Backpacks and Software and programs, oh my!

I'm going to do some quickie reviews for a few miscellaneous things that I've been meaning to get to for a while. So here you go.

First: Software.

Ever think to yourself "if only I could take a picture of what is going on on my screen right now so I could show people how to do this!", whatever your "this" may be? I sure have. With SnapIt, you can.

SnapIt is a cool program that enables you to take a screen snap of whatever you need. Simply install the program, click the "hot key" on your keyboard, and select the section of screen that you want. it automatically saves the image to your computer in the place you predetermine.

You can snap just about anything on your screen.



Click on the image to go to SnapIt Screen Capture!

Giveaway: Download and write a review on your blog for SnapIt and send a link to for a free registration code!

Second. Backpacks.

In the past six years (since I moved to North Carolina) I've bought probably seven or eight backpacks. I've bought Target backpacks and Staples backpacks and Taurus backpacks and lots of other kinds of backpacks. Every single one has failed me, either zippers ripping or buckles breaking, or bad designs.

The best backpack I've ever had started off as my sisters. She got it a few years ago and I now use it in college. It's a Lands End backpack (are we not surprised?). This is why it's fantastic.

1) waist strap. All the best backpacks have waist straps. A waist strap shouldn't be elastic like some of the newer designs that have just come out (I bought two this year and neither were satisfactory) because they stretch, and don't offer the right amount of support that is needed for the lower back. Students backpacks are anywhere from ten to sixty pounds: carrying it all on your upper back and shoulders is just unhealthy. A thick supportive strap around the waist distributes the weight more evenly, and allows the abdominal muscles to aid in carrying the backpack, saving the back and shoulders. In a matter of hours after my mom mailed Hannah's old backpack to me, I felt a difference in my back.DSCN1043

2) simple. There's pockets on the side, on the top, and on the front, but the main section of the backpack is just one section: no extra zippers to lose stuff in! also, you can fit more stuff in it this way. Because of this…

3) safer to lock. Remember the backpack lock I highlighted at the beginning of the school year? because there's only one main pocket, and the zipper holes are big enough for the lock to fit into, you can put everything in that one pocket, lock it, and know that nobody can take your stuff.

4) lasts forever. I probably couldn't break this backpack if I tried… and remember that this is me we're talking about here. If I can't break it, nobody can.

(Well, maybe my little sister. She's good at that stuff. But it lived through her and is doing fine with me… so I rest my case)

And that is why it's worth every penny to buy a Lands End backpack.



Third: Wave Editor.

I needed a free program that cuts and deletes easily so I could edit my dad's audio recording of a sermon. So I did some quick searches and found Wave Editor. Basically, you can open your file, do simple minor editing, and save it. It was simple, it was easy, it was quick to figure out… I didn't even need the instructions.

My only complaint is that it was a little slow. I was editing stuff out (pauses where a baby cries, tripping over words here and there) and I highlighted a section of audio, and right clicked and selected "delete," but it would take a while for it to actually work, so there was some waiting involved.

Other than that, it was great. Easy to install, good zoom in and out, sound increaser and decreaser, just the simple stuff. I'd recommend it for simple editing.

The image at the top of the page was taken by SnapIt and is a snap of the Wave Editor.

A Few Things

First: Looking for your next book blog to follow? Want to read a good blog and learn to write better reviews? Best Colleges just published an article highlighting the top ten book blogs for wannabe book critics. Check that out right over here.

Second: I've got a few reviews coming that aren't quite book reviews, but hopefully they'll catch you guys' attention. However, I want to know your opinion: Do you prefer reading blogs that are just books, or do you like seeing some other types of reviews in there too? Just curious.

Third: I GOT MY SPLIT BACK! WOOT! Go Haley. I am awesome. Who is awesome? Haley is awesome. And I can run a little more than three miles now, so I'm doing great in the PhysEd world.

Fourth, I'm going to be posting my book awards pretty soon (was planned for the first of September, but I forgot… college, ya know) so keep your eyes peeled for those.

Lastly but certainly the most important (no not really) my birthday is in November, and I'm not really sure what I want to do. I want to think up something, since my folks can't come down (what, you mean you don't want to close the business for three days and drive eight hours to give me presents? silly parents… jk) and I really don't want to be alone on my birthday. any (extremely inexpensive) ideas?

Thanks guys, y'all are awesome. :)


Review: Cowl Girls

Cowl Girls: The Neck's Big Thing to Knit by Cathy Carron 
Genre: Knitting
ISBN: 9781936096046
Published October 5th 2010 by Sixth&Spring Books (click here to pre-order)
Rating: 5

You may be asking, "What on earth is a Cowl?" Up until I saw this book, I had no idea. A Cowl is like a hat without a top that sits around your neck, a scarf that is connected at both ends, a super-thick necklace that keeps you warm—or cool—and looks fashionable and sophisticated at the same time. Some of the patterns cover just your neck, while others cover neck and shoulders. My favorite is a hood that transfers into a neck-shoulder sort of warmer. And it has buttons on it. How much better can you get?

Everyone needs something to keep their neck warm when it's cold, and long rectangles are a little old and, honestly, a little boring. There aren't that many different ways you can knit a scarf. But there are a million different things you can do with a Cowl, a million different looks you can go for, and a million different variations you can do with each of the 41 patterns in this book.

If you can't tell by the photos on the cover, they're all pretty unique. Tweak decor and color schemes and you have literally endless possibilities.

Along with the cowl patterns, there are some pointers and some tips on what makes a good cowl, different ways you can knit them, how to convert patterns, and a page of resources.

I am so excited about this book. Although there are some situations that certainly call for a scarf—and some scarves that demand to be worn—cowls are an exciting change that meet a need and manage to look stylish and fresh at the same time. Cowl Girls will escort you into "the neck's big thing to knit."

The patterns themselves are diverse and versatile. There is a pattern in here for everyone, hitting every style you could possibly aim for. The difficulty level ranges from beginner to advanced.

Recommendation: Beginner through advanced knitters.

Winners picked the winners for these contests!


The Crazydog T-shirt contest…


Oh my they have so many shirts I would love to have..LOL Some favs I seen would have to be Know Your Classics (I am a huge, Gizmo was really cute, and they have a A-Team shirt!!! I will go broke if I start buying from


Winners of The Island Audiobook…


A cross country trip with our three kids, we all had a say in where we would stop along the journey, and I think we all have wonderful memories.

Peal Elliot!

When we spent a week at the beach and the weather was perfect, the scenic beauty incredible and it was nothing short of perfection.


We drove to DC from Minnesota when I was a kid.  My dad wore these weird red golf pants everywhere-he's even in them when we toured the White House!

Winners, your information has been forwarded to the suppliers. Congrats!

Don't forget, you have two more days to enter the giveaway for LAST TO DIE by Kate Brady!

Follow-up: Brave New Knits

brave new knitsI reviewed Brave New Knits back in July, and was impressed with the concept, patterns, and the content. Now that I've seen the finished copy with the artistic layout and the colorful photographs, I'm pretty impressed. Brave New Knits turned out fantastic and inspiring.

Check out my review here, and look on Amazon for more reviews and to purchase.


(review copy and finished copy sent by Rodale Books).

Review: Radical


Radical by David Platt 
Genre: Christian Living
ISBN: 978-1601422217
Published: May 4, 2010 by Multnomah
Rating: 5

From Goodreads: It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily...
In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.
Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment --a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.

A while back in the beginning of the year, I was offered a copy of Radical for review. I didn't have time, I was loaded down with school, and I wanted fiction, not "God-books." But before I went to college, I was browsing the books in my book store, and saw Radical. I read the back and thought "why didn't I get this earlier?" So I bought it.

Yep, you read right. I, a broke college student, forked over fifteen hard-earned dollars and bought a book.

Probably the best fifteen dollars I've ever spent.

In a sentence: Radical will change your life. It's not a 'feel-good' kind of book, it's a 'dangit-now-i-feel-guilty' kind of book. Platt takes Jesus' commandment to His followers of going and making disciples and puts it in our world, in our day and age, at our level.

Which, as he will show you, is exactly the same as it was 2000 years ago—whether we like to believe that or not.

I don't think I can possibly go a day without thinking about the things I've learned from this skinny little book. I read through it very fast, I journaled and underlined in it, I've re-read sections, I've prayed about it.

Summarizing Radical and the effects it's had on my thinking would be pointless for me to do: it would be better for you to get a copy for yourself and read it, cover to cover. Trust me when I say there is no going back, there is not excuse. After reading this book, a question is posed: What is Jesus worth to you?

Recommendation: All ages

5-star Bookshelf

5 star books are sorted into genres, but aren't in any particular order within those categories.

5-star Fiction:

Wildwing by Emily Whitman: I adored this story and recommend it to anyone ages 12+. No sex or language

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks: Content: blissfully clean. There was romance between Will and Ronnie, but no sex. It wasn’t needed, either. I feel like the fact that they didn’t sleep together added to the book rather than took away from it. It was also clean of  foul language. There was some mention of God and the Bible, but never did it feel like Sparks was preaching. Recommendation: Ages 14+

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Content: clean. Recommendation: Ages 12+

Magic under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore: Content: no sexual content, and appropriate language (not overdone or overused, I think there was one foul word used only once or twice). Recommendation: Ages 14+ to anyone who wants a fast enchanting romance worth dying for.

Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer: Content: Gloriously clean: no language, no sex. Recommendation: Boys and girls (it’s such an adventure that boys would like it too!) Ages 13-Adult. It’s not aimed specifically to teens or young people, and would be perfect for an adult as well.

The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay: Content: This book is not for the easily offended. There was language and sexual aspects of the book that make it an adult novel, though there were no sex scenes. Recommendation: Ages 17+ to anyone who wants to read a really exceptional book. 

The Darkest Edge of Dawn by Kelly Gay:  Content: Just as the last book, I wouldn't recommend this one to anyone who can't stomach some violence, is easily offended by language and some sex or sensuality. Ages 18+

Blind Sight by James Pence: Content: 100% Clean! Recommendation: Anyone ages 10+ would enjoy this! It would be a wonderful read for a family to share, or for an adult looking for a good clean Christian-thriller, or a teenager with the weekend off of homework.

The Secret of Joy by Mellisa Senate: Content: There was only an occasional swear word, and some mention of sex, but no details. Recommendation: Ages 14+ to anyone craving a light-hearted sit-by-the-fire-with-tea kind of book.

The Light, The Dark, and Ember between by N. W. Nicklaus: Content: there was an occasional cuss word scattered through some of the short stories, but it wasn’t overdone, overly offensive, or inappropriate. Recommendation: Ages 10+ to lover of any genre.

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick: Content: Clean. Recommendation: Ages 14+

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick: Content/recommendation: Ages 16+ for some sensuality. And you have to read Hush, Hush first or none of it will make any sense.

The Diary of Pelly D by L. J. Adlington: Content: Some mention of sex, some language, but pretty clean. Recommendation: Ages 14+

Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson: Content: some sex, some language. Recommendation: Ages 17+

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen: Content: some sex, some language. Recommendation: Ages 15+

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins: Content: clean. Recommendation: Ages 13+

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Jane Austen and Steve Hockensmith: Content: an occasional dirty word (I think d--- was used like, twice in the whole book?), very few sexual references. But remember that we’re talking about dead brain-eating zombies here, people. It’s not for the faint of heart (or stomach) and it’s not for kids.Recommendation: 12+ If you love the paranormal, horror, or anything Jane Austen, this one is for you.

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien: Content: Clean of sex, language, and violence. Recommendation: Ages 12+ Adults will love it, too!

The Language of Secrets by Dianne Dixon: Content: medium language, some violence, mention of sex but no details, mention of rape but no details. Recommendation: Ages 16+

Poetry Speaks Who I Am edited by Elise Paschen and Dominique Raccah.
Recommendation: Boys and Girls, Ages 8+

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin 
Content: Clean. Recommendation: Ages 14+

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Content: some gruesome descriptions of blood from the murder. Recommendation: Ages 14+

5-star Memoir

Terror by Night by Terry Caffey with James H. Pence
Content: clean. Recommendation: I wholeheartedly recommend Terror by Night to everyone over the age of 14. Terror by Night is extremely emotional, several times I had to stop and put it down. There were also some disturbing images of how the children were killed. It would probably make you cry if you read it in one sitting. However, I still think everyone should read it.

The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman
Content: clean, some language. Recommendation: Ages 14+

The Sugarless Plum by Zippora Karr
Content: There is one scene with brief mention of sex but no explicit details, and there is no language.  Recommendation: Ages 12+ to anyone who has ever dreamed about the stage, any athlete who suffers from Diabetes and needs encouragement, or anyone who loves a touching and inspirational memoir.

I can't keep my own secrets by teens famous and obscure
Content/recommendation:  There are some really great six-word memoirs in this book... but it's not for the easily offended. There is language, sexual references, religion... but it is amazing.

Catch me if you Can by Frank W. Abagnale
Content: There is some sex but it's not explicit. Some language. Recommendation: ages 14+ to anyone who wants a good non-fiction adventure.


5-star Non-Fiction

Radical: Taking Back your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt
Recommendation: All ages

Cheating Death by Sanjay Gupta
Recommendation: Ages 16+ to anyone who likes non-fiction, medical thrillers, or thrillers of any kind.

Angels by Dr. David Jeremiah
Recommendation: Ages 12+ to Christians wanting information about Angels that lines up with the Holy Bible.

Totally Toned Arms by Rylan Duggan
Recommendation: Ages 12-ish to Adult to anyone who wants "Michelle Obama Arms" in 21 days!

The Mayo Clinic Diet by the weight loss experts at Mayo Clinic
Recommendation: Anyone who needs to loose weight but is afraid of “another diet.” This is not the same diet you’re used to. Again, I think “diet” is the wrong word. This is a new lifestyle.

Quilted Devotions by Lisa Cogar
Recommendation: Intermediate to experienced quilters.

Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris
Recommendation: Ages 11+ but Adults would benefit too!

60 Quick Knits in Cascade 220 by Tanis Grey and Sixth &Spring books 
Recommendation: Knitters of any level

Cowl Girls by Cathy Carron
Recommendation: beginner through advanced knitters

Knitting at Home by Leanne Prouse
Recommendation: beginner through advanced knitters

Giveaway: Last to Die

Thanks to Hachette, I have three (3) copies of Last to Die by Kate Brady to give away!

Just fill out the form below, or click here to go to the same form in a window. If you have any questions, check out my contest and privacy policy (last two paragraphs on the page).

Contest ends SEPTEMBER 20

Good luck! and look for my review coming within the week. Click here to find out more about Last to Die.

Tour: Last to Die

Last to Die by Kate Brady

Last year in December I reviewed One Scream Away (4 stars) by Brady, and I loved it. So I jumped at the chance of getting my hands on the second in the series, Last to Die. I'm enjoying it so far, but have been a little bogged down with school. My review will be out some time this week. Check out the Goodreads summary and the Goodreads and Amazon reviews, and you can follow the rest of the tour on the list at the bottom. I also have a giveaway for Last to Die.


A ruthless killer hides in plain sight, someone no one believes is capable of murder. Within a week, six women will be murdered, all punished for their dark pasts. Detective Dani Cole is determined to track down this serial killer whose victims include a young woman she pulled out of a life of crime. Her investigation leads her to a photography foundation and the renowned photographer Mitch Sheridan, a man she she fell in love with years ago but has tried to forget. Dani and Mitch are instantly attracted to each other again, though their troubled pasts keep them from getting too close. Together, through the course of the investigation, they unearth a dark chain of deception that leads to a killer who is closer than they think



Tour: The Darkest Edge of Dawn

Today is Hachette's tour for Kelly Gay's new novel The Darkest Edge of Dawn, the sequel to her novel The Better Part of Darkness. You can follow my links to my reviews.


It takes a strong woman to keep the peace in a city of endless night. . . .

Deep beneath Underground, a cunning bid for power and revenge has begun—one that threatens to make Atlanta the new battleground in the ultimate confrontation between good and evil. The powers of hellish Charbydon have the upper hand after plunging the city into primordial night. And under the cover of darkness, a serial killer targets the most powerful Elysians in the city, the angelic Adonai. For Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner Hank, tracking deadly predators is all in a day’s work . . . but this case will test the limits of their strength and friendship as it draws them into a deadly world of power plays, ancient myths, explosive secrets, and a race against time that risks all that Charlie holds dear.

You can check out my review (5 stars!) right here. For more reviews, check out Amazon and Goodreads.


First and most importantly, i've got a friend who is trying to win a scholarship, so go vote for his picture right here: his name is MATTHEW GILMAN.

Second, getting letters in the mail—even if it's just a health insurance card—with your dad's handwriting on the front, is fantastic.

Third, i took a picture of myself wearing my new Zombie Outbreak Response Team picture in the mirror… and forgot that the words would be backwards. DUH.  

So there you go.

I need some Ben & Jerry's ice cream… sigh. i miss my parents.

Read The Clockwork Angel for free!

Just wanted to put a note out there… if you're between the age of 12-19, you can join Pulse It (Simon &Schuster's youth review board) and read two free books a month online. This month is The Clockwork Angel and Loosing Faith.

Click here to sign up!

(this isn't a  paid advertisement, this is just me spreading the word.)


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.