April 30, 2017

Little Letters :: Fifteenth Edition

Dear spring weather, thank you for finally arriving and sticking around! I was so ready for winter to be officially over.

Dear library book sale, I am SO sad that I totally forgot you were happening! Yes, yes, I know I was sick, but still. I could've at least come on the last day... *sniff*

Dear library, thanks for always being there. I've neglected you of late, but it was so comforting to return and find you still peaceful. My heart was happily restful in your presence.

Dear books on my TBR, I've been concentrating on the INSPYs for the past couple months, but am determined to get back into reading for pure pleasure now. So be on the lookout, I'm coming for you! :)

Dear Beauty and the Beast, you were such a delight! Thank you for existing.

Dear Lindor truffles, mmmmmmmmmm. :D

Dear dad, I'm happy you're happy. Truly! It's still a bit of adjustment for me, but it's definitely good to see you smiling again.

Dear Carrabbas, thank you for helping me "eat my feelings".

Dear weekends, why can't you last longer than just two days?

Dear old world, you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.

April 13, 2017

It just all depends on the reader...

We readers are a unique bunch and we all have books we love and books we don't. And sometimes those "books we don't" happen to be ones that everyone (and I do mean just about everyone out there who's read it) loved. The first time or two this happened, I remember feeling slightly embarrassed. What was wrong with me that I didn't love it? Everyone else did and especially some favorite bloggers whose recommendations are usually spot on? But see, I was totally wrong. It is perfectly normal not to like what everyone else does! Especially when it comes to books. Thank goodness.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green was my first time experiencing this. I even went out and bought a hardback copy because I just assumed I would love it! It had all the things that normally worked for me. The romance sounded cute and the issues that the teen protagonists were going through were heartfelt and appealed to me.


I didn't like it. At all. Wait, wait! Before you throw things at me, let me just state that there were some nice moments, it's not a terrible book. I just.....didn't like it.

And because of that experience, I am now really leery about any overly hyped book or series. If everyone loves it, then I'm a lot more likely to approach with lots of caution. I might actually end up loving it too! Take The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, for example. I was a bit leery of Cinder when it first came out. Everyone raved and I wasn't so sure. But I ended up trying it from the library and then I had to go purchase my own copy because everyone was right! (And that whole series is epic and awesome and amazing and yeah. So I totally bought into all the hype for those. ;)

So what I'm saying is, hype isn't always what it's cracked up to be. And sometimes it is. It just all depends on the reader. It also means that there are books out there for everyone. I love this book, but you don't, yet you love this book and I don't. And yet again, we both love this other book!

At the end of the day? There's no right or wrong, it's just books. And if we all love books, then we all win anyway, right? :)

April 12, 2017

30 Days of Books :: Day 22

See? I told you I was trying to get back into posting! And here I am three days in with three whole posts. Amazing! ;D

Alright, alright. Enough with the sarcasm, yes? On to the books!

{many thanks to Jenni for the idea}

Day 22: Favorite book you own

Oh groan. Another hard one! But if I have to choose, I'd say it was a toss up between My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay (I own two copies) and Persuasion by Jane Austen (I own four copies). Not to mention The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery! (Sadly I only own one copy of this one, but plan to get at least one more for it's beautiful cover! :)

I can't choose a favorite between those three, I pick them all up very, very often to reread yet again. Sometimes I read the entire story all in one sitting, sometimes I skim only my favorite parts, sometimes I just read the final few chapters (where all the good stuff happens ;). But of all the books I own, of which there are many, I'd say it's those three books that I pick up the most often.

And you? Do you have a favorite that you own?

April 11, 2017

30 Days of Books :: Day 21

Hello, my lovelies! It's me again. Trying to get back in the fun of posting again. I've just been kind of out of sorts for a bit here, so my posting has gotten even more sporadic. But here I am! I love writing too much to give this up. :) I hope you all are doing well?

On with my final ten days!

{Many thanks, again, to Jenni for the idea.}

Day 21: Favorite book from your childhood

This is truly a tough one. I'm not sure I can name one favorite actually. I know I say this every time I post one of these, but this time it's actually true. I'm honestly not sure what book was my favorite from back then. I remember enjoying Dr. Seuss stories, The Berenstain Bears, and the little golden books when I was really young. When mom couldn't read them to me, I'd spend hours looking at the pictures and imagining what was happening in them (in short, creating my own stories around them :). As I grew older and able to read on my own, I liked The Boxcar Children, the Encyclopedia Brown stories, Ramona Quimby and other books by Beverly Cleary, The Babysitters Club series, The Hundred Dresses, Miss Nelson is Missing, Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, Richard Scarry's books, all manner of fairytales, and basically I loved just about everything. 

Clearly, I have always loved to read! I spent hours and hours reading and rereading all the books at our house, all the books at my grandma's house, and any others I could get my hands on! :)

What about you? Did you have a favorite book when you were young?

April 10, 2017

Review: Life After by Katie Ganshert

Where does one find words for emotions that have none? That would be my exact tangle of feelings after finishing this story a mere thirty minutes ago. It is a rare moment that I close the final pages of a book and immediately feel pressed to get my thoughts down on paper (or, in this instance, in type on a computer). This is one of those exceptions (obviously). The moments (and emotions) I could suppress no longer, they must be written! So here I am, struggling to find adjectives for you. What I am finding? Is this: for those grieving, for those broken, for those who don’t understand, for those questioning “why”, this story is for you!

There may seem a simplicity to the plot, yet vast amounts of emotion and chaos rest in these pages. It is not an easy story, but it is certainly a powerful one. I could recount the details (I won’t), I could wax glorious on the characters (I might), I could try and put words to the meaningful things that only my heart understands at this moment (yep, pretty sure that’ll happen #sorrynotsorry).

In our limited, human understanding of grief and death, the questions that come, the thoughts that circle, these are common things I’ve decided. It’s natural to wonder and wish and regret even a tiny bit. There is always much to be experienced in the After. Whether that After follows a temporary or a final goodbye, it doesn’t matter. The thoughts must be thought, the feelings must be felt. And so it goes with the lone survivor of a train explosion, our main character, Autumn. She is searching for...something. And in these words describing her journey to finding it, the reader discovers a few answers themselves! Or at least, that was my experience. :)

The beautiful thing about this story, for me, wasn’t entirely the quirky characters, each with their own stories inside them (although they were certainly pretty awesome! :). While they are a wonderful part of this adventure, even when they have a small part to play in the overall big story, they each use even their limited page time to create a huge, final impact, and it was those very moments that struck me the most. This story isn’t just Autumn’s journey, or Paul’s journey, it’s also Reese’s, and Tate’s, and Claire’s, and Ina’s, and many others. It’s all these individual characters and their individual moments that mesh together into one giant, glorious journey!

I admit it, I sat down with book in hand, prepared to only skim through the prologue and save the rest for later. Only it didn’t work out that way. At all. (And so it goes, fellow readers, am I right?? ;) The first few paragraphs gripped my heart and before I knew it, I was tearing through the chapters, so anxious to find out how things were going to go for all these beloved characters! And then…

And then!

I reached pretty near the end and a certain few truths hit my heart like an explosion. As one grieving, they were words of truth I needed to hear. They reached into a crack in my heart that I didn’t really even realize was there and burst it open, blowing everything to smithereens in a mere second! A gentle and beautiful reminder that I had forgotten. I literally wept, my friends. And it’s been a great while since a fictional story has affected my emotions to that degree. It was a moment of softening and love. So as I sit here struggling for words (and writing so very many anyway, huh? ;), all I am ultimately left with is this glorious feeling of happy. Of a heart so filled with relief, comfort, grace, and HOPE. This is a hopeful story, friends.

So often I strive to be practical when writing a review, but I know I am sadly missing that mark with this one. All I can tell you is it hit my emotions in a way that I was unprepared for! It was an emotional journey from beginning to end and if I could tell Ms. Ganshert anything, in this very, single moment right now the truest words I have for her are these: Thank you. Your story resonated with me and I am incredibly grateful I had the privilege to read it.

**I received a complimentary copy via Waterbrook & Multnoma. All opinions expressed are my own.

"I guess that’s what life is, though, isn’t it? A whole bunch of little moments that don’t seem significant or life-altering at the time but when you look back..." She shook her head. "I don’t know. They become the most profoundly beautiful things."

Why...why those people...why that train...why her. But maybe she'd been asking the wrong question. Maybe comfort wasn't to be found in the why. Maybe comfort was to be found in the who. A God who wept.

Sometimes, people didn’t set out to hide anything. Sometimes, the walls came up so slowly that they weren’t noticed until it was too late. Until the ugly was so wretched and foul that the walls had to stay in place.

"You know what I think? I think the second we find ourselves asking "Who am I? is the second we become the perfect person for the job."


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