September 29, 2016

30 Days of Books :: Day 9

Hello my lovelies! Happy Thursday. I hope your week has been treating you well. Mine's been good! Pretty quiet, but busy nonetheless. And hey, look! I'm almost to day 10! That means it's only taken me two months to get ten days completed. Go me! (Yes. That is sarcasm.)

Anyhoo, enough chat. On to the good stuff! :)

{joining Jenni}

Day 9 :: A book you thought you wouldn't like 
but ended up loving

Sometimes books surprise us, don't they? I kept seeing this series around the blogosphere, and with such raving reviews! I learned that when people liked these books, they LOVED them. There was no 'meh' or sorta kinda about it. If you loved them, you LOVED them (yes, there is a difference). And if you didn't...well...we don't speak about those. ;)

Anyway! I finally started book one (The Thief) and while I enjoyed the story, I wasn't blown away by it. I liked book two (The Queen of Attolia) slightly better, but there was a bit too much war strategy going on for my liking at first. So when I started this book, The King of Attolia, it was with little hope that I'd love it. And I certainly didn't think that I would LOVE it! But ohmygoodness! I got sucked into the story, fell in LOVE, and the rest, as they say, is history. And as odd as this will sound, my love of this book made me love the first two much more. You'd have to read them to get what I mean, but it boils down to the fact that Megan Whalen Turner is an incredible writer! She really is. She starts out with a seemingly simple storyline in book one, but by the time you get to book three you begin to realize just exactly how intricate and detailed the plot actually is. All these little things that were insignificant in the first book, now all of a sudden become infinitely important! I don't know how else to explain it. You'll have to read them and find out.

If you do choose to read the series (there are four books so far with more coming some day. That's the other thing about this author, she takes years (literally) to write her books. But no worries! There are no huge cliffhangers here.), please just take this one small bit of advice. Hang in there! Even if books one and two aren't amazing, hang in there. Things will start to come together in amazing ways if you give them a chance! I promise.

And if you've read them, or tried, and didn't like them (as a real life friend of mine did), well that's okay. I'll be sad for a bit, but that's okay. :) What book have you read that you weren't expecting to love?

September 28, 2016

30 Days of Books :: Day 8

I really need to try and post these a little more often, huh? Otherwise I'm still going to be working on this come Christmas! *note to self*

{joining Jenni}

Day 8 :: Most overrated book

11870085Whooo boy! This is another toughie. Most overrated is so very subjective, you know? (Well....I suppose all the categories are, for that matter. So that's kind of silly to say, isn't it?) And I just might have a few people call me crazy for this, but I'm going to go with The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It has all the elements of a book that I would love, fatal disease (yes, I do like those. Call it a leftover from childhood when I loved Lurlene McDaniel books. Anybody remember those?), teen romance, etc. But somehow I just couldn't get into it at all. I tried! Oh, how I tried. I even bought a signed copy at Target, so sure was I that I'd love it! But I started it and it wasn't long before I was skimming the pages, skipping multiple paragraphs and even whole chapters, just so I could get to the end and find out what happened.

To be honest, I'm still not sure precisely what it is about that book that didn't work for me. All I know is that I couldn't connect to the characters at all. that I'm thinking on it, that's probably exactly it! Characters are important for me, so I'm going to go with that.

Anyhoo, I know everybody and their neighbor LOVES this book and I am severely in the minority for not. I'll just be content over here in my little club of one. :) This book has actually made me hesitant to read any of John Green's others, I have to admit. We'll see if I ever try another one some day. Perhaps...?

What book has been over-hyped and raved about that you didn't like?

September 27, 2016

:: Small is Beautiful ::

Serena (from Poetree), featured my blog earlier this month. (Thanks, Serena! :) As the picture above states, this is a celebration of lesser-known blogs. Basically, if you have fewer than 100 followers, you are eligible to be tagged and hopefully find some new blogs to follow and get a few new followers yourself! What a sweet idea, yes? :)

My only trouble? Finding which of the blogs I follow regularly have a small amount of followers. What I also found is not everyone states how many followers they have, sooooo....I'm totally guessing on one of these. Still, I chose three ladies whose blogs I love to read. They all share posts that make me smile with happy! (Also, please forgive the terrible screenshots. I am NOT technologically savvy, so...I did the best I could. But please don't judge my bad screenshot skills with how awesome these bloggers are, okay?)

Hannah reads a mix of books and writes very insightful reviews. I credit her with introducing books to me that I wouldn't ordinarily pick out at the bookstore. Plus she just understands my love of stories. Even if we don't always read and enjoy the same things, we can still post looonngg comments about stories in general and completely understand one another.

But one of my very favorites of her posts? Is the one in the picture up there. Her Thornton Cupcake recipe (based on John Thornton from North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell) look mouth-wateringly good! And who wouldn't want to try recipes based on favorite stories? (She also has a more recent cookie recipe based on A Room With A View by E.M. Forster. Go, go! Check it out! You know you want to. :)

I love Birdie's period drama reviews! We have so many favorites in common and she keeps me updated on what's coming out. So many times her reviews have reminded me that a particular period drama is one I haven't watched yet and really want to. (What can I say? Life gets busy and I forget to keep up with these things. :) We have a mutual love of Jane Austen and other classics as well. Plus her book reviews are usually spot on for me!

Birdie is just awesome. She's learning sword fighting, people. Sword fighting! That alone makes her fabulous right there! :D

If you want to get bitten by the travel bug, just click over to Alyssa's blog. She has some fun stories and beautiful pictures to share. Not to mention lovely bookish fun now and again! She and I tend to like a lot of the same stories, she introduced me to several favorites actually! Don't you just love when a fellow reader will do that? :)

I can't forget that she also loves superhero movies and always gushes over the newest blockbusters out there. I haven't watched near as many as she has, but I do love to read her reviews. Basically? Alyssa is awesome, you should follow her blog!

Join in if you'd like! Here are the guidelines:

1. Feature 3-5 blogs with fewer than 100 followers.
2. Write 1-3 paragraphs about each blog, including information like what the blog is about, a brief bio of the blogger, and/or why you recommend their blog. Don't forget a link to their blog!
3. Include an image for each blog, whether it's a blog button, profile photo, header, or simply a screenshot of the blog.
4. Thank the blogger who featured you, and include a link to their blog. If you like, you can even include them as one of the blogs that you feature (especially if they joined the tag without having been featured by someone else).
5. Include the tag image somewhere in your post.

September 26, 2016

Review: The Thirteenth Chance by Amy Matayo

After being blown away by The End of the World earlier this year, I was excited to dive into another Amy Matayo novel. While this one didn't quite live up to all the FEELS of that one (I'm not sure any story could, at this point), I was still very delighted with it! After reading these two books by her, I've decided that Ms. Matayo excels at changing up her writing. Which is a compliment! Her stories all seem so distinct, and to have the ability to write completely different things is pretty amazing. It makes me excited to see where her next book will go!

The biggest thing I liked about this story was Olivia. She's all kinds of adorable with her quirky personality. Her mix of fears, confidence, doubts, insecurity, and OCD tendencies had potential to be too much for one character, but instead she comes across as endearing. (I want to be friends with Olivia! And Perry, her cat. :) She gets herself in so many embarrassing situations (without meaning to, of course!), which only made me like her more, because she always, always means well. I just don't think it's possible for anyone to meet her and not like her. Well, except for Will. But that's only because he's in denial about his attraction to her. ;)

Speaking of Will, he tends to be a bit impulsive and a lot arrogant, and of course this means he clashes with Olivia a great deal. Which I loved, because their bickering is one of my favorite parts of the book! Yet they both have baggage they need to work through, so it's not all fun and games. The fact that they support each other and help make the other a better person just adds to the genuine feel of their romance. They become a comfort for one another and provide a safe place where they can both shuck off their facades and just be their real selves. The moments they truly open up to one another are some of the sweetest. These proved to me how perfect they fit together and kept me turning pages determined to find their happy ending!

I did think some of the plot moved a tad quickly and a few conflicts were settled a little too easily, but I could overlook that due to the overall cuteness of Olivia and Will. They made me grin several times and swoon a few others! Plus all the baseball references (being the only sport that I can actually understand :) were fun. Definitely a keeper to add to your shelves, friends!

**I received a complimentary copy from the author via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

"Okay, you have yourself a deal. But I have two requirements."
My spine chills as the control I thought I had over the situation inches its way downward. This is my game. No one tells me how to play it. Not her. Not anyone.
Still, I force myself to ask, "Which are?"
"You can't try to kiss me, not once." She blows that stubborn strand of hair off her forehead again and looks at me like she wishes it would be so easy to remove me. "You might think you're cute and all, but baseball players aren't my thing. Especially not you."
With those words, I'm looking at what used to be that skyrocketing ego lying in small chunks all around my feet. I consider stepping on them myself just to watch the way they flatten. 

September 22, 2016

A Tolkien Blog Party :: 2016

I mentioned that this was happening soon and here it is! Yay! :) Also, I found out from Hamlette's post that today is Frodo and Bilbo's birthday. Clearly I'm still a newbie Tolkien fan, huh? But anyway! Cool news and all. Happy birthday, Bilbo and Frodo! :)

Let's get to the fun! {Check out the giveaway Hamlette has going on as well.}

How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read?

I've read four of Tolkien's books: The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.

Have you seen any movies based on them?

Yes! I've seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I loved them so much that I decided I wanted to read the books....then I actually looked at the books. And quickly gave up, deciding that I wouldn't be able to understand them. But yay for Hamlette and Jamie gushing over the stories to the point that I was convinced to try them again! :)

Are there any scenes/moments that make you cry?

Hmmm...I know I was sad several times, but I didn't actually cry at any point in the books. The movies on the other hand...I'm pretty sure I got teary-eyed at the end of Return of the King, especially when Sam realizes Frodo isn't going back home with him and they have to say goodbye. That bit for definite! *sniff*

Are there any scenes/moments that make you laugh?

I love all the competition between Gimli and Legolas! Their friendship is the sweetest and they constantly make me laugh. Both in the books and in the movies!

Have you ever chosen a Middle Earth name for yourself? If so, what is it?

Who would you want to party with/marry/fight to the death? (pick three characters)

I'd party with the Hobbits! So long as I was promised we wouldn't get in trouble. (Although it's pretty much guaranteed we would, isn't it? ;)

I'd marry Faramir, although I really don't want to take him away from Eowyn, so maybe if I were Eowyn (and who wouldn't want to be her anyway? The lady is awesome!) I'd marry Faramir. How about that?

And who would I fight to the death? Denethor because I did NOT like that man.

When was the last time you visited Middle Earth, via books or movies?

October/November 2015 when I was reading the trilogy for the first time. Or listening to it more like.

Do you consider Gollum to be a villain? Why or why not?

I think he's certainly portrayed as one. Especially in the beginning! But I also think Tolkien gave enough of his backstory for us to realize that while Gollum had villain tendencies, it's really the ring that amplified those and made him worse. So basically, Tolkien sets him up as a villain, but that's not where he leaves him.

How would you sum up what Tolkien's stories mean to you in one word?

Hope! In spite of all the bad, so many of my favorite characters never gave up on hope. Good will win! I think that's why the stories captivated me so. Well, that and all the awesome characters, of course! :)

List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies.

(So I will be honest and say that I had to look up quotes from the books in order to find these. Except for the first one, because it's already on the wall by my door at home. But as I listened to the audiobooks, I had no quotes saved anywhere sadly. Thank goodness for goodreads!) (Also it's been ages since I watched the movies, so my memory is quite faulty.)

- "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

- "May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

- "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

- "His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom."

Four is good, right?

September 21, 2016

30 Days of Books :: Day 7

And another one! I'm on a roll this week, huh? ;)

{joining Jenni}

Day 7 :: Most underrated book

I don't know if this counts as underrated or not, but I'm choosing it. Underrated can mean underappreciated and this book certainly falls under that category. Definitely The Blue Castle! Because while I've seen this one around the blogosphere several places, I'd never heard of it until I started reading reviews. Anne (of Green Gables fame) is so widely known and poor Valancy just gets the short end of the stick. (Even in her own story!) As wonderfully good as this book is, I really can't figure out why more people don't seem to know about it. When I mention to friends how much I loved it, they have no idea what book I'm talking about. ( be honest this is typical as most of my real life friends don't read. But still! My point stands. *nods* Yes indeed.) Watching Valancy find her brave is so inspiring and I can attest that several rereads do not diminish her awesomeness!

Long story short? More people need to read this book! The end.

September 20, 2016

30 Days of Books :: Day 6

So when I said this would probably take a while to complete, I wasn't kidding! As you can clearly see. But here I am again. Ready for the next day! :)

{joining Jenni}

Day 6 :: A book that makes you sad

It's honestly a rarity that a book will make me cry. I do feel sadness a lot, but actual tears? Nope. Also to find one book that makes me feel sad overall is a tough one, because I usually go for the stories that end with hope, if not happiness. The Return of the King definitely has a hope-filled ending! Yet it's still a bittersweet ending at the same time. (Which is why I chose it.) Although I understand (and even like!) why certain things happen to certain characters in this book, there's still a sense of sadness to it. At least it was for me. That moment that Frodo and Sam say goodbye just gets me every time. (Especially in the movie!) And Tolkien wrote so vividly that I grew attached to his characters, so when it came time for goodbyes (whether between characters or just me having to say goodbye to this beautiful story) and other sad things, I wasn't ready! But I love that he wrote it so true to life because I wouldn't change a thing. (Except maybe give a bit more detail about Eowyn and Faramir's happiness. But that's just my inner romantic coming out, so don't mind me. :)

So! While I wouldn't call this book sad, the bittersweetness that I felt at the final page is the reason why I picked it. What book makes you sad?

September 19, 2016

:: A Bookish Tag ::

Recently drove through Beaufort, NC where Nicholas Sparks'
A Walk to Remember and The Choice take place

So I saw Kristen post this recently and it looked like fun. It's always a grand time to talk about books, right? Of course it is. Plus I haven't done one of these in a while, so it's about time. :)

What book is currently on your nightstand?

25152641Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen, I started it a while back, but haven't gotten back to it yet. Which is not to say I wasn't enjoying it. It's Sarah Dessen, of course I was enjoying it! :)

I just recently finished The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd, it's still sitting on my nightstand as well. (Definitely a keeper!)

What was the last truly great book that you read?

Now that's an easy question, The Lady and The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof! So good, people, SO GOOD.

If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? And what would you want to know?

Oh boy, that's not so easy. I think I'm going to have to say it's a toss up between Jane Austen, JRR Tolkien, and CS Lewis. Austen, because I am a huge fan and would love to be able to chat and see what she was really like in person. Tolkien and Lewis I'd love to chat with together. And have tea! :D To get a chance to see their friendship in real life and how their minds worked. Their writings are phenomenal, so to get the chance to meet them would be beyond my wildest dreams! :)

27261345What books might someone be surprised to find on your shelves?

I read such an eclectic mix of things, I'm not sure? I do have certain genres I tend to meander to the most often, but also many others. You'd really have to ask someone who came to see my shelves that question, I think. :)

How do you organize your personal library?

Currently it's organized by color! But I am constantly adding and removing books from it, so it's basically always changing. I used to shelve them in alphabetical order by author last name.

What book have you always meant to read and haven't gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?

Jane Austen's Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Mansfield Park. As much as I love Austen, I have NO idea why I haven't gotten to the rest of her stories by now. But I hope to soon! Does that count?
Disappointing, overrated, just not good: which book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn't? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

Dune by Frank Herbert (sorry Jenni!) I'm not sure I thought I was "supposed" to like it, but I anticipated that I would. I was so disappointed not to like any of the characters! :(

The last one I put down unfinished was The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet's Pride and Prejudice. For some reason I love Mary (I'm still trying to figure out why), so I always have high hopes for sequels involving her. Sadly I could not get into this one at all.

What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

I find myself drawn more to contemporary stories with a little romance and really good character growth. The characters are what will keep me reading! I tend to stay away from thriller or horror.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

28449231The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien. Those are classics and have such wonderful characters who are conflicted at times, yet choose the right thing no matter how difficult it is! (I'd probably recommend them to anyone actually. :)

What do you plan to read next?

Currently I am reading Susanna Kearsley's A Desperate Fortune, Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey, and Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. I have The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall, Unblemished by Sara Ella, and A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay for review, so I'm hoping to get to those soon. Not to mention several others on my shelves that I haven't read yet. Basically it'll be whatever suits my mood at the moment I suspect! (Why yes, I do tend to have multiple books going at once, why do you ask?)

September 17, 2016

Review: A Lesson in Love and Murder by Rachel McMillan

Such fun! Once again, Ms. McMillan has taken me on an adventure right from page one and kept me fully invested in these characters lives. Y'all know how characters make or break a story for me, and this entire cast are some of the most frustrating yet charming! I love the friendships, the romances, all the relationships between them. They're quirky, and sometimes make terrible decisions, but isn't that true of real life? And I love how they care for one another, Jem and Merinda especially. Their interactions and how they always tend to go flailing into danger keep me turning the pages. Their friendship is my favorite! I really enjoy seeing them do whatever it takes for each other. In book one, it felt like most of that was being done by Jem, I was so pleased to see Merinda step up a little more in this one. (Only, with that ending now I'm terribly worried what's going to happen in book three. *bites nails*)

Jem and Merinda are a delight together, as always. But I have to admit, Benny is a really nice addition to this circle of friends. Mounties can be awfully swoony! (Clearly Merinda thinks so. I had to laugh at her awkwardness around him! ;) But poor Jasper, I wanted to hug him a few times. I surely do love that man. (Book three better give him some happiness, is all I'm saying!) I really enjoyed getting to spend more time in his head this go round. He has to balance his friendships and how much he wants to truly help people with the trickiness of keeping those he works under happy. Especially since there's obviously stuff going on with the higher ups at his job. It's not easy and when the woman he loves starts falling for someone else? Well.... (Although I was glad to see that she's realizing her heart is capable of that. Hopefully that bodes well for Jasper in book three...? Here's hoping!)

Ah, my poor Ray-and-Jem-loving heart! Those two....if only I could have knocked their heads together in a few instances! Communication is not nearly as hard as they make it. Their relationship is sorely tested, much to my sadness. Yet as their romance happened so quickly in book one, it only makes sense that there would still be things they're learning about each other. Likewise for the other relationships. We get to know all of the characters much more in this book, as they get to truly understand one another. Things don't always go as they plan (naturally), but this is just the sort of things I was looking forward to, prior to reading this. Perfect happiness isn't possible, life takes hard work just as the characters find out. And I actually really love that things happen at a pretty quick pace. Since it's a series, we have three books (plus novellas) to see these characters grow and change, which gives us time to enjoy the mysteries they're all trying to solve, as well as the romances. All the details don't have to be explained, the characters are able to just be themselves and we don't get bogged down with any slow chapters. Yay! :)

The mystery is suitably intriguing and dangerous, but I have to be honest. I'm not here for the mystery, I'm here for the characters. More Jem and Merinda please!

**I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

"You're a woman!"
Merinda Herringford's eyes were magnetic. He kept hold of her hand as she studied him. She didn't immediately pull away, but looked intently at him. "This is my colleague and particular friend, Jemina DeLuca."
"A-and where's Watts?" Benny asked, looking at the newspaper clipping.
"Oh, that's me!" the brunette said in a light voice. "At least, it was. I'm married now."
"But your advertisement..."
"Yes! No problem too great or small!" Merinda said.
"Herringford and Watts. Detectives. But you're women!" he said again.
"Perceptive. We're also detectives." She narrowed her eyes. "Come, have a seat and tell us what brought you so far from the Force."
Benny gaped. "How did you know?"
"Your hair. It's cut with military precision, but there's a decided line running at the back of it, embedded just behind the ear line. Clearly not from one of the berets worn by soldiers. Rather, a stetson. Of course, you could be a cowboy, but then you wouldn't stand with your feet just slightly apart and your hands behind your back."
"A Mountie!" breathed Mrs. DeLuca, blue eyes aglow.
Benny was visibly impressed. Perhaps this lady detective would be the solution he was looking for. "Benfield Citrone, Royal Northwest Mounted Police, late of Ford Glenbow. I'm here because my cousin knows how to blow things up."

September 12, 2016

Review: My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray

Oh friends, where do I start with this one? It's gut-wrenching, yet hopeful, with one of the most authentic romances between two hurting people that I've read in a while. Katie and Asher's journeys are hard, they've both made real mistakes in their pasts and they struggle to move beyond those choices. So when you bring these two together? It's a beautiful story of redemption for both.

Let's start with Katie. I don't believe I've ever really read a story from the perspective of a "mean girl" who's done a one-eighty and now regrets all the terrible things she used to do. Because the Katie from high school is so vastly different from the Katie from now! The downside to this change though, is the fact that hardly anyone from her hometown now believes her. Not even her own parents! It requires patience and persistence for her to convince people of her genuine change of heart, something which she sorely struggles with. Katie has a huge mountain to overcome, but it's her heart so full of regret yet still so hopeful that I connected to. And that's where Asher comes in. Because he reminds her again and again, in her lowest moments, that hope is still possible. That her heart is worth knowing and her ability to stay the course will eventually bring the rewards she desires. Her battles may be hard, but the results will come! And it's that tiny light of hope I could see clinging to Katie, even in her more unlikable moments, that truly won me over. :)

I also related to the main reason she came home again. Her mother's disease and subsequent need for help drew her back, even as the pain of her parents inability to understand her made her wary. Moving back home, after years of being away, is never easy. Add in the fact that there's this disease that affects the entire family not just the patient, plus a difficult parent-child relationship, and everything becomes infinitely more hard. Still, Katie's determination to try and make things right between them showed me her beautiful heart and I knew I wanted to know more about her.

As for Asher? His journey isn't quite so tall a mountain, but the guilt he deals with is still a miserable road some days. His willingness to look beyond the pain Katie had caused him in the past, and see the bits of her heart she unknowingly shares initially, is a wonderful example of what a truly nice guy he is. His past isn't quite as harsh as Katie's, yet he still has trouble holding on to hope himself. Which is where Katie returns the favor and reminds him, sometimes just by simple, everyday conversation. Their slow build from friendship to something more is fraught with hard, doubts, fears, happiness, joy, tears, smiles, namely just about everything. It's not an easy road for either, but they gradually come to realize that they make each other better and that hope is so much easier to cling to when they have someone to lean on! I loved watching them encourage each other, sometimes with hard, honest truth and other times with gentleness and hugs. Their relationship felt realistic to me, because while they had fun bouts of adorableness and cute, they also frustrated each other and struggled to understand some of the choices the other would make. But it's that very longing to understand which kept me yearning for their happy ending!

This story is a beautiful example of two people who come together to choose to see the good, especially in each other, no matter how difficult it may get. They struggle, they laugh, they cry, they hope, and you are left with smiles and happy as you reach the final pages. Read this one, friends! It's a good one. :)

**I received a complimentary copy from the author via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

"The laundry moved."
"The laundry?"
Her giggles grew until they were gut-deep hysterics that made him smile for some reason.
"I'm telling you, it's so messy in there, I might be better off sleeping outdoors." Her laughter faded to a sigh that was anything but humorous. "What's something you tell yourself when a task feels too great? Too overwhelming?"
Her attention was back to him, as if he were a fortune cookie that held winning lottery numbers. But he had no clue how to answer, because he'd felt overwhelmed for months. He knew what his dad would say. He'd quote 1 Peter and tell her to pray. But that advice had barely resonated in his own life; he certainly couldn't expect it to resonate with someone who'd spent her adolescence bashing organized religion.
He thought again of the Jillian mess. "I guess I would take it one day at a time. One project at a time, and try to find purpose in each one." At least that was what he was trying to do.
She sat up and furrowed her brow like she was memorizing his words. "Find purpose in each task. One box at a time. One square inch and then another." Her voice grew stronger with each line, but he had no idea what she was talking about.
"Sure. Something like that."
"Okay." She gave a determined nod and stood. "Thank you." The way she said the words made him believe she was talking about more than his simple advice. Her fingers lovingly stroked the design etched in the wood column. "This really is beautiful, Asher."
She swatted the surface twice and then took off back to her house, swatting away invisible insects as soon as she crossed into her family's knee-high field.
Asher suddenly felt as if the air had been knocked out of him. Or maybe all those stars had collided overhead. He'd been ambushed, all right. But for some reason, her coming over didn't feel like such a bad thing anymore. In fact, he felt strangely relieved.
For the first time in ten miserable months, someone understood.

September 5, 2016

30 Days of Books :: Day 5

Oh look! I haven't forgotten about this. Y'all probably have, but I didn't! :) I think I did warn you that this would probably take me a while though, so....turns out I was right. Imagine that! Anyhoo, life's been busy with road trips and just real life stuff, so my time for blogging hasn't been very available. Here I am though, ready to keep going!

{joining Jenni}

Day 5 :: A book that makes you happy


There are so very many that can fall under this category! I mean, really just about any book would because books make me happy in general. But I know that would be a cop out, so I'm going with one of my favorite series by Erynn Mangum; Cool Beans, Latte Daze, and Double Shot. Her books always make me happy! They're a great mix of funny, sweet, and adorable. Her main character, Maya, is a lady after my own heart! I love her quirky and fun personality and her relationships with her family and friends (not to mention coffee and chocolate!! ;) feel real and wonderful. When I look at this series sitting on my shelves, I get a happy little flutter inside. And when I need a little pick me up at the end of a hard day, this is one series that I know I can pick up and they will be guaranteed to make me smile!

September 2, 2016

Tolkien Love

Just a quick hello to mention a couple things to you lovely people! :)

First of all, Hamlette is having A Tolkien Blog Party later on this month. As you may have noticed on the sidebar. So be sure to mark your calendars! I'm excited to hopefully participate this year as I've finally read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Also! This is a Gimli Appreciation Post that I loved. Gimli is awesome! As is all of the Fellowship, not to mention just about every other character in Tolkien's stories. But I enjoyed all the Gimli-love going on in this post, so thought I'd share.

Have a delightful weekend!

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Twenty-Three

Time to do a bit more catch up! Some days I need something light and fluffy and some days I need something a little deeper. So this batch of mini reviews is an eclectic mix of books. Which is my usual, right? :)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Ms. Stiefvater is most definitely an incredible storyteller! Her writing is so vivid, she makes her stories come alive. She keeps me intrigued to find out what happens next, even when the story itself isn't one of my favorites. I didn't love this first book, but I still want to read the others in the series just to know how things play out. Blue and her boys' adventures are strange and a bit crazy at times, and there were bits that I skimmed pretty quickly, which meant that every time I had to pause reading I wasn't dying to pick it back up. Yet the power of Maggie Stiefvater's writing would draw me back and I'd start in again. Her characters persistently make me like them, I especially loved Blue. So for Blue's sake, I want to read more of her journey some day soon! :)

Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra
When I learned the main character, Steph, is a book blogger, I knew I wanted to try this one. It was cute! I wasn't blown away, there wasn't anything amazing that happened, it was simply a fun little romance. When I needed a quick, easy read to escape real life for a bit, this was a nice distraction. It made me smile, which was all I wanted! :)

The Boundless Deep by Mary Jane Hathaway
I have been thoroughly enjoying Ms. Hathaway's Cane River series! This is another story that is just as wonderful as the others. Those apartments above By the Book must be magical, it seems they've gotten quite the reputation by this time. Move in and you're guaranteed to find your true love! :D I love the family that Alice and Paul (from The Pepper in the Gumbo) have created around that bookstore. Everyone who comes into contact with those two immediately become one of them. And Rose and Blue are no exception! They do try and deny their attraction, but true love will not be thwarted, especially when helped along by Alice and Paul. ;) Plus all the literary references always give me warm fuzzies. Even when I may not know the book referenced! I sincerely hope Ms. Hathaway continues with books in this series because I want more of this surrogate little family.

The Things We Knew by Catherine West
I liked this one, but I didn't love it. The characters were interesting and I enjoyed all the familial aspects of the siblings as they struggled to reconnect with each other. But I have to admit that there were several of them and they all had major drama in their lives. So much that I felt like things ended up getting resolved too quickly. Each sibling could have had an entire story written about what they were going through. As we get time in each of their heads, it seemed that some of the conflicts weren't given enough time to be fully fleshed out and therefore weren't able to make me truly invested, which disappointed me. But! We spend the most time with Lynette and I did care about her journey and if she would be able to get the help she needed. I enjoyed watching as she and Nick circled around their attraction for each other. Their romance was definitely a plus. So while this may not be a favorite read, I'm still happy I read it.

**I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
I stumbled across this little book in a used bookstore and as I recently lost my mother, I thought it might be just what I needed. It was! This reads like a diary written by Mr. Lewis during the time right after his wife passed away. His stream of thought so closely echoed my own, with all the ups and downs of his emotions. As he struggles to come to terms with this grief in his heart, I connected with so much of what he wrote. And there were so many good quotes that I wrote out and stuck around my house to remind me to keep going. Such as, "Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection; the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer." Or this, "Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape." So true! If you've lost someone you love, this is a wonderful book I recommend. It helped me through several hard moments.


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