January 12, 2018

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things :: 2017 Edition


It's only the second week of January, so it's okay that I'm still looking back at last year, right? We're totally going to go with that! :) I meant to get this post written a couple weeks ago, but alas....

Still, here we are. 2017 was all kinds of interesting for me. It has lots of emotional upheaval, I have to admit. Yet there were way more happy moments than hard ones, for which I am very grateful! So. Grab your mug of your favorite tea, snuggle with a blanket in your favorite reading spot, and let's have some fun reliving the happy that happened last year, how about it? :)

:: Christian Fiction Readers Retreat  {SO, SO much fun! Such an awesome day with blogging friends and authors.}
:: Meeting Serena Chase in person AND having her be so excited to meet me.  {She is seriously the BEST, friends.}
:: Hiking to Cascade Falls.
:: My first year on the Advisory Board for the INSPYs  {All those lovely bookish convos...!!}
:: Visiting Biltmore Estate
:: Seeing Lizzy and Darcy's outfits from P&P '05 on display...!!!!!!!  {This is still one of the biggest highlights of the year that continues to make me grin when I remember it.}
:: The LIBRARY at Biltmore  {Seriously amazing, y'all.}
:: A dear friend from CA visiting and the chance to catch up in person
:: The book cake a friend made for me, for my bookish birthday party, which was amazing.
:: Discovering my new favorite coffee shop.  {They have the best chai tea latte that I've ever had.}
:: Visiting a tea shop with friends and falling in love with their motto {see picture above} AND their tea and relaxing atmosphere!
:: Meeting online friends in person, who turn out to be even more awesome and lovely.
:: Seeing Sense & Sensibility on stage and loving Elinor and Edward even more.
:: Precious convos with friends, both online and off.
:: Falling in love with so many wonderful new stories!
:: Rereading old favorites that fill my heart with comfort and happy.
:: Libraries and bookstores and book sales and all the bookish fun.
:: Hugs and hot tea and Lindor truffles and all the happy my heart can hold.
:: Planning for grand, new adventures on my horizon!

Here's to 2018, my lovelies! I hope yours is full of happiness and delight.




January 11, 2018

INSPYs 2018 :: Nominations Open



Hello, my lovelies! Just a quick check in to remind you (in case you weren't aware) that INSPY nominations are open now. All the info can be found over HERE on the website. Please note, the deadline for nominations is January 16, which is only next Tuesday....!

And we could use a few more, so get crackin'!! :D


{The Inspys were created to select and showcase books with the highest literary standards that grapple with the Christian faith and were designed to help readers in their search for the preeminent faith-inspired literature of today.  This program is organized and judged by book bloggers who have considerable experience and knowledge of books published for both the CBA, general and INDIE markets.}



January 10, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Uncloaked Trilogy by J. Rodes {Blog Tour + Giveaway}



I am so pleased to participate in this Blog Tour today! Because this series is definitely worth getting the word out about. I was intrigued by the premise and once I dived into the pages, well...! Hopefully you'll get the chance to see for yourself, once you purchase your own copy! ;) I listened to the audiobooks and they were excellently done, for the record.




 Review

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The Uncloaked {book one}
I was not expecting to be utterly swept up into the story so quickly! But Ms. Rodes hits the ground running in chapter one and lets the reader rest very little throughout the rest of the book. It feels so close to where life is currently in our country and how rapidly such devastating changes could actually become true. Considering all the heartache that these characters seem to about constantly endure, even before said changes show their true colors, I was so grateful that Braxton and Eliza's friendship was sweet and fairly uncomplicated. Each time they had a cute moment together, it allowed me to take a breather and just imagine being a teenager again. Yet this story is not for the faint of heart. Awful, terrible things begin happening and our characters have much to endure. And then there's that cliffhanger ending! Let's just say it's a good thing that I had book two at the ready immediately.

I will have to admit that Braxton bugged me several times during the story. I know he's a teenager with all his teen angst, but I got rather irritated at his flip-flopping back and forth. He could never seem to land on exactly what he felt about any of the changes happening in his world. A little bit of that I can understand, but when one particular, obvious awful thing happened he still couldn't decide! I was grateful that by the end, he finally seemed to settle a little bit. Book two helped my feelings about him as well.


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Tearing the Veil {book two}
I was hoping for more answers to all my questions left over from book one and I did get a few. But of course, more questions just seemed to get asked and fewer answered! Which, naturally, required that I keep reading. Not a hardship, let me just say! ;) We pick back up with Braxton and I was pleased that he seemed a bit more settled in this book. Plus we get to know Hannah, Eliza's little sister. Now that Braxton has matured, Hannah gets to take over all his immature decision making! But luckily she's got Braxton to look out for her, even if she doesn't want him to. She bugged me a few times, but I quickly got over it.

The tension only rises during this middle story. I confess that there were several times I had to put the book down just so I could remind myself that this wasn't actually happening in real life! Kudos to Ms. Rodes for her incredible ability to write so life-like. Evil continues to run rampant through the story and it takes the courageous few to choose Truth over all the lies. Yet again, this book continues the adrenaline-pumping, uneasy bits, but surrounds them with small tinges of hope that refuse to give up. And that hope is so worth fighting for, as our characters come to realize. And that ending...!


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Charging the Darkness {book three}
Wow. That's about all I can say about this final book in the trilogy! The same edge-of-your-seat tension held me captive from beginning to end. So many things happening and unexpectedly! I tried to imagine where I thought Ms. Rodes was going to take us, but, of course, I was wrong. Hope and forgiveness are incredibly powerful and should never be underestimated or thought impossible! This last book definitely cements this series as top notch and worth reading, in my opinion. :)

I was SO happy that my quibbles with a couple of the characters in the first two books were gone! Genuine maturity arrived and I was firmly on their side as harsh decisions were forced upon them. As per the first two books, the evil and darkness has continued to escalate, which only makes Truth and Hope shine so much the brighter! As each of the characters work through their individual journeys, I was blown away by their growth and determination to do right.

This entire series is well worth reading, my friends! This final book is proof of that, but in order to get to this one, you have to first read the other two. ;) So get to it! I don't think you'll be disappointed.

**I received a complementary copy from the author via Singing Librarian Books. All opinions expressed are my own.




About the Books

From Sellout to hero, by way of the den. Braxton Luther finds himself in the crossfire of a new order, and discovers apathy is a dangerous option.

GOODREADS | AMAZON


About the Author

J. Rodes lives on the wide plains somewhere near the middle of Nowhere. A coffee addict, pickleball enthusiast, and storyteller, she also wears the hats of mom, teacher, and friend. Mostly, she loves Jesus and wants to see the kids she’s honored to teach fall in love with Him too.

GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM
WEBSITE







Giveaway

~ Print copies of the books (US only)
~ E-copies of the books (International)
~ Audio copies of the books (International)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

January 10-Book by Book | Flowers of Quiet Happiness
January 11-Just Commonly ​
January 12-Remembrancy
January 15-amandainpa
January 18-Henry Happens
January 20-Pause for Tales






December 29, 2017

My Favorite 2017 Reads


Well now, here I am again. With one more list! This particular one is always a bit of a doozy to choose. Because I love stories and choosing just a few top favorites is HARD! (Also, with the way that my reading moods were so persnickety this year, I started and stopped so many books simply because I just couldn't get into them. That's not the books' fault, for the record! Totally me.) So if it made this list, you can bet that I LOVED the story enough to get swept up in the storyline and forget real life for a bit. :)

(Also, these are in the order that I read them, NOT listed as most favorite to least favorite or anything of that nature. It was easier for me to pick them as I went down my list from the beginning of the year until now...)

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by Katie Ganshert

I have gushed SO many times about this story, so I won't bore you with more of the same. Suffice it to say that I LOVED this book. It hit at a moment when I needed the beautiful reminder to hope.


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by Carrie Stuart Parks

When a mystery captures my attention this thoroughly, it's worth a notice! Because I'm not a big mystery fan in general. It takes a special story in that genre to keep me reading. So this one? The synopsis sounds exactly like NOT my cup of tea, but somehow Ms. Parks drew me in and my poor heart was on pins and needles until the very end. And I loved it! :)


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by Becky Wade

Because it's by Becky Wade, of course! Do you need any other reason to read this one? No! But if you insist, then just know that Nora is an avid reader herself and her romance with John is just...*swoon* PLUS Nora is a huge fan of period dramas! Seriously, this girl and I are kindred spirits. I just know it! ;)


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by Kara Isaac

Because Kara Isaac is now on my list of favorite authors ever! And this one is super cute and adorable. Enough said. Go read it!


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by Erin Morgenstern

I was blown away by the sheer vividness of the descriptions in this story. Ms. Morgenstern clearly has a gift for detailing a world so intricately that the reader can smell the popcorn, venture inside each circus tent, and simply immerse themselves completely! And now just thinking back on my lovely reading experience makes me immediately ready to listen to the audiobook again.


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by Courtney Walsh

"I especially loved that Drew was this quiet, taciturn type of hero. His inability to express his thoughts would make him seem like not a very romantic sort, but oh let me tell you!! He knows how to make a girl swoon! And poor Beth never even stood a chance. ;) Yet more than just the swooniness of their romance charmed me, it was the way they innately understood each other and how they became such safe places for the other. I absolutely LOVED that all the parts of themselves that they struggled to accept and love were so very easily accepted, loved, and make perfectly imperfect in the other. They complement each other so beautifully! So how could I do anything but love the two of them like crazy in response?" 
(from my review)


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by Sarah Monzon

This one is different than anything else I've ever read. But in the BEST way possible! It needs to be read to be experienced. So go read it!


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by McKelle George

Oh readers friends, this book is SO, SO GOOD AND AMAZING. I haven't yet written an official review of it, but rest assured it's not because I didn't like it. I struggle to find the words to describe the sheer awesomeness of a retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing set in the Roaring 20s! All I can say is this: read it, read it, read it!! Leave everything else and just go read it right now. Immediately!


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by Katherine Reay

You knew this one was coming, right? Because I will always read a Katherine Reay story! She seems to only get better and better with each new book she writes and this one is almost perfection. Of course, it does help that I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen, so I loved all the nods to her stories naturally! But it's not just the Austen aspect, it's the story as a whole, and especially Mary herself. "One of the most fascinating things about Ms. Reay's writing is her innate understanding of people. I always seem to relate to her characters, even when we have completely different tastes and opinions! .... I can say nothing else but that you should read it immediately! Don't wait, don't hesitate, just read it. I can't imagine you being disappointed." :)


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by Jane Austen

It's a Jane Austen, so it's guaranteed to be on my list of favorites! You shouldn't need any other reason than that one. :D




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