Saturday, June 25, 2016

Favorite Adventure Books + Giveaway Winners! (Two Year Anniversay #3)

Hello, blog readers! Guess what today is? Yup. It's my official blogiversary. *cheers* Two years of craziness talking and rambling about life, books, and other such things. Here's to more years of adventuring.

And, I know, I didn't post yesterday, but to make up for it, today I've got my top five adventure books, and the WINNERS OF THE GIVEAWAY

Ready for the winners!?

Julia Ryan wins Hundred More Years and Allie D. wins When Calls the Heart!!! Congratulations, guys!!! I'll email you shortly! 

And, as promised, I've got my top five adventure books. (I'm sure my fellow readers can sympathize with how tough it was to make this list.) Now, adventure books are some of my favorites - Historical Adventure Fiction if one of my favorite genres, but I was surprised to see that, on reflection, quite a few of the books I've read haven't been adventure, necessarily. And, actually, four of the five books I've chosen for this list I read this year. I mean, Brothers at Arms was a reread, but rereads count. ;) Adventure may be my favorite type of book to read, but I also enjoy a wide range of other types of books, which is fun. Diversity is good, don't you think?

Without further ado, here they are (and in no particular order, 'cause, ya know, I have a hard time picking favorites anymore...):

#1 Facing Up by Bear Grylls

You guys, it's BEAR GRYLLS. He is basically adventure in a person. ;) I was a bit of a fan of Bear before I read this book, so I enjoyed getting to watch (or read...) his journey before, on, and briefly after Everest. It was fun, it was informative, and it kept my interest. I was also happy to read the glimpses he gives of his faith and his family.

#2 Brothers at Arms: Treasure and Treachery in the Amazon by John J. Horn

Guns, treasure, British twins, evil, undercover villains, Peru, the Victorian era, crazy natives. Yep. This book combines all that, and in a fun, edge-of-your-seat kind of way. Chester and Lawrence are such opposites, so they work through situations incredibly well together - Law comes up with the plans, but he couldn't very well execute them without Chester's brawn and knowledge of weaponry. Plus, their bantering and slight arguments are funny.

#3 Blink of an Eye by Ted Dekker

Blink of an Eye captured me almost immediately. With an unconventional heroine and an unlikely hero, this thriller shines with on-the-edge-of-your-seat chases, near captures, and the hero's sudden bout of clairvoyance. Seth, the hero, was the best character, just because of his backstory and who he was on the inside - really sweet and caring and protective because of what had happened to him. I didn't want to put this down. Yup. Not recommended for the faint of heart. ;)

 #4 The Young Fur Traders by R.M. Ballantyne

Any of Ballantyne's books are adventurous - it's just how and what he wrote. There are always bad guys versus good guys, a little bit of a message, dangerous situations, some type of wilderness (be it forest or city or jungle), some action scenes... But this one, on top of being filled with the adventures and maybe impetuousness of two boys setting out on their first trip as voyagers in the dense forests of Canada, also included cute, humorous moments and fun characters. (I mean, Fighting the Flames, too! That and The Young Fur Traders are my two favorite Ballantyne books.) And that ending? So funny. I laughed, I smiled, and I enjoyed myself.

#5 God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew

Yes, another adventurous autobiography. Because this book gripped me and touched me and made me tear up. I loved it. And it's on my to-read-again-sometime list. ;) Andrew goes through crazy situations, always pulling through and showing up on the other side. God intervenes in his life in amazing ways, and it was really cool to see.

I did really have a hard time picking the last one! Because there were other candidates up for the job. I mean, Secret of the Lost Settlement by John J. Horn was full of action and intense adventure; the Arcrean Conquest series was riddled with fun characters, interesting plot arcs, faith, mystery, and it's fantasy - which is fun; Take This Cup was an interesting, unique story of a young boy destined by God to be the bearer of Jesus' cup at His last Passover, and it brought to my attention connections and things in the Bible that I'd never noticed before...and that is always fun. But I decided, and I *whisper* hope I made the right decision. ;)

What is your favorite genre (or genres!) to read? Do you like adventure novels? Have you read any of the above books (even the ones I mentioned but didn't include)? Let me know in the comments! 

And to the winners of my giveaway: another huge congrats! I hope you enjoy. <3


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

WIP Snippet (Two Year Anniversary #2)


I mentioned in my anniversary-announcement post that I'd be sharing a snippet from my book. Here it is!

The name of my mysterious WIP (short for work-in-progress)? So far I'm calling it Trapped on the Islands of Panama, or Trapped for short.  

(And, actually, in a matter of days I'll be doing my first ever Camp NaNoWriMo! This novel is what I'll be working on. My word count goal? 12,000 words. It's not too much, but it's a start!)

I feel like the heroine is kinda seeming like me. I guess that's okay. I mean, we are suppose to infuse pieces of ourselves into our characters, right? Makes 'em more realistic. But her and I seem to be similar - just a bit, at least. The hair color, the eye color, the interests... Maybe it's just me. I don't know. If she seems like me, tell me so in the comment section. ;) (Though I'm not sure you can get a feel for her completely from this rather *cough* long snippet, but...) Either way, though, I think I am going to try to make a conscious effort to make her unique. (ahem. Not so much like me, if you get my drift. ;))

The set up? Madeline Williams, sixteen-years-old, lives in Civil War America. It's 1861 and the war is on the horizon (See? I guess I kinda do like the word horizon.). Her brother, Theodore, has been conscripted into the Confederate army, and she's being sent to her cousin's in England for the duration of the war. This is her, well, getting embarrassed on the days she's leaving. Happens to all of us sometimes, eh? ;) Also, just to let you know, some things in this aren't necessarily concrete for my novel. So, if you ever getta read the finished product, you've been forewarned.

I hope you enjoy. <3


           I stood on the dock, my insides quivering. Here I was, about to take a weeks-long journey aboard an old-looking ship with an uncle I’d barely met once, and all I could think about was that I desperately wished I was staying home, was home, sitting atop my chestnut mare with Teddy by my side on his stallion.

          My eyes drifted to the deck of the ship I knew was my uncle’s, sailors running about, putting things in place for the voyage. The Atlantica was painted on her side. I tried to imagine my room within her bowels, what it would be like to sail on her for days on end. I couldn’t. I’d never sailed before, and, quite honestly, was nervous about doing so now. 

          But there was also a bit of excitement stirring within me that I couldn't place my finger on. Maybe it was the idea of wide open seas and the wind billowing the sail. Maybe it was the idea of something new and possibly... 

          My eyebrows pinched. What if I was prone to seasickness? What if I never developed ‘sea legs’, as I’d heard them called? I shook my head decidedly. It sounded ridiculous, that term seamen used. 
         My gaze fell to the water The Atlantica was anchored in. It looked filmy and green. I scrunched my nose and scanned the horizon. No dark clouds rested there. Only blue skies and a shining sun.
          I looked over my shoulder. Where was Tucker? Shouldn’t he have been here by now? I reassured myself with a shake of the head and the thought that he’d be along shortly, surely. I let my attention drift back towards the skyline.

         I heard the rolling of wheels on wood and suspected it was a cart laden with stores for the hold of an out-bound ship. Before I could turn to see, it had rammed into my back and I flew into the water, arms flailing and a scream erupting from my throat. Into the water I had thought so green and dirty just seconds before.

         I struggled when my legs caught in my skirts, clawing my way to the surface using my arms. I gasped in air and tried to open my eyes. Something solid grasped my arm and hauled me towards the dock. At least, I presumed it was towards the dock.

          I was on the wood in moments. But I couldn’t see. My face felt wet and slimy. I pulled stringy, green seaweed from my eyes. My stomach churned. That is disgusting, I thought.

          I must’ve said it out loud, because a laugh resonated from my rescuer.

          Turning, I saw a young man that looked no older than eighteen. He had golden brown hair and ocean blue eyes.

          I choked.

         “Um, hello, Miss…Williams, is it?”

          I managed to smile. Barely. “That’s me." 

         He nodded and helped me to my feet.

         “Thank you, Mr….um…”

         Carter. Wynn Carter, Miss Williams.”

         This was Andrew Carter’s adventurous younger brother who couldn’t attend the New Year’s Eve ball at the Anderson’s? And I would be forced to see him every day of the coming voyage? After this meeting? I would never live this down.

        “You’re Wynn?” I said. 

        A slightly confused, almost guarded look overtook the young man’s face. “I am. Why?”

       “I’ve just…I met your brother. At a ball. He mentioned you would be here. On the ship, I mean.” I closed my eyes briefly and mentally kicked myself. Of all the times…

       Water trickled down my back from my hair and I shivered. Why was nothing going right these days?

        “You’ve met Andrew?”

        Oh, right, Wynn Carter.

        “I have.”

        “What ball?”

        “The Andersons'."

        Wynn snapped his fingers. “I remember. I was busy that night. Couldn’t attend.”

        I nodded. 

       Wynn glanced at my hair, a small grin dimpling his cheeks. But he just as quickly looked away, back down to my eyes.

       Self-consciousness clawed at me. I desperately wanted to make some escape…

       “How was Andy at the dance, Miss Williams?”

       A gusty wind blew over me and goosebumps rose on my skin. “Andrew was well.” I cleared my throat, tried again. “I mean, Andrew…he’s a wonderful dancer.

       “So he actually danced?”

        I laughed at the surprise on Wynn's face. It was a nice feeling, laughter, after having felt so solemn the past few weeks. Months, even. “Yes, he did.”

       Wynn grinned at me.  “I would’ve made him if I’d been there anyway. Found him a partner and everything.”

       “He said much of the same sort of thing. I have to tell you, though, that he only ever danced once, with me.”

       “He did?” Wynn shook his head, almost gravely. “Well, it’s a start at least. I’ve been trying to get him to dance. Never know when you might need to.”

       Wynn’s attention was captured by something behind me. He nodded that way. “Your uncle’s coming.”

       “Oh." I whipped around, saw my uncle threading through rough looking sailors and loaded carts and dashing servants. I turned quickly back to Wynn. "Thank you again, Mr. Carter, for helping me.”

        "It was no problem. Least I could do."

        Right. I nodded, attention grabbed by movement in my peripheral. I turned.

        Uncle Terry came to a halt in front of me, all six feet two inches of him, eyes roving from my dripping hem to my matted hair. His eyes remained on my drooping bun. 

        “Hello, Uncle,” I said, smiling awkwardly, secretly hoping there was no chance of seaweed in my teeth, though it was unlikely. Probably. Probably unlikely.

        But then my uncle did the most unexpected thing. He smiled broadly, laughed, even, and hugged me, wet clothes and all.

        After a few startled seconds, I wrapped my arms around his waist and propped my chin atop his shoulder.

       “Hello, Maddie, my girl.” He squeezed me gently and then drew away.

       “My appearance is…well, it’s…explainable…” I said, looking down at my slimy garments.

       Uncle Terry laughed again, and I joined in. A little. “You are a sight. What in the world happened to you?” His eyes shifted to Wynn, still standing behind me. “You’ve met my niece, Wynn?”

       I glanced back at Wynn, and a huge grin overspread his features. He winked at me. “I have, Captain. Pulled her from the water a few minutes ago. She was knocked in by a mad servant with a cart-load of bags. The brute didn’t even look back when she screamed.”

      “Well, Maddie, that’s unfortunate. Are you hurt?”

      “I believe I’m fine, Uncle. Just wet. And a little embarrassed, is all.” I frowned at Wynn’s ever-broadening smile. Apparently he found it humorous. I probably would too, had I not been the one getting the soaking.

      “Well, Captain, by your leave, I think I’ll check on the preparations for setting sail.”

      “’Course, Wynn. Make sure everyone’s aboard. Madeline and I will be along shortly.”

      Wynn bowed. A quick glance at my hair and he was gone. 

      Oh, no. There was something in my hair, wasn’t there?

      “You’ve some seaweed in your...” Uncle Terry said this solemnly, eyes directed at my hair. “I’ll remove it for you.”

      He pulled out a green mess, dropping it back in the water, and I cringed. “Thank you, Uncle." I smiled sarcastically. "I should probably be more careful when standing on the edge of a dock.”

      Uncle’s eyes twinkled. “Probably,” he said. He nodded in the direction of his ship. “Let’s get going, shall we?”

      “Of course.”

       Uncle Terry offered me his arm and I gently took it. Something about him was warm…kind. Like he’d seen a lot and been through much but come out a different, better person. He seemed someone I could warm to being around every day. I felt myself liking him already, having barely been around him.

       Sure, there was the time a few years back when he’d come to visit us at the plantation. But he was so subdued then… So broken. I could see it in his eyes, even when he was attempting to be happy. In some weird way, I thought I understood. But I couldn’t have. Losing your wife… That was a hard thing to have to go through.

       Uncle’s voice dislodged my thoughts. “How is everyone back home?” he asked. 

       Home. I sighed, but determined to be as cheerful sounding as I could. “Everyone is as well as can be expected, I think. Mama and Father are determined and holding up. Theodore… Well, he writes as often as he can, and says he’s in good spirits. He said that army life is much different than expected, and that he’s been posted in the division one of our cousins is in.”

       I breathed a prayer for the boys. I couldn’t imagine losing Lee and Teddy. Not now. Not ever.

       Uncle Terry seemed to understand. Clearly there would be no need for sugar-coating with him. “That’s good, Maddie. And…you? How are you doing these days?”

        I looked down, smiled briefly. “I am doing okay. Just okay, though.”

        Uncle Terry was smiling at me, very gently. “I wouldn’t expect anything more.”

Copyright Micaiah K. 2016

I hope you enjoyed the peek inside my book! If you want to get a bit more 'insider news', so to speak, I'd be glad if you followed my Pinterest board dedicated to Trapped!

What do you think of the characters? Who's your favorite so far?

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Monday, June 20, 2016

The Definition of Adventure (Two Year Anniversary #1)

an exciting or unusual experience
a risky undertaking

a remarkable and exciting experience

By definition adventure means an exciting experience. Something that includes risk, but is remarkable and unusual and, potentially, worth it

Adventure, to me, is an experience that is exhilarating, crazy, maybe a bit intimidating, and in the end, a maker of great memories. 

Adventure is new places and new people and new things. 

Adventure is climbing mountains and airplane flights and road trips and camping under the stars and sailing and making new friends. 

Adventure is CampNaNoWriMo for my first time next month and writing and reading new books. 

Adventure is chasing God and living our dreams with Him and for Him. 

Adventure is doing things that stretch you and make you a little uncomfortable - because that's when we grow. When things are uncomfortable.

I think adventure is often stereotyped to only include the outdoor activities like climbing mountains and hiking through the rain forest and jet skiing. (Random list? Maybe...) But I think maybe adventure is all that, but it also comes in smaller packages sometimes.

Adventure means different things to different people because everyone is different and unique. Everyone has different lives and different circumstances. Adventure can simply be stepping out of your comfort zone, out of the normal routine of life, and doing something that excites you.

LIFE is an adventure, guys. Let's live it to the fullest. 

And all those adventures that come along the way? Those are fantastic too.

A few of mine:

Jumping off cliffs into the ocean.
Rock climbing.
Repelling off a bridge. (My older bro, Jesse, was the instigator. I was maybe 8 or 9 and I was scared. BUT Jesse repelled down with me, so I ended up being okay. ;))
Swimming in crystal clear water over tropical fish.
Road tripping (Mt. Rushmore, guys. It's so intricate and beautifully done. Enough said.)
Jumping off a waterfall. (I DID THIS.)
Going to the Winter Jam concert.

What is the craziest, most exciting thing YOU have ever done? I wanna know...

Remember to enter the giveaway! 

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Two Year Anniversary (And a Giveaway!)

Funny to think that in one week it was two years ago this blog came to be. There's not a huge story to tell about it's beginnings, but what there is happens to be a bit humorous. Just ever so slightly...

It all began...well, actually I'm not sure when. I remember finding a blog that an author I like wrote on a few years beforehand. That might've sparked my interest in a blog a little, but I'm not sure I realized it at the time. Really, I'm not sure I know what sparked the idea in the beginning at all. But I've a feeling it did have something to do with that blog. ;) 

Anyways, I started writing about readerly things on my sister's computer on Pages (being the only option since she owns a Mac). Nobody knew I was writing 'blog posts', as I called them. They could've been that, but as I wasn't posting any to cyberspace it didn't really count. But I kinda felt like it did. (At least I got some practice in!) I was nervous about people reading what I was writing. I didn't really want to step out and actually make a blog. At first.

My sister somehow found out that I had been writing 'blog posts' (it was her computer, so I guess that's not too uncanny ;)) and began badgering me about starting an actual blog. Though, badgering, I guess, isn't exactly the right word. She just mentioned it a little. So, yes, the complete opposite of badgering pretty much. 

But it nudged me and I decided to go ahead and do so, especially since she had been taking a class on such things like blogging and advertising, so I figured I'd have my sister to help me out when I needed it. My main idea was to write about books and do reviews, etc. It's branched off since then, but I like that. I think my original plan was a bit too strict, eh? ;)

And, well, here we are. Two years later.

The name? There's not much tell there. The only other option I considered was nearly the same as the title I have now. I don't remember what exactly it was, but, trust me, it was, like, one word different. Or maybe a letter. Seriously. It's kinda funny. ;)

And, to celebrate? For the week of the anniversary, this coming week - the anniversary is June 25th (the date I first posted my intro in 2014, and, fortunately a Saturday this year) - I'll be blogging about some adventurous things, most likely sharing a snippet of the book I'm working on, listing my top five favorite adventurous books, and other such fun things. The surprise? I'm...


Yep! You heard right.

I've never hosted a giveaway before, so bear with me... (Eh. It's not that bad. ;))

What I'll be giving away in the giveaway (haha. See what I did there? No? Oh, um, yeah, okay...)

Francesca Battistelli's album, Hundred More Years: Deluxe Edition  

AND When Calls the Heart (the 2013 movie)

The album is my favorite of Francesca's, and with uplifting, upbeat ballads to slower, moving songs, it's a keeper. And the movie? It's the introduction to the TV series currently moving into it's fourth season on Hallmark. It's Hallmark, so what can I say? It's a little cheesy, but it's funny.

The giveaway begins TODAY, June 18th, and ends the day of my anniversary, next Saturday, June 25th (note, though, that it ends at 12:00am on the 25th, so you will not be able to add any more entries after Friday). You've plenty of time to enter, though, so don't sweat it! ;) First name drawn gets Hundred More Years (with a note from me mentioning my favorites on the album), second receives When Calls the Heart (which will also come with a note! :)). I'll contact the winners via...Pinterest, Goodreads, Google+, their blog. Depends on which site you're on, or if you run your own blog!

Enter the giveaway below, share with your friends, and have fun! I'm looking forward to this week and the giving-away of things, and I hope you are too! (I like to give gifts. It's kinda my thing. Some days, I'll get an urge and buy a family member a book or something because, well, ya know, I'm a bookaholic and I like to share that. ;) And, okay, fine, I've only done that once. No twice. So, yes.). Feel free to stay around, chat a bit, and I hope you have a lovely time while doing so. <3 And a huge thank you and shout out to my followers! Blogging isn't the same with out ya.

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