The Most Inspiring Music, Movies, and Books That I Love

Around three years ago I did a blog post talking about all of my favorite books that I also found to be really inspiring with life and faith. They were some of my favorite books as well at the time and still are; you can read all about them here! But now it's been around three years since then, and I've had the privilege of discovering a whole genre of music I was oblivious to, various movies that I found inspiring, and of course, more great books! I figured I would share some of my favorites that are also what I think are meaningful; entertainment can be meaningful! In fact, I really think it should be. I have yet to really blog about music before, except for a couple songs in this post here, or movies, so I'm excited to include them on this list as well! Most of these are distinctly Christian of course, but there may be a few on here that are more secular but still have elements of inspiration or faith.

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Music

Okay, so I was oblivious to this whole genre of music known as Christian contemporary music. And it's basically just how it sounds. I always thought that Christian music only consisted of, like, hymns, which I loved but were probably not going to end up on any playlists of mine for, like, everyday things. But enter the world of Christian contemporary music! I BECAME OBSESSED. I love pop music, which basically that's what this is, a modernized version of songs with just as powerful messages as the ones in hymns. I have tons of songs I've found that I love. Here are some of my faves:

"Battles" by The Afters: talks about God fighting your problems and is a great message for anyone going through anything. It has really helped me when I've had particular problems that seem recurring and like they don't go away. It's that boost of encouragement that God is fighting for you, even if you can only see the little things. It's really good, definitely one of my favorites.

"His Name" by Urban Rescue: another one of my favorites that kinda goes along with the song above. This one really goes over personal hurts, and this is very powerful for whenever you may feel depressed or broken about life. There's a lot of people I wish I could forward this one to, so definitely check it out. It's that quiet yet beautiful reminder that whatever you're going through, you're not alone. God will be with you and He alone can heal the despair in your heart.

"Afraid" by Tenth Avenue North: a great reminder for someone like me who worries and obsesses about literally everything, with a great, upbeat tune. It makes me nostalgic because I remember myself in eighth grade and all the things I worried about and how when I found this song, it was just what I needed to hear. Listen to it often; it's a good one.

"Runaway" by The Afters: I found this one working on my latest novel, and not only does it resonate with one of my characters (yes I have songs that go specifically with make believe people; welcome to the life of a writer), it is really good for anyone hurting inside, feeling unloved or unworthy, or anything along those lines. I don't know if this one specifically addresses faith like the above do, but The Afters are really good, and this song is very truthful and can be applied to the faith easily.

"Miracles" by Jesus Culture: WELCOME TO MY FAVORITE CHRISTIAN SONG OF ALL TIME. This song is slow and quiet, building into more power towards the end, but that really gets the mood and message of this song perfectly. I found this song at a time in my life where I felt very broken about the brokenness of other people and our world in general. It was a soft, moving reminder of how God can and will work through that in soft, moving ways, if that makes sense. It's the little things He does, the probing and convicting and soul searching, that are what changes people's hearts and therefore their lives, and this song beautifully portrays His power.

"Relentless" by Hillsong United: talk about a powerful, urgent message: the message of God's overwhelming, relentless love. The only thing that can change a person's life. Everyone should listen to this song! It's just perfect in every way!

"Because of Your Love" by Chris Quilala: I really like Chris Quilala, and this song by him does not disappoint. This is one of those songs that makes you envision people who really need to hear it, and it just makes you want to forward it to them with an urgency. For anyone who feels unworthy of God's love or who just needs the reminder of it (and don't we all), this is the song for you.

"Forgiven" by Sanctus Real: this is a song I've had to listen to often, as I am truly my own worst enemy when it comes to my relentless perfectionism and thinking I don't deserve things, much less God's love. But this song reiterates what the Bible's core message really is: that Jesus has taken all of our sins and done away with them; we are completely forgiven through Him. I love this one.

"When I'm With You" by Citizen Way: another song that is really special to me. During eighth grade, I had these recurring problems, and remember how I talked about getting my bad thought life and defiant attitude in this post here? Well, this is when some of my defiance really started to flare up, and I began to have these doubts due to my impatience with God's timing (surprise, haha, we all know what a patient person I am—NOT). But of course I didn't want to actually tell God any of this because I think sometimes there's this unspoken message sent by Christians that, well, you don't tell Him your doubts, or your frustrations, and I'm that type of person who is very guarded, and so telling GOD felt very scary. But this song...you just have to listen to it. It's just perfect. If this doesn't spark your prayer life to be completely authentic and vulnerable with God—which IS what He DESIRES from you—I don't know what will. It helped me learn that I can be real with God, that He can take it, and it won't lessen His love for me. In fact, through being honest with Him, even when I don't like it, that's how He can mold me and shape me into becoming better. So thankful for Him and our relationship, it really is the only one that counts... <3

"Love So High" by Hillsong Worship: a beautiful song about the love of God. This would be a good one to fall asleep to, and I've listened to it whenever I need to give my heart a break from the strain and stress of the world. Because seriously people, THIS is what matters in life. To know that God loves you completely. When you learn this—REALLY learn it—it completely changes the way you live your life. Because suddenly it's not all about YOU, because YOU know that YOU are taken completely care of in God. And it makes you filled to the brim with a desire to go tell people this, because what a world that would be... It's the only thing that can save a person's broken heart. But more on this in a book I'll share later in this post...

"Start a Fire" by Unspoken: I love this song because it reminds me of my desire to be a light and help people. Many of these songs were discovered at this time I talk about in this post here, and they were really special to me at that time and still have helped me immensely.

"Say a Prayer" by VERIDIA: another inspiring message about the brokenness of the world but how God can help each of those people and how we have an active role in prayer to help those people. Seriously, don't ever underestimate the power of praying for someone. This song is a great reminder of that.

"At the Cross (Love Ran Red)" by Chris Tomlin: a beautiful song about all Jesus did for us on the cross, THE most important message there is to share. I even wrote some blog posts all about that, here is one over what He did for YOU.

"Real Love" by Hillsong Young & Free: talk about a song that will get you fired up over God's love! I love this one.

"Here for a Reason" by Ashes Remain: okay just when I say this is my favorite Christian song, then I will find another one and be like, NO, this is it! Either way, this one is definitely top of my list. I even shared this for a music class I had to take in middle school in eighth grade because we had to find a song that means something to us. Well, I don't know if it gets any better than this, and it couldn't have come at a more right time for me than when it did: this song is all about knowing your worth and purpose in life. Another urgent message.

"Fierce" by Jesus Culture: like I said, I love Chris Quilala, and he's the singer of this song for Jesus Culture, and this is just another beautiful song that illustrates God's love. I love everything about this one, from the lyrics to the tune to just everything about it.

"Keeper of My Heart" by Kari Jobe: Kari Jobe is a beautiful singer, another fave of mine. And this song is beautiful. I listened to this my first week of starting eighth grade, and based on my feelings which you can read about here, it was the perfect reminder on how God is taking care of me, including the deepest needs of my heart.

"Forever" by Kari Jobe: this song is absolutely beautiful and perfect; it's one of the first Christian songs that really touched my heart in a way I'd never felt before. I can remember exactly where I heard it and why it was so special to me, too. Well, I first heard it at a Christian retreat I recapped here, but I was inspired to look it up again during the summer of 2016, at my grandparents' house, after hearing about a situation that absolutely shattered my heart. Sometimes in broken situations, the only thing that can really give you peace is to know that God is bigger than any of it, and He has conquered and done the impossible, and He can oversee it. Plus you just have to take your eyes off of certain situations like that and focus on Him. That is the only thing that can give you peace with some things—well, with anything, but sometimes you just really need that reminder. And this song was perfect for that.

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Movies

As much as I like to watch movies, I've often found that movies and TV are much harder to find when it comes to having good, inspirational messages. But I have found some good ones.

The Grace Card: I really like the message in this one, and it has an engaging plot. It's about dealing with bitterness and learning how to forgive, something that I definitely need the reminder of.

Grace Unplugged: this may be one of my most favorite Christian films, ever. I think this one hit close to home for me because it's about this girl who feels like she's being sheltered when it comes to her dreams by her parents, and maybe she somewhat is (that's not what I'm talking about when I say it was relatable though haha), but then she decides to abandon her faith and take matters into her own hands by going to Hollywood, pursuing a music career. I've often felt similar desires of wanting to take my own dreams big like that, and I've been guilty of craving the fame and fortune aspects of it. But I really liked how this movie offered a truthful insight on how that life isn't all it's cracked up to be. I also have the book that ties in with it, which is also wonderfully done.

I've seen some other good Christian films, but I don't know if they were my all time favorites like these ones were, just due to some inconsistencies or other small things like that. And I'm by no means a big TV person, so I don't really know of any inspirational TV shows, but if you have any recommendations, feel free to comment!

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Books

My favorite of them all... I have quite a few new ones to add to the list!

God Loves You by David Jeremiah: EVERYONE in the WHOLE WORLD needs to read this book. I'm not exaggerating at all. There are some books I've read that have changed MY life, but I know they wouldn't have that same effect on everyone. But this one... Wow. I don't care who you are, you really need to read it. It's one of the most urgent messages you could ever hear: the truth of God's perfect, unfailing love. I also love David Jeremiah's writing style. I've read various Christian nonfiction books by some different pastors, but I think his is my favorite. He has a way of being scholarly while still being understandable for people who aren't as into that. And if you ever read a book in your life, even if it's just one, it really should be this one. It is literally a whole book on God's love, and whatever you think you know about His love, this book will stretch your knowledge of it. I promise. Plus, one thing I really liked about it, is that he goes over some of the commandments and rules that God has set for us and how those reflect His love toward us. Because yes, you can be loving while still having boundaries and rules, something this society has forgotten. Rules are meant to protect you, and he talks about that more in the book. He also talks about some hot issues in society, like abortion, and where God fits into those and even how His love applies to that. Seriously, you just have to read this book. It's over the most urgent message this world needs. I also have a blog post about God's love for you here.

Ten Questions Christians are Asking by David Jeremiah: like I said, he's a great writer, and I read multiple books by him during eighth grade. This was another really good one of his. I bring a free reading book to all of my classes just in case, and I remember one time I had it just sitting out on my desk, and one of my teachers asked me if they could read a summary of it, so of course I was like go for it. With some of my teachers, I may know them outside of school or have heard enough to know that they are Christians, but then there are others where I don't think they are, just because of little things I pick up on that say otherwise. And this was one of those teachers where I didn't know where they stood in faith, but if I would've had to guess I would've said probably not. But I won't forget how there seemed to be this genuine curiosity in it, almost like that type of soul searching you hear that people do. And I just wanted to say, READ THE BOOK! You will LOVE it. Because the truth is, the questions in this book aren't JUST asked by Christians. They're a great introduction to the foundation of the Christian faith, questions like how you can find forgiveness or is there an unforgivable sin? In all honesty, that's why I bought the book, is because I wanted to know about an unforgivable sin—if there was one. Remember my worry about that I talk about in this post? Anyway, I just loved this book; the answers are far from generic. He answers each question thoroughly and precisely. I highly recommend it. And like I said, this is another one that is good for anyone: people with no faith or people with a serious faith.

Fifteen Minutes by Karen Kingsbury: this book reminded me a lot of a story kind of like the movie Grace Unplugged. It is about a guy with a very strong faith in Jesus, and he has a great singing talent. Anyway, he tries out to be on this singing show—called Fifteen Minutes—and his family is worried about what his new life of fame may do to him and his faith. I don't want to spoil anything, but I'll just say that it was something I needed to hear. I oftentimes find myself with a rather innocent desire like this kid—to be famous so you be a light for Jesus to as many people as possible—but that innocent desire can easily turn into something worse and bring bad consequences. It really shows you how the world of fame isn't all people dream of. I liked this one a lot.

Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey: a book I got at my retreat, I have to be honest with you: I don't remember as much about this one. It was two years ago I read it, BUT I do remember really, really liking it. It answers the tough questions people press against God in what I remember to be both theological and relatable, and it made me think of things I have never thought of before. And I actually shouldn't say I don't remember this book because there are some parts I do, because it shifted some of the ways I thought about God—in a good, more informative way. The one thing I will say about this book though is that I had my mom read it after me, and she wasn't as big of a fan of it because she thought it was a little too scholarly/theological than what she normally looks for, and I agree. Though I was like, oh I thought it was perfect to understand—BUT eleven year old and younger me also read through Revelation and thought that was easy to understand, so! I later found out how wrong I was, and sometimes I think I just act like I get the gist of things and I don't, so make what you want of that!

But in all seriousness, I did pick up on the fact that he does have a different style, and he's definitely more theological/scholarly than David Jeremiah; Philip Yancey requires more thought to be put into what he is saying, if that makes sense. It's not so much that he is smarter or anything because they're both very insightful; I think their styles are just different. But if you really like to dig deep into theological, deep matters like he does, then I think you would really like this. I loved it, personally, but I really like going deeply into things and having to concentrate on what I'm reading. However, my mom said there was a part near the end she really liked, where he basically summarizes everything he goes in depth into in the book, and so if these are questions you struggle with, I still think you should give this a read because you may find some good insight from it.

Wow, I think that does it! I'm so thankful I get the opportunity to learn and be inspired in my faith through other talented people. Let me know if you check out any of the things I listed and what you think!! Also feel free to send me recommendations! :)

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How to Use Social Media for God's Glory

On Monday, I blogged about the problems with the media and how to react to them. Today, I'm going to share with you how you can do your part and be a light for God on social media. I won't be able to cover every single network out there but some of the big ones.

On Facebook

Share what's important, and know your audience. You do not need to over share, you do not need to brag, and you do not need to be fake. Be real, and share what matters. Isn't that what it's for?

On Twitter

Promote something you are working on, or socialize with your friends. I'm done with sub tweeting, which means you're basically calling someone out without using their name. [Example: Your blah blah blah is getting super annoying. Just stop.] They're not exactly calling anybody out, but they're meaning for a certain person to hear it. People call it gossip on Twitter, and I'd have to agree with that! It's pointless, and the people who do it are just asking for attention.

On Instagram

Promote something you are working on, or like Facebook, know your audience and what they want from you. No more of this showing off, please. Also, no more 200 selfies. One more thing: you do not need Instagram unless you are at least sixth grade, and the only exception is if you are known for a product or something. I don't want to be a hypocrite, but most kids my age (and some even older) shouldn't have it because they are so immature on it. I don't use it like the typical kid in my grade - I have a blog, books, and I use my social media to promote/share that. I also am very careful about what I share that's not related to that. I'm not saying I have it all figured out, or I'm the only kid who can have it, but kids my age do need to think about what they share.

As far as I'm concerned? Selfies, squad pictures, the occasional look what I just got. That's literally about it. Oh, don't forget the #mcm's and #wcw's to their "boyfriends" and "girlfriends". Those are my absolute favorites. [For those who think I'm serious, I don't agree with dating at my age. Got a little sarcastic there...]

On Pinterest

Pin only what you NEED [like clothes or home decor], stuff/something you WANT TO DO [like writing resources if you want to write a book or travel things], or SOMETHING YOU LIKE and are saving for a REASON [like a powerful quote or a shade of a color]. Don't pin just to pin, or it's pointless. It's supposed to be a resource. Also, monitor your time on that site. I'm serious. You could easily waste two hours pinning things you may never even do or look at again.

Bottom Line

Just be a light for God. You're not perfect, you do not need to have it all figured out, just do your best to portray your faith. People will notice if you're trying. [See also: why you should and how to show your faith!] 

Did I miss any main social medias? Did I miss any tips? Do you agree with how I think you should use it?

The Problem with the Media

Alright, let's admit it. I'm sure most of us have one social site we really love. You might not think that way at first, but think about how many times you check it, how many times you post, etc. Think about those news sites you check, or all those new movies and books and songs you watch and read and listen to. It's not bad to like any of these things - as long as you're using them for God's glory. There will be a post about that later in the week, but there's also some other things you need to know. For those of us who are on social media, go watch a lot of new movies and such or check the news, I'm sure we can all name something that upset us there.

On social media, maybe you got upset about a post or jealous. On the news, maybe you saw something that really ticked you off. Or watching that new movie or new song, maybe you didn't agree with the message, or you went along with the message, and it was a bad one. Maybe they just caused you to set unrealistic expectations for love or something else in this life. Then you were disappointed when those weren't met. This is all a part of the media. I can relate to all of those scenarios.

While it's definitely important to know how to use social media for God's glory, part of that is learning where the media has its flaws and not letting them get you down. So let's go over them, incorporating a story of my family going to the pumpkin farm the other day.

at the end of a funeral yesterday with my girl cousins, thankful for them (I changed into comfort clothes because my mom and I had a four hour drive home)

at the end of a funeral yesterday with my girl cousins, thankful for them (I changed into comfort clothes because my mom and I had a four hour drive home)

Scenario #1 - Social Media: Jealousy or an Upsetting Post to You

Just get real, we've all seen things on social media that make us jealous. Maybe it was that awesome squad picture or an awesome trip somebody just took. Whatever, the list is extensive. I'm not going to get into what you should and should not post right now - that will come later - I'm just going to acknowledge what you should do when you see these things.

Okay, so you're jealous. Even worse, maybe you're jealous of somebody's entire life and convinced they have it all. I mean, sure, there are probably some challenges, but they have the things they need to overcome them. Perhaps that's money or a picture perfect family. I just want to say - thinking somebody has a flawless or pretty close to flawless life is dangerous. That's not true, despite what you see or how convinced you are.

That's the thing. All you can make inferences with is what YOU SEE. Some people are VERY good at making sure their social media is the best of their life. Don't fall for Satan's lies. Everybody has trials, I try to be real when I do. It's not like I'm going to go out and say, Oh yeah, my parents are driving me insane (just kidding, I love you guys, buy me those basketball shoes please), or, My dog won't shut up, or, My brother is being an absolute brat. But you get the idea. Do not be jealous of people! Be happy for them in their vacations and such, and trust that God has an amazing plan for you. One that would blow social media up if you tried to post about it. I mean, God is pretty amazing. He hasn't let me down yet with His plan for me.

What should you do when you are jealous?
Be happy, even if you're not exactly feeling it. It's a good habit to get into. But I get it. Sometimes it really is like, gosh danggit, why didn't you take me to Punta Cana too?! So... Who cares about what I say, let's see what God says.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:7-8 The closer you get to God, the more you will trust in His AMAZING plan for you, and you will genuinely be happy for others while He fulfills theirs!

mom and me doing the corn maze, they made it harder this year!

mom and me doing the corn maze, they made it harder this year!

Scenario #2 - The News: Something That Ticked You Off or Wasn't Accurate

Ever seen something just dumb on the news that you know wasn't totally true? That happened to a situation with my parents once, people were trying to cover up the ugly truth, and those affected were like, Bull. Crap.

The news is kind of like social media. It's biased, and they'll show you what they want. What should you do when this occurs? Well, first of all, if they're covering things up, there's obviously a reason. They know how dirty the truth is, and they don't want to tell you because they know it's wrong. That's lying, and that's covering up sin. While there may not be a whole lot you can do in terms of having the true story come out, the people faking things will still be judged and held accountable by God. Let's see what He has to say about lying and covering up sin and just about doing justice for all in general.

The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful. Proverbs 12:22 NIV

A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies. Proverbs 14:5 NIV

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13

When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers. Proverbs 21:15 NIV

Turn from evil and do good, then you will dwell in the land forever. For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. Psalm 37:27-29 I love this one, it's so powerful!

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19 NIV True, leave it to God, do not worry about those people being sinful. Trust me, God will take care of them, and you will be rewarded.

dad got behind in the maze, then stayed behind and was throwing corn at us! it was hilarious!

dad got behind in the maze, then stayed behind and was throwing corn at us! it was hilarious!

Scenario #3 - Hollywood and Messages of the World: Bad Ones and Unrealistic Expectations

Ever seen a movie that just had an awful message? For me, this would be PAPER TOWNS. Nothing against those who liked it, but for me, I thought that movie was awful. I felt like it was basically sending a message to live it up while you can [that only has partial truth, we must obey God, not this partying and pranking Hollywood crap like the movie displayed], to use people [that is what the girl did, and the boy was dumb enough to fall for it], annnnnd yeah. It was pretty awful.

Don't listen to that. Live it up while you can? Sure, go get drunk, move across the country, whatever. It's your one life, do as you please. NOT! God gave us rules for dang reasons! My life isn't too bad, and I follow those! By listening to God, you're establishing a good life. Live it up while obeying Him and following His word, and you'll have it made. God wants us to make the most of our time here, but we have to obey Him.

Also, it's very easy in sappy romance movies or beast mode action movies (the list goes on) to set unrealistic expectations for yourself. It could be Hollywood's idea of the perfect, charming hot guy. It could be the physical, heroic main character in the new action movie. The list goes on. Don't go by these things, go by God's and what He says is true. Don't compare your life to those movies. Those movies are meant for entertainment and money, not to help you in your life. God will never say to have high expectations and then not follow through with them. Here are some verses to prove it.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 ESV

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 ESV

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9 ESV

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 ESV

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Psalm 62:5 KJV

stay tuned for a new post over how you can do your part and be a light for God on social media!

stay tuned for a new post over how you can do your part and be a light for God on social media!

I hope this can give you some hope over the media in today's world and how God will fulfill His promises! What do you have questions about with the media? Do you agree with my responses to each scenario?

The Best (Inspiring) Books Ever, Lately

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I really love to read, and one thing I have never really blogged about is some of the books I've found to be really inspiring, great reads. My favorite genre is realistic fiction that has some life lessons, and bonus points if they have faith. I've also been reading some nonfiction stuff over God and different things, so here's some of the books I've read lately I've loved. These aren't actually the newest books, they're just some books I've read lately. I might even throw in some of my favorites that I've read awhile back.

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur >> click for details: This book is about eleven year old Aubrey and what she does when half her family dies in a car accident, and her mom leaves her. It was just a sweet read that focused on what is important in life, and I really liked the ending, but you'll have to see why for yourself. ;) I read this awhile ago, but it's one I love to reread.

Coming Home by Karen Kingsbury (and be sure to click where it says "The Baxters", and read the whole dang series): I cried when I read this the first time. I mean, I was sobbing. My grandma had given it to me when I needed something to read, and I think I finished it in a day or two. This one hits you hard. It is brilliantly written and has an amazing message - hope, love, and trust in God. My favorite of Karen Kingsbury's.

-- This is the very last book in the Baxter series. I actually read this first *whoops* and then went back and read them all. You can do it either way, and it works fine, but just make sure you read all the Baxter books.

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder: This one is a love story, I'm just going to get that out there. I am very picky about the romance novels because I just feel like a lot of them are super sappy and worldly and just make us set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, but this one was not like that. It was really sweet, and it's about a girl who faces an unfortunate situation in her family, and everything will change tomorrow.

She spends one day by herself to just think when she meets Cade. They are the cutest, and they teach us some good lessons. The ending is perfection. I think there needs to be some sort of sequel danggit, but her publisher does not want that at the moment. I don't know WHY. I would buy a whole bunch, and I know I'm not the only one because as soon as YOU read it you will be begging for a sequel.

Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder: I know, two books by the same author, but in case I haven't told you, Lisa Schroeder is amazing. Why is she not a bestselling author?! I know that's not the only way to success, but I'm just saying, makes no sense to me. Everybody buy her books, you will not regret it. Let's show the world how great Lisa Schroeder is. We need more writers like her - real stories with real lessons.

Oh yeah. The book. So first, don't flip out about the cover. I know, I did too - but really, that cover doesn't do it justice. I mean, there is a bit of a love story, but not really. It's more based on family issues and self esteem issues, and then there is a relationship gone wrong and some other friends stuff, but I don't want to say much because I'll spoil it. Just trust me - it's not all romance. This is her best book (in my opinion) in terms of the writing (great details, the story flows perfectly, and I fell in love with the characters - um, well, not the stepdad. Yeah. Definitely not the stepdad, but she did her part well because I hate him - okay, really, really dislike him. I mean, at the end he - oh, I can't tell you the end).

Also, this one had the best message I think. A message of hope, a message of love, a message of healing and forgiveness, a message of loving yourself, it has everything. Just read it.

A Charmed Life (3 books in one, the entire series) by Jenny B. Jones: Oh. My. Gosh. Make me die laughing. This series is hilarious. It's about Bella Kirkwood who is basically a New York diva (and I would call her a snob truthfully), and her dad has an affair, and her mom remarries. Her husband is a guy who lives out on a farm in Oklahoma with two boys - one Bella's age, and one younger (Bella is in high school). I thought Bella was a snob at first - everyone did, and I partially don't blame her because her life totally flips, but she was just a snob to begin with.

It was really cool to see how she turned around though, and some of the relationships she gets into (ooh la la, and they're not horribly sappy ha), and holy crap, these books get intense too. Definitely a page turner. My favorite part? Jenny brings faith into the picture which just makes the story that much better.

Wildflower (book one in the Wildflower series, book two is also awesome) by Alecia Whitaker: This is a page turning series about a girl (Bird) who follows her dreams in music, and reading her journey and the lessons she learns along the way is so realistic, you feel like you're actually going along with her. Some faith is involved too, so yay bonus points. Looking forward to book three, which comes out in about five years or so....

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins: Yes, I had to put this on. A lot of people don't have good impressions about this story (common comment is "they're gross" or "has a horrible message"), but that is just not true. I don't think it's fair for you to make those comments until you actually watch/read the book. The book will probably be better than the movie when it comes to those comments.

Why is the message good? Everyone automatically assumes that because of the Games it's this dark, gross, pointless story. Wrong! That's just a part of this series - part of the crap they have to deal with. The series is about so much more than the drama of the Games - it's about fighting for what is right. It's about being brave. It's about taking a stand. It's about loving others and trying to make a gosh dang difference.

I can see why after the first book people may not be satisfied, and that's because book one is just setting the series up, you guys. It's giving you a glimpse into the awfulness of their lives. Let me tell you though, Catching Fire and Mockingjay are much better in terms of the message, and the series is amazingly written with great details. She truly has to have a creative imagination to think up that plot.

Give this series a chance. I know not everyone will love it, but I think there is some [or a lot] good. The movies are amazing too - one of the best book to movie adaptations I've personally seen. Jennifer Lawrence is outstanding as Katniss - the entire cast suits their roles perfectly. They're intense at times while at other times they're sweet and just get you thinking about what we can do in our own world.

Last but not least, Christian nonfiction-

The Chase - Trusting God with Your Happily Ever After by Kelsey and Kyle Kupecky: Simply amazing was what I thought over and over about this book. I have like five hundred things highlighted. I recommend this for ANY girls of ANY age whether you are in a relationship or not. It will either (a) if you're young like me, teach you how to trust God with your guy and what you can/should look for, or (b) if you're older, teach you about A and how to have a Godly relationship and such. This totally settled my doubts about what to look for in a guy - you need to read this. I hope Kyle and Kelsey write more books - they are what this world so desperately needs.

Also, loyal awesome blog readers, this book inspired me so much I took tons of notes, and one of these days we're going to go over them plus I'm writing a second letter to my future husband >> see the first one here! <<

The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel: This was awesome. I wanted to read into some science behind God, and while this definitely wasn't an easy read (would not recommend this if you're just starting to learn about science) it wasn't overly hard. It talks about the science behind God. It talks about the science behind evolution and why it's NOT the answer. It talks about the science behind Jesus [this part was super interesting!]. My favorite: it talks about the science behind God and suffering [truly loved this part - I have some awesome highlights].

There's more than one in this series - truthfully, I would just recommend this one. It dabbles into everything. It's not all Christian bias either - he interviews an atheist and writes down a bunch of doubts, then goes to interview people. Jeez, they're so intelligent about it. I wish I could be like that, but I am no scientist, so I will just stick to the books.

Oh my gosh, I think that covers it. That will be $500 for each book reviewed. No, just kidding. These books really needed to be raved about, but gosh danggit, I would not mind being paid that. Contact me for your future book recommendations, ha. ;D

I hope you all find some good books to read, and you grow in your faith! What should I read next? Comment below!