Untangled by Carey Scott – Book Review

Think you’ll never measure up? Think again.

We all want to feel valued. We crave approval and acceptance in the eyes of family, friends, and even strangers. But when we seek confirmation that we are enough using the world’s standards, it seems like we always fall short. As a result, we cannot believe we are who God says we are–accepted, loved, beautiful, and treasured.

With hope-filled writing and plenty of hard-won personal advice, Carey Scott teaches you how to untangle your self-esteem from the world and anchor it in Jesus. She lovingly shows you that God was intentional in how he made you–and that he is pleased with his work. You’ll learn practical strategies to escape the unattainable standards of our performance-based world. And you’ll find comfort in the fact that you are not alone on the journey.

I received this book as an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I gave this book only three out of five stars because I didn’t relate to almost half of the book. Several chapters were specifically for married women with children, which I am not. Despite that, I could relate to a lot of the rest of the book and enjoyed hearing the stories of how other people struggle with the same things I do.

Importance of Grammar and a Grammar App Review

Contents of this Post

This is a longer post than I usually write so I’ve included a list of the contents to better navigate the post.

     Importance of Grammar
     Grammarly Infographic
     Grammarly Review
     What is Grammarly?
     My Review of Grammarly

Importance of Grammar

These days, proper grammar seems to fall by the wayside, in exchange for text language or slang. Despite what people seem to think these days, grammar is important. There have been numerous times where I’ve misunderstood someone online, simply because they didn’t include a comma where they should have.

One example of this happened on Facebook messenger. I was messaging someone who had reached out to me after my brother died. At one point in the conversation, she responded with “You absolutely are not my friend.” At first I was taken aback because I thought she was saying that I was not her friend, which didn’t make sense with how the conversation was going and she had a smiley face at the end of the sentence. It took me a couple of seconds to realize she was saying “You absolutely are not, my friend” which gives it a completely different meaning.

If I had taken the meaning of it without the comma, without realizing she meant it with a comma, that conversation would have ended a lot differently. I’ve had several other experiences like that, but that one sticks out in my mind because of how drastic the meanings changed.

Grammar is important to get the intended meaning across and help lower the chance of misunderstanding. Below is an infographic that a grammar app put out about the correlation between proper grammar and jobs.

People with Stronger Writing Skills Are Better at Their

Grammarly Review

Several weeks ago, I got the opportunity to try out Grammarly’s full app for free for two weeks. Right off the bat, let me tell you a little bit about the app before I go into my review of it.

What is Grammarly

Grammarly is a web application that goes beyond the standard spell checker. It checks for grammar mistakes and often gives a little explanation as to grammar rule is relating to the mistake.

Through the app, you can also upload documents and it will check them for you on the site for application.

They also have an extension for Microsoft Word which will check your document while you are typing it. The extension can check for spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, style, vocabulary enhancement, and plagiarism. You can also set the type of document you are writing so it can specialize what it is checking for. Unfortunately, this is only available with the premium account.

There is a free account and a premium account that you can get. The free account checks for basic mistakes, while the premium account checks for more advanced mistakes and enhancements.

My Review

For a two-week period, I was able to try out their premium account and I was, for the most part, pleased with it. It helped me improve my grammar, but also caught mistakes that probably would not have been caught if just using the standard spell checker.

The app works with any writing you do online, such as Facebook, Twitter, emails, even this blog post. If you have the browser extension and are logged in, it will check your writing without you doing anything. You do, however, have to accept or reject what they suggest for you to do because what they suggest isn’t necessarily what you were wanting to do.

I also really liked the Microsoft Word extension because I could change the type of document I was writing and have it give me specific suggestions based on the type of document, such as an academic paper. It also gave me suggestions for vocabulary enhancement, because sometimes I use the same words too much and the paper would benefit from using different words.

One problem I had with the Microsoft Word extension, though, was that I would have to have Word open already in order to open a document I had saved on my laptop. If I strictly went into the folder I had saved the document and double clicked on it, Word would open but an error message would come up and I would have to double click on the document again or use the file open command feature in Word. I know this was related to the extension because it never happened before downloading the extension. I also deleted the extension at one point and then I could open existing documents, no problem.

Since my two-week trial ended, I have tried the free account and despite not being able to get the more advanced issues checked, it still does a decent job with the basic grammar mistakes.

Despite the little glitch I experienced with the Microsoft Word extension, I was happy with Grammarly and I would suggest anyone who struggles with grammar or just wants to improve their grammar to get it, even if they just get the free account.

No Place to Hide – Book Review

She’ll defend her friend until the bitter end–but is she in over her head?

It’s not every day you see your childhood friend and onetime crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can’t believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she’s determined to find him and help him clear his name. Unfortunately, she’s not the only one looking for him. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to prove his innocence and prevent a catastrophe.

I love Lynette Eason’s books and this one was no different. The intricate suspense plot drew me in and got me wondering if things like this actually happen in real life. I kept wondering what would happen to Ian and Jackie and who would get to them first. I found the romance lacking until the end, but I was okay with that. It made it seem a little more realistic to me and what little romance there was didn’t take away from the fact that Ian and Jackie were running for their lives. I found the spiritual element to be beautifully interwoven with the suspense. I also liked getting the different points of view throughout the book, as it gave more depth to the plot.

Do you feel “phine”?

This coming week (May 4-10), the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is hosting their annual mental health week. Their theme for this year’s mental health week is the mental health of men and boys. It is something that is sorely lacking. Men are less likely to talk about their mental health, but it affects them just as much as it does women.

Mental health issues do not care what gender you are, what skin color you have, how affluent you are, etc. If you have mental capabilities, you need to take care of your mental health, just as much as you need to take care of your physical health.

Below I’ve included resources from the CMHA website, specifically created for the mental health week, which also includes a fact sheet related to mental health of men and boys. On the CMHA website, many other resources can be found for taking care of your mental health.

Fine or PhineOne phrase they have used to try to bring awareness to mental health is the question: How do you really feel? Fine or phine? They define “phine” as saying you’re fine when you are not.

I’m sure I’m not the only one when I say that many times I’m “phine.” My standard responses to the questions like “How are you doing?” are “fine”, “good”, “fairly well”, and the occasional “ok”. I could have the worst day possible and I would still give you one of those answers. If you’re close enough to me, I might give you a different response but it would be really rare. Even after my brother died last August when people would ask me the question, I would usually say “ok” or “it depends on the day (or time of day).” I still wouldn’t give people a completely honest answer.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve gotten really discouraged at times and could feel myself slipping down the rabbit hole that was affecting my mental health negatively. I had to consciously change my thought path because I knew if I didn’t, it would get harder to get out of the negative cycle and my mental health would take a nose dive.

Today, during church, was one of those times. One thing that occurred at the beginning of the service that started me on the bad thought path was someone made the comment “Don’t be shy.” As if shyness is something that someone can turn off. As someone who has an acute social anxiety disorder, it kind of offended me.

Shyness is something that a lot of people don’t understand and my family’s comments after church when I brought it up reiterated this. They thought shyness was when you’re quiet and don’t talk to people but it’s a lot more than that.

Merriam-Webster defines “shy” as:

  • feeling nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people
  • showing that you are nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people
  • tending to avoid something because of nervousness, fear, dislike, etc.

People don’t understand issues that relate to our mental health and we need to better educate ourselves and others because mental health affects everyone. Talking about mental health is not an option. It is a necessity.

CMHA’s Mental Health Week Resources

To Win Her Favor – Book Review

A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie Linden is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who could help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing forever.

An Irishman far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He’s come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and begin farming, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he’d wagered, especially when Maggie Linden’s father makes him an offer he shouldn’t accept yet cannot possibly refuse.

Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the inaugural Peyton Stakes, the richest race ever run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance—and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder—Maggie’s father, aging, yet wily as ever, makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail—Maggie must marry a man she’s never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.

I really enjoy reading novels where the two main characters get married because of convenience. I love watching them fall in love in the context of marriage. I connected a lot with Maggie because of all she had lost. She and I both grew up with four brothers and although I haven’t lost all four of my brothers like she did, one of my brothers died last August, so I can feel along with the pain of losing a brother. The whole book pulled at my heart strings, from the death of loved ones, the racist society responsible for lynchings, the possibility of losing the family farm, and the relationship between Maggie and Cullen. Because of the time period this book was written in and the culture of that time, there are some words that may offend some people but I thought they brought authenticity to the setting, without going overboard.

The Inn at Ocean’s Edge – Book Review

The minute she steps inside the grand Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Claire Dellamare knows something terrible happened there. She feels it in her bones. Her ensuing panic attack causes a scene, upsetting her parents. Claire attempts to quiet her nerves with a walk on the beach, to no avail. She’s at too great a distance to make out details, but she believes she witnesses a murder on a nearby cliff. When local police find no evidence of foul play, they quickly write off the “nervous” woman’s testimony as less than credible. But Luke Elwell, home on leave from the Coast Guard, has reason to believe Claire. Years ago when his mother went missing, Luke’s father suspected she’d been murdered. He died never having convinced the police to investigate. So when an employee of the grand hotel doesn’t show up for work, Luke steps in to help Claire track down the missing woman. As Claire and Luke put together the pieces of a decades-old mystery, they discover that some family secrets refuse to stay buried. And some passions are worth killing for.

I’ve always loved Colleen Coble’s books, ever since I read her Aloha Reef series close to ten years ago, and this book is probably one of my favorites. I love when there are twists and turns in books that I didn’t see coming, which doesn’t happen much anymore. Even though, I knew who the killer was fairly early on in the book, there were many twists that kept me guessing. The characters also drew me in and kept me rooting for them. The romance element was nice as well, and it didn’t take too much of the attention away from the suspense and the plot twists. I also loved that Colleen Coble included an orca into the story. I’ve loved orcas since I was young so I enjoyed reading about the orca. It’s not a huge part in the story but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Buried Secrets – Book Review

After seven years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant has hit a wall. Ready for a kinder, gentler life, she takes a job as a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes the resources of her department. A call for assistance brings detective Mac McGregor, an ex-Navy SEAL, to her doorstep. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn’t want this dead person telling any tales—and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.

Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon is an inspirational romantic suspense novel that places a focus on the romance. This fast-paced novel contains a few faith elements, but it is not preachy or overwhelming. I didn’t connect as much with the romance aspect of this book as much I have in some of Hannon’s other works. I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense and the complex killer that was drawn out. The suspense kept me turning the pages until I had finished the pages. I connected with Mac in his relationships with his brothers because of my relationships with my brothers. Overall, I enjoyed this novel and look forward to hearing the stories of Mac’s brothers.