush, to Sports Page Grill in Ankeny to grab lunch where my sister Brianna works.

Toward the end of our escapade, we stopped back at Jordan Creek and hit up the movie theater for “Into the Woods,” a musical-comedy starring Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick and Meryl Streep.

Continue reading Girl on Fire: Disney adds interesting twists to modern movies

Book Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible BeautyTitle: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Published: 2003
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 403
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 9/10

Lately, I’ve been in the mood for literature that doesn’t require very much thinking. Novels like that can be exhilarating because of the entertainment value behind them, rather than the literary value.

One such novel is author Libba Bray’s novel A Great and Terrible Beauty.

Bray’s first novel, the first installment of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, centers around the main character, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle, who witnessed her mother’s death and is then sent to Spence Academy, a school created to teach girls the proper mannerisms and expectations of them during Victorian England.

Continue reading Book Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Book Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

World War ZTitle: World War Z
Author: Max Brooks
Published: 2006
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Pages: 342
From: Walmart
Rating: 8/10

When I first picked up Max Brooks’ novel World War Z from Walmart, I immediately thought of sitting in a dark movie theater, watching Brad Pitt run from a flood of zombies with his family. I was expecting a book similar to the movie, not one where the two are very different.

Continue reading Book Review: World War Z by Max Brooks