24 Book Challenge: A Book That Was Turned Into a Movie

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #4 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.

Title: The Mortal Instruments Book One: The City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Copyright Date: 2007

IMG_2252

This book was read a little out of order. It had been my original goal to read my books in the order in which they appear on the 24 Book Challenge, however, the library took longer than expected to get me my book #3, so I jumped ahead to #4. I’ve already begun reading a book written the year that I was born and I can’t wait to reveal more about the novel to you in the future. But, today the spotlight is on City of Bones.

First of all, this book is endorsed by The Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight Trilogy and other popular books. She is the queen of the supernatural YA novel, and anything with her endorsement stamped on the front cover is worth a second glance.

Second of all, City of Bones is one of those books as a teacher that I’ve seen a lot of. Students tend to put this book on hold in the library and then read it within a week. I’ve also noticed the fandom which has risen from the students who start this engaging series. So many of the kids who get their hands on book one seem to continue through this series or others by the author. It’s been quite the phenomenon so it’s no surprise that this book has been on my TBR list for over a year. Now, with this reading challenge I’m able to really mark some of those titles off my list.

Thirdly, I would say that although my name may not be synonymous with Stephenie Meyer, I would agree wholeheartedly with her endorsement of the book. There is a unique draw to the world of this novel crafted by this author. This is a book that draws you in from the beginning and keeps you hooked all the way through. There is a good balance of action, romance, and detail. I’ve summed it up to others on social media as a cross between the wizarding world of Harry Potter and the magic world parallel to our own of Percy Jackson.

Clary is an average sixteen year old until she isn’t anymore.

While out at a teen night club in New York City she becomes a witness to a murder that the rest of the club is oblivious to. At first, she doesn’t know how to explain the fact that she could see what others could not, but before long she is drawn into a world of Shadowhunters, demons, forsaken, and other out-of-this-world beings.

The next day Clary learns that her mother is missing and that there may be a connection between what she witnessed the night before and the assumed abduction of her mother. Jace Wayland, a Shadowhunter from the night club, takes Clary under his wing and teaches her about the dangerous and fascinating world that co-exists with the world she had always known. Through a series of events Clary begins to learn that those she has always trusted may be the biggest threat to her life. She also learns that her mother may have been keeping some rather large secrets of her own.

Throughout the book, Clary begins to trust Jace and his circle of friends and embarks down the road to finding her mother along with them. Violence and pain pave the way of their journey, but Clary begins to figure out her role in this world she has only just discovered.

Like I stated earlier, this book has a perfect blend of action, romance, and detail. Throughout the book major plot twists keep you on the edge of your seat and the ending is far from obvious. With this being a series, the ending is not complete. Clare does wrap this novel up well, but you will want to put the second book, City of Ashes, on hold because this book leads so nicely into the second one.

Now, I’m off to find a copy of the movie!!

Advertisements

Love and Grace

IMG_2312

This Sunday morning my husband is on the road with a basketball show and I am nursing my daughter back to health after an ear infection. This winter has brought sickness after sickness for my little girl, but on Friday we received some potential answers as to why. It looks like our little girl has allergies and all of these upper respiratory issues lately are rooted in that condition.

For the third time in the past month I’m missing church again today so I won’t be posting a Covenant message. However, I do look forward to catching up via podcast later in the week.

Today, my message was brought to me from my biblical coloring book, Live Loved.

Jeremiah 31:3- I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Because God loves us with an everlasting love it means that He always has and always will continue to love us. No matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done His love for each of us is eternal. His unfailing kindness refers to the fact that while we may not deserve it He has chosen to love us anyway.

When God looks at us He chooses not to see our sins and mistakes. Out of His unfailing kindness He chose GRACE. And His grace covers all of our weaknesses.

I’m so thankful for a God who loves, forgives, and covers us with grace!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

A Short Story About Mermaids

Lately, I’ve been trying to work on honing some of my writing skills by sitting down to craft a short story for a fifteen minutes or so each day. With each story I am focusing on something. Sometimes I choose to focus on characterization and really take time to develop a vivid character. Other ideas I’ve focused on in my prompted ramblings are setting, conflict, dialogue, and grammar. A website that has helped me not only build my skills through short lessons on writing, but also provided me prompts for writing ideas is called The Write Practice.

Today, I’ve decided to share with you this part of my creative writing process. This particular story was written with a focus of revealing plot information through dialogue. It may be an off-the-wall topic, but it was a good way to practice a skill I desperately need as I edit my novel.

The prompt is fantasy in nature: Mermaids attempt to install a democratic form of government, but the cephalopods are causing trouble.

Here is a glimpse at a short writing I did and posted on The Write Practice website.

The Oppression of Squid

Lauren Sisley

“Mira, where are you going?” Alexandra called after her best friend. She struggled to keep up with Mira’s pace as they swam through the Coral Village.

“I’m going to set this all straight. I’ve had enough.” Mira called back. Her voice trailed off in the distance between the two mermaids. Alexandra looked ahead and saw the golden locks of her best friend as she swam toward the Village Square. Soon her friend would be lost in crowd of sea creatures so Alexandra kicked her fins as quickly as she could. She began to gain on her friend.

“What makes you think the Dictator will listen to you? Plus, how do you plan to persuade an entire panel of cephalopods? They hate the mermaids. That’s why we’ve been living in oppression for so long.” Alexandra did her best to talk her boisterous friend out of whatever plan she had secretly devised.

“I’m so sick of this. I’m sixteen. I’m old enough to make my own choices and decisions. Why must I serve these nasty creatures?” Mira slowed down to look at her friend. Her blue eyes glistened in the light of the sea. They were large and round.

“Mira, it’s all part of our history. You know why we serve the dictator and his team of tentacles.” Alexandra reminded Mira of the fact that Hostile Mermaid History was the only true subject that the girls were taught in school.

“It just isn’t fair. You and I were not behind the nasty stories that were passed down orally for centuries about the cephalopods. Why do we have to pay the price?” Mira crossed her arms across her chest bumping the teal bra that she had made herself from shells she had found at the discount shell shop.

“No one ever said it was fair or justified. Nothing ever is here. But, it’s their reasoning. Don’t think for one second that a head strong sixteen year old will change the way things have been for so long.” The two girls moved closer to the town square. Their tones became hushed as they feared being overheard by the average passerby.

“Then let’s run away.” Mira’s eyes drifted to the distance as she entertained the idea in her mind. A devious smile creeped itself across her face.

“What are you two girls doing in the square unaccompanied?” A large squid dressed in his official uniform came within a tentacle’s reach from Alexandra. She moved back subtly.

“We are sixteen, Sir. That’s of age. And we’ve only come to speak with the Dictator.” Mira spoke matter-of-factly.

“Sixteen or not the Dictator will never hear from two young mermaids unsummoned. Run along to the village and get to work.” The officer spoke haughtily toward the girls.

Before she could respond the squid made a lunge toward the girls. Mira acted quickly pushing her friend out of the squid’s grasp. Taking Alexandra by the arm she pushed her way past the squid toward the large public square in the distance. The squid was caught off guard and soon lost the two mermaids in the sea of creatures going to and from the shops and reefs…

Five Minute Friday: Morning

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Morning. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

katemotaung.com-3-600x600.jpg

*This is a short fictional piece, but very much based on my morning coffee routines.*

“Can I help you?” A tall and skinny barista asked with a plastered smile across her face. No one is ever that happy at seven A.M. I thought to myself. I’m not always as cynical as the time between waking and receiving my morning coffee.

“Yes, I’ll take a large pour over.” I said without making eye contact with the woman taking my order. The rustling in my purse to find my wallet kept me from feeling that awkward obligation to force a smile in return  to the barista’s.

“Any cream or sugar?” The barista asked as she punched a code into the register.

“No.” I scoffed a bit in my response I must admit. After all, it was seven A.M. which is the time before cream and sugar should reasonably be consumed.

“That will be $3.95.” The barista explained as if I hadn’t already known the cost of my usual drink. We exchanged my small plastic card and upon it’s return to my hand the girl whose name, Lysa, I had just noticed from her name tag pointed to the end of the counter where I would soon unite with my  coffee.

I scooted my way toward the pick up station. There were others in line ahead of me so I took my phone from my purse and began to surf social media. I was careful not to invite others to speak to me as my small talk abilities didn’t really kick in until after my first cup of the day. After finger flicking through the latest gossip on my phone for a few minutes my ears were met with the sound of Lysa, the barista, calling out my name.

“Brittany, your pour over is ready.”

I threw my phone back into the front pocket of my bag and reached my hand across the counter. The warmth of the paper cup brought the morning’s first flicker of life to my body. The smell of the coffee was wafting through the small hole in the lid of the cup. As the smell entangled my nostrils I felt my negativity melting away. I took a small sip careful not to burn my lips or mouth. And after the ammunition of one perfectly crafted drink of coffee I mustered up the energy to speak.

“Thank you.” I spoke as I turned to leave the small shop. You can’t beat a good cup of coffee in the morning to get your day started off right.

 

Threenager

It’s crazy how time flies. Just a few short months ago I was raising your average toddler. She was fully interested in engaging with the world around her. Rarely did she have an opinion about what to do, where to go, or what to eat. But lately I’ve found that when I look into the eyes of my moody and insistent three year old that I’m actually looking at what the future holds. The teenage years are upon us now.

Living with a threenager can be difficult.

If it isn’t the irritability that sucks your energy as a parent it’s the part about living life on the constant edge of a meltdown. Emotions are attached to every decision, every object, and every breath.

Most recently I was scolded for moving her teddy bear from one side of the couch to the other. Clearly, I was in the wrong.

“How dare you move my bear. That is terrible!” was her response all while trying to hold back tears.

But the beauty of being a parent is using these meltdowns and emotional moments to begin to teach her healthy ways of expressing herself. In the hardest moments I turn to God for help and then I remember that my job is to teach her to do the same thing. We pray through difficult times together. With tear streaked faces we turn our eyes from ourselves. (She in her desperation to get a handle on her feelings; me in my desperation to help her see that the world isn’t falling apart because I moved the bear.) As we sit together I realize that these threenager days may be tough, but I’m a blessed to be her mother anyway. God will equip me with the wisdom and patience for raising this threenager!

The Ameri Brit Mom

IMG_2221

 

Much Love

  
Friends, it’s been an eventful week. Between family events, birthday parties, working, taking care of my baby girl who can’t seem to shake her cold, and an overload of meetings I haven’t been able to catch a break. My mind has been going a mile a minute trying to keep up with life. 

Over the weekend I embraced an opening in my schedule. I did so by sitting on the couch, armed with a mug of butter toffee coffee and my biblical coloring book. Through the act of coloring I was able to give wings to my creative mind which had been stifled due to constantly being on the move.

In the peacefulness of the moment I was reminded of God’s love for me.

This is a busy time of the year for teachers. State tests are right around the corner, administrators are looking at logistics for the next year, and snow days put us way off course when it comes to curriculum. 

During the past week I have not had much time to myself. So it was a welcome reminder to read this passage and soak it in. God loves me. He sent his son for me. Even though he knew I would mess up he saw me as someone worth saving. And he has done the same for you! 

What a great reminder today amidst the chaos of life. 

The Ameri Brit Mom 

Forget

forget-600x600

 

As I sit on my front porch watching as my daughter changes our sidewalk into her personal chalk canvas I take a deep breath and I pray that I am not too quick to forget this day.The sun is bright. The temperatures are warm. The grass is not covered in a thick layer of snow. The calendar may say February, but mother nature says Spring. I know these days are limited, but they serve as a reminder that beautiful days are to come.

The air smells like the birth of a new season. I hear the forgotten tunes of birds in the air and children playing in the yard.

Before long I will be plotting my garden for the year. The neighbors who have been cooped up all winter will emerge again exchanging yard tips and comments on the weather. Blooms on the trees are not far off. Cropped pants and light jackets are soon coming in season.

Today is a reminder of the days forgotten. The evenings around the fire pit, the afternoons at the park. The meals hot off the grill and the bare toes resting atop flip flops are soon to come.

I thank God for this reminder. After a couple of rough weeks where I was stuck inside due to snow I’ve needed a reminder of what it feels like to be outside soaking up some good ole Vitamin D.

IMG_2311.JPG

The Ameri Brit Mom

The Ameri Brit Mom Blog is Turning One!

IMG_1972 (1).JPG

One year ago I was tossing and turning with anxiety. I had been a closet writer for practically my entire life, but I was being called by God to make my private hobby a public ministry. I wrestled with God and my husband who urged me to follow my dreams of becoming a writer. At times, pride kept me from distributing my honest thoughts and writing for fear of ridicule, or worse fear of nobody caring. But, I am so thankful that in the end I closed my eyes and hit the publish button for the very first time.

On February 17, 2015 The Ameri Brit Mom went public.

For the very first time in my life friends and family members were able to read some of my work. It was an unnerving experience to allow other people to pass through the walls I had built around myself. Cutting the ribbon on my blog was the beginning of an amazing journey. At times throughout the first few months my efforts seemed futile. I wondered often if anyone was even reading what I had to say. But, I continued in the discipline of writing and sharing, and God used this blog to reach over 3,419 people in its inaugural year!

In honor of my blog’s birthday today I would like to take you back to my very first post, Why Blog?

As I sat at my kitchen table drafting this initial post I remember really struggling with many questions.

Why would God call me to write a blog? What do I have to say that is so important? Who am I to offer any type of content for others when I don’t have my own self together?

If I could go back in time and talk to myself in those last few moments before I let this blog out of the bag I would tell that twenty-four year old insecure mother that pressing “publish” was the beginning of the road to healing. I would explain that through the establishment of this blog I would meet wonderful friends from all over the world. I would have an opportunity to grow in my faith as I encourage others in theirs. I would talk myself down from the panic attack that would ensue to explain that though it took courage to put myself out there I would be empowered by God to see this thing through.

I’ve learned a lot over the past year. When I go back to my earlier writings I smile at all of the broken grammatical rules. I struggle through some of the raw emotions again, and as much as I’d love to edit those original pieces to bring them up-to-speed with what I know now I leave them be as a testament to my own growth. In this first year I was also able to finish my first novel which would have never happened without the help and encouragement of a community of writers and readers collected through my blog (details to come in the next couple of months.)

Thank you for being a part of this first year with me. Whether you have followed my blog all along or you are just coming across it for the first time you have played a role in its successes and my personal growth.

I would like to leave you today with my first ever blog post:

Why Blog– The Ameri Brit Mom (first published 2/17/15)

The most common advice that I’ve read out there for newbie bloggers is to focus on something that makes you unique. They say to find something about yourself that you can share with others to mutually benefit you as the author and the readers as well. I struggle with picking out one thing about myself to truly focus on in this blog. I have too many interests to limit myself to just one particular aspect to highlight. In truth, I am questioning the value in blogging at all, but the aspiring author in me is yearning to give it a try. So in this struggle to label my individuality I came to the conclusion that I am so multifaceted that picking ONE thing about myself would be to limit my inspiration in this blog.

So who am I?

I am a wife. I’m an All-American girl who fell in love with an English-native who left behind his British roots to grow some new one’s with me in small town America. We have worked together to build a home that values the similarities and differences in cultures we both were raised in and we share a love and passion for travel for those very same reasons.

I am a mother. I am a young mother of a two year-old girl who has given my life a whole new definition. I have learned more from my daughter and watching her grow and thrive than I could ever hope to have taught her in a lifetime.

I am a Christian. I strive everyday to reflect Christ to those around me…most importantly my family.

I am a teacher. I brave the long halls and attitudes of high school for a second time in my life, but this time as the teacher. I have been a high school teacher in a rural community for four years now. I teach English and World History for 9th grade students. I feel that one of my callings in life is to be a witness for Christ in the public school system (which at times can be a bit of a challenge)

I am a new home owner. With home ownership comes a seemingly endless list of projects to make my family’s home as lovely and inviting as those of us who reside within it.

From this list I have concluded what makes me unique is the balancing act that is my life. We all struggle with keeping it together and staying on top of everything. We all wear so many hats in this life. These are my many hats that I work to balance on my head everyday. Each day I aim to be a better wife, mother, Christian, teacher, and home owner. This blog is my documentation of this balancing act. My hope is that in documenting my steps it will help encourage me in this journey where the struggle is REAL…and in turn may also serve as inspiration for others out there. I welcome comments and suggestions for posts. My goal is to create a community with other women like myself out there who are striving to be their very best everyday and conquer the world in the name of Jesus and family.

And that’s why I blog.

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

Origami Owl Genuine Leather Bracelet

One of my favorite parts of getting ready each day is accessorizing my look. I love to pair different pieces of jewelry with my outfits. Over the past couple of months I’ve shared some of my favorite pieces with you on the blog. Today, I would like to introduce you to my Origami Owl Genuine Black Leather Bracelet.

IMG_1674

If you are unfamiliar with the company, Origami Owl was started by a fourteen year old girl, Bella, who was seeking a way to save up money to purchase a car by the time she turned sixteen. She began to make and sell Living Lockets to people she knew. From there her idea took off and Origami Owl became one of the largest independent jewelry consultant companies.

One thing that makes my Origami Owl bracelet different from some of my others is that it expresses who I am. I picked out the color of the leather, the size of the locket, as well as the face of the locket from a few different options. Then, I was able to choose charms to place in my locket to further customize the piece.

My friend, Desiree (whom I’ve actually posted about on the blog last May) is a consultant for Origami Owl. She and her daughter Grace earn extra income through this company which pays for Grace’s volleyball club. If you are interested in purchasing anything from the company I would highly recommend doing so through the Origami Owl links on this post because then you will be supporting a wonderful, Christian family.

Here is a look at all the pieces that make up my personal Origami Owl Bracelet:

IMG_2305

  1. Genuine Leather Bracelet: $18.00
  2. Medium Silver Twist Living Locket Face with Swarovski Crystals: $18.00
  3. Medium Silver Wrap Bracelet Locket Base: $16.00
  4. Charms: $5 each

The Ameri Brit Mom

Menu Monday: Dinner Quiche

It’s been a while since I last posted a dinner recipe here on the blog. Lately, we’ve gotten in the habit of hibernating at home to avoid the nasty weather. I’ve used this bonus time as an opportunity to explore some new recipes. Thanks to motivation from Jen Hatmaker in For the Love, I’ve had several glasses of wine and new home-cooked meals over the past couple of months. Here is a great recipe that I found in an old cookbook and tweaked so that my entire family would enjoy this dish. I hope you find a way to work it into your family’s meal rotations.

Bon Apetit!

Dinner Quiche

Ingredients:

1 cup diced fully cooked ham

3/4 cup of shredded Swiss Cheese (or four slices ripped into bite-sized pieces)

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)

1 chopped green pepper

1 cup milk

1/4 cup bisquick mix

2 eggs

1/8 tsp pepper

IMG_2298

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a greased, 10 in. pie plate layer ham, both cheeses, and green pepper.
  3. Place the remaining ingredients in a blender or stand mixer in the order given above. Blend for 35-40 seconds.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the ham, cheese, and peppers. Do not stir.
  5. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until set and lightly brown.
  6. Let stand five minutes before cutting and consuming.

*It’s as simple as that!

  
  
The Ameri Brit Mom