My Favorite Books This Summer

Hi guys!!  I have read a lot of good books this summer and wanted to share them with you.   Comment down below what your favorite books have been this summer!

  1. Soundless By: Richelle Mead    ****/***** (4/5)SOUNDLESS

In a village without sound…
For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people.   See Review Here 

MY THOUGHTS: I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  It has an intriguing and unique plot and even a little bit of romance!  It is a comparatively short book at only 266 pages, yet Mead manages to create a compelling and adventurous plot that makes the book hard to put down!  I do have one suggestion when reading this book: it is better to read it all at once as apposed to reading a chapter and then waiting a week before picking it up again.  This book is great for readers who enjoy an action-packed plot and great character development.

2. Life As We Knew It By: Susan Beth Pfeffer   ***/***** (3.5/5)

LIFE AS WE KNEW IT

Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all–hope–in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.  See Review Here

MY THOUGHTS: I listened to the audiobook of this book while traveling to Yosemite with my family.  It was great in the sense that it made the time go by faster.  However, I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I would have actually read it instead of listening to it.  The reason I gave this book 3.5 stars is that it did sometimes tend to go on… and on…. and on.  You know those type of books that are really pretty good but spend a little too much time talking about one thing or describing another thing?  This is one of those books (though it certainly is not as bad as other books).  I don’t know if I would not read this book because of this fact, but it is something to keep in mind when picking out a book to read.  I did enjoy the characterization of this book and also thought the plot was interesting.  I also felt like the author did a good job of “keeping it real” so to speak.  It felt very realistic.  Long story short, if you don’t mind a little extra detail here and there and are ready for your world to change “as you know it”, read on!  If you become easily impatient with too much detail, pick another book.

3. The Giver By: Lois Lowry   *****/***** (4.5/5)

THE GIVERThe Giver is a 1993 American young-adult utopian/dystopian novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a society which at first appears to be utopian but is revealed to be dystopian as the story progresses. The novel follows an 11-year-old boy named Jonas. The society has eliminated pain and strife by converting to “Sameness,” a plan that has also eradicated emotional depth from their lives. Jonas is selected to inherit the position of Receiver of Memory, the person who stores all the past memories of the time before Sameness, as there may be times where one must draw upon the wisdom gained from history to aid the community’s decision making. Jonas struggles with concepts of all the new emotions and things introduced to him: whether they are inherently good, evil, or in between, and whether it is even possible to have one without the other. The Community lacks any color, memory, climate and terrain, all in effort to preserve structure, order, and a true sense of equality beyond personal individuality. See Review Here 

MY THOUGHTS:  I cannot tell you how much I LOVED this book!!  It is one of those books that has it all: a compelling plot, characters that you care about to carry out the plot, and a surprising ending!  It is such an enjoyable read!  At first, I was totally depressed about the ending because it’s kind of a cliff hanger.  But then I discovered that “The Giver” is the first book in a quartet and forgave Lowry for the cliff-hanger ending 😉  I haven’t had a chance to read the rest of the series but know that they are all set in the same world but have different main characters.  I must say that if they are anything like the first book, I am totally hooked!

NOTE: If I was to put these books in order (with my favorite ones first and my less favorite ones second) I would put them in this order: The Giver, Soundless, Life As We knew It.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of “The Giver” series and also the “Mistborn” series by Brandon Sanderson.  Let me know if you have read these books!

 

Yosemite Vacation Highlights

My last week of summer was spent with my family in Yosemite National Park and let me tell you: the week was jam-packed with fun!!!  Here are some details:

When: The week of August 15-21

Where: We visited Yosemite National Park, California (and surrounding areas) and slept at Mammoth Lakes in the Juniper Springs Lodge.

We spent Tuesday traveling and listening to an audiobook called, “Life As We Knew It” by Susan Pfeffer.  The book turned out to be kind of depressing but still a very interesting read (expect this book to be included in my book review post).  It took us a little under 12 hours by car to reach our condo and after stopping by a grocery store for dinner, we went to sleep!  For a look outside my window and more pictures, check out my instagram at @kyles9900!

Wednesday we woke up around 7am and at 9am my sister and I went horseback riding!  My horse’s name was Mikey and he was very well behaved.  My sister’s horse, Judge, was also pretty good, although he did take his sweet time walking along the trail. 😉  Our group’s guide was awesome because he answered all of our questions about horses and told us about his many pets.  Also, the scenery was beautiful and we even came across a deer!

After horseback riding, we made our way to Mary Lake.  We rented a motor boat and spent the next hour learning how  to steer.  I was a little shaky at first, but once I got used to right being left and left being right, I really enjoyed steering the boat!  We couldn’t have asked for better weather and the wind in my face felt exhilarating. We then ate our lunch at a picnic table nearby and teased the squirrels by feeding them goldfish and cheetoes.  Gotta love family picnics!  We spent the rest of the day taking naps, watching movies and playing games, and swimming at our condo.  Needless to say, it was a great way to start our vacation!

On Thursday, we traveled to Yosemite National Park.  We spent all day touring the park, going from shuttle to shuttle, and going on hikes.  Some of the places we visited were Lower Yosemite Falls (although we picked the wrong season to view it–> the waterfall had pretty much dried up) and Vernal Falls.  The hike up to Vernal Falls was VERY steep (400 ft elevation gain) but still a lot of fun!  We also saw Bridalveil Falls and El Capitan Mountain.  At the end of the day we were exhausted but satisfied!  I will be posting some pictures of our trip soon, so check out my instagram!

Friday was more relaxed and we ended up playing games like Connect 4, Chess, and Canasta.  Saturday was much of the same.  Although in the afternoon we saw the movie “Pete’s Dragon” and it wasn’t the cheesy movie I was expecting.  It was actually really touching!  After the movie, we toured Mammoth Village and had a blast.  I got a t-shirt that says, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.  Except for bears: bears will kill you!”  I thought it was pretty funny.  My sister and my dad also played real-life sized chess and we stopped by a hamburger place for dinner.  The next day we traveled the 11 and a half hours home while listening to an audiobook called Icons.  We got home around 8pm and were filled with gratitude to finally be home sweet home!  Overall, we had a great vacation, viewed some beautiful sights and bonded as a family.  I look forward to our next family vacation!!

Thanks for reading this post!  My next post will be my book reviews post!

Endings, Beginnings, and Forensic Anthropology

Hello!!  The end of summer is upon us and school starts in less than two weeks.  Time really flies when you’re having fun (and working hard).  I worked 235 hours at a care center as a CNA this summer.  Let’s just say that 12-hour shifts really make the days go by!

Speaking of endings, I recently re-read “The Giver” by Lois Lowry and was very dissapointed with the cliff hanger ending.  But, I also recently discovered that Lowry wrote three sequels to “The Giver”, so maybe the ending isn’t quite as bad as I origionally thought.  Leave me a comment if you have read the other books in “The Giver” series!

With all endings comes new beginnings and summer is no exception.  My senior year is looming in front of me like a massive Goliath I am sorley unprepared to fight.  Fortunately, my schedule turned out pretty well, and AP Chemistry and English 2010 are my only really hard classes.  The rest of my schedule is full of classes like yoga (which I am taking both for the P.E. credit and for the built-in stress relief :)), U.S. Government (a required class), psychology, Choir (which is always fun!), an internship at my local hospital (insert me bouncing off the walls with excitement here), and a new program offered at one of UVU’s extension campuses called CAPS.  I would tell you more about it but that’s pretty much all I know for now.

Now that I discussed both endings and beginnings, why not discuss forensic anthropology?  I have been watching a series on Netflix called “Bones” recently and have become intrigued by the forensics field.  I have always been fascinated by “blood and guts” for lack of a better term and this show has reminded me of this fascination.  The human body is beyond amazing and I am considering a career in forensics.  I also am looking into becoming a labor and delivery nurse, but hey: I have a while before I need to decide.

Thanks for reading this post!!  Look forward to a book review post next week featuring “The Giver” and a new book I picked up at the library called “Soundless” by Richelle Mead.  Hope you have a great last couple weeks of summer!!

Home For The Holidays

There are only 16 more days until Christmas!!  This year has really flown by for me.  I am really looking forward to spending the holidays and the end of 2015 with my family.

We always get caught up in who knows what… when what is most important is right in front of us: friends, family and home, sweet, home.  I have recently been “forced” to take a break from life and recover from a lateral release knee surgery on both of my knees.

This has really turned out to be a blessing for me because it has forced me to focus on the most important things in life, like my family.  I got the chance to decorate the tree and really bond with my parents.  My sister was still gone all the time (as usual) but we will catch up on our quality time during Christmas break.

For my mom’s present this year, I am going to make dinners during Christmas week.  I will post the recipes I find on my Cooking page.  I am really excited to try new recipes and maybe even make new Christmas traditions!! Cinnamon rolls are probably at the top of my list. 🙂

Until next time, may you all enjoy this Christmas season!!  If you need a holiday pick-me-up, check out Studio C’s Christmas Special Live Event.  They are sure to make you laugh!

Cheers!  Jackie Taylor

Studio C Christmas Special Live Event

Life on The Weekends

Don’t you just love weekends?  You get to sleep in, make yummy breakfasts (with bacon!) and actually have time to do stuff with your friends.  Or maybe you don’t love weekends.  I mean, most people are stuck doing chores around the house and homework.  I find myself somewhere in the middle.  Sometimes I get to go play nerf wars at Blaster Tag with my friends. (like yesterday–that was fun!)  Other times, I am stuck at home with homework while my family shops for a homecoming dress for my sister (like today).

How do you feel about the weekends?  Good, bad, neutral, or is it a love-hate relationship? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Either way, I hope you guys can

Blog Keep calm and enjoy the weekend

Cheerio!

Hello World!!

This is officially my first post on this blog.  Before you read any further, please make sure to check out the “About Me” tab.  It will tell you important information like who I am and my passions and interests.

Now, onto the good stuff.  I titled this blog, “All that’s bright and beautiful” for two reasons.  First, it is based upon one of my favorite LDS primary songs, “All Things Bright and Beautiful”.  Here are the lyrics!  Isn’t that a cool song?!

Second, the title reminds me of the 13th Article of Faith.  It says, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”  It is my mission to seek after all things that are bright and beautiful.  🙂

Now, I’m not going to be one of those bloggers who posts five days in a row and then leaves you hanging for a month.  Instead, I have found a compromise.  I will be posting a minimum of four posts a month or at least once a week.

Phew!  Our housekeeping items are done.  Thank you so much for stopping by my blog!  Expect another post later this week.  Have a wonderful day!